A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

Now showing glossary items starting A

Acastan Spells

Spells of unknown purpose, one of which is said to be made powerless by the Emanations of Fundaur (see Black Well of Fundaur). The spell was rewoven by Heleth and Ogion

Sources: The Bones of the Earth, TfE

Accounting & mathematics

Also known as: Mathematics

In the Archipelago, business accounts are kept by book-keepers in ledgers in a counting room. Wooden tablets are used for reckoning by marketers. The peoples of the Kargad Lands are said to be 'expert mathematicians, using base twelve'a; they keep accounts 'in weavings of different colors and weights of yarn'a

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW; Darkrose and Diamond, TfE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE (a)

'…she found her son in the counting room going through ledgers. She looked at the pages. Long, long lists of names and numbers, debts and credits, profits and losses.'

[Darkrose and Diamond, TfE]


See Dark Folk


Unit of area used in Earthsea; as with other imperial measures, presumably silently translated from the actual unit

Sources: Lorbanery, FS


While plays and the theatre are not directly mentioned, Tenar likens herself to 'an actor enjoying her role'a, suggesting that acting is recognised in the Archipelago and/or the Kargad Lands. Acting may form part of a chanter's performing songs or a teller's telling tales, or may be a separate discipline. Street shows of an unspecified nature are mentioned in Havnor City

Sources: The Dragon Council, OW (a)


Also known as: Rune of Ending

The rune of Ending, which closes roads and is drawn on coffin lids; probably one of the True Runes. Also the constellation of Ending of the South Reach, which includes the yellow star Gobardon

Sources: The Dry Land, FS; Winter, T

'…with his staff he drew in lines of fire across the gate of rocks a figure: the rune Agnen, the Rune of Ending, which closes roads and is drawn on coffin lids.'

[The Dry Land, FS]

Related entries: Runes


See Ogion


See Aiman


Also known as: Aimal

Of the House of Morred, he married Queen Heru; their child was Maharion. Gave Heru the Ring of Erreth-Akbe, heirloom of his house, as a marriage gift

Sources: A Description of Earthsea, TfE


Titles: King of Earthsea

Ancient King of All the Isles, from Shelieth on Way. He moved the court from Berila on Enlad to Havnor City in around the year 150, and drove the Kargs into the east

Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS; The Finder, TfE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE


Eldest of the family of dyers on Lorbanery, mother of Sopli. An old grey-haired woman, with reddened eyes, ragged clothes, a dirty wrinkled face and muscular thin arms stained with dyes, she is driven mad by the loss of her powers so that she shouts her true name aloud; Ged renames her

'"She was a woman of power … no mere witch or potion-maker, but a woman of art and skill, using her craft for the making of the beautiful, a proud woman, and honourable. That was her life. And it is wasted."'

[Lorbanery, FS]


Fifteen-year-old girl, one of the Children of the Open Sea (raft people), described as pretty; married to Bluecrab

Sources: The Children of the Open Sea, FS


Magical transmutation of materials, usually into gold; apparently practised at the School of Wizardry on Roke, but no details are given

Sources: Orm Embar, FS


Also known as: Hara

Mender from Elini on the island of Taon; son of the witch Blackberry and an unknown father. Thin and slight, dressed in rusty black, with long hair loosely gathered at the nape, he's described as shy. He married Lily when he was around thirty and, after her death in childbirth, is troubled by persistent dreams of the dead. Seeking their meaning, he travels to Roke, Gont and Havnor

'Alder was a mender. He could rejoin. He could make whole. A broken tool, a knife blade or an axle snapped, a pottery bowl shattered: he could bring the fragments back together without joint or seam or weakness.'

[Mending the Green Pitcher, OW]

Alder of Semel

Cattleman in Purewells village near Oraby on the High Marsh of the island of Semel; relatively wealthy but tight-fisted. With his wife Tawny, he has several children

Sources: On the High Marsh, TfE


See Beer


See Retort


Inland village or town lying near an unnamed river in the southwest of Gont; upriver from Essary

Sources: Frontispiece map, T


Also known as: The Allernots

A group of three islets in the eastern North Reach, north of Ferrins and south of Komokome and Sort


River in the Western domain of Havnor island; it runs by Glade

Sources: Darkrose and Diamond, TfE


Male dragon, brother of Orm Irian; referred to by Lebannen as a chief among dragons

'…the dragon hovered, its long wings beating quick and short like a hovering hawk's. But these wings were fifty feet from tip to tip, and as they beat they made a sound like kettledrums or rattles of brass. As she came closer to it, a little curl of fire escaped from the dragon's long, long-toothed, open mouth.'

