Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Favorite Books: A Wizard of Earthsea

Last week, I wrote about The Hobbit, a book that cemented my love of fantasy. Shortly after reading about Bilbo Baggins and his adventures, my mom got me The Lord of the Rings and I was hooked.

After I finished that book, I started looking around for other fantasy novels. In my local Waldenbooks (anyone remember them?) I came across a set of books that looked promising. While not as long as The Lord of the Rings, the cover of the first book really appealed to me (I had a thing about dragons in those days). Besides that, the back of the book said that the Earthsea Trilogy had been compared to The Lord of the Rings and the Chronicles of Narnia.

Nowadays, I'm not so easily swayed by back cover blurbs, but as a boy of about 13 that was enough for me. I bought them and took them home. I dove right into them.

I had no idea who Ursula K. LeGuin was. She sure had a funny sounding name. The front of thee book told me that she'd won some awards--the Hugo and Nebula. I had no clue that she was an accomplished science fiction writer. If I had, I don't know if I would have bought the books.

The fact is she's just a great writer, period. I loved the entire trilogy, which chronicles the journey of an orphaned shepherd boy in a remote mountain village. The boy, Duny, learns he has some small talent for magic from his aunt, the village witch. After saving his village from invaders by calling down a fog, he is apprenticed to a mage named Ogion.

From there, Duny is given a new name, Ged, and he becomes a powerful wizard. However, he falls victim to his pride and makes a dreadful mistake and unleashes the dark side of himself. The rest of the book follows Ged as he is hunted by his darker self and his realization that he can't run from it forever. I found it to be gripping, thought-provoking stuff. The rest of the trilogy was just as good. As a matter of fact, I think I need to go back and reread them.

What books that you read when you were young made a lasting impression on you?


  1. I don't think I ever read anything by this author. But- this book and series sound great and definitely are ones I hope to read in the future.

    I loved all the Beverly Cleary book and Judy Blume books growing up. Nancy Drew was another hit. I remember when I read Lloyd Alexander for the first time and I was sucked into the fantasy world he created.

    1. Those are some great authors. I have heard of Lloyd Alexander, but have never read any of his books. I checked him out, and I think I've been missing something. I'll have to give him a read.

      Ursula K. LeGuin is known more for her fantasy novels, but when every writer seemed to be taking a stab at fantasy writing in the late 60's, early 70's she wrote the Earthsea Trilogy (they all seemed to be trilogies). It's actually very good, unlike some of the other series from writers of other genres.

      I'm currently reading Alligators Overhead by C. Lee McKenzie. I'm really enjoying it so far! Thanks for sharing!