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A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea


by Ursula K. Le Guin

A Wizard of Earthsea Trivia

Brain Snacks: Tasty Tidbits of Knowledge

The "K." in Ursula K. Le Guin is for Le Guin's maiden name, Kroeber, which is interesting mainly because of who her parents were: Alfred and Theodora Kroeber, world-famous anthropologists and authors (source). Alfred Kroeber was actually the interviewer and caretaker of Ishi, who was the last living member of the Yahi Indian tribe.

Le Guin wrote two short stories about Earthsea before publishing A Wizard of Earthsea. These stories were published in 1964 and you can see how they helped form the magic system of this world just by reading their titles: "The Word of Unbinding" (which shows us how powerful language is) and "The Rule of Names" (which shows us how important names are – and also includes a dragon).

Le Guin took seventeen years between the publishing of book #3 and book #4 in the Earthsea series. Here's what Le Guin had to say about that time: "Briefly, what happened in the 17 years between [the third book] and [the fourth book] was that feminism was reborn, and I became 17 years older, and learned a good deal. One of the things I learned was how to write as a woman, not as an honorary, or imitation, man." We wanted to emphasize the fact that the later books take a pretty different view of women and magic than these earlier books do (source).

The Kingkiller Chronicles, a fantasy series by Patrick Rothfuss, has a lot in common with A Wizard of Earthsea. You get to learn how a great wizard started out as a bit of a punk kid and went to a magic university, plus there's the importance of true names. Now, before you freak out, it's good to know that Ursula K. Le Guin liked the first book in the series, The Name of the Wind (source). Maybe you should check it out.

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