A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea
Now showing glossary items starting M
A bright magical light conjured by wizards and often associated with powerful magic. Unlike the weaker werelight, the light appears to emanate from the wizard himself, as well as his staff. Examples include Ogion banishing the shadow and Ged rescuing Lebannen from slavers
Sources: The Shadow, WoE; Magelight, FS
'The fog grew bright, as if a light were blooming in it. … Alone on the port side stood a man, and it was from him that the light came, from the face, and hands, and staff that burned like molten silver.'
Undefined term referring to particularly powerful or wise wizards. Some examples include Morred, Ath, Erreth-Akbe, Ogion, the Archmage and the Masters of Roke
Sources: A Description of Earthsea, TfE
'Highdrake's mastery of spells and sorcery was not much greater than his pupil's, but he had clear in his mind the idea of something much greater, the wholeness of knowledge. And that made him a mage.'
[The Finder, TfE]
Also known as: Witchwind
Magical wind raised by wizards and weatherworkers to allow boats to travel against the natural wind or when becalmed. Such winds could also be used as weapons, for example, to sink rival ships, as was common during the Dark Years
Sources: The Finder, TfE
Also known as: Wizardry, Magery
Magic encompasses a wide range of disciplines from chanting and the use of herbs, to illusions and true magic involving the changing of matter or the summoning of energies, such as light or heat. The various disciplines are finding, mending, weatherworking, changing, healing, summoning, patterning, naming, illusion and chanting, the knowledge of the songs; these were divided by Halkel into high arts (including the art magic) and base crafts (witchcraft). The earliest mages are said to be the Rune Makers, a thousand years before the first kings of Enlad (around 2250 years before the Earthsea cycle). Most lore originates in Roke, Paln, the Enlades, Ea and Soléa, the ancient regions where magic was practised.
Magic is linked with the Old Speech, in which all spells are made, and with True Runes. Many spells also require hand gestures or body movements, such as stretching out the arms in invocation which opens all the greater spells; these are annotated in lore-books: 'the markings of how the spell must be woven with the sound of the voice and the motion of body and hand.'a
True wizards and mages use magic only at need, with consideration for the effects on the Equilibrium or Balance. Magic is also limited in extent by the need to name precisely all the objects affected: 'The sea's name is inien, well and good. But what we call the Inmost Sea has its own name also in the Old Speech. Since no thing can have two true names, inien can mean only "all the sea except the Inmost Sea." And of course it does not mean even that, for there are seas and bays and straits beyond counting that bear names of their own. So if some Mage-Seamaster were mad enough to try to lay a spell of storm or calm over all the ocean, his spell must say not only that word inien, but the name of every stretch and bit and part of the sea through all the Archipelago and all the Outer Reaches and beyond to where names cease. Thus, that which gives us the power to work magic, sets the limits of that power. A mage can control only what is near him, what he can name exactly and wholly.'b A wizard's power seems to be channelled to some extent by the wooden wizard's staff, which is the badge of all true wizards.
