Study Guide

A Wizard of Earthsea Chapter 2

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Chapter 2

The Shadow

  • Life with Ogion turns out to be a little dull: instead of flying to his home in Re Albi (which means "Falcon's Nest"), they just walk; instead of moving the rain away with magic, Ogion just lets them get wet.
  • When Ged asks when they're going to start doing super amazing magic stuff, Ogion tells him that patience is important to being a wizard and that Ged needs to study more to learn what things are.
  • Now, in our experience, telling teens that they need to be patient and study more always works.
  • At Re Albi, Ged starts learning the runes of the Hardic language, which isn't magic, but is related to the Old Speech that is magic. (In the real world, runes are the letters of the alphabet for some older Germanic/Scandinavian languages. In other words: Vikings!)
  • His other main job as apprentice seems to be gathering herbs in the spring, which gives Ged plenty of time to wander around.
  • One day, while he's out gathering herbs, he meets the daughter of the lord of Re Albi. (Apparently, Re Albi is not a democracy.)
  • The daughter makes nice, but also teases him about his powers. He tries to impress her by calling a falcon to him, which she doesn't find super impressive after all.
  • So, in order to impress the girl – classic move – Ged goes through Ogion's spells and sort of accidentally starts reading a spell to call the dead, which we've all done at some time or other. Ged can't stop himself from finishing the spell once he starts reading it, and some terrible shadow monster appears.
  • Luckily, Ogion comes in and banishes the shadow monster before things get out of hand. He points out to Ged that the girl he wanted to impress may be a bit of witch since her mother's a bit of a witch.
  • He uses this opportunity to teach Ged a lesson: "This sorcery is not a game we play for pleasure or for praise. Think of this: that every word, every act of our Art is said and is done either for good, or for evil. Before you speak or do you must know the price that is to pay!" (2.48).
  • That's may be Ogion's last lesson since Ged decides he should go to the great wizard school known as Hogwarts… uh, no, we meant to say the great wizard school on Roke Island.
  • Ogion takes Ged down to the Great Port of Gont, where everyone honors Ogion for stopping an earthquake years ago. This makes Ged reconsider – if my teacher is so awesome, maybe I should stay here with him? But they find a ship named Shadow and send him off to Roke anyway.
  • This is Ged's first time off the island, and he quickly learns sailing from the men. He also gets to see new islands, and even gets to experience his very first storm at sea.
  • And then he gets dropped off at Roke.

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