[The Dragon Council, OW]


Town in the South Reach with a market where slaves are sold

Sources: Magelight, FS


See Talismans


Also known as: Mount Andanden

Huge silent volcano with a broken cone on the island of Semel; land around it is black lava. Said to be 'a most sacred place to the dragons, where they came to drink fire from the earth in ancient days.'a

Sources: On the High Marsh, TfE; Palaces, OW (a)


A woodcutter in the Gontish tale, the story of Andaur and Avad, who cut down a great oak which cried out in a human voice

Sources: Finding Words, T


Medium-sized, hilly northern island, near Orandrad and the Andrades; it lies north of Gont. Exports include fleecefell

Sources: The Hawk's Flight, WoE; Hort Town, FS

'So he had … gone on and on, east by south, the hills of Oranéa faint to his right and the hills of Andrad fainter to his left, and before him only the sea…'

[The Hawk's Flight, WoE]


Group of small northern islands lying north of Andrad and south of the easterly islands of the North Reach; possibly also used to encompass the entire group, including Andrad and Orandrad. Exports include fine wine, fleecefell, and probably furs and ivories

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; Mice, T; Dragonfly, TfE


Also known as: Flag

In the Dark Years, bald emaciated female slave in the roaster tower of the Samory mines on Havnor. Comes from Woodedge village on Mount Onn; her mother is Ayo and her aunt Mead. She has a powerful but untrained gift of magery, linked with the Old Powers of the earth. Escapes with Medra, but soon dies of quicksilver poisoning. Judging from her relatives, before her enslavement, she was probably 'a short, slight, quick woman, with a round face and clear eyes, and a mass of dark hair, not straight like most people's hair, but curly, frizzy'a

Sources: The Finder, TfE (a)

'…thinking by his height he was a child, and then saw the small breasts. It was a woman. She was bald. Her joints were swollen knobs in her bone-thin limbs. … her thin body greyish and dark like the stones. Her chin and breasts were shiny with the spittle that ran from her mouth.'

[The Finder, TfE]


Much of the wildlife mentioned is familiar. Animal species common to our world and Earthsea include goats, sheep, mountain sheep, cattle, oxen, horses, donkeys, mules, pigs, cats, dogs, mice, woodmice, field mice, voles, rats, moles, rabbits, hares, squirrels, polecats, ferrets, deer, boars, bears, polar bears (called icebear), lions, tigers, foxes, badgers, lions, bats, grey whales, whales, dolphins, spotted seals, otters, toads, frogs, lizards, tortoises, snakes, adders, vipers, chickens, sparrows, finches, pigeons, doves, ravens, crows, carrion crows, jays, swallows, larks, hawks, goshawks, sparrowhawks, marsh hawks, kestrels, ospreys, eagles, grey eagles, falcons, pilgrim falcons, vultures, owls, swans, ducks, gulls, murres, black-headed terns, sandpipers, sea-geese, (wild) geese, albatross, pelicans, petrels, herons, cranes, octopi, sharks, herrings, sea bass, haddock, pannies, eels, minnows, carp, trout, crabs, mussels, oysters, clams, barnacles, snails, anemones, spiders, scorpions, mites, weevils, wasps, bumblebees, bees, hornets, butterflies, dragonflies, mayflies, flies, moths, cicadas, crickets, ants, gnats, midges, fleas, silkworms, tent caterpillars, maggots and worms. Ivory is mentioned, but it's unclear whether it derives from elephants or some other tusked animal.

Species unique to Earthsea include harrekki (tiny dragon), otak (small mammal), pellawi (furred mammal, see pellawi-fur), enderfalcon of Roke (fishing hawk), turbies (oily fish), and, of course, dragons.