Magic is almost universally practised in the Archipelago and the Reaches, with all villages having their witches, and all towns and islands their wizards, sorcerers and weatherworkers. It's said to be the oldest of the arts of man. The everyday uses of magic here are too many to list: healing humans and animals, warding off evil and ensuring safety, purifying water in wells, controlling the weather for crops, making flocks, herds and crops increase, conjuring fair winds for safe and swift travel amongst the islands, as well as for sheer entertainment
Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE (b); The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE (a); The Finder, TfE; Darkrose and Diamond, TfE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Rejoining, OW
'…the uses of magic are as needful to their people as bread and as delightful as music…'
[The Masters of Roke, FS]
Room in the south tower of the Roke School of Wizardry crammed with equipment for alchemy, glass-blowing, metal refining and healing
'…a magicians' workroom cluttered with retorts and alembics and great-bellied, crook-necked bottles, thick-walled furnaces and tiny heating-lamps, tongs, bellows, stands, pliers, pipes, a thousand boxes and vials and stoppered jugs marked with Hardic or more secret runes, and all such paraphernalia of alchemy, glass-blowing, metal-refining, and the arts of healing…'
[Orm Embar, FS]
Titles: King of Earthsea, the Last King, Maharion the Brave
Last King of All the Isles at Havnor, he ruled from 430-452 (ie around 600 years ago; in other sources, 800 years ago). Son of Queen Heru and Aiman. His mage and counsellor was Erreth-Akbe, described as his heart's brother; they spent ten years together fighting the Kargs before defeating them decisively at Waymarsh. Maharion also fought in four campaigns against dragons in the west. With Heru, undertook a building programme in Havnor City, including the three towers of the New Palace. Died in battle with the rebellious lord Gehis of the Havens. He seems to have left no children; after his death, no clear claimant to the throne emerged and the kingdom fell into the Dark Years. Maharion predicted that the next king would have 'crossed the dark land living and come to the far shores of the day'a, which was widely interpreted to mean he would be a wizard or mage
Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS (a); A Description of Earthsea, TfE
Also known as: Creation
Creation of Earthsea by Segoy, whose First Word balanced dark and light, raised the islands from the depths of Time, and established the lands amidst the seas; recounted in the Creation of Éa. A similar creation myth appears to be remembered by all peoples of Earthsea, including those of the Kargad Lands & the Children of the Open Sea. In a wider sense, the Master Doorkeeper of Roke identifies the Making both with dragons and with the Archipelagan magical arts; Language of the Making is a name for the Old Speech
Sources: Orm Embar, FS; Going to the Falcon's Nest, T; Home, T; Rejoining, OW
'Then from the foam bright Éa broke.'
[A Description of Earthsea, TfE]
Titles: Warden, Warden of the Place of the Tombs
Old eunuch in the service of the Nameless Ones, one of ten Wardens of the Place of the Tombs on Atuan. Born in the hill country north of Gar on Atuan. Guardian of Arha (Tenar) as a child, and bears a dog-like fidelity towards her. Plays the game sticks and counters with Duby, a eunuch serving the Godking; the two may be friends. Described as large, bald, with a strange ugly face, big hands and a husky voice; he appears to be very strong. He is killed by Ged in the Labyrinth
Sources: The Eaten One, ToA; Dreams and Tales, ToA; The Anger of the Dark, ToA
'…a strange head, hairless as a peeled potato, and of the same yellowish colour. The eyes were like potato-eyes, brown and tiny. The nose was dwarfed by great, flat slabs of cheek, and the mouth was a lipless slit.'
[The Eaten One, ToA]
Also known as: Charts
Maps and sea or sailing charts are referred to on various islands, including Roke, Enlad, Havnor, Ark and Paln, for navigational and teaching purposes. As compasses are used for navigation, they are probably usually oriented according to compass north. Star charts may also exist, as stars are commonly used in navigation. An eighth-century teaching map of the Inner Lands of the Archipelago from Ark is depicted in Tales; roughly to scale and oriented with north at the top, it bears no scale or compass bearing, nor text of any kind, and mountains and towns are marked only pictorially. The Isolate Tower of Roke houses many maps and charts, mainly of the Archipelago and the inner seas rather than the Reaches. The Hall of Berila on Enlad has maps dating from the time of the old kings, and a mosaic work map decorates two walls of the throne room. Maps are stored in the treasuries of Havnor. The Dolphin carries a chart of the Inmost Sea tacked on a board beside the steersman.
No Kargish maps are mentioned, and none appear to exist for the Labyrinth of the Tombs of Atuan. In passing on the directions, Thar 'would never draw them in the dust or even with the gesture of a hand in the air'a, suggesting that maps, like writing, might be prohibited in the Kargad Lands
Sources: Hunting, WoE; Dreams and Tales, ToA (a); Selidor, FS; Bettering, T; Frontispiece, TfE; Dolphin, OW
Marriage appears to be a universal custom in Earthsea. Polygamy is practised by the Godking of Kargad and by the Children of the Open Sea (raft people), but not in the main Archipelago. Marriages appear to be exclusively male--female, although informal witch marriage between two witches is relatively common. With some exceptions, at the time described in the Earthsea series, wizards and mages usually keep celibate and do not marry; sorcerers and witches do sometimes form marriages. The raft people are judged to marry very young at fifteen to seventeen, suggesting that elsewhere marriage is normal rather later (despite the fact that adulthood is attained at thirteen in the Archipelago and fourteen on Atuan). Customs and rituals associated with marriage are little explained. Lebannen & Seserakh are betrothed an unspecified period prior to their wedding in a ceremony in the throne room of the New Palace, in which the future bride is given the Ring of Erreth-Akbe. Arranged marriages among the middle-classes are mentioned on Taon, and are the norm for noblewomen on Hur-at-Hur. In the Archipelago, a harpist is mentioned as playing for a wedding, and noble weddings involve dancing. In the Kargad Lands, a returned bride is considered dishonoured and may even be killed
Sources: The Ring of Erreth-Akbe, ToA; The Children of the Open Sea, FS; A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW; Palaces, OW; Rejoining, OW
Also known as: Changer
One of the nine Masters of Roke, he teaches spells of Shaping and Change.
