February 2, 2012

A Theme of Themesea. By Ursula Theme Le Guin. [Review Time]

Only in silence the word,
Only in dark the light,
Only in dying life:
Bright the hawk's flight on the empty sky.
Well isn't this just your graying literature prof's wet dream. A Wizard of Earthsea really gets in there with the themes and then hits you over the head with them, repeatedly. Let's see, we have lots of good stuff on identity, the power of language, arrogance, forces in opposition, balance, and the mentor/pupil relationship. Well done, Ursula Le Guin, you've really gotten a lot of shit packed in there, and you really milked it for all it was worth.

I studied A Wizard of Earthsea as part of a children's lit course, and if you don't believe me that Ursula's beating the crap out of a dead horse, consider this: The prof suggests that through her personal experience, children are able to vocalize and list off the themes of A Wizard of Earthsea unlike in any other children's work you come across. Ask kids what they think of Charlotte's Web and they'll say: "It's sad, the spider dies." Do the same for A Wizard of Earthsea, and they can give you a complex analysis of the ways in which the shadow Ged created is a part of his self (sorry for the spoiler) and he is not whole without it. Why are kids able to pick up on it? Because it's repeated six hundred freaking times in just over 200 pages. And if you've read even a quarter of a book, it's not even a spoiler. If you haven't caught on to what the shadow is and exactly what Ged will have to do to stop it, you sir, are an idiot.

As a novel many compare to Harry Potter, I was very disappointed. So let that a lesson to amateur reviewers and booklovers who proclaim to their friends, "Best book ever, Harry Potter totally copied it! A Wizard of Earthsea is the same thing only way deeper, man!" You're building it up way too much. Yes, Ursula attacks more themes than Rowling and yes, she does so in a more literary and "deep" way, but at some point her editor really needed to say "You know what lady, you're good, you don't seen to repeat 'Only in silence the word' twelve times, we get it." You can't fill a full glass. Well done. Slow clap.

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