The Tombs of Atuan

I finished the second book of the Earthsea Cycle, The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. LeGuin. It was another excellent story.

The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle, #2)The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book in the Earthsea cycle. Instead of looking at Sparrowhawk’s development, this story is a look into the birth and growth of the First Priestess, Arha — the Eaten One. Her truename is Tenar and she was taken from her family at the age of five-years old. She was trained to be the priestess and the priestess life is all she’s ever known.

As guardian over the Tombs, her life exists of ritual and rote. Nothing ever happens… until during one wander in the Tombs she see light — where there is to be no light.

And thus begins a new phase of Tehar’s life as she interacts with Sparrowhawk and is forced to look deep within herself.

This is another great read from LeGuin, who is was a master of her craft when she wrote this story.

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A Wizard of Earthsea

Cover: Wizard of EarthseaMany years ago, I read a book — A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. LeGuin. It was partly for fun, for I enjoyed the best works of fantasy and science fiction, and partly a class assignment. For my university literature elective I sat the Science Fiction and Fantasy as Literature class under Eugene Warren. Although the class was for credit, it was for fun that I sat it. In the process, Mr. Warren taught me a few things about literature.

I met Eugene Warren and his wife, Rose, sometime in the early 1970s. I think they were involved with the Intervarsity Fellowship group on the University of Missouri — Rolla (now Missouri University of Science and Technology) campus. But, I cannot recall.

What I do recall is that they were different than anyone else in my experience. On looking back, I think they might have been part of the Hippie Movement from the 1960s. That is what I think, but I am not sure. That they were very different than me was clear. But, they believed God and trusted Jesus and that was all I needed to know.

My interaction with them was episodic, but always pleasant. When I learned that Warren would teach the literature class, I was intrigued. I am so glad that I sat that class. I was introduced to LeGuin and other great authors and still appreciate it.

So, it was a little surprising to me that I noticed an old copy of A Wizard of Earthsea on Daughter’s bookshelf. I had been thinking about the book because Older Son and I watched a Hayao Miyazaki rendition of Tales of Earthsea while I was in Denver a few weeks ago. I pulled the old paperback from the shelf and opened it.

My name was lettered inside the front cover. I had forgotten that these were my books, given to Daughter during one of my recent purges of things. I set the book aside to read it.

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time with Older Grandson. I asked if he had read the book.

“No,” he responded.

“You should.”

“What’s it about?”

“It is the tale of a young wizard learning to be a man. It is a good story and you will like it.”

I began rereading the book, now after nearly 40 years, last night. I woke early this morning, agitated and restless from my dreams and picked it up again. I didn’t want to turn on a light, so I bought a copy for my Kindle. I listened to music and read for a bit.

Then I set it aside and rolled over to return to sleep for a few hours. I remembered Warren and the class I sat so long ago. I decided that the story was worth telling — and the book well worth rereading.