A Wizard of Earthsea
Coming of Age Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
As a boy, Ogion like all boys had thought it would be a very pleasant game to take by art-magic whatever shape one liked, man or beast, tree or cloud, and so to play at a thousand beings. But as a wizard he had learned the price of the game, which is the peril of losing one's self, playing away the truth. (7.84)
Check out that little move Le Guin makes – "like all boys." Now, we totally agree: what little kid doesn't want to change into an animal shape? (We wanted to be a Tyrannosaurus Rex at least once a day.) But Ogion grows up and he realizes that what he thought would be cool as a child (changing shape) actually comes with a pretty steep price. So, in one tiny section, Le Guin gives a small version of the lesson that Ged goes through over the course of the book.
For the third time they had met and touched: he had of his own will turned to the shadow, seeking to hold it with living hands. (8.58)
Ged has faced his shadow several times, but in all those cases, it was the shadow that was doing the hunting – only now does Ged take the active (rather than reactive) role. In this scene it seems as if part of Ged's coming-of-age is that he's willing to take action himself.
Ged watched him with wonder and some envy, and exactly so he watched Ged: to each it seemed very queer that the other, so different, yet was his own age, nineteen years. (9.55)
Here Ged and Murre, Vetch's brother, both think that the other has found the right way to live – Ged wants to live a normal life, while Murre wants to live a super exciting life. We might say that it's silly of them to envy the other since they each have their own particular worries within those lives. (Sure, Ged might think Murre's life is normal, but normal lives have troubles too.) But there's another reason why we're including this here: maybe there are different ways that people can come of age.