THE WIZARD OF EARTHSEA PDF
Ursula K. LeGuin - Earthsea 1 - A Wizard Of Earthsea · Read more LEGUIN, Ursula - Earthsea 1 - A Wizard Of Earth Sea · Read more. RL 5, IL age 12 and up A WIZARD OP EARTHSEA A Bantam Book / published by arangement with Parnassus Press PRINTING HISTORY Parnassus Press. It follows on from The Tombs of Atuan, which itself was a sequel to A Wizard of Earthsea. It is the Earthsea series novel which inspired the Studio Ghibli animated.
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Online PDF A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle), Download PDF A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle), Full PDF A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle). A wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin; 17 editions; First published in ; Subjects: Fiction, Magic, Magic in fiction, Fantasy, Wizards. Ursula K. Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea has become a classic coming-of-age novel. Originally published as a young-adult fantasy novel in , Le Guin's.
He foimd a thick fir-tree and lay down beneath it. He did not speak any of his thoughts aloud. He said not a word. His master smiled, and fell asleep in the rain. There was a kind of alcove in the west wall of the room, where Ged slept. Over his pallet was a window that looked out on the sea, but most often the shutters must be closed against the great winds that blew all winter from the west and north.
In the dark warmth of that house Ged spent the winter, hearing the rush of rain and wind outside or the silence of snowfall, learning to write and read the Six Hundred Runes of Hardic. Very glad he was to learn this lore, for without it no mere rote-leaming of charms and spells will give a man true mastery.
The Hardic tongue of the Archipelago, though it has no more magic power in it than any other tongue of men, has its roots in the Old , , Speech, that language in which things are named with their true names: Still no marvels and enchantments occurred. All winter there was nothing but the heavy pages of the Runebook turning, and the rain and the snow falling; and Ogion would come in from roaming the icy for- ests or from looking after his goats, and stamp the snow off his boots, and sit down in silence by the fire.
Yet the words he spoke were no great matters but had to do only with simple things, bread and water and weather and sleep. Ged went with delight each time, and stayed out till night; but he did not entirely forget the herbs. He kept an eye out for them, while he climbed and roamed and waded and explored, and always brought some home.
He came on a meadow between two streams where the flower called white hallows grew thick, and as these blossoms are rare and prized by healers, he came back again next day. Someone else was there before him, a girl, whom he knew by sight as the daughter of the old Lord of Re Albi. He woxild not have spoken to her, but she came to him and greeted him pleasantly: But she went on talking, in an open, careless, wilful way that little by little set him at ease.
She was a tall girl of about his own age, very sallow, almost white-sldimed; her mother, they said in the village, was from Osskil or some such foreign land. Her hair fell long and straight like a fall of black water. Ged thought her very ugly, but he had a desire to please her, to win her admiration, that grew on him as they talked. She made him tell all the story of his tricks with the mist that had defeated the Kargish warriors, and she listened as if she wondered and admired, but she spoke no praise.
And soon she was off on another tack: It screamed and struck the air with broad barred wings, and rose up on the wind. He would not let her mock him. This time he was almost certain there was admira- tion in her eyes. Can you do Changing spells? Can you change yoinr own shape, as wizards do, they say? He put her off with short secretive words such as his master used, but he did not know how to refuse flatly when she coaxed him; and besides he did not know whether he himself believed his boast, or not.
He left her, saying that his master the mage expected him at home, and he did not come back to the meadow the next day. But the day after he came again, saying to himself that he should gather more of the flowers while they bloomed.
She was there, and together they waded barefoot in the boggy grass, pulling the heavy white hallow-blooms. The sun of spring shone, and she talked with him as merrily as any goatherd lass of his own village. He did not say much, but he resolved that he would prove himself to her.
He told her to come again to the meadow tomorrow, if she liked, and so took leave of her, and came back to the house while his master was still out. He went straight to the shelf and took down the two Lore- Books, which Ogion had never yet opened in his presence.
He looked for a spell of self-transformation, but being slow to read tiie runes yet and understanding little of what he read, he could not find what ho sought. These books were very ancient, Ogion having them from his own master Heleth Farseer, and Heleth from his master the Mage of Perregal, and so back into the times of myth.
Small and strange was the writing, overwritten and interlined by many - hands, and all those hands were dust now. As he read it, puzzling out the runes and symbols one by one, a horror came over him. His eyes were fixed, and he could not lift them till he had finished reading all the speH Then raising his head he saw it was dark in the house.
He had been reading without any hght, in the darkness. He could not now make out the runes when he looked down at the book. Yet the horror grew in him, seeming to hold him bound in his cbair. He was cold. Looking over his shoulder he saw that some- thing was crouching beside the closed door, a shape- less clot of shadow darker than the darkness.
The door was flung wide. A man entered with a white light flaming about him, a great bright figure who spoke aloud, fiercely and suddenly. The darkness and the whispering ceased and were dispelled.
The horror went out of Ged, but still he was mor- tally afraid, for it was Ogion the Mage who stood there in the doorway with a brightness all about him, and the oaken staff in his hand burned with a white radiance. Saying no word the mage came past Ged, and lighted the lamp, and put the books away on their shelf.
Was it for that spell you opened the books? It may be the mother who sent the girl to talk to you. It may be she who opened the book to the page you read. The powers she serves are not the powers I serve: I do not know her wiU, but I know she does not will me well. Ged, listen to me now. This sorcery is not a game we play for pleasure or for praise.
Think of this; that every word, every act of our Art is said and is done either for good, or for evil. Ogion knelt down and biiilt the fire on the hearth and lit it, for the house was cold. You did not come to me, but I to you.
