A Wizard of Earthsea
Reader's Guide - Discussion Questions
- What are some characteristics of a young-adult novel?
- Why is this world called Earthsea? Why might Le Guin have decided to set her story in such a world?
- On the first page of the novel, we learn that Ged will eventually become Archmage and dragonlord. Doesn't this undercut a certain amount of suspense? Why would Le Guin tell us this?
- The language of A Wizard of Earthsea is often quietly poetic. Comment on three sentences that you find particularly beautiful or moving. In what ways is a writer or artist like a wizard?
- The young Ged tends to be impulsive, getting into trouble like the sorcerer's apprentice. Point out occasions in the book when Ged loses control of himself or his magic.
- Why do Ged and Jasper quarrel? Who is to blame? Why do Ged and Vetch become friends?
- There are several mentions of shadows even before Ged's attempt to raise the dead Princess Elfarran. List them. What do these various shadows suggest about Ged?
- Discuss the meaning of Ged's two encounters with the Doorkeeper of Roke.
- Compare the evil of the Shadow with the evil of the Stone of Terrenon. Are they evil in the same way? How do they differ?
- What does Ged learn from his encounter with the dragon Yevaud?
- Why do Ged and Vetch avoid using magic on their last voyage?
- Were you surprised by what happens when Ged confronts the Shadow? Would you say that his realization is true of all human experience?
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