A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K. Le Guin)

A Wizard of Earthsea is the first of the Earthsea novels by Ursula K. Le Guin.

Ged grows up in a small village where it soon becomes apparent that he has special magic powers. So he is sent to grow up with his aunt, a witch. But Ged has bigger plans and a great thirst for power, so when he is offered the chance to be the apprentice to famous wizard Ogion, he doesn’t hesitate. But even so, his thirst for power isn’t quenched yet.

I have to admit that A Wizard of Earthsea was a frustrating read. I didn’t like Ged a whole lot, especially in the beginning and the disjointed way the novel progressed, without any real plot development, didn’t make things easier. I was also annoyed at the treatment of the women in it.


What I liked about the book was that there was barely a white person in sight. And I also liked Vetch very much as a character.

But the rest of the book was just really weird for me. For one, the pacing was awful, packing enough events for like six seasons and a movie on 200 pages, taking its time with the weirdest things and hurrying over other things, especially developing of characters other than Ged and his relationships with said characters.

Also, I just plain didn’t like Ged. In the beginning he was an asshole but even when he developed some common sense and decency, he was frustrating to read about. Probably because Le Guin constantly shoves in your face how special he is and that there never was such a powerful wizard or anybody as cool as Ged.

Plus, the few women who actually appeared in the novel, were pretty horrible. You have the aunt, but witches are brushed off as diluted versions of wizards who can’t do much more than the occasional malicious curse. There’s Lady Serret who is like every cliché of the evil women distilled into one character and then there’s Vetch’s sister Yarrow who is like every cliché of the good woman distilled into one character – both are equally flat and perfunctory characters that were just annoying.

I guess I’ll read the other books of the series anyway – but mostly because they’re classics and I have an edition with the first four novels in one book anyway. But it really didn’t blow me away.

Summarizing: Is it only me who doesn’t get the obsession with Ursula K. Le Guin? Am I just reading the wrong stuff? In any case, ugh.

1 thought on “A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K. Le Guin)

  1. Pingback: The Tombs of Atuan (Ursula K. Le Guin) | kalafudra's Stuff

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