Monday, April 14, 2014

Tehanu (The Earthsea Cycle #4) by Ursula K. le Guin

Title: Tehanu (The Earthsea Cycle #4)
Author Ursula K. Le Guin
Publisher: Atheneum Books
Original Publication Date: June 20, 1990
Pages: 294


It is surprising that it has taken Le Guin up to the fourth book to bring to the forefront one of the most conspicuous and prevalent  inequities not only in the fantasy genre but more importantly in the living world, that is inequity between the sexes.

Le Guin's writing aside from boasting of incomparable depth, truth and weight is exceptionally fluid. Tehanu is surprising in respect with the presentation of the themes in the book in that some almost felt like that they are forced rather than something that has come naturally. Perhaps this is by reason that Le Guin was severely criticized for not touching sexism up until this point or that the Earthsea cycle was originally slated only for three books. Some transitional points are also rather quirky.

On page 242 Ged and Tenar's conversation

“Well,” she said, “which bed shall I sleep in, Ged? The child’s, or yours?”
He drew breath. He spoke low. “Mine, if you will.”
“I will.”

Suddenly the inhibitions are all forgotten. What happened to about a hundred pages of inhibitions, subtle refusals and of repressions? I guess pent-up sexual tension can only be held so much, even in books.

Ged has been built up as the proverbial Archmage, full of wisdom, the seemingly cradle of power. So when he gave up his arts, and ended up perpetually depressed and moping at what has been, it was somehow inconsistent with the man that has been painted (this is more of a personal dislike rather than an objective point). Though i guess this is one of the more elegiac themes albeit  of real life importance that Le Guin presents (considering further what characterizes her writing). And one she presents as veracious as possible I might say.

At the risk of being redundant, the Earthsea cycle is not for those of fantasy readers that seek excitement and action. The books contain a diminutive portion of these servings, they are enjoyable, and I could only wish that Le Guin expanded this portions however meager. Alas, this was not the end she sought.
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