DARKNESS THREATENS to overtake Earthsea. As the world and its wizards are losing their magic, Ged -- powerful Archmage, wizard, and dragonlord -- embarks on a sailing journey with highborn young prince, Arren. They travel far beyond the realm of death to discover the cause of these evil... read more
A strange, inexplicable malaise is spreading throughout Earthsea. Magic is losing its power; songs are being forgotten; people and animals are sickening or going mad. Accompanied by Arren, the young Prince of Enlad, the Archmage Ged leaves Roke Island to find the cause. After a journey fraught... read more (warning: may contain spoilers)
A strange, inexplicable malaise is spreading throughout Earthsea. Magic is losing its power; songs are being forgotten; people and animals are sickening or going mad. Accompanied by Arren, the young Prince of Enlad, the Archmage Ged leaves Roke Island to find the cause. After a journey fraught with many missteps, they travel to the end of the earth, and beyond, into the land of the dead. There they confront and defeat the mage Cob, who had opened a breach between the worlds in an attempt to cheat death and live forever. In order to shut this breach, Ged sacrifices all his magic.
When they emerge back into the world of the living, Arren realizes that he has fulfilled the prediction of the last King of Earthsea many centuries before: "He shall inherit my throne who has crossed the dark land living and come to the far shores of the day." In the intervening time, the realm had broken up into smaller principalities and domains, with little peace between them. Now they can be reunited.
Le Guin offers two endings to the story. In one, after Arren's coronation, Ged sails alone out into the ocean and is never heard from again. In the other, Ged returns to the forest of his home island of Gont. In 1990, seventeen years after the publication of The Farthest Shore, Le Guin opted for the second ending when she continued the story in Tehanu.
“The mind of the magician takes delight in tricks; a mage is atrickster”Narrator
“So the first step out of childhood is made all at once, without looking before or behind, without caution,and nothing held in reserve.”Narrator
“There is a certain bleakness in finding hope where one expected certainty.”
“Ged: …I left them free to fight, or bargain. I am no slave-taker. Arren: But you know them to be evil men – Ged: Was I to join them therefore? To let their acts rule my own? I will not make their choices for them, nor will I let them make mine for me!”
“… an act is not, as young men think, like a rock that one picks up and throws, and it hits or misses, and that’s the end of it. When the rock is lifted, the earth is lighter, the hand that bears it heavier. When it is thrown the circuits of the stars respond, and where it strikes or falls the universe is changed. On every act the balance of the whole depends... We must learn to keep the balance. Having intelligence, we must not act in ignorance. Having choice, we must not act without responsibility. Who am I – though I have the power to do it – to punish and reward, playing with men’s destinies?”Ged
“There must be darkness to see the stars.”Ged
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