In The Farthest Shore & 'Dragonfly', he is grey-haired, stocky, fairly short, gentle, kindly man from eastern Enlad; by The Other Wind he's very frail, using his wizard's staff as a walking stick
Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; The Masters of Roke, FS; Dragonfly, TfE; Rejoining, OW
Also known as: Chanter
One of the nine Masters of Roke, he teaches the Deeds of heroes and the Lays of wisdom.
In The Farthest Shore, he's a Havnorian and a monarchist, described as 'deep-chested, solid as an oaken cask, he sat by the fire, and the voice came from him soft and true as the note of a great bell.'a
Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; The Masters of Roke, FS (a)
Also known as: Doorkeeper
One of the nine Masters of Roke, he guards the doors of the Great House, allowing entry as student only to those with skill or power in magic who will give their true name; he is therefore one of the few who know Ged's true name. To leave the Great House, one must speak his name.
The inventor of the office and its first incumbent was Medra. The same man may hold the office in the period of over 50 years from A Wizard of Earthsea to The Other Wind, without apparent ageing. He has a smooth ivory or yellow-brown face, almond-shaped eyes, a quiet, pleasant voice, and is described: 'A little man of no age… Young he was not, so that one had to call him old but the word did not suit him. His face was dry, and coloured like ivory, and he had a pleasant smile that made long curves in his cheeks.'a He bears a light staff of greyish wood.
It may or may not be coincidental that 'Doorkeeper' is a name for Segoy in the Creation of Éa
Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; The Rowan Tree, FS (a); The Finder, TfE; Dragonfly, TfE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE
'"I'll keep the door," Medra said. "Being lame, I won't go far from it. Being old, I'll know what to say to those who come. Being a finder, I'll find out if they belong here." … "I'll ask them their name," Medra said. He smiled. "If they tell me, they can come in. And when they think they've learned everything, they can go out again. If they can tell me my name."'
[The Finder, TfE]
Also known as: Finder
One of the nine Masters of Roke when the School of Wizardry was first founded, teacher of spells of finding, binding and returning. The first holder of the office was Medra. In 730, the office of Finder was abolished by the first Archmage, Halkel of Way, to be replaced by the Master Chanter
Sources: The Finder, TfE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE
Also known as: Hand
One of the nine Masters of Roke, he teaches sleight of hand, juggling and the lesser arts of Changing, including spells of illusion.
The first Master Hand was the sorcerer Hega of O. In A Wizard of Earthsea, he's described as 'a gentle and light-hearted old man'a. In The Farthest Shore, he's 'a slight, quick man, modest of bearing but with clear and seeing eyes'b; 'Dragonfly' describes him as wearing a red tunic
Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE (a); The Masters of Roke, FS (b); The Finder, TfE
Also known as: Herbal
Titles: Lord Healer
One of the nine Masters of Roke, he teaches the ways and properties of things that grow, and also healing.
The first Master Herbal was the young woman Dory of Pody. In Tales from Earthsea & The Other Wind, he's named Deyala
Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE
Also known as: Kurremkarmerruk, Namer
One of the nine Masters of Roke, he lives in the Isolate Tower and teaches the names of things in the Old Speech. One of the few who knows Ged's true name. The Namer is always called Kurremkarmerruk, a name with no meaning in any language.
