Monday, May 7, 2012

“Beginning” of the Week #13

This week’s post on the opening passages of vintage works of fantasy fiction features the beginning of Ursula K. Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea:

The island of Gont, a single mountain that lifts its peak a mile above the storm-wracked Northeast Sea, is a land famous for wizards. From the towns in its high valleys and the ports on its dark narrow bays many a Gontishman has gone forth to serve the Lords of the Archipelago in their cities as wizard or mage, or, looking for adventure, to wander working magic from isle to isle of all of Earthsea. Of these some say the greatest, and surely the greatest voyager, was the man called Sparrowhawk, who in his day became both dragonlord and Archmage. His life is told of in the Deed of Ged and in many songs, but this is a tale of the time before his fame, before the songs were made.
– Ursula K. Le Guin, A Wizard of Earthsea

First published in 1968, this book is certainly a classic work of fantasy fiction. Yet the question for today is whether it has a great beginning? Commentators are starting to note that these vintage fantasy novels approach beginnings somewhat differently than some of the other novels I’ve featured on this blog. So let me know – what’s your view on the beginning to A Wizard of Earthsea?


Anonymous said...

I read this book a few years ago; i didn't enjoy it as much as i wanted to. Although I grew up on Tolkien, Lewis, and yes, King (those were my favorite authors as a tween) I find that I enjoy the more contempory writing styles.

Joseph Finley said...

Thanks for the comment! I tend to agree with you about the more contemporary writing style.