Study Guide

A Wizard of Earthsea Supernatural

By Ursula K. Le Guin

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Wizards, and dragons, and evil old stones! Oh, my! The world of Earthsea is full of supernatural elements. Luckily, our hero is a master (in training) of the supernatural. Or maybe we should say that's unlucky, since it's Ged's magical abilities that get him into trouble in the first place. We could also note that all of these fantasy elements are pretty well integrated into this natural world. For instance, we don't have dragons on every island – predators that big would just go eat everything in sight. And although we have super powerful mages, they have to be careful with their magic – because of the balance, dude.

Questions About Supernatural

  1. Imagine if the protagonist were just a normal guy, like a fisherman. Would that change the way you read this book? Does it matter that Ged is a powerful magician?
  2. There are several things in this book that aren't real (they don't exist in our world) but that are also not supernatural, like the pendick-tree (which is just a tree). How do you react when you're reading a fantasy and you run into some non-supernatural element, like fourfoil? Do you have an easier time imagining the world? Does it seem more realistic?
  3. How do different characters react to the supernatural? Ged may be a master magician (when he's not being a proud jerk), but does he react to all of the supernatural stuff the same way?
  4. How are supernatural elements of the setting described in this book? Descriptions of non-real things are particularly interesting because the writer can't take for granted that we understand anything. For example, we can't find out what a pendick tree looks like unless Le Guin describes it for us.

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