A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

Now showing glossary items starting O


Elongated island at the east of the Inmost Sea near Ilien and Felkway; the Ebavnor Straits and Passage of Felkway lie to its north and the Closed Sea to its east. Towns include O-Tokne in the north