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  1. #1
    Registered User Zsinj's Avatar
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    Question A question about LeGuin's Earthsea Saga

    One fantasy series that I've heard a lot of really good things about is the Earthsea Saga by Ursula K. LeGuin. This series looks really interesting to me. However, I'm kind of leery of reading it because I've read that LeGuin is a feminist, nad I'm kind of worried that the Earthsea novels might turn out to be preachy feminist fluff such as Marion Zimmer Bradley's or Mercedes Lackey's works, and I absolutley hatethat stuff. (No offense to those of you who enjoy MZB's and ML's works, though )
    So, I'm wondering, is the Earthsea Saga any good, and do you think I would like it? Thanx.

  2. #2
    Killer of Threads Vladimir's Avatar
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    yeah, can't trust them damn feminists!

    naa but the books are good... well, at least the first 3 are, never did get more that 40 pages into the fourth one :\

  3. #3
    Witch of the Woods Miriamele's Avatar
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    Le Guin's books are definitely NOT preachy feminist fluff. Her books, though thin, are simple, powerful tales which will stick in your mind for a long time. They deal with such themes as coming to grips with the dark side of your soul and having to re-find your identity after it's been stolen from you. I love the way she writes in a sparse style, almost like a myth or fairy tale.

    There are 4 Earthsea books. It's the 4th, Tehanu, which has been accused of being feminist. It was written years after the first there books and by then LeGuin had changed her style somewhat. However, I truly didn't see the feminist message that other readers were offended by. Perhaps this is because I am female, I don't know. But I just didn't see it. Yes there is a strong female character in it but in no way is she portrayed as being a better than the lead male character, nor are women portrayed as being better than men. But a lot of the book focuses on Tenar coming to grips with her life and maybe it just didn't appeal to male readers.

    I can see the feminist message in MZB's books, for sure--although it didn't bother me too much--but honestly, I didn't see the same message in LeGuin. She doesn't place males and females in traditional roles all the time but I think it makes it more interesting. Her characters' actions are not based on their gender but on who they are as a human being. I like that.

    Anyway I'm rambling. Try the books Zsinj, they're not too long and I'm sure you'll like them.

  4. #4
    High Priest of Cainism Shehzad's Avatar
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    Having read the first three, I liked them immensely. Like has been mentioned above, the first one in particular is a simple, touching story of trying to come to terms with your dark side. No matter how powerful a sorcerer you are, you cannot defeat your own demons through force.

    Highly recommended. And not feminist.

  5. #5
    Next to Arch Stanton ezchaos's Avatar
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    I'm a big fan of the Earthsea books.

    I have to agree with everything Miriamele said. Readers sometimes have problems with Tehanu, which is the fourth book in the series. For one thing, there was something like a 20 + year gap in between the Farthest Shore and Tehanu, so I'm sure some things changed with LeGuin's outlook on life and writing style. I had some problems with it the first time I read it, but the second time I finally got it.

    At very least, check out the first three books. As Miriamele said, they're quick reads.

    As a side note, there are actually six Earthsea books. Le Guin recently released what are supposed to be the last two books in the series. Tales of Earthsea is a book of short stories and a novella. Last of all, there is The Other Wind which is a novel and completes the Earthsea cycle.

  6. #6
    Registered User Zsinj's Avatar
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    Okay, thanx for the info, guys!

  7. #7
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    Last of all, there is The Other Wind which is a novel and completes the Earthsea cycle.
    And does a great job of finishing to boot, finishing up the open plot threads and moving on from Tehanu, which wasn't a great end to the series.

    I haven't read the Tales of Earthsea yet - can anyone comment if the story from the original Legends anthology features in it?

  8. #8
    Next to Arch Stanton ezchaos's Avatar
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    Eventine said:
    I haven't read the Tales of Earthsea yet - can anyone comment if the story from the original Legends anthology features in it?
    Yes, it's in there. It's called Dragonfly. It's actually a 'bridge story' story between Tehanu and The Other Wind. The other stories are from different times and places within Earthsea.

  9. #9
    Member Legolas's Avatar
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    I've only read the first two books and I loved them both. I love stories of wizards so they really hit the spot. I am a woman so I haven't seen anything offensive so far but I haven't read beyond the second book. I would recommend them to anyone.

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    I can't recommend the earthsea books enough. I thought they were absolutely incredible. In fact, I want to find them so I can read them again.

  11. #11
    cynical master of time Cymric's Avatar
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    Le Guins earthsea serises is great. you should definitely give a read. It is so hard to believe that such small books are so deep.

  12. #12
    Hey I can edit this! alan empty's Avatar
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    A truly wonderful series. I love Le Guin's writing style - simple but beautiful. I first read these a long, long time ago when I was about 7 years old and I still get a thrill each time I read them.

    They're not to everyone's taste (obviously) and I can understand why some might not like them, but everyone should give A Wizard of Earthsea a try.

    Feminist? Possibly. She's certainly very interested in gender and the role of women in her novels, but I don't view her work as particularly feminist. It's certainly not a good reason to avoid them.

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    LeGuin's later books are bit more political than her earthsea books, but she's a hell of a writer. And whatever her political inclinations, the character of Ged "Sparrowhawk" pretty much set the standard, in my mind, of a well-written wizard.

  14. #14
    Defender of Cononicals Physics Knight's Avatar
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    The first three are excellent. While her stories seem to be driven by philosophies and themes, they are skillfully written so it doesn't feel preachy. The later ones, Tehanu and some parts of Tales of Earthsea do deal with more feminist issues, but they are beautifully told. LeGuin doesn't sound like she's trying to convert you, just showing you a lovely story that could teach a lesson. I'm still working my way through Tales, just onto Dragonfly. I didn't like Tehanu as much as the originally trilogy, though well-written, needed to be plotted at bit more carefully.

    I know what you mean about MZB and ML. Particularly ML I got sick of the feminism/shoving pro-homosexuality down my throat every few pages, and I am a feminist who is all for same-sex marriage! I don't like authors without the skill who try to use their books as a blatant vehicle of propaganda, whether I agree with them or not. I enjoyed Orwell's anti-communist 1984. I was amused/shocked-with-how-this-got-by-the-editors with the anti-commusim in Wizard's First Rule.

  15. #15
    Lost in a large book nicba's Avatar
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    Thumbs up The Other Wind

    I read the original four Earthsea books once, a long time ago. I didn't find them that interesting at the time. Good, but nothing special.

    But recently I got my hands on the two last books, some beautiful editions from Orion. I found them very, very good. I liked The Other Wind the most. It was a touching story.

    I will probably re-read Earthsea again at some point, just to see if I get more from them at a more mature age.

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