Wednesday, March 26, 2008


A wonderful skill in writing is to establish a place/setting/feeling in relation to a character - setting some emotional weight - and then bringing them back to contrast that feeling against the reverse. This provides an excellent way of showing change in the environment or situation, or, more importantly, in the character.

On page 41 of A Wizard of Earthsea, Le Guin places Ged in the House of the Wise at the beginning of his apprenticeship in Roke:

As their eyes met, a bird sang aloud in the branches of the tree. In that moment Ged understood the singing of the bird, and the language of the water falling in the basin of the fountain, and the shape of the clouds, and the beginning and end of the wind that stirred the leaves: it seemed to him that he himself was a word spoken by the sunlight.

On page 68, after Ged has unleashed the shadow and suffered greatly from its attack he returns to the House of the Wise and the new Archmage:

So Gensher ended, and was suddenly gone, as is the way of the mages. The fountain leaped in the sunlight, and Ged watched it a while and listened to its voice, thinking of Nemmerle. Once in that court he had felt himself to be a word spoken by the sunlight. Now the darkness also had spoken: a word that could not be unsaid.

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