A Wizard of Earthsea - Earthsea 1 Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Wizard of Earthsea - Earthsea 1

This is the first of a trilogy of stories in the world of Earthsea which is set in a Tolkien-time of dragons, wizards, and magic which lives and works alongside the trades of blacksmith and farmer. On the island of Gont, long famous for its wizards, lives a village boy named Sparrowhawk. His natural powers are soon put to the test when the island is invaded by pirates who run riot, burning and looting. Cloaking the village in fog and illusion-casting he saves his people, but it is nearly his downfall. Over-reaching his powers he falls into a trance and it takes Ogion, a fully trained wizard, to save him. He is speedily apprenticed to Ogion, one of Earthsea's wisest and most powerful mages. But he is a proud and wilful lad, quick to learn what he wants to learn, and not to absorb wisdom in the quiet of the mountains. He asks to go to the island of Roke, where is the great wizard training school, that he may earn his wizard's staff.
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He makes a good friend on Roke and he learns at unusual speed, but he is dogged by his temper and lack of social graces. He foolishly challenges a more advanced student to duel in magic and he unwittingly releases a savage monster which almost kills him. Although he recovers his face is scarred for life and he must live in fear of the creature which will return and try to finish him. He graduates from Roke and takes up a lowly position as wizard to a fishing community which is menaced by dragons spawning nearby. When the attack does not come he sails out to face the dragon brood and the ancient giant bull-dragon in a pre-emptive strike. He sails back with a curious victory, won by a mixture of power and cunning, and takes his leave of the fisher-folk as he knows his doom awaits him elsewhere.

He must flee from his enemy, which he does not know how to fight, but he does even know if it is possible to flee. Somehow it has power over him, but he, a most mighty of the great wizards, does not even begin to see how to defeat it. He is finding that power without control is nothing. Eventually he returns to Gont to seek the wisdom of master Ogion who perceives that he must turn and face his enemy to defeat it and not run, which is the sign that he is already defeated. And so, in a thrilling climax, he does.
The review of this Book prepared by Michael JR Jose

A boy learns magic from his aunt and uses it to save his village, and after doing so goes to the school of wizardry at Roke. After unwittingly unleashing an evil spirit he sets out to destroy the spirit, and doing so gains more selfunderstanding.
The review of this Book prepared by cassidy

This is the first volume in the Earthsea quartet (followed by The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore and Tehanu).

After his mother's death, young Ged gets to live with his father, a smith, and his aunt the village witch, who teaches him some minor spells, such as commanding to animals, until one day he uses this magic to save the village from barbaric invaders.

Impressed by the boy's potential powers, the mage Ogion takes him as apprentice. But as the days go by, Ged becomes bored and when the choice is offered him, he decides to go to the wizards school of Roke. There he meets with two other scholars: Vetch who'll soon become his friend, and the arrogant Jasper who always looks down on him, and who'll become his rival.

And after several months spent in the school, with hatred steadily growing between them, Ged one day challenges Jasper in a magic duel. And as Ged, in a surge of immoderate pride, is trying to wake the dead, he accidentally unleashes an evil shadow, also almost managing to get himself killed in the process. The story goes on to describe Ged perpetual flight from his shadow.

Ursula LeGuin's style is elaborate and poetic, but maybe a little bit too much, too old-fashioned, for my liking. As a result, the novel somehow failed to fascinate me, and in the end I realized I didn't care much about what happened to the characters. I'll read the rest of the quartet anyway, in hope it gets more gripping.
The review of this Book prepared by crooty

A young boy named Duny grows up on the island of Gont, famous for its wizards. He takes the common name Sparrowhawk, but while studying simple spells under Ogion the Silent, Mage of Re Albi, he is given his true name Ged. After several years with Ogion, he is tempted by a witch-girl to open a magic book, which frees a dangerous and evil shadow that nearly destroys him. Ged sails to Roke Island to study the high arts for several years, then goes in search of his destiny, which includes outwitting the great dragon of Pendor, another encounter with the witch girl, more guidance from Odion, and a final battle with the shadow he unwittingly unleashed on the world of Earthsea. This is the first of LeGuin's four Earthsea books for "young adults": wise, measured, unhurried, and fully realized.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

A man, later becomes a great wizard, searches for the understanding of who he is and is looking to defeat the shadow part of himself he unleashed.
The review of this Book prepared by irina

Ged is a magician in a magical world called Earthsea, where all the people live in an achepelego of little islands dotted around a great big sea. Ged grows up with a talent for magic, and eventually he decided to to to a magic school to learn to use his talent. Unfortunately he is immature, and ends up releasing a monster from beyond the world of death. The remainder of the book deals with Ged's struggle to confront and defeat the monster, and his eventual mystical understanding that the evil is in fact a part of himself.
The review of this Book prepared by Che Monro

Chapter Analysis of A Wizard of Earthsea - Earthsea 1

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 30%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   fantasy world/fantasy past Coming of age    -   Yes Youngster becomes    -   a powerful magician Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Kid's book (ages 7-14)

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   mage/magician Age:    -   a teen If magical mental powers:    -   can change shapes    -   can talk to animals    -   fire/lightning/weather cntrl    -   can cast many different spells    -   healing


Terrain    -   Water    -   Mountains Earth setting:    -   during "Tolkien" (fairytime) times A substantial portion of this book takes place on a non-Earth planetary body:    -   humans in a primitive/fantasy society Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes Planet outside solar system?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Ursula K. Le Guin Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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