The first Namer may have been the book collector, Crow. In The Farthest Shore he is described as 'a big, thin, old man, white-haired under his dark hood'a; 'Dragonfly' adds that he's 'rawboned, and crag-faced'b. In The Other Wind, he's around forty, with a calm, closed face and a level, toneless voice
Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; The Rowan Tree; FS (a); Dragonfly, TfE (b); Rejoining, OW
Master of Iria
Also known as: Master of Old Iria, Iria, Master of
Descendent of the Masters of all of the domain of Iria of the island of Way; at the time of 'Dragonfly' [TfE], the domain has been divided and impoverished by law suits. A bad-tempered drunkard, described as intransigent, he inhabits the ruined mansion of Old Iria. A widower, whose deceased wife came from a western island; father of Irian
'Once the Masterof Iria said he would or would not allow a thing, he never changed his mind, priding himself on his intransigence, since in his view only weak men said a thing and then unsaid it.'
Master of Old Iria
See Master of Iria
Also known as: Patterner
Titles: Lord Patterner, Master of the Grove
One of the nine Masters of Roke, he lives in the Immanent Grove; what is taught there is not spoken about outside the Grove.
The first Patterner was Elehal. Nemmerle was the Patterner before he was chosen as Archmage. In The Farthest Shore, 'Dragonfly' & The Other Wind he is named Azver, and he hails from Karego-At
Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE
Also known as: Summoner
One of the nine Masters of Roke, he teaches the summoning of spirits, energies and forces.
The first Summoner was 'a grey-haired mage from Ilien'a. In A Wizard of Earthsea, he's described as 'a stern man, aged and hardened by the deep and sombre wizardry he taught.'b In The Farthest Shore & 'Dragonfly', he is a tall young man named Thorion. In The Other Wind, he is a big, deep-chested man named Brand
Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE (b); The Finder, TfE (a)
Also known as: Windkey
One of the nine Masters of Roke, he teaches weatherworking, the arts of wind and weather, and governs the weather on Roke.
In Tehanu, he is described as 'an elderly, lean, narrow-eyed man'a. In The Other Wind he's a young man named Gamble
Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; The Dolphin, T (a); Rejoining, OW
Masters of Roke
Also known as: Roke, Masters of
Titles: The Nine
Nine mages who, with the Archmage, govern the School of Wizardry on Roke and teach those who come there: Master Changer, Master Patterner, Master Summoner, Master Namer, Master Chanter, Master Hand, Master Windkey, Master Herbal and Master Doorkeeper. They are considered equivalent in status to the princes of the Archipelago. The formal meeting of the nine Masters is sometimes called the Council of the Wise; among their responsibilities is the selection of the new Archmage. At the founding of the school (in 650), the Chanter did not form part of the nine, being replaced by the Master Finder. In 730, the office of Finder was abolished by the first Archmage, Halkel of Way, who established the office of Chanter to replace it. At the time of founding and for the first eighty years, the masters included women, but Archmage Halkel excluded women both from becoming masters and also from the school
Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS; The Dolphin, T; A Description of Earthsea, TfE
Further information on Masters of Roke
Steel and iron are commonly used for implements on the wealthy central islands. Metals are scarce in the Kargad Lands; Kargish soldiers use weapons and armour of bronze, wood and leather, though court armour at the time of the High King is silver mesh. Despite the scarcity of metal, many iron objects (including chains, chests, bolts, keys, a key ring and an iron door) are mentioned at the Place of the Tombs on Atuan, as well as a dagger and ceremonial sword of steel. Many islands in the Reaches, such as the Hands and Obehol, use bronze, copper, wood or stone implements. On the island of Astowell, in the far east, there is no wood, and tools of stone and shell are used, while the ocean-dwelling Children of the Open Sea (raft people) make their implements from whalebone, wood and nilgu (seaweed).
Containers are commonly made of pottery (eg jade-green pitcher, handle-less clay cups, clay bottle & pottery teapot on Gont) or rushwork/wicker. Bronze, brass and copper containers are also mentioned, on Atuan and elsewhere (eg bronze trays for burning herbs and a brass basin for sacrificial blood on Atuan; copper cauldrons in the kitchens at the Roke School of Wizardry; brass vases of perfume in Hort Town; bronze & brass vessels in Vetch's house on Iffish). Glass containers are mentioned occasionally (eg Ged drinks wine from squat cups of thick greenish glass on Gont; Lebannen offers wine in heavy glass goblets aboard the Dolphin and in crystal goblets in the New Palace; Mr Underhill entertains with crystal tableware on Sattins island); windows are glazed at least in wealthier houses; there is a glass lamp in the king's cabin on the Dolphin. A stone jug is mentioned on Atuan. The New Palace has an alabaster lamp.