Obviously, the geographical distribution of the various species differ, with some being confined to particular islands or regions. For example, pellawis seem to be limited to the northern islands, otaks are only found on four islands including Roke, harrekki are found on Iffish but not other islands, while horses are rare except on Havnor, Semel and Way. Selidor lacks animal and bird life


The last female descendant of the House of Hupun, stranded as a baby on a sand bar near Karego-At (later called Springwater Isle) on the orders of the father of the Godking reigning during The Tombs of Atuan. She gave the half Ring of Erreth-Akbe to Ged. Her brother is Ensar

Sources: Hunting, WoE; Voyage, ToA


Also known as: Forest of Aol

Forest of the island of Enlad. According to 'The Masters of Roke', in the east, though it's shown in the west in the map from Tales from Earthsea

Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS


Also known as: Hayohe

Young woman married to a merchant in Valmouth in the Middle Valley on Gont; daughter of Tenar and Flint; sister of Spark. As a baby she's plump and healthy, with wispy hair; as an adult, she's buxom with grey eyes; described as kind. At the time of The Other Wind, she has several children, the eldest of which is a daughter, Pippin

Sources: A Bad Thing, T; Bettering, T; Home, T; Dolphin, OW


See Education


Islet in the western East Reach, near Kopp and Rolameny


Also known as: River Ar

River on the island of Gont, arising near Ten Alders and flowing down the Northward Vale. Its mouth is called Armouth; several towns lie along its length, including Medu, Lotin, Chodur and Toss

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; Frontispiece map, T

'…the pools of the River Ar that like all Gontish rivers ran very quick and cold…'

[Warriors in the Mist, WoE]

Arcana of the Enlades

One of two lore-books belonging to Heleth and later Ogion; the other is the Glosses of Danemer. Heleth is said to have got his lore-books from Ennas of Perregal. One of these books contains the spell of summoning of the spirits of the dead which Ged later uses with disasterous consequences

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; The Bones of the Earth, TfE

'These books were very ancient, Ogion having them from his own master Heleth Farseer, and Heleth from his master the Mage of Perregal, and so back into the times of myth. Small and strange was the writing, overwritten and interlined by many hands, and all those hands were dust now.'

[The Shadow, WoE]


Archery is used for military purposes in the Archipelago; archers defend the New Palace in Havnor City and the Armed Cliffs of Gont Port, and a band of archers on the king's warships are suggested for combating dragons. However, the arrows used by villagers from Ten Alders on Gont to fight off a Kargish raiding party in around 1012 are said to come from hunting bows. Lebannen mentions archery among his courtly accomplishments as a youth in Enlad, whether for military or hunting purposes is not stated. Ogion is mentioned making a longbow on Gont, presumably for shooting game. Warriors of the Kargad Lands are not described as carrying bows

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; The Masters of Roke, FS; The Dolphin, T; The Dragon Council, OW

Related entries: Weapons


Also known as: Western Isles, Hardic lands

All islands of Earthsea outside the eastern Kargad Lands; sometimes the four Reaches are also excluded

'"…there are many islands. Four times forty, they say, in the Archipelago alone, and then there are the Reaches; no man has ever sailed all the Reaches, nor counted all the lands. And each is different from the others."'

[The Great Treasure, ToA]


Titles: Warden of Roke

The head of the School of Wizardry on Roke, and the most powerful mage in the Archipelago, as well as exerting considerable political influence. Chosen by the nine Masters of Roke on the death of the former holder. The first archmage was Halkel of Way in 730, some eighty years after the founding of the school; subsequent ones include Nemmerle, Gensher of Way and Ged. No new archmage is chosen after Ged loses his power and the kingship is revived

Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS; A Description of Earthsea, TfE

'Their master, the warden of Roke, the Archmage, is held to be accountable to no man at all, except the King of All the Isles: and that only by an act of fealty, by heart's gift, for not even a king could constrain so great a mage to serve the common law, if his will were otherwise. Yet even in the kingless centuries the Archmages of Roke kept fealty and served that common law.'

[The Masters of Roke, FS]


Witch or sorcereress of Gont who taught Heleth; herself taught on Perregal by Ennas of Perregal

'…his old witch-teacher with her bitter mouth and her long, lean arms…'

[The Bones of the Earth, TfE]


See Tenar


Also known as: Trees of the Grove

Trees found only in the Immanent Grove on Roke, particularly near its centre. Tall, long-lived, with brown trunks and oval leaves with a hint of gold, they're described as akin to oak or chestnut, with leaves like aspen or poplar. Arhada is Old Speech; they have no name in Hardic

Sources: Rejoining, OW

'"Their leaves don't all turn in autumn, but some at every season, so the foliage is always green with a gold light in it. Even on a dark day those trees seem to hold some sunlight. And in the night, it's never quite dark under them. There's a kind of glimmer in the leaves, like moonlight or starlight. … As you go deeper in, it's more and more only the trees of the Grove. And the roots of those go down deeper than the island. Some are huge trees, some slender, but you don't see many fallen, nor many saplings. They live a long, long time."'

