Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea books are some of the most magical, beautiful and inspiring tales I have ever read. She wrote the first three between 1968 and 1972 and they tell of the heroic deeds of Sparrowhawk, a powerful mage (Le Guin’s terminology for men who use magic). Twenty years later, she revisited the land of Earthsea and wrote three more books, which explored the post-heroic lives of the protagonists. She looked at what happened to the heroes once the monsters had been slain, and in doing so dramatically rocked many of the assumptions and institutions that the original stories had been ...


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