© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
A Wizard of Earthsea

A Wizard of Earthsea


by Ursula K. Le Guin

A Wizard of Earthsea Resources


Ursula K. Le Guin's Website

First, notice that the splash page is actually the map of Earthsea. Now, feel free to browse through Le Guin's webpage, particularly the mini essays she writes on her reactions to the Earthsea movies.

The World of Earthsea

This website provides a brief summary of Earthsea, which is not that interesting. But this webpage groups together a number of interesting images, such as the various covers for A Wizard of Earthsea.

Movie or TV Productions

Earthsea Miniseries (2004)

You might not be able to tell from the trailer, but this is a truly horrendous miniseries. That is, it's awful as an adaptation – it keeps the names but basically throws out most of the story and replaces it with a fairly generic fantasy story. And even then, that fantasy story is snooze-worthy and badly done. No one likes this miniseries, and Ursula K. Le Guin has been very honest about how she felt that they ruined their chance to make a good adaptation.

Tales from Earthsea (2006)

This anime version mostly covers the third book in the series, so it might not make much sense if you've only read this first book. Actually, even if you have read the third book, this movie might not make much sense, given that it seems to have its own idea about Earthsea. It's an OK movie, but not a good adaptation in our minds.

Articles and Interviews

Some Analysis of the Earthsea Books

This illuminating essay presents some summary and a little general analysis of the Earthsea books. The most important part is that the author notes Le Guin's interest in Taoism, which comes out in the book in two ways: 1) the Taoist principle of not-acting (that is, sometimes, not doing anything is the best form of action); 2) that opposites rely on each other for existence (for instance, light needs dark).

"Doings in Earthsea" (2/18/1973)

This New York Times article is behind a paywall (ask a librarian – your library might have access to it), but if you can get it, this capable review runs through the first three books in the series before there were any others. A little heavy on plot and light on analysis – and we don't agree with his conclusions. Still, it's neat to see what some people said about Le Guin years ago.

"Which Wizard Beats 'Em All" (1/11/02)

A father and son debate which wizard is the best – Merlin, Gandalf, Dumbledore, Ged?

"Curing Harry Potter Withdrawal"

Time magazine writer Lev Grossman (who also writes fantasy novels) advises those suffering from Potter withdrawal to read A Wizard of Earthsea.  Thanks for the shout-out, Lev.

Q&A with Le Guin

A Q&A session with the author, courtesy of The Guardian.

New York Times Article about Earthsea Miniseries

It's a terrible miniseries, but before it came out, here's what some people were saying about it.

"A World Loses Balance, and an Allegory Appears"

Better than the miniseries, the animated movie of Earthsea's third novel isn't really worth the time (if you're looking for a faithful adaptation, that is) – just go ahead and read this New York Times review instead.

New York Times Review of Tales from Earthsea

To compare the above review of the animated movie, here's a review of Le Guin's collection of Earthsea stories. (Keep in mind that this is not the book that the animated film was based on.)


Ursula K. Le Guin Discusses Lavinia and Science Fiction

Le Guin is probably most famous for her science fiction, so it's worthwhile to hear her discuss it as a genre.

Videos of the Author

On her webpage, Le Guin compiles a few videos of her talking and reading. If you're interested in the otak, especially check out her video discussion of animals in children's literature.

Le Guin as Anarchist Writer

Le Guin is very interested in politics, so tune into this video to see her discuss some thoughts.


The Big Read on A Wizard of Earthsea

The Big Read sponsored a short discussion of A Wizard of Earthsea with a number of famous writers and Le Guin herself. It's a half-hour program and a lot of fun.

Interviews with Le Guin

Le Guin's website has a collection of interviews she's done with various people. We're especially fond of the All Things Considered interview and the China Mieville interview for BBC. (China Mieville is a very interesting fantasy author, so he really knows his stuff.)

Le Guin Reading Her Material

Le Guin has collected a bunch of audio files of her reading excerpts from her works.


A Cover for A Wizard of Earthsea

Notice that the dude in the boat – is that Ged? – looks kind of white.

A Later Cover

This one's advertising the connection with the miniseries.  Unfortunately, though, the miniseries was so bad, we wonder if people skipped this book because of that link.

One More Cover

This is the one that Le Guin herself uses on her website.


Of Earthsea, of course.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...