[Rejoining, OW]


Small island in the Inmost Sea, adjacent to Ilien and part of that principality; described as rich with many cities, including Sesesry on the east coast. Ruled by the Lord of Ark

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; The Masters of Roke, FS; On the High Marsh, TfE

'…the two fair islands Ark and Ilien, towered and terraced with cities…'

[The Shadow, WoE]

Armed Cliffs

Also known as: Gates of the Port

Steep cliffed headlands on either side of a narrow channel at the mouth of the long narrow bay on which Gont Port stands; only 100 feet apart at the narrowest point. Bowmen are positioned in forts high on the cliffs. Ogion holds them apart when they are threatened by earthquake ten years before 'The Shadow' [WoE]

Sources: The Dolphin, T; The Bones of the Earth, TfE

'The ship was passing between the Armed Cliffs, towering grim walls that seemed to lean above the sails. Bowmen on guard in little forts like mud-swallows' nests high on the cliffs looked down at them on deck…'

[The Dolphin, T]


Archipelagan armour of the period of Maharion was of gilt bronze; little is known about later styles. The band of Kargish warriors who attack Ten Alders wear heavy defensive gear including bronze helmets and greaves, breast-plates of heavy leather and shields of wood and bronze. The Godking's soldiers are distinguished by red-plumed helmets. Court dress for Kargish warriors during the time of the High King is silver mesh armour interwoven with feathers, with plumed headdresses

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; Selidor, FS; Palaces, OW; The Dragon Council, OW


Coastal area at the mouth of the river Ar in Northward Vale in the east of Gont; in some sources, also a town or village. Hundreds of Kargish invaders were massacred on the beaches here in around 1012

'Farther down the Northward Vale those warriors got their fill of fighting. The towns of the East Forest, from Ovark to the coast, had gathered their men and sent them against the invaders of Gont. Band after band they came down from the hills, and that day and the next the Kargs were harried back down to the beaches above East Port, where they found their ships burnt; so they fought with their backs to the sea till every man of them was killed, and the sands of Armouth were brown with blood until the tide came in.'

[Warriors in the Mist, WoE]


See Lebannen


See Lebannen


Small island in the southerly end of the West Reach, near Near Kaltuel and west of Ensmer

Arrow, the

See Heart of the Swan


See Decorative arts

Art magic

The greatest arts of magic: changing, naming, summoning and patterning. A subset of the high arts, art magic was practised only by (male) wizards after Archmage Halkel's decree of 730

Sources: A Description of Earthsea, TfE


Also known as: Erisen

Young Roke-trained wizard employed by the Lord of Re Albi; he came to Re Albi three years before the events of Tehanu. Described as handsome and tall, he lives in the Re Albi mansion house and bears a silvery pinewood staff. A follower of the necromancer Cob, he uses Cob's arts to keep alive the old Lord of Re Albi, and is killed by Kalessin

Sources: Ogion, T; Finding Words, T; The Master, T; Tehanu, T

'She had thought him, on the morning of Ogion's death, to be a young man, a tall, handsome youth with a grey cloak and a silvery staff. He did not look as young as she had thought him, or he was young but somehow dried and withered.'

[Finding Words, T]


Also known as: Lastland

Small seldom-visited isle, in the East Reach, near Kornay and Gosk; the most easterly of all the islands. Its single port lies in the north, on a creek mouth between rocky hills; its inhabitants live in wattle huts, facing north or west towards the rest of Earthsea. The people are wary and ignorant of much about the Archipelago beyond the East Reach; they have no wood and nothing to trade, use tools of stone or shell, weave coracles of reeds (which aren't strong enough to reach the neighbouring islands), and burn goat-dung and broom-faggots for fuel. Ruled by an Isle-Man or chief

'…an isle of pinnacled cliffs above which the sea-gulls wheeled in huge flocks whose mewing clamour could be heard from far over the sea.'

