A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

Now showing glossary items starting N

Nagian Chant

Chant used in healing; healing chants are said to 'aid the sick body or the troubled mind'a, but the precise purpose this chant serves is unstated

Sources: The Dragon of Pendor, WoE; Orm Embar, FS (a)


Anniversary of the date of passage into manhood, celebrated in the Archipelago with a party, feasting, music and dancing, and in the west of Havnor island, also with gifts of clothes to neighbouring children. Also sometimes used for the day of passage into adulthood itself

Sources: Darkrose and Diamond, TfE; Dolphin, OW

Nameless Ones

Also known as: Dark Ones, Unnamed Ones, Dark Powers, Kings whose Throne was empty, the Immortal Dead

Old Powers of Earth, worshipped at the Tombs of Atuan. Believed by some to have been rulers of the earth in some pre-creation era, ancient and nameless, they are considered evil by the Archipelagans

Sources: The Wall around the Place, ToA; The Ring of Erreth-Akbe, ToA

'"They have no power of making. All their power is to darken and destroy. They cannot leave this place; they are this place; and it should be left to them. They should not be denied or forgotten, but neither should they be worshipped. … And where men worship these things and abase themselves before them, there evil breeds; there places are made in the world where darkness gathers, places given over wholly to the Ones whom we call Nameless, the ancient and holy Powers of the Earth before the Light, the powers of the dark, of ruin, of madness…"'

[The Ring of Erreth-Akbe, ToA]


See Master Namer


Adults in the Archipelago bear three names. The first is the childhood name given to them by their mother as a baby. The second is their secret true name, a word in the Old Speech, given to them when they reach thirteen at a ceremony called the Passage into manhood; knowledge of a person's true name confers power over them. The third name is a use-name or nickname that they are called by during their adult life; while true names are particular to the person, use-names are often very common. Common use-names derive from plants, flowers, trees, animals, birds and jewels. For example, Ged is a true name, Sparrowhawk is a use-name and Duny is a childhood name.

The Kargs bear only a single name, which is not in the Old Speech, contains no power and is not kept secret; usually it has meaning in Kargish. As with the Archipelagan names, flowers and trees are common, but also qualities, such as Hope or Honour, and traditional names handed down within families. Both masculine and feminine Kargish names commonly end -ar (eg Tenar, Ensar); feminine endings include -a (Arha, Nathabba) , -e (Penthe, Poppe), -ath/ith (Munith, Tiarath) and -il (Anthil, Kossil); masculine endings include -i/y (Duby, Punti), -o (Uahto) and -an/in (Intathin, Manan)

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; Dragonfly, TfE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE; The Dragon Council, OW


Small island in the Closed Sea at the southeast of the Archipelago, near Uny and Sowl; it lies south of O, east of Wathort and north of the easterly islands of the South Reach


Knowledge of names in the Old Speech for things, places and beings; also the art of giving people their true name. One of the high arts of magic, also considered a part of the art magic. The art of naming is said to have been invented by the Rune Makers a thousand years before the first kings of Enlad; they used it to lay 'a great net of spells upon all the western lands, so that when the people of the islands die, they would come to the west beyond the west and live there in spirit forever'a. Naming is taught at the Roke School of Wizardry by the Master Namer

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; Rejoining, OW (a)

'… in this dusty and fathomless matter of learning the true name of each place, thing, and being, the power he wanted lay a jewel at the bottom of a dry well.'

[The School for Wizards, WoE]

Naming ceremony

See Passage into manhood


Medium-sized island, one of the most easterly of the West Reach. One of the early places where magic fails in The Farthest Shore

Sources: The Rowan Tree, FS


Cook at the Place of the Tombs on Atuan; Penthe describes her as 'that old skinflint'a

Sources: Dreams and Tales, ToA (a)

Near Kaltuel

Small island in the southerly end of the West Reach, near Simly, Kaltuel and Arrins


Titles: Archmage of Roke

Archmage of the School of Wizardry on Roke; formerly the Master Patterner there. Taught Heleth and Ogion. Kept a raven of Osskil as a pet for thirty years. Spent his power closing the rift made by Ged when he released the shadow-beast, and died the following day. Described as 'the kindest of all [Heleth's] teachers at the school.'a

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; The Bones of the Earth, TfE (a)

'…an old man, older it was said than any man then living. His voice quavered like the bird's voice … His hair and beard and robe were white, and he seemed as if all darkness and heaviness had been leached out of him by the slow usage of the years, leaving him white and worn as driftwood that has been a century adrift.'

[The School for Wizards, WoE]

Nepp, Seawall of

See Seawall of Nepp

Nereger of Paln

An ancient mage from Paln who found the name of the Black Mage by listening to the conversation of dragons. Killed by the Grey Mage of Paln

Sources: The Open Sea, WoE; Orm Embar, FS


Islet of the Ninety Isles, lying near Hosk; it has a harbour town

'past the wharves of Nesh…'

[Hunted, WoE]


Major trade city and port in the south east of Osskil; behind it lie hills and the Keksemt Moors

'…a low coast lashed by rainy wind, a grey town crouching behind the long stone breakwaters that made its harbour, and behind the town treeless hills under a snow-darkened sky.'

