Who wrote this book and when?
Ursula K. LeGuin published this in 1972.
Has there been a film version?
The Sci Fi channel’s miniseries covered this book; it came out in 2004.
Who are the important characters?
Tenar/Arha – a girl who is “eaten” by the Nameless Dark Ones, she serves as their priestess and takes care of their temples and labyrinth
Ged/Sparrowhawk – a mage of Earthsea, he is searching for the Ring of Erreth-Akbe in the labyrinth
Kossil – the priestess of the godking, she is jealous of Arha’s power and plots to overthrow both Arha and the Dark Ones
Manan – a disfigured eunuch who serves Arha
What’s it about?
Tenar was taken from her family when she was five and offered up to the Nameless Ones to be the reincarnation of the First Priestess. She was stripped of all identity and now is known only as Arha – the eaten one. She tends the domain of the Nameless Ones and speaks for them; her duties include executing those sent as human sacrifices by the godking, and protecting the immeasurable treasures held in the vast underground labyrinth. Over the years, Arha learns that she is in danger from Kossil, the priestess of the godking, and she takes shelter in the labyrinth, learning its paths by heart. When a wizard suddenly shows up in the labyrinth looking for an ancient and powerful ring, Arha must decide whether to fully embrace her calling as the eaten one or to give up serving the evil Nameless Ones and try to regain her freedom.
Why is this book a classic/bestseller?
Because it’s an Earthsea book and well written.
Do you recommend I read this book?
How did this book make your list?
It’s in the Earthsea series.
Has it won any awards?
It was a Newbery Honor book in 1972.
“The stars of spring shone thick, like drifts of daisies in spring meadows, like the glittering of light on the April sea. But the girl had no memory of meadows or the sea. She did not look up.” – p 25
I’m not really sure what I think about this book. Of course, I liked it – LeGuin’s writing style assures that. But I think I would rather have followed Ged/Sparrowhawk on his journey then simply learning about Arha/Tenar and the labyrinth. I guess my biggest complaints about these books are that they are too short. I always feel a little jilted at the end, like the story could have been rounded out a bit more. This might fade when I finish the last two books in the series, maybe I’ll feel completely fulfilled. But for now, it leaves an empty taste in my mouth.