You are very yoimg to make this choice, but I cannot make it for you. If you wish, I will send you to Roke Island, where all high arts are taught. Any craft you imdertake to learn you will learn, for yomr power is great Greater even than your pride, I hope.
I would keep you here with me, for what I have is what you lack, but I will not keep you against your wilL Now dioose between Re Albi and Roke. He had come to love this man Ogion who had healed him with a touch, and who had no anger: He had spoken to the Moimtain of Gont, calming it, and had stilled the trembling precipices of the OverfeU as one soothes a frightened beast.
They went down to the quays, where the Harbor- master came hastening to welcome Ogion and ask what service he might do. The mage told him, and at once he named a ship boimd for the Inmost Sea aboard which Ged might go as passenger. They have no weatherworker aboard. A good ship. Master Ogion.
Go with a fair vi5nd. Ged stood forlorn and watched his master go. So to Ged who had never been down from the heights of the mountain, the Port of Gont was an awesome and marvellous place, the great houses and towers of cut stone and waterfront of piers and docks and basins and moorages, the seaport where half a hvmdred boats and galleys rocked at quayside or lay hauled up and overturned for repairs or stood out at anchor in the roadstead with furled sails and closed oarports, the sailors shouting in strange dialects and the longshoremen running heavy-laden amongst bar- rels and boxes and coils of rope and stacks of oars, the bearded merchants in furred robes conversing quietly as they picked their way along the shmy stones above the water, the fishermen imloading their catch, coopers poimding and shipmakers hammering and clamsellers singing and shipmasters bellowing, and beyond all the silent, shining bay.
With eyes and ears and mind bewildered he followed the Harbor- master to the broad dock where Shadow was tied up, and the harbormaster brought him to the master of the ship.
The master of the Shadow was a big man, and fat, in a red cloak trimmed with pellawi-fur such as Andradean merchants wear. The oarsmen were coming aboard now, for tiie ship was to go out into the roadstead before night fell, and sail with the ebb-tide near dawn. There was no place out of the way, but Ged climbed up as well as he could onto the bimdled, lashed, and hide-covered cargo in the stem of the ship, and clinging there watched all that passed.
The well- built ship rode low with her burden, yet danced a lit- tle on the lapping shore-waves, ready to be gone. The master roared his orders hugely, and Shadow was untied and towed dear of the docks by two laboring rowboats. Easy as a gull oared by her wings the ship went now, and the noise and hmlybmly of the City fell away suddenly behind.
They carne out in the silence of the waters of the bay, and over them rose the white peak of the Moimtain, seeming to hang above the sea. These lads called him over to share food and drink with them, and were friendly though rough and full of jokes and jibes. They called him Goatherd, of coiuse, because he was Gontish, but they did not go further than that He was as tail and strong as the fifteen-year-olds, and quick to return ei- dier a good word or a jeer; so he made his way among them and even that first night began to live as one of them and learn their work.
There was little enough room for ihe crew, and no comfort at aU, in an xmdecked galley crowded with men and gear and cargo; but what was comfort to Ged? He lay that night among corded rolls of pelts from the northern isles and watched the stars of spring above the harbor waters and the little yellow lights of the City astern, and he slept and waked again full of delight.
Before dawn the tide turned. They raised anchor and rowed softly out between the Armed Cliffs. As sunrise reddened the Mountain of Gont behind them they raised the high sail and ran southwestward over the Gontish Sea.
Between Bamisk and Torheven they sailed with a light wind, and on the second day came in sight of Havnor, the Great Island, heart and hearth of the Archipelago. For three days they were in sight of the green hills of Havnor as they worked along its eastern coast, but they did not come to shore. Not for many years did Ged set foot on that land or see the white towers of Havnor Great Port at the center of the world.
They lay over one night at Kembermouth, the northern port of Way Island, and the next at a little town on the entrance of FeDcway Bay, and the next day passed the northern cape of O and entered the Ebavnor Straits. There they dropped sail and rowed, always with land on either side and always within hail of other ships, great and small, merchants and THE SHADOW 29 traders, some bound in from the Outer Reaches with strange cargo after a voyage of years and others that hopped like sparrows from isle to isle of the Inmost Sea.
Turning southward out of the crowded Straits they left Havnor astern and sailed between the two fair islands Ark and Ihen, towered and terraced with cities, and then through rain and rising wind began to beat their way across the Inmost Sea to Roke Island.
In the night as the wind freshened to a gale they took down both sail and mast, and the next day, all day, they rowed. The long ship lay steady on he waves and went gallantly, but the steersman at the long steering-sweep in the stem looked into he rain hat beat he sea and saw nothing but he rain. They went souhwest by he pointing of he magnet, know- ing how hey went, but not through what waters. Ged heard men speak of he shoal waters norh of Roke, and of he Borilous Rocks to he east; ohers argued hat hey might be far out of cx urse by now, in he empty waters souh of Kamery.
Still the wind grew stronger, tearing he edges of he great waves into flying tatters of foam, and still hey rowed souhwest wih he wind behind hem. The stints at he oars were shortened, for he labor was very hard; he younger lads were set two to an oar, and Ged took his turn wih he ohers as he had since hey left Gont When hey did not row hey bailed, for he seas broke heavy on he ship. So hey labored among he waves hat ran like smoking mountains under he wind, while he rain beat hard and cold on heir backs, and he dnun humped through he noise of he storm like a heart humping.
That skdl is a secret of the Seamasters, and again Ged must say no. We must keep south. Retimiing to his labor at the oar he pulled away with his companion, a sturdy Andradean lad, and heard the drum beat the stroke and saw the lantern hung on the stem bob and flicker as the wind plucked it about, a tormented fleck of light in the rain-lashed dusk.