Gold is used as high-value currency, occasionally for jewellery (eg Lebannen wears a light gold chain; the pirate Egre wears a gold-studded leather collar; Seserakh wears gold rings) and decoration (eg Lebannen's sword sheath has gold inlay); other uses mentioned include gold plates & goblets and a gold key at the Court of the Terrenon (Osskil), a gold-weighted state robe worn by Lebannen, gold breastplates in the hoard on Pendor, the gold roof of the Temple of the God-brothers, assorted treasure at the Tombs of Atuan and the gold covering which once sheathed Morred's High Seat. Silver is used as currency, very commonly for jewellery (eg sorcerers at Roke wear silver cloak clasps; Serret wears a silver net in her hair; Ged wears a silver chain bearing the half Ring of Erreth-Akbe on Atuan, and the ring itself is silver, Lebannen buys a silver brooch for his mother in Thwil) and for decoration (eg the New Palace on Havnor has a table inlaid with silver and ivory); other uses include silver keys (Court of the Terrenon and the Tombs of Atuan), silver-mesh Kargish court armour, a silver tray aboard the Dolphin, silver tableware on Sattins, silver trumpets at the Havnor New Palace, and Sege's silver-tipped staff. Various precious and semi-precious stones are mentioned for jewellery and other decorative uses (eg opals in the Lady of O's hair; seed pearls on Anthil's dress; a dress embroidered with amethysts and topaz in the Atuan treasury; emeralds in the hoard on Pendor; Tosla's ruby earring). Ivory is used for currency, ornaments and toys (eg a carved dolphin in ivory or bone given to Tehanu; ivory dice-sticks), decoration (Yarrow's tapestry-loom on Iffish has an ivory inlay), decorative furniture (eg painted ivory tables and an ivory footstool at the Tombs of Atuan); the back door of the Great House of Roke is fashioned of ivory and horn. Bone figures are mentioned as toys on Gont
Related entries: Building materials
See Accounting & mathematics
Matter of the Dragons
Book held on Roke, containing lore about dragons. It includes the tale of an ancient dragonlord who had come under the sway of one of the Old Powers in the form of a speaking stone in a far northern land; probably a reference to the Stone of Terrenon
Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE
Related entries: Books
Various towns and districts are governed by a mayor, including Sosara on Lorbanery and Valmouth on Gont
Sources: Lorbanery, FS; Home, T
Related entries: Government
Mayor of Sosara
Also known as: Sosara, Mayor of
Mayor of the village of Sosara on the island of Lorbanery; described as short with a hard, brown face
'… a short man with a face as hard and brown as the soles of his bare feet.'
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. Aunt of Anieb and sister of Ayo
'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]
Priestess in the Temple of the Godking; a young dark woman whose passion in life is fishing
Sources: The Wall around the Place, ToA
Also known as: Otter, Tern
Titles: the Child Taker, Master Finder, Master Doorkeeper
A finder and a seeker. Born at Havnor City in the Dark Years, son of a boatwright and a farm woman Rose of Endlane; one elder sister. He lived at Boatwright Street and first worked as a shipbuilder. Taken as a slave as a young man by the warlord Losen, and used to find underground ore at the mines of Samory by Mount Onn, he escapes with Anieb, after killing the mage Gelluk, and encounters the women of the Hand at Woodedge on Havnor. Travels for ten years in search of Morred's Isle, studying for three years with the mage Highdrake on the Isle of Pendor. One of the founders of the School of Wizardry on Roke (around 650), he first lives in a small house by the harbour and Net House in Thwil and also works as a boat-builder; later he lives in a small house near Thwilburn and the Immanent Grove (later called the Otter's House) with Elehal, his lover. He brings the lost Book of Names to Roke, and is the first Master Finder and later also the first Master Doorkeeper. Described as short, slight, brown and pretty, he is lame in his right leg in later life after confronting the mage Early
'The first sign of Otter's gift, when he was two or three years old, was his ability to go straight to anything lost, a dropped nail, a mislaid tool, as soon as he understood the word for it. And as a boy one of his dearest pleasures had been to go alone out into the countryside and wander along the lanes or over the hills, feeling through the soles of his bare feet and throughout his body the veins of water underground, the lodes and knots of ore, the lay and interfolding of the kinds of rock and earth. It was as if he walked in a great building, seeing its passages and rooms, the descents into airy caverns, the glimmer of branched silver in the walls; and as he want on, it was as if his body became the body of the earth, and he knew its arteries and organs and muscles as his own.'