[Hunted, WoE]


In the Dark Years, a charcoal burner's wife of Firn village on Havnor isle; one of the women of the Hand

Sources: The Finder, TfE

Net House

In the Dark Years, meeting hall by the wharf in Thwil on the island of Roke where fisherwomen mended nets and people gathered to listen to readings from books of history

Sources: The Finder, TfE


A game played in Enlad, and possibly elsewhere

Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS

Related entries: Games

New Palace

Also known as: Palace of Maharion, King's House

Main palace in Havnor City on Havnor. The throne room dates from the reign of Gemal Sea-born; his heirs built a larger palace around it, and Heru and her son Maharion raised three towers above it. At the restoration of the Archipelagan monarchy, Lebannen rebuilds the palace and has his court there. Within sight of the harbour, it's described as on the other side of the city from the River House in the north. As well as the throne room, the walled palace contains an audience room (the Long Room), meeting room, banquet hall, marble roof terrace, school, the king's dressing room & bedroom, and numerous anterooms, offices & guest suites; it is topped by the Tower of the Queen, Tower of Alabaster and the Tower of the Kings, in which the sword of Erreth-Akbe is set, and surrounded by gardens with roses, flowering shrubs, willows, fountains & pools

Sources: Palaces, OW; The Dragon Council, OW

'…from the broad outer steps of the palace to high anterooms, staircases with gilded banisters, inner offices with tapestried walls, across floors of tile and marble and oak, under ceilings coffered, beamed, vaulted, painted,…'

[Palaces, OW]


See Use-name


Giant brown seaweed whose fronds are 80 to 100 feet long, whose fibres are used by the Children of the Open Sea (raft people) for cloth, rope and nets

Sources: The Children of the Open Sea, FS

Nine Chants

One of the nightly rituals at the Place of the Tombs on Atuan

Sources: The Wall around the Place, ToA

Related entries: Songs

Ninety Isles

Cluster of tiny islands between Hosk and Ensmer, to the west of Roke. The furthest south is Serd, thirty miles from Roke in the Inmost Sea, and the furthest north is Seppish, near Paln. The islets are organised into townships of ten or twenty islets apiece. There are few bridges and the islanders travel everywhere by boat. Although heavily populated with farms and fishing villages, there are no large towns. The economy revolves around whaling and turbies, an oily fish. Includes the harbour towns of Nesh and Serd, pastures in Dromgan, oil sheds in Geath and the township of Low Torning

Sources: The Dragon of Pendor, WoE; Hunted, WoE; The Finder, TfE

'West of Roke in a crowd between the two great lands Hosk and Ensmer lie the Ninety Isles. The nearest to Roke is Serd, and the farthest is Seppish, which lies almost in the Pelnish Sea; and whether the sum of them is ninety is a question never settled, for if you count only isles with freshwater springs you might have seventy, while if you count every rock you might have a hundred and still not be done; and then the tide would change. Narrow run the channels between the islets, and there the mild tides of the Inmost Sea, chafed and baffled, run high and fall low, so that where at high tide there might be three islands in one place, at low tide there might be one.'

[The Dragon of Pendor, WoE]


Islet near Sorresk, west of Ebosskil; it lies on the northwestern edge of the Archipelago, facing the Open Sea

North Enwas

See Enwas

North Reach

Group of islands with a cold climate lying to the north of Osskil and the Andrades. They include Borth, Rogmy, Udrath, Lef, Bereswek, Enwas, Ferrins, the Allernots, Komokome, Sort, Chemish, the Whale Isles and the large but untravelled Hogen Land among the ice floes

Sources: Hunted, WoE; The Open Sea, WoE

'…the islandless vastness of the North Reach.'

[Hunted, WoE]

North Sudidi

Also known as: Sudidi, North

Island in the Ninety Isles

Sources: The Finder, TfE

North Teeth

See Teeth

Northeast Sea

Ocean to the northeast of the Archipelago, in which Gont lies

'…the storm-racked Northeast Sea…'

[Warriors in the Mist, WoE]

Northward Vale

Steep valley of the River Ar, in the north-east of Gont island, headed by Ten Alders village. The lower parts are farmed, with fields, orchards and cattle pastures; several towns lie on the river: Lotin, Medu, Chodur and Toss

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

'Below the village the pastures and ploughlands of the Vale slope downwards level below level towards the sea, and other towns lie on the bends of the River Ar…'

[Warriors in the Mist, WoE]


Town or village at the mouth of an unnamed river in the north of Gont; near Up Norvale

Sources: Frontispiece map, T



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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