He kept looking to west- ward, as often as he could in the heavy rhythm of pulling the oar. And as the ship rose on a high swell he saw for a moment over the dark smoking water a light between clouds, as it might be the last gleam of sunset: His oar-mate had not seen it, but he called it out.
The steersman watched for it on each rise of the great waves, and saw it as Ged saw it again, but shouted back that it was only the setting sun. It was nearly dark imder the stormclouds, but now and again they made out the light to the west, enough to set course by, and so struggled on.
At last the wind dropped a little, and the light grew broad before them. They rowed on, and they came as it were through a curtain, between one oarstroke and the next running out of the storm into a clear air, where the light of after-sunset glowed in the sky and on the sea.
Over the foam-crested waves they saw not far off a high, round, green hill, and beneath it a town built on a small bay where boats lay at anchor, all in peace. There it was stiU, so that they could hear the voices of people up in the town, and a bell ringing, and only far off the hiss and roaring of the storm.
Clouds himg dark to north and east and south a mile off all about the island. But over Roke stars were coming out one by one in a clear and quiet sky. The town of Thwil is not large, its high houses huddling close over a few steep narrow streets.
To Ged, however, it seemed a city, and not knowing where to go he asked the first townsman of Thwil he met where he would find the Warder of the School on Roke. Ged went uphill till he came out into a square, rimmed on three sides by the houses with their sharp slate roofs and on the fourth side by the wall of a great building whose few small windows were higher than the chim- neytops of the houses: In the square beneath it market-boodis were set up and there was some coming and going of people.
In the great building, near one comer, there was a mean little door of wood. Ged went to this and knocked loud. Enter if you can. It seemed to him that he had passed through the doorway: Once more he stepped forward, and once more he remained standing outside the door.
The doorkeeper, inside, watched him with mild eyes. Ged was not so much baffled as angry, for this seemed like a further mockery to him. With voice and hand he made the Opening spell which his aunt had taught him long ago; it was the prize among all her stock of speUs, and he wove it well now. When that failed Ged stood a long while there on the pavement. At last he looked at the old man who waited inside.
Stepping forward then he entered the open doorway. Yet it seemed to him that though the light was behind him, a shadow fol- lowed him in at his heels. The door that the old man closed behind him was of polished horn, through which the daylight shone dimly, and on its inner face was carved the Thou- sand-Leaved Tree. The court was partly paved with stone, but was roofless, and on a grassplot a fountain played un- der young trees in the sunlight.
There waited alone some while. He stood still, and his heart beat hard, for it seemed to him that he felt presences and powers at work unseen about him here, and he knew that this place was built not only of stone but of magic stronger than stone. He stood in the innermost room of the House of the Wise, and it was open to the sky.
Then suddenly he was aware of a man clothed in white who watdied him through the fall- ing water of the foimtain. As their eyes met, a bird sang aloud in the branch- es of the tree.
In that moment Ged imderstood the ; singing of the bird, and the language of the water fall - 1 ing in the basin of the foimtain, and the shape of the 1 clouds, and the beginning and end of the wind that stirred the leaves: He went forward ij to kneel before the Archmage, holding out to him the letter written by Ogion.
The Archmage Nemmerle, Warder of Roke, was an old man, older it was said than any man then living. Lord Nemmerlel I send you one who wiU be greatest of the wizards of Gont, if the wind blow true.
Young Ogion was dear to me, when he came here from Gont Now tell me of the seas and portents of yomr voyage, lad. Lord, but for the storm yesterday. Yet in among his mumbling there were words of what the bird had simg and what the water had said falling.
Yet all along he was in the sunlit court, hearing the foimtain fall. A great black bird, a raven of Ossldl, came walking over the stone terrace and the grass. Only the raven stood eyeing him, its beak out- stretched as if to peck the vanished staff. Ged turned to leave the courtyard, wondering where he should go. Under the archway he was met by a taU youth who greeted him very coiuteously, bowing his head. I am at your ser- vice today, to show you about the Great House and answer your questions as I can.
How shall I call you. The other waited a moment as if expecting some more mannerly response, and getting none straight- ened up and turned a little aside.
He was two or three years older than Ged, very tall, and he moved and carried himself with stiff grace, posing Ged thought like a dancer. He wore a grey cloak with hood thrown back. The first place he took Ged was the wardrobe room, where as a student of the school Ged might find himself another such cloak that fitted him, and any other clothing he might need. I do not know die house. Like the other sleeping-cells it had no furnishing but a straw-filled mattress in the comer.
Each waited on himself, Joking with the cooks through the window-hatches of the kitchen that opened into the refectory, loading his plate from great bowls of food that steamed on the sills, sitting where he pleased at die Long Table. He had the accent of the East Reach, and was very dark of skin, not red-bro'wn like Ged and Jasper and most folk of the Archipelago, but black-brown. He was plain, and his manners were not polished. They went do'wn into the town, that Ged might learn his way about it.
Few and short as were the streets of Thwil, they turned and twisted curiously among the high-roofed houses, and the way was easy to lose. It was a strange tovm, and strange also its people, fishermen and workmen and artisans like any others, but so used to the sorcery that is ever at play on the Isle of the Wise that they seemed half sorcer- ers themselves.
They talked as Ged had learned in riddles, and not one of them would bhnk to see a boy turn into a fish or a house fly up into the air, but kno'wing it for a schoolboy prank would go on cob- bling shoes or cutting up mutton, imconcemed. Goming up past the Back Door and aroimd through the gardens of the Great House, the three boys crossed the clear-running Th'wilbum on a wooden bridge and went on northward among woods and pas- tures.
