Study Guide

Some People of Earthsea in A Wizard of Earthsea

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Some People of Earthsea

There are a lot of people on the islands of Earthsea, but there are four that we think make an interesting group:

  1. The fisherman of Gont who sells Ged a boat (8.4)
  2. The old man on West Hand who gives Ged a boat (9.2)
  3. The sorcerer of Vemish who tells Ged that he should leave (9.5)
  4. The innkeeper of Iffish who hints to Ged that he should keep moving (9.8)

These four all have a different reaction to Ged and his magic.

The fisherman sells Ged a boat at a high price; by contrast, the old man on West Hand just gives Ged a boat because you're supposed to be nice to wizards.

Similarly, while the sorcerer of Vemish and the innkeeper of Iffish have the same basic message for Ged – leave, please – they go about getting that message across in different ways. The sorcerer gives a blunt dismissal, while the innkeeper gives a more subtle dismissal (9.8).

So what? Well, for one thing, this shows us that people don't all treat wizards the same way. And this is a nice thing to know because it makes Earthsea seem a little more realistic. (We could look at our own world for examples of that. Let's say you have a nuclear weapon – does everyone treat you the same way?) Maybe that's why the final three encounters with these folks happen in such quick succession – and why Ged actually comments on that difference (9.8).

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