[The Finder, TfE]
Inland village or town by the river Ar in the east of Gont; near Ten Alders, Chodur and Lotin
Sources: Frontispiece map, T
Mending encompasses restoring shattered pottery or glass, broken tools, stockings with holes, frayed ropes and dried-up wine barrels. A really gifted mender, such as Lily, might knit together broken bones. One of the base crafts of magic, practised by witches, sorcerers and specialised menders, such as Alder
Sources: A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW
'…he watched Alder's hands. Slender, strong, deft, unhurried, they cradled the shape of the pitcher, stroking and fitting and settling the pieces of pottery, urging and caressing, the thumbs coaxing and guiding the smaller fragments into place, reuniting them, reassuring them. While he worked he murmured a two-word, tuneless chant. They were words of the Old Speech. … His hands separated from the pitcher, opening out from it like the sheath of a flower opening. It stood on the oak table, whole.'
[Mending the Green Pitcher, OW]
Principal city of the island of Taon
Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW
Major town on the island of Hur-at-Hur, located in the interior
Sources: Frontispiece map, TfE
Like mining, metal refining uses a higher level of technology than many other crafts in pre-industrial Earthsea. In the Samory mines on Havnor in the Dark Years, quicksilver (mercury) refining is performed in a roaster tower by heating ore over a wood fire and in ovens, with multiple rounds of condensation; the work is done by slaves whose life expectancy is said to be only a year or two. Magic may also be used in metal refining; furnaces are found in the magicians' workroom of the Roke School of Wizardry, and metal refining is listed among the arts practised there
Sources: Orm Embar, FS; The Finder, TfE
'The roasting pit took up the center of a huge domed chamber. Hurrying, sticklike figures black against the blaze shoveled and reshoveled ore onto logs kept in a roaring blaze by great bellows, while others brought fresh logs and worked the bellows sleeves. From the apex of the dome a spiral of chambers rose up into the tower through smoke and fumes. In these chambers, Licky had told him, the vapor of the quicksilver was trapped and condensed, reheated and recondensed, till in the topmost vault the pure metal ran down into a stone trough or bowl…'
[The Finder, TfE]
Related entries: Mining; Industry
Metama, Lord of
See Lord of Metama on Ark
Used for rubbish disposal on Gont
Sources: Kalessin, T
Lowland farming valley of the river Kaheda in the south of Gont. Its major town is the harbour Valmouth; other towns or villages include Lissu at the head of the valley, Kahedanan and Oak Village. As in other parts of southern Gont, herding cattle, goats and sheep is a major livelihood here
Sources: Frontispiece map, T; A Bad Thing, T; Mice, T; The Dolphin, T
'She pointed past the town, inland, where Middle Valley lay broad and sunlit between two arms of the mountain, like a lap. … "It's a pretty corner of your kingdom."'
[The Dolphin, T]
Care of pregnant women and animals, and supervision of birth, are the province of witches; some specialise in the art and are called midwives. Midwifery involves the use of spells and herbs
Sources: The Finder, TfE; The Mending of the Green Pitcher, OW
Related entries: Healing
Titles: the Orcharder
Former sorcerer or weatherworker on Lorbanery, he died five years before the events of The Farthest Shore
Sources: Lorbanery, FS
Unit of distance used in Earthsea; as with other imperial measures, presumably silently translated from the actual unit
Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; The Wall around the Place, ToA
Lane probably in Oak Village in Middle Valley on Gont
Sources: Home, T
Mining of ores and metals is traditionally done by women. Unusually for pre-industrial Earthsea, mining sometimes involves some use of machinery: 'rusty wheels and machines by a pit'a are mentioned at the mines at Samory on Havnor, though shovelling into buckets appears to be the main method by which ore is extracted
Sources: The Finder, TfE (a)
'Because they were smaller than men and could move more easily in narrow places, or because they were at home with the earth, or most likely because it was the custom, women had always worked the mines of Earthsea. These miners were free women, not slaves like the workers in the roaster tower. … Licky… did no work in the mine; the miners forbade it, earnestly believing it was the worst of bad luck for a man to pick up a shovel or shore a timber.'