[The Open Sea, WoE]


Great mage-scholar of ancient times. Compiled the Book of Names and presumably invented the Pendulum of Ath. Lived at one time at Ath's House on the island of Pody, before going into the west via Pendor to fight the great dragon Orm, in which confrontation he died -- according to the legends of Paln, on the island of Ontuego

Sources: The Finder, TfE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Palaces, OW; Dolphin, OW

'"That---so we say on Paln---is the very question Ath asked Orm a thousand years ago, in the ruins of Ontuego. 'Can a dragon lie?' the mage asked. And Orm replied, 'No,' and then breathed on him, burning him to ashes… But are we to believe the story, since it was only Orm who could have told it?"'

[Dolphin, OW]

Ath's House

Old two-storey, stone house with a courtyard at the end of a lane in Telio on Pody, in which the mage Ath once stayed; originally a handsome house with high-ceilinged, elegant rooms, it was very dilapidated at the time of 'The Finder' [TfE]

Sources: The Finder, TfE


Small island off Hur-at-Hur in the Kargad Lands. Ruled by the Godking from Karego-At until it is conquered by the Hur-at-Hur warlord Thol, around ten years after the restoration of the Archipelagan monarchy

Sources: Palaces, OW


Also known as: Holy Land

Island of the Kargad Lands, west of Karego-At; location of the Tombs of Atuan. Major cities are Tenacbah and Gar; other towns include Entat (and possibly Ossawa); other features include the Western Mountains and Cloud Cape. An island of contrasts: relatively fertile hill country lies in the north, and lowland plains with grassland, farms & pine forests lie on the west coast; however, the interior is desert, and barren plains are found in the east

Sources: The Wall around the Place, ToA; The Western Mountains, ToA


Titles: Twin God, God-Brother

One of the Twin Gods, Warrior Gods of the Kargad Lands; said to be sons of the Old Powers of the Earth. Brother of Wuluah

Sources: The Wall around the Place, ToA; Rejoining, OW


See Lips of Paor


Character in the Gontish tale, the story of Andaur and Avad, about a woodcutter, Andaur, who cut down a great oak which cried out in a human voice

Sources: Finding Words, T


Titles: the Sacred City, the Holy City

City on Karego-At, fifty miles from Hupun. Originally the centre of the worship of the Twin Gods. After the rise of the Priest-Kings in around 440, capital of the Kargad Lands, and eventually seat of the Godking

Sources: The Wall around the Place, ToA; A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Palaces, OW


Also known as: Sunbright

Petty sorcerer who works as an animal curer on the island of Semel; comes from the south coast

'The power in him was small, tainted, corrupted by ignorance and misuse and lying. But the jealousy was in him like a stinging fire.'

[On the High Marsh, TfE]


In the Dark Years, lives in Woodedge village on Havnor isle; one of the women of the Hand; a short woman with dark frizzy hair, she is described as a wise woman; very poor but generous. Mother of Anieb and sister of Mead

'Ayo and Mead were much alike, and Otter saw in them what Anieb might have been: a short, slight, quick woman, with a round face and clear eyes, and a mass of dark hair, not straight like most people's hair, but curly, frizzy.'

[The Finder, TfE]


Titles: Master Patterner, Azver the Patterner, Lord Patterner, Master of the Grove, Lord Azver

Master Patterner at the School of Wizardry on Roke during The Farthest Shore, 'Dragonfly' & The Other Wind; he comes from Karego-At (the only Karg ever to come to the School). Described as between thirty and forty in 'Dragonfly', tall and slight, with a hard face and 'pale reddish skin, long pale hair, and narrow eyes the colour of ice'a; he is quiet, smiles rarely, and is said to have a hint of fierceness. Ged describes him: '"He's not a gentle man, but he is to be trusted."'b His speech is said to be 'strange, stiff and somehow deformed … harsh, quick, dry, peaceable.'a His Kargish name means 'banner of war'; he learned his true name as an adult from the trees of the Immanent Grove. His wizard's staff is of willow

Sources: The Rowan Tree, FS; Dragonfly, TfE (a); Mending of the Green Pitcher, OW (b)

'…the Master Patterner, who lived within the Grove and seldom or never came forth from it. His hair was yellow as butter; he was no Archipelagan. … Such had been the Master Patterner ten years ago, a sword-begirt, red-plumed young savage from Karego-At… a tall man and fair, with long fair hair, and strange green eyes…'

[The Rowan Tree, FS]



WoEA Wizard of Earthsea
ToAThe Tombs of Atuan
FSThe Farthest Shore
OWThe Other Wind
W12QThe Wind's Twelve Quarters
TfETales from Earthsea

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