The path climbed and wound. They passed oak- groves where shadows lay thick for all the brightness of the sun. There was one grove not far away to the left that Ged could never quite see plainly. The path never reached it, though it always seemed to be about to. He could not even make out what kind of trees they were. The path led them up and around the base of a great green hill, round and treeless, the hill that Ged had seen from the ship as they entered the charmed waters of Roke Island.
On the hillside Jasper halted. Here now we have a Gontishman; and we stand on the slopes of Roke Knoll, whose roots go down to the center of the earth. Play us a trick, Spar- rowhawk. Show us your style. Ged put his hand in the stream and it felt wet, drank of it and it was cool. Yet for all that it would quench no thirst, being but illu- sion. What did he know but mere village witchery, spells to call goats, cure warts, move loads or mend pots?
Jasper laughed, not ill-humoredly, and went on, lead- ing them on around Roke KnolL And Ged followed, sullen and sore-hearted, knowing he had behaved like a fool, and blaming Jasper fm: That night as he lay wrapped in his cloak on the mattress in his cold unlit cell of stone, in the utter silence of the Great House of Roke, the strangeness of the place and the thought of all the spells and sor- ceries that had been worked there began to come over him heavily.
Darkness surroimded him, dread filled him. He wished he were anywhere else but Roke. He asked Ged about Gont, and then spoke fondly of his own home isles of the East Reach, telling how the smoke of village hearthfires is blown across that quiet sea at evening between the small islands with funny names: Yet a greater, unlearned skill he possessed, which was the art of kindness.
A Wizard of Earthsea
That night, and always from then on, he offered and gave Ged friendship, a sure and open friendship which Ged could not help but return. Ged would not forget this, nor, it seemed, would Jas- per, who always spoke to him with a polite voice and a mocking smile. He swore to prove to Jasper, and to all the rest of them among whom Jasper was some- thing of a leader, how great his power really was— some day.
For none of them, for all their clever tricks, had saved a village by wizardry. Of none of them had Ogion written that he would be the greatest wizard of Gont. Then with a dozen other lads he would practice with the Master Windkey at arts of wind and weather. There were quieter expeditions ashore, other days, with the Master Herbal who taught the ways and properties of things that grow; and the Master Hand taught sleight and jugglery and the lesser arts of Changing.
At all these studies Ged was apt, and within a month was bettering lads who had been a year at Roke before him. Especially the tricks of illusion came to him so easily that it seemed he had been bom knowing them and needed only to be reminded.
The Master Hand was a gentle and light-hearted old man, who had endless delight in the wit and beauty of the crafts he taught; Ged soon felt no awe of him, but asked him for this spell and that speD, and always the Master smiled and showed him what he wanted. And as soon as the spell-weaving ceases, the illusion vanishes. How is the changing-spell locked, and made to last? The Master took it and held it out on hfe own hand. It is itself. It is part of the world.
But it does not change the thing. To change this rock into a jewel, you must change its true name. And to do that, my son, even to so small a scrap of the world, is to change the world. It can be done. In- deed it can be done. It is the art of the Master Chang- er, and you will learn it, when you are ready to leam it. But you must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, imtil you know what good and evil will follow on that act. The world is in balance, in Equilibrium.
It is dangerous, that power. It is most perilous. It must fol- low knowledge, and serve need. To light a candle is to cast a shadow. Enjoy illusions, lad, and let the rocks be rocks. Rress a mage for his secrets and he would always talk, like Ogion, about balance, and danger, and the dark. But smely a wizard, one who had gone past these childish tricks of illusion to die true arts of Summoning and Change, was powerful enough to do what he pleased, and balance the world as seemed best to him, and drive back darkness with his own light.
The rest is mere foolery. Standing there with rage in his heart, looking after Jasper, Ged swore to himself to outdo his rival, and not in some mere illusion-match but in a test of power.
He would prove himself, and humiliate Jas- per. He would not let the fellow stand there looking down at him, graceful, disdainful, hateful. Ged did not stop to think why Jasper might hate him. He only knew why he hated Jasper. And therefore Jasper stood alone as his rival, who must be put to shame.
He did not see, or would not see, that in this rivalry, which he clung to and fostered as part of his own pride, there was anything of the danger, the darkness, of which the Master Hand had mildly warned him. When he was not moved by pure rage, he knew very well that he was as yet no match for Jasper, or any of the older boys, and so he kept at his work and went on as usual.
At the end of summer the work was slackened somewhat, so there was more time for sport: In winter it was difFerent. He was sent with seven other boys across Roke Island to the farthest north- most cape, where stands the Isolate Tower.
There by himself lived the Master Namer, who was called by a name that had no meaning in any language, Kur- remkarmerruk. No farm or dwelling lay within miles of the Tower. Amongst them in the Towers high room Kurremkarmerruk sat on a high seat, writing down lists of names tiiat must be learned before the ink faded at midnight leaving the parch- ment blank again. For magic consists in this, the true naming of a thing. So Kinremkarmemik had said to them, once, their first night in the Tower; he never repeated it, but Ged did not forget his words.
And still the lists are not finished. Listen, and you will see why. But magic, true magic, is worked only by those beings who speak the Hardic tongue of Earthsea, or the Old Speech from which it grew. Its words lie hidden and changed among our Hardic words. We call the foam on waves sukten: Feather of the sea, is foam. But you cannot charm the foam calling it sukien; you must use its own true name in the Old Speech, which is essa. Any witch knows a few of these words in the Old Speech, and a mage knows many.
But there are many more, and some have been lost over the ages, and some have been hidden, and some are known only to dragons and to the Old Powers of Earth, and some are known to no living creature; and no man could leam them all.