[The Finder, TfE]
Related entries: Metal refining; Industry
A female market trader in Hort Town wears a feathered headress adorned with many tiny mirrors, presumably of glass. A small mirror of polished brass is mentioned as part of a peddlar's wares, and the surface of water is also described as a mirror
Sources: Hort Town, FS; The Finder, TfE
Little port town of Vemish in the East Reach
Sources: Iffish, WoE
Islet south of Sowl, near Set and Dunnel, at the northeastern edge of the South Reach
A summer festival, held on the shortest night with the full moon of the year, celebrated with flutes, drums and song. Coincides with the Long Dance once every 52 years
'All the first night, the shortest night of full moon of the year, flutes played out in the fields, and the narrow streets of Thwil were full of drums and torches, and the sound of singing went out over the moonlit waters of Roke Bay.'
[The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE]
Also known as: Mage-King, White Enchanter, the Young King, Morred the White
Titles: King of Earthsea
Ancient mage and King of All the Isles; his court was at Berila on Enlad. The year of his ascension was counted as year 1 in the Hardic calendar. Husband of Elfarran the Fair, to whom he gave the arm ring later known as the Ring of Erreth-Akbe, and father of Serriadh. Said to have seen his enemy's name written by falling raindrops in the dust of the Enlad battlefield. Died over a thousand years ago, fighting the Enemy of Morred, as told in the Deed of the Young King (or the Deed of Morred), with the ruin of Enlad and the engulfment of Soléa. His line, the House of Enlad, continues in the princes of Enlad
Sources: The Open Sea, WoE; The Masters of Roke, FS; Hort Town, FS; A Description of Earthsea, TfE
Morred's High Seat
Also known as: Throne of the kingdom
Throne of the King of All the Isles. During Lebannen's reign, a high-backed wooden chair on a dias at one end of the throne room in the New Palace of Havnor City, bearing on its back a carving of a flying heron with a twig of rowan in its beak. Described as gold and crimson before Lebannen restored it
Sources: Bettering, T; The Dragon Council, OW
'…the throne of the kingdom had stood at the end of the long room: a wooden chair, high-backed, on a plain dais. It had once been sheathed in gold. That was long gone; the small golden nails had left rents in the wood where they had been torn out. Its silken cushions and hangings had been stolen or destroyed by moth and mouse and mold. Nothing showed it to be what it was but the place in which it stood and a shallow carving on the back, a heron flying with a twig of rowan in its beak. That was the crest of the House of Enlad. … Lebannen had it cleaned, the decayed wood repaired and replaced, oiled and burnished back to dark satin, but left it unpainted, ungilt, bare.'
[The Dragon Council, OW]
In the Dark Years, island south of Havnor believed by the scattered women of the Hand to be a place where just rule was maintained and the old arts of magic were practised and taught. Medra identified Morred's Isle as Roke, though it is 'both less and more than the hope and rumor he had sought for so long.'a
Sources: The Finder, TfE (a)
'"They say … that there's an island where the rule of justice is kept as it was under the Kings. Morred's Isle, they call it. … There they say the women of the Hand have kept the old arts. And they teach them, not keeping them secret each to himself, as the wizards do."'
[The Finder, TfE]
Also known as: Hatha
Titles: Aunty Moss
Witch of Re Albi on Gont; she lives in a large hut in a dell some way from the village with the simpleton Heather and an assortment of animals. In Tehanu, she has greying black hair, no teeth, thin lips and a large wart on her cheek; she's unwashed and odiferous. By the time of The Other Wind, she's very elderly, has only one good hand, and seems to communicate in gestures. Described as very kind, but also sly and unpredictable
Sources: Ogion, T; Kalessin, T; Tehanu, T; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW
'Aunty Moss was a dour creature, unmarried, like most witches, and unwashed, with greying hair tied in curious charm-knots, and eyes red-rimmed from herb smoke.'
