(read originally in the 80's)
Scope Review: Earthsea Trilogy.
“Only in silence the word,
Only in dark the light,
Only in dying life:
Bright the hawk’s flight
On the empty sky”
Yin & Yang?
I honestly don't remember a time when I wasn't obsessed with reading and collecting books. I'd define childhood as a never-ending vacation. A weekend without a week following and reading-time everlasting. I still remember the never-ending days of my childhood. My first date. My first kiss. My first endless book infatuations. One of my favourite childhood memory was when I was twelve years old with my Grandmother Glória at home and me reading to her "O Feiticeiro de Terramar" ("A Wizard of Earthsea").
It was with some trepidation that I've re-read one of my childhood favourites... Forget Harry Potter and its look-alikes. This is how it all began for me.
I’ve always had a problem with Fantasy, especially with the one being produced nowadays. The usual Fantasy fodder does not stimulate me. Fantasy, like myth and dream, should assume the existence of a world of being beyond or underneath perceived, empirical reality, and it should also reproduce that other world by means of symbolism and literary prototypes: kingdoms, wizards, shadows, dragons, good, evil, and sword are some of them that should reverberate with ethical and aesthetic meaning.
I’ve never being particularly fond of coming-of-age stories. I’ve always believed that a good coming-of-age story should be a journey that it’s not only psychic, but also moral. My archtype bildungsroman should trace the development of a young person’s awareness of self, society, and nature. Le Guin’s was able to do this by balancing all the powers in her fictionalized world, supported on the recognition that every act affects self, society, and world.
Ged (God?), acknowledges the presence of good and evil in himself and transforms himself psychologically to fit into the Earthsea World. In the last pages of the first volume, light and shadow mingle, and there was no longer two beings but only one. That Le Guin was able to achieve this effect in only a handful of pages was quite astonishing (compare it with the final chapter of the book “Blood Song” by Anthony Ryan to check on how it shouldn’t be done - My review).
Each volume of Earthsea tells us a different story about the Erwachsenwerden process. When read together (which I didn’t in the translations in Portuguese), the trilogy gave me an overall perspective of Ged’s journey, which was also a story of the epic hero who successfully deals with the forces that threatened Earthsea.