12 votes
Accepted

What's the difference between the magical abilities of men and women?

Probably none (with caveats) It’s hard to tease out the nature of magic in Earthsea, because much of what we have comes from people’s opinions. Further, Le Guin’s conception of her world seems to have ...
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  • 111k
12 votes
Accepted

Does Earthsea pass the Bechdel test?

I don't have my copies handy, but, off the top of my head, no, the first book does not, as it has precious few named females, and as far as I recall, none of them spend time talking to each other. (...
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  • 56.8k
9 votes
Accepted

Why didn't the Nameless Ones try to punish "sinners" other than Arha and Ged?

The Nameless Ones were dark powers of the Earth. The religion built up around worshiping them was largely irrelevant to them; they did not care about their holy places being defiled by people ...
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  • 85.1k
8 votes

At the start of Ursula Le Guin's "The Tombs of Atuan", who was the figure in black?

"O let the Nameless Ones behold the girl given to them, who is verily the one born ever nameless. Let them accept her life and the years of her life until her death, which is also theirs. Let ...
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  • 10.4k
8 votes
Accepted

At the start of Ursula Le Guin's "The Tombs of Atuan", who was the figure in black?

The identity of the black figure is unknown, except that it was probably one of the priestesses. The reasons for believing it was a priestess are twofold. Firstly, there is the mention of the "...
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  • 85.1k
8 votes
Accepted

Are the shadow creatures in the Court of the Terrenon of the same kind as the ones in the Tombs of Atuan?

The natures of the various dark powers of the Earth is one of the least explored elements of Earthsea's cosmology. In particular, the episode at the Court of the Terrenon in Osskil is probably the ...
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  • 85.1k
6 votes

Why didn't the Nameless Ones try to punish "sinners" other than Arha and Ged?

The Nameless Ones were only half-aware that Ged had entered the labyrinth, and probably didn't notice Kossil and Manan's transgressions at all. 'Because every instant since I set foot in cavern ...
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5 votes

Illustration on the "Earthsea Quartet" cover

As far as I can tell, the only part of the book that fits the image shown is Ged's confrontation with Yevaud. Massive dragon - Check Wizard holding staff - Check Obviously Ged is in a boat in the ...
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  • 608k
3 votes

In A Wizard of Earthsea, what does the Master Patterner teach?

The Immanent Grove is one of the Old Powers, and is said to mingle its roots with all forests and woods in Earthsea. It is a mystery of connection, of integrity. As a symbol, it resonates with other ...
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  • 31
3 votes

In A Wizard of Earthsea, what does the Master Patterner teach?

I think it's worth noting that when Ged joins the two halves of the ring of Erreth-Akbe, he is said to do so 'not by using binding spell like with an old kettle, but using patterning'(cited from ...
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2 votes

At the start of Ursula Le Guin's "The Tombs of Atuan", who was the figure in black?

For the second question, I interpreted it being a seperate section of steps directly in front of the throne - either a physically separated section, so that the figures in white and black came down ...
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  • 13.4k
2 votes

What does Ged mean by this statement in A Wizard of Earthsea?

Initially, Ged thought it was only a matter of reaching the shadow in land or sea. Therefore, since he always knew where the shadow was, it was only a matter of time. He knew he would reach it, sooner ...
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  • 21
2 votes

Why didn't the Nameless Ones try to punish "sinners" other than Arha and Ged?

Since Ged had entered the Tombs, he had used his Mage skills to weave 'a vast network' of spells of concealment and sleep on the Nameless Ones- the powers of the Earth of that particular spot- for his ...
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1 vote

Does Earthsea pass the Bechdel test?

The second book, The Tombs of Atuan, has multiple named female characters who speak to each other at length about daily life and about the titular "tombs", mentioning men only in passing in a few ...
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  • 20.1k
1 vote

What does Ged mean by this statement in A Wizard of Earthsea?

Ged is worried that Shadow may go to far into the Dry Land - it might be quite challenging to pursue him there. You can get the details in the Farthest Shore.
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