For there is no end to that language. But what we call the Inmost Sea has its own name also in the Old Speech. So if some Mage-Seamaster were mad enough to try to lay a spell of storm or calm over all the ocean, his spell must say not only that word inien, but the name of every stretch and bit and part of the sea through all the Archipelago and all die Outer Readies and beyond to where names cease.
Thus, that which gives us the power to work magic, sets the hmits of that power. A mage can control only what is near him, what he can name exactly and wholly. And this is well. The unbalanced sea would overwhelm the islands where we perilously dwell, and in the old silence all voices and all names would be lost. Wizards speak truth, and it was true that all the mastery of Names that Ged had toiled to win that year was the mere start of what he must go on learning all his life. He was let go from the Isolate Tower sooner than those who had come with him, for he had learned quicker; but that was all the praise he got.
He walked south across the island alone in the early winter, along townless empty roads. As night came on it rained. He said no chsirm to keep the rain oflF him, for the weather of Roke was in the hands of the Master Windkey and might not be tampered with.
He took shelter under a great pendick-tree, and lying there wrapped in his cloak he thought of his old master Ogion, who might still be on his autumn wan- derings over the heights of Gont, sleeping out with leafless branches for a roof and falling rain for house- walls. That made Ged smile, for he found the thought of Ogion always a comfort to him. He fell asleep with a peaceful heart, there in the cold darkness full of ihe whisper of water. At dawn waking he lifted his head; the rain had ceased; he saw, sheltered in the folds of his cloak, a little animal curled up asleep which had crept there for warmth.
He wondered, seeing it, for it was a rare strange beast, an otak. These creatines are found only on four southern isles of the Archipelago, Roke, Ensmer, Pody and Wathort. They are small and sleek, with broad faces, and fur dark brown or brindle, and great bright eyes. They have no call or cry or any voice. Ged stroked this one, and it woke and yawned, showing a small brown tongue and white teeth, but it was not afraid.
Do you want to come with me? He put it up on his shoulder in the folds of his hood, and there it rode. Sometimes dining the day it jumped down and darted off into the woods, but it al- ways came back to him, once with a woodmouse it had caught. He laughed and told it to eat the mouse, for he was fasting, this night being the Festival of Sunretum. So he came in the wet dusk past Roke Knoll, and saw bright werelights playing in the rain over the roofs of the Great House, and he entered there and was welcomed by his Masters and compan- ions in the firelit hall.
It was like a homecoming to Ged, who had no home to which he could ever return. He was happy to see so many faces he knew, and happiest to see Vetch come forward to greet him with a wide smile on his dark face. He had missed his friend this year more than he knew. Vetch had been made sorcerer this fall and y'as a prentice no more, but that set no barrier between them.
They fell to talking at once, and it seemed to Ged that he said more to Vetch in that first hour than he had said during the whole long year at the Isolate Tower. The otak still rode his shoulder, nestling in the fold of his hood as they sat at dinner at long tables set up for the festival in the Hearth Hall.
Vetch marvelled at the little creature, and once put up his hand to stroke it, but the otak snapped its sharp teeth at him. He laughed.
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But I never heard of any sorcerer keeping a rat in his hood! It was a merry night and he was joyful to be there in the warmth and merriment, keeping festival with his companions. But, like all Jasper ever said to him, the jest set his teeth on edge. That night the Lord of O was a guest of the school, himself a sorcerer of renown.
He had been a pupil of the Archmage, and returned sometimes to Roke for the Winter Festival or the Long Dance in summer. With him was his lady, slender and young, bright as new copper, her black hair crowned with opals. It was seldom that any woman sat in the halls of the Great House, and some of the old Masters looked at her sidelong, disapproving. But the yoimg men looked at her with all their eyes. But then he too began to look at the Lady of O, wondering if indeed this was such mortal beauty as die old tales told of.
Jasper was no longer a boy but a young man, tall and comely, with his cloak clasped at the neck with silver; for he also had been made sorcerer this year, and the silver clasp was the token of it.
The lady smiled at what he said and the opals shone in her black hair, radiant. Then, the Masters nodding benign consent, Jasper worked an illusion-charm for her. A white tree he made spring up from the stone floor. Its branches touched the high roofbeams of the hall, and on every twig of every branch a golden ap- ple shone, each a sun, for it was the Year-Tree.
A bird flew among the branches suddenly, all white with a tail like a fall of snow, and the golden apples dimming turned to seeds, each one a drop of crystal. These falling from the tree with a sound like rain, all at once there came a sweet fragrance, while the tree, swaying, put forth leaves of rosy fire and white flow- ers like stars.
So the illusion faded. The Lady of O cried out with pleasure, and bent her shining head to the yoimg sorcerer in praise of his mastery. Ged joined his voice to the praises, but not his heart. But for the most part he was aD work and pride and temper, and held himself apart.
Among fiiem all. Vetch being absent, he had no friend, and never knew he wanted one. He was fifteen, very young to learn any of the High Arts of wizard or mage, those who carry the staff; but he was so quick to learn all the arts of illu- sion that the Master Changer, himself a young man, soon began to teach him apart from the others, and to tell him about the true Spells of Shaping.
He ex- plained how, if a thing is really to be changed into another thing, it must be renamed for as long as tiie spell lasts, and he told how this affects the names and natures of things surrounding the transformed thing.
He spoke of the perils of changing, above all when the wizard transforms his own shape and thus is lia- ble to be caught in his own speU. He taught him first one and then another of the Great Spells of Change, and he gave him the Book of Shaping to study. This he did with- out knowledge of the Archmage, and unwisely, yet he meant no harm.
