On the Internet, I accidentally came across this cover of the e-book A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin in Russian.

AWotE Cover

Is it possible to identify which characters are depicted on this cover art? Who is the man in armor with the broken sword on the right? Or the dark-skinned islander with the spear on the left? A man in white clothes with a glowing staff on top?

  • 1
    Interesting question. None would match Gendry himself, who is supposed to be dark-skinned (but doesn't look like an islander).
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jan 12 at 13:51
  • 3
    @AndresF. Gendry -> Ged? (The former is a character in A Song of Ice and Fire, IIRC.)
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Jan 12 at 14:51
  • 2
    @Randal'Thor oopsie! Yes, I meant Ged :D
    – Andres F.
    Commented Jan 12 at 15:13
  • 1
    Does anyone else find this artwork/interpretation of the characters hilariously old-fashioned/colonialist? (It looks like a wizard, a European knight, and a stereotypical African chieftain ...)
    – Ben Bolker
    Commented Jan 13 at 4:19
  • @BenBolker There's no African in the above image, so I guess you're just seeing what you want to see. Given the descriptions in the answer below the drawing is pretty accurate imho.
    – Bas
    Commented Jan 13 at 23:25

1 Answer 1


This cover art is for a Russian version of the first three Earthsea books, published in two volumes. This is the second volume, and contains only The Farthest Shore - hence these characters are all from The Farthest Shore. The illustrator appears to be Valerij Petrovich Lyubarets, born in Ukraine, who also drew the internal illustrations.

The man dressed in white, holding a staff, with a scarred cheek, is Ged/Sparrowhawk; he is described in the book as "a short, straight, vigorous figure in a hooded cloak of white wool. Above the folds of the laid-down hood his face was reddish-dark, hawknosed, seamed on one cheek with old scars. The eyes were bright and fierce..." He appears again in the frontspiece:

enter image description here

The crouching boy must be Arren/Lebannen. He is described as "He was nearly a man, but still a boy; slender, dressed richly." Beside him is his sword. You can see him in an internal image here:

enter image description here

The dragon from the front cover is also in the above image; this is Kalessin, "At last he sat up, and as he did so he saw on the far side of the stream, immense, a dragon. Its head, the color of iron, stained as with red rust at nostril and, eye-socket and jowl, hung facing him, almost over him. The talons sank deep into the soft, wet sand on the edge of the stream. The folded wings were partly visible, like sails, but the length of the dark body was lost in the fog."

On the right, the armoured man is Erreth-Akbe, brought back from the dead by Cob. He is described in the book as "He wore an armor of gilt bronze of ancient fashion; it was rent as if by hatchet blows, and the jeweled scabbard of his sword was empty. His face was stern, with arched, black brows and narrow nose; his eyes were dark, keen, and sorrowful. There were wounds on his arms and in his throat and side; they bled no longer, but they were mortal wounds." He can also be found in an internal image:

enter image description here

The sending at the top of that image, and the long-haired man on the cover, must be the antagonist of the book, Cob. "There stood, bright lit by sunlight, the faint wind stirring his garments slightly, a man. He stood still as a carven figure except for that flutter of the hem and hood of his light cloak. His hair was long and black, falling in a mass of glossy curls; he was broad shouldered and tall, a strong, comely man."

Finally, the man on the far left must be the chief of the raft-people. He is described as " This man was short and thin like the others, boy-like in frame, but his face was strong-featured and weathered by the years. He wore nothing but a loincloth, but dignity clothed him amply." Their skin is described as "mahogany", and his weapon "a harpoon such as they used in the hunt of whales: it was longer than himself and pointed with a great, barbed point of ivory."

(Images of the book taken from https://krsk.au.ru/18414092-le-guin-ursula-volshebnik-zemnomorja-v-2-tomah-serija/ )

  • 1
    Just for completeness, the dragon needs to be identified.
    – Spencer
    Commented Jan 12 at 16:32
  • @Spencer Is there another dragon?
    – Showsni
    Commented Jan 12 at 17:48
  • @Showsni Yevaud?
    – Lexible
    Commented Jan 12 at 19:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.