Ursula Le Guin: Mistress of Earthsea

Ursula Le Guin: Mistress of Earthsea


When I first started reading fantasy novels I was brought to the attention of Ursula K. Le Guin and the magical realm of

 Earthsea. Originally published in 1964 as a short story, the realm spawned six books and a legion of fans.

Earthsea is a vast world made up mostly of water. Instead of large continents, there are small islands and island groups where people live and serve as the cultural hubs of the civilizations. Earthsea is made up of may civilizations and creatures that range from the mundane to the magical. The bulk of the books revolve around the adventures of the young wizard Geb.

The island of Roke is the magical center of the world and where Geb learned his craft. Magic permeates much of the storyline throughout the books as most fantasy novels do, but it also incorporates dragons and other creatures as well. Geb is one of the few dragonlords of the land and speaks with the wise creatures.

Magic in the Earthsea society is mostly male dominated with female practitioners relegated to small villages and are generally considered inferior to their male counterparts.

Le Guin's stories have been translated into both radio and anime programs and a successful miniseries on the Syfy Channel. The miniseries was not popular with fans of the books because it took some serious liberties with Le Guin's original work. It even prompted a statement from Le Guin herself condemning the creators for changing her vision. Le Guin had not say or involvement in the production of the miniseries.