Ursula K LeGuin





English 10h


In A Wizard of Earthsea, The Other Wind, and The Telling, written by Ursula K LeGuin, a mental journey is an integral part of each character’s development. Due to each character’s growth and eventual maturity in these stories, they learn to understand the world around them, and their purpose in this mystical world called Earthsea. In The Wizard of Earthsea, a young wizard named Ged (Sparrowhawk) must realize how to control his recklessness, and defeat a great darkness which he himself inflicts on the world. The Other Wind is a tale of a young wizard who seeks out the now powerless Ged for knowledge and understanding of his own demons. The Telling is a story about a young observer from Earth who lives in a world of technology, who seeks out the ways of the old, and in the process dredges into the deep of her own heart, mind, and soul.


To begin, our society is based on the growth of children into adults. This concept has always been satirized; however, it is rare to see a true understanding of the youth mind. Paralleling our lives, a youth named Ged searching for power and knowledge, assuming his own invincibility, must learn his place in the world. As a young boy, he grew up with a witch as an aunt, and she taught him a few words of Power. As a young boy, she saw great potential in him, for without any training, he could use these great power words. Calling from the heavens the great hawk, or just herding the goats, this young boy of course wanted more. He knew not of his limits, and pushed them beyond their breaking point. This allusion to the youth of today, is an on target statement of our resistance to authority as well as our inexperience in the world. He is at the most immature stage of his life. His goal is to be better than his friends, and be able to do anything they cannot. He wishes to feel special just as any other child does.


“She smiled at his ready ignorance. ‘Well and good. But I will bind your promise. Your tongue will be stilled until I choose to unbind it, and even then, thought you can speak, you will not be able to speak the word I teach you where another person can hear it. We must keep the secrets of our craft.’


‘Good,’ said the boy, for he had no wish to tell the secret to his playmates, liking to know and do what they knew not and could not.” (LeGuin, Wizard 4)


Ged was different, not because he wished to be better than everyone else, but because he had the ability to be so incredibly powerful. However, he would have to search for this power, going through trials and tests, learning through his mistakes, and ultimately costing himself his powers.


Next, a stage of his life where he was at his worst came to pass. As he grew he wished for more power. He wanted it all, and he searched for it in all the wrong ways. He wished to master the words of power for his own knowledge and devices. He craved adventure, and tampered with the natural balance of the world he lived in. At the great house where he was to be taught the ways of the wizard, he was the fastest in his class. His friends envied him, and his teachers began to respect him highly. There were even whispers of the next “Archmage”. As a fifteen-year-old boy, there was still much for him to learn, but he wished to push ahead. Due to his high ability to learn, some teachers gave him extra work, and taught him advanced spells, which truthfully he was probably not ready to yield. He learned the art of Change very early, and did not respect the consequences of using these powers. He assumed that anything he altered could not possibly cause any damage. His ignorance began to overwhelm his logic. He asked questions he should not, and pried into the world of magic, of which he was not ready to partake.


“Once or twice, Ged tried to lead him to talk a little of such