He dealt vidth no illusion, only true magic, the sununoning of such energies as light, and heat, and the force that draws the magnet, and those forces men perceive as weight, form, color, sound: Once or twice Ged tried to lead him to talk a little of such myster- ies, but the Master was silent, looking at him long and grimly, till Ged grew uneasy and said no more. There were certain runes on certain pages of the Lore-Book that seemed familiar to him, though he did not remember in what book he had ever seen them be- fore.
There were certain phrases that must be said in spells of Summoning that he did not like to say. Hastily he put such thoughts or memories aside and went on. These mo- ments of fear and darkness, he said to himself, were the shadows merely of his ignorance. The more he learned, the less he would have to fear, until finally in his full power as Wizard he needed fear nothing in the world, nothing at aU.
When the chant was finished the Long Dance began. Townsfolk and Masters and students and farmers all together, men and women, danced in the warm dust and dusk down all the roads of Roke to the sea-beaches, to the beat of drums and drone of pipes and flutes.
As the east grew fight they came back up the beaches and the roads, the drums silent and only the flutes playing soft and shrill. So it was done on every island of the Archipelago that night: When the Long Dance was over most people slept die day away, and gathered again at evening to eat and drink. Vetch, Jasper, and Ged were there, and six or seven others, and some yoimg lads released briefly from the Isolate Tower, for this fes- tival had brought even Kurremkarmerruk out.
One of the yormger boys tried to puU him down to earth, but Vetch merely drifted up a little higher, out of reach, and sat calmly smiling on the air. Now and then he tossed away a chicken bone, which turned to an owl and flew hooting among the netted star-lights. Ged shot breadcrumb arrows after the owls and brought them down, and when they touched the grovmd there they lay, bone and crumb, all illusion gone.
Ged also tried to join Vetch up in tile middle of the air, but lacking the key of the spell he had to flap his arms to keep aloft, and they were all laughing at his flights and flaps and bumps.
Not quite as cool as usual, frowning, Jasper brushed the light away and snuffed it out with one gesture. Leave the prentices to their toys. Yet their anger was balked, not cooled. Presently, moving a little aside as if to be heard by Vetch alone, Jasper spoke, with his cool smile: He looks sulky.
Jasper had taken a step backward, in astonishment; but now he shrugged and said one word: It was true change. And enough. Go on, Goatherd.
The more, you try to prove yourself my equal, the more you show yourself for what you are. It had never let any but Ged touch it, but it came to Vetch now, and climbing up his arm cowered on his shoulder, its great bright eyes always on its master. Yet I will I will give you a chance— an opportunity. Envy eats you like a worm in an apple. Come to Roke Knoll now and show us what it is they do instead. And after- ward, maybe I will show you a little sorcery.
The younger boys, used to seeing his black temper break out at the least hint of slight or insult, watched him in wonder at his coolness now. Vetch watched him not in wonder, but with growing fear.
What will you do with the chance I give you. Will you show us an illusion, a fire- ball, a charm to cure goats with the mange? You cannot. Breaking away from Vetch who would have held him back by main force, Ged strode out of the court- yard, not looking back. The dancing werelights over- head died out, sinking down. Jasper hesitated a second, then followed after Ged. And the rest came straggling behind, in silence, curious and afraid.
The slopes of Roke Knoll went up dark into the darkness of summer night before moonrise. The presence of that hiU where many wonders had been worked was heavy, like a weight in the air about them.
They stopped on the east slope. No wind blew. None will listen to you. He no longer cared about Jasper. Now that they stood on Roke KnoU, hate and rage were gone, re- placed by utter certainty. He need envy no one. He knew that his power, this night, on this dark enchant- ed ground, was greater than it had ever been, filling him till he trembled with the sense of strength barely kept in check. Between, all things were his to order, to command. He stood at the cen- ter of the world.
You need not fear a woman. Elfarran I will call, the fair lady of the Deed of Erdad. Do the Songs lie? He began to speak. In darkness he had read them then. Now in this darkness it was as if he read them again on the page open before him in the night. But now he understood what he read, speaking it aloud word after word, and he saw the markings of how the speU must be woven with the sound of the voice and the motion of body and hand.
The other boys stood watching, not speaking, not moving unless they shivered a little: He fell silent.
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin
Suddenly the wind rose roaring in the grass. Ged dropped to his knees and called out aloud. Then he fell forward as if to embrace earth vdth his out- stretched arms, and when he rose he held something dark in his straining hands and arms, something so heavy that he shook with effort getting to his feet The hot wind whined in the black tossing grasses on the hill.
If the stars shone now none saw them. It sundered, and a pale spindle of light gleamed between his opened arms, a faint oval reach- ing from the ground up to the height of his raised hands. In the oval of light for a moment there moved a fonn, a human shape: Her face was beautiful, and sor- rowful, and full of fear. Through it blazed a terrible brightness.
Staggering back under the weight of the thing, Ged gave a short, hoarse scream.
The boys that watched fled, and Jasper bent down to the ground hiding his eyes from the ter- rible light. Vetch alone ran forward to his friend.
So only he saw the lump of shadow that clung to Ged, tearing at his flesh. Vetch sobbed with horror, yet he put out his hands to try to pull the thing away from Ged. Before he touched it, he was bound still, unable to move. The intolerable brightness faded, and slowly the tom edges of the world closed together. The night was healed. Restored and steady lay the balance of light and dark. The shadow-beast was gone.
Ged lay sprawled on his back, his arms flung out as if they yet kept the wide f esture of welcome and invocation. His face was lackened with blood and there were great black stains on his shirt.