'An old woman sat in a cushioned chair near the doorway where she could look out into the sunlight. Feathers stuck out of her wispy white hair. A speckled hen was settled in her lap. She smiled at Sparrowhawk with enchanting sweetness and nodded politely to the visitor.'
[Ogion, T/Mending the Green Pitcher, OW]
In the Dark Years, weatherworker from the Roke School of Wizardry who travels as a boy of fifteen with Medra
Sources: The Finder, TfE
Knowledge of the Old Powers of the Earth; retained by the peoples of the Kargad Lands and on Paln, but rejected by the Archipelagans and in particular by the Roke tradition of wizardry
'We would trust to Segoy, to the powers of the Earth our mother, mother of the Warrior Gods.'
Also known as: Onn, Mount
High mountain on Havnor, geographical centre of the Archipelago. Its lower slopes are farmed; the mountain village of Woodedge lies on them. Described as having long ridges and a domed summit
'Sky and earth were all one grey, but before them and above them, very high, over a drift of cloud, the long ridge of the mountain glimmered red.'
[The Finder, TfE]
Mountains of Os
Also known as: Os, Mountains of
Range of mountains to the east of Osskil, north of the Keksemt Moors and the city of Neshum
Sources: Hunted, WoE; The Hawk's Flight, WoE
'…far to the north small white peaks stood sharp against the blue'
[The Hawk's Flight, WoE]
Mountains of Pain
Also known as: Pain, Mountains of, Mountains called Pain
High black range of mountains or volcanoes called Pain at the far side of the dry land (the lands of the dead) from the wall of stones; crossed by a road forbidden to the dead, they border with the living world. The rocks are hot to the touch, and cut the flesh. At the end of The Other Wind, fire breaks from the mountains
Sources: The Dry Land, FS; The Dolphin, T; Rejoining, OW
'The rocks were rough, burning the hands like molten iron. … There was a torment in the touch of this earth. It seared like live coals: a fire burned within the mountains.'
'"The stones … The stones cut, and the cuts are long to heal."'
[The Dry Land, FS/The Dolphin, T]
Woman in service at the Place of the Tombs on Atuan; it isn't clear whether she's a servant or a novice
Sources: Dreams and Tales, ToA
Cheerful, comely younger brother of Vetch of Iffish; a woodworker by trade. He is the same age as Ged
'He seemed not much more than a boy, for there was no gift or scourge of mage-power in him, and he had never been anywhere but Iffish, Tok, and Holp, and his life was easy and untroubled.'
Instrumental music seems to be predominantly used to accompany songs and/or dance, in particular, the Long Dance; drums, pipes and flutes are the main instruments mentioned in this context. Other instruments mentioned are the fife, harp, viol, lute, bagpipe, concertina, horn, double-reed woodhorn, trumpet, tabor, gong, bell, kettledrum, cymbals, tambour and tambourine. Lebannen plays the harp and lute as part of his courtly accomplishments (Enlad), but these instruments are not restricted to the princely courts: Vetch's house contains a great Taonian harp (Iffish), and the inn of Lorbanery boasts a three-stringed lute. Bands of itinerant musicians roam Havnor and other islands, singing ballads and playing various instruments including harp, fife, viol, tabor and drums. A harpist is mentioned playing at a wedding on Taon. Musicians are employed at the imperial court in Havnor City, including horns for signalling, trumpets for telling the hours, and a band consisting of trumpet, tambour and tambourine to accompany a royal procession. In the Place of the Tombs on Atuan, drums sometimes accompany dancing in the temples, and drums, horns and trumpets accompany processions. Of all peoples mentioned, only the Children of the Open Sea (raft people) use no music to accompany their dancing. Drum beats are also used to coordinate rowing on oared galleys. A gong announces meals at the School of Wizardry on Roke. The school at Roke has a bell tower (the Chanter's Tower) with iron bells that toll when the Archmage Nemmerle dies, and bells are used in the Court of the Terrenon, presumably for signalling servants and/or announcing meals; bells are also put on the necks of sheep on Atuan
Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q; Iffish, WoE; The Masters of Roke, FS; Lorbanery, FS; Darkrose and Diamond, TfE; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW; Palaces, OW; Dolphin, OW