The little otak cowered by his shoulder, quivering. And above him stood an old man whose cloak glimmered pale in the moonrise: Once gently it touched him over die heart, once on the hps, while Nemmerle whispered. Ged stirred, and his lips parted gasping for breadi. Then the old Archmage lifted the staff, and set it to earth, and leaned heavily on it with bowed head, as if he had scarcely strength to stand.
Vetch found himself free to move. Looking around, he saw that already others were there, the Masters Summoner and Changer. An act of great wizardry is not worked without arousing sudi men, and they had ways of coming very swiftly when need called, though none had been so swift as the Archmage.
They now sent for help, and some who came went with the Archmage, while others, Vetch among them, carried Ged to the chambers of the Master Herbal. All night long the Summoner stayed on Roke Knoll, keeping watch. Nothing stirred there on the hillside where the stuff of the world had been tom open. No shadow came crawling through moonlight seeking the rent through which it might clamber back into its own domain.
In the world, somewhere, it hid. But Ged lived. They had laid him abed in the healing-chamber, and the Master Herbal tended the wounds he had on his face and throat and shoulder. They were deep, ragged, and evil wounds. The black blood in them would not stanch, welling out even under the charms and the cobweb-wrapped perriot leaves laid upon them.
Ged lay blind and diunb in fever like a stick in a slow fire, and there was no spell to cool what burned him. Not far away, in the unroofed court where the fountain played, the Archmage lay also immoving, but cold, very cold; only his eyes lived, watching the fall of moonlit water and the stir of moonlit leaves.
Those with him said no spells and worked no healing. Quietly they spoke among themselves from time to time, and then turned again to watch their Lord. He lay still, hawk nose and high forehead and white hair bleached by moonlight all to the color of bone.
To check the ungovemed spell and drive ofF the shadow from Ged, Nemmerle had spent all his power, and with it his bodily strength was gone. He lay dying. When Nemmerle looked up through the leaves of the tree, those with him did not know if he watched the stars of summer fading in daybreak, or those other stars, which never set above the hills that see no dawn. The raven of Osskil that had been his pet for thirty years was gone.
No one had seen where it went. The Great House and the streets of Thwil were hushed. No voice was raised, until along towards noon iron bells spoke out aloud in the Chanter s Tower, harshly tolling.
On the next day the Nine Masters of Roke gathered in a place somewhere under the dark trees of the Immanent Grove. Even there they set nine walls of silence about them, that no person or power might speak to them or hear them as they chose from amongst die mages of all Earthsea him who would be the new Archmage.
Gensher of Way was chosen.
The Master Windkey stood in the stem and raised up the magewind into the sail, and quickly the ship depart- ed, and was gone. Of these events Ged knew nothing. For four weeks of that hot summer he lay blind, and deaf, and mute, though at times he moaned and cried out like an ani- mal. At last, as the patient crafts of the Master Herb- al worked their healing, his wounds began to close and the fever left him. Little by little he seemed to hear again, though he never spoke. On a clear day of autumn the Master Herbal opened the shutters of the room where Ged lay.
Since the darkness of that night on Roke KnoU he had known only darkness. Now he saw daylight, and the sun shining. He hid his scarred face in his hands and wept. Still when winter came he could speak only with a stammering tongue, and the Master Herbal kept him there in the healing-chambers, trying to lead his body and mind gradually back to strength.
It was early spring when at last the Master released him, sending Itim first to oflFer his fealty to the Archmage Gensher. For he had not been able to join all the others of the School in this duty when Gensher came to Roke. Now, lamed by pain, he went hesitantly, and did not raise his face, the left side of which was white with scars. He avoided those who knew him and those who did not, and made his way straight to the court of the Foun- tain, There where once he had awaited Nemmerle, Gensher awaited him.
Like the old Archmage tibe new one was cloaked in white; but like most men of Way and the East Reach Gensher was black-skinned, and his look was black, under thidc brows.
Ged knelt and offered him fealty and obedience. Gensher was silent a while. I cannot accept your fealty. To learn. To undo. Nothing protects you but the power of the Masters here and the defenses laid upon this island that keep the creatures of evil away. If you left now, the thing you loosed would find you at once, and enter into you, and possess you.
You must stay here, until you gain strength and wisdom enough to defend yourself from it— if ever you do. Even now it waits for you.
Assuredly it waits for you. Have you seen it since that night? It has no name. You have great power inborn in you, and you used that power wrongly, to work a speU over which you had no con- trol, not knowing how that spell affects the balance of light and dark, life and death, good and evil And you were moved to do this by pride and by hate.
Is it any wonder the resiJt was ruin? You summoned a spirit from the dead, but with it came one of the Powers of tmlife. Uncalled it came from a place where there are no names. Evil, it wills to work evil through you. The power you had to call it gives it power over you: It is the shadow of your arrogance, the shadow of your ignorance, the shadow you cast Has a shadow a name?
You will hve here, and go on with your training. They tell me you were clever. Go on and do your work. Do it well It is all you can do.
The fountain leaped in the sun- light, and Ged watched it a while and listened to its voice, thinking of Nemmerle. Once in that court he had felt himself to be a word spoken by the s unli ght Now the darkness also had spoken: He left the court, going to his old room in the South Tower, which they had kept empty for him.
He stayed there alone. When the gong called to supper he went, but he would hardly speak to the other lads at the Long Table, or raise his face to them, even those who greeted him most gently. So after a day or two they all left him alone. To be alone was his de- sire, for he feared the evil he might do or say unwit- tingly. Neither Vetch nor Jasper was there, and he did not ask about them. Nor did he shine among them, for the words of any spell, even the simplest il- lusion-charm, came halting from his tongue, and his hands faltered at their craft.
In autumn he was to go once again to the Isolate Tower to study with the Master Namer. This task which he had once dreaded now pleased him, for silence was what he sought, and long learning where no spells were wrought, and where Aat power which he Imew was still in him would never be called upon to act.
The night before he left for the Tower a visitor came to his room, one wearing a brown travelling- doak and carrying a staff of oak shod with iron. On his shoulder crouched a little beast, brinme-furred and bright-eyed. And sorrier to part with you, Sparrowhawk. But Fm going home.
Vetch laughed, but CJed could not smile. He bent down to hide his face, stroking the otak. I was not free, im- til I earned my staff. I will be waiting for you. Vetch looked at him, not quite as he had used to look, with no less love but more wizardry, perhaps. I have thought, perhaps I may come to work with the Master in the Tower, to be one of those who seek among the books and the stars for lost names, and so Sparrowhawk, if ever your way lies East, come to me.
And if ever you need me, send for me, call on me by my name: He may choose at length to teU it to his brother, or his wife, or his friend, yet even those few will never use it where any third person may hear it. If plain men hide their true name from all but a few they love and trust utterly, so much more must wizardly men, being more dangerous, and more endangered. Thus to Ged who had lost faith in himself. Vetch had given that gift only a friend can give, ibe proof of unshaken, unshakable trust Ged sat down on his pallet and let the globe of werelight die, giving off as it faded a faint whiff of marsh-gas.
He petted the otak, which stretched com- fortably and went to sleep on his knee as if it had never slept anywhere else. Four years were gone since then. He had not thought of these things for a long time. Now they came back to him, on this night he was seventeen years old. He knew once more, at last, after this long, bitter, wasted time, who he was and where he was.
But where he must go in the years to come, that he could not see; and he feared to see it Next morning he set out across the island, the otak riding on his shoulder as it had used to. This time it took nim three days, not two, to walk to the Isolate Tower, and he was bone- weary when he came in sight of the Tower above the spitting, hissing seas of the northern cape.
Inside, it was dark as he remem- bered, and cold as he remembered, and Kurremkar- merruk sat on his high seat writing down lists of names.
Tomorrow you may open the Book of the Under- takings of the Makers, learning the names therein. He was made sorcerer then, and the Archmage Gensher accepted at that time his fealty. The trouble he had had in speaking speUs wore off over the months, and skill returned into his hands: Yet no iU portents or encounters followed on his working even of the Great Spells of Making and Shaping, which are most perilous. He csime to wonder at times if the shadow he had loosed might have grown weak, or fled somehow out of the world, for it came no more into his dreams.
But in his heart he knew such hope was folly. From the Masters and from ancient lore-books Ged learned what he could about such beings as this shadow he had loosed; little was there to learn. No such creature was described or spoken of directly. In the Matter of the Dragons, which Ged read very closely, there was a tale of an ancient Dragonlord who had come under die sway of one of the Old Powers, a speaking stone that lay in a far northern land.
And the Masters did not know where such a shadow might come from: Much of the novel revolves around the protagonist dealing both with his inner struggles while learning magic on Roke Island and during his flight from, and subsequent perusal of, a being of shadow not of this world.
Sadly, however, as the story focuses on Ged solely with little regard for peripheral characters, I found myself unsatisfied as a whole after my read through. While the tale of Sparrowhawk is vivid in the telling, there are only a small number of individuals that stand out such as Ogion, his first master, and his ever joyous friend Vetch.
What we get out of these characters is nice and helps to inform who Ged is and will become, but they are only interspersed caws over the calm, silent ocean that is A Wizard of Earthsea. If you desire large amounts of dialogue and long stays in fantastical cities, this is not the book for you. The Power of Names My favorite thing about A Wizard of Earthsea has to be the magic and how it is used by the wizards themselves.
It allows for an air of mystery to remain when spellcasting, yet requires little to no explanation for the reader to believe in its power. As a reader we already buy into the fact words and names are powerful because we are readers; we already believe in the power behind them.
What I loved even more was the way in which trained wizards, such as Ged and Vetch and Ogion, used their skill to constantly help those around them.
We live in a world now where our fantasy stories have magic that is almost exclusively used for conflict. It may be useful in non-combat oriented ways, but the characters who possess such abilities are often using them to battle others. While wizards and mages in this setting may be looked at in fear and awe, they are generally welcome as long as they are useful.
Weather working, binding ships, healing words, all these abilities and more are practical applications desired by the people and used most often by wizards. I have no doubt that there are evil wizards running around the islands, shooting lightning and charming old ladies out of their measly savings, but the fact that wizards are shown to be helpful individuals as opposed to dangerous, otherworldly beings of immense power was refreshing.
Ged is not another white male hero sent on a quest to defeat the powerful dark lord and save the buxom, blonde princess. The titular wizard is in fact of a ruddier, reddish complexion that one would not be surprised to find in such Mediterranean-inspired setting.
Almost all of Ursula K. While there are those with white skin colour, they are shown in either an aggressive role like the soldiers of the Kargad Empire we see at the beginning of the novel, or rather gothic and creepy like men from Osskil.
Remember, this book came out in How many heroes came in darker shades who fought villains of a lighter colour?Mister X: But where he must go in the years to come, that he could not see; and he feared to see it Next morning he set out across the island, the otak riding on his shoulder as it had used to. It is all in darkness. I have come here to give him his name, if as they say he has not yet made his passage into manhood.
Nor did he shine among them, for the words of any spell, even the simplest il- lusion-charm, came halting from his tongue, and his hands faltered at their craft. Crisis Survival: Who are Jasper and Vetch? They have no call or cry or any voice. The door that the old man closed behind him was of polished horn, through which the daylight shone dimly, and on its inner face was carved the Thou- sand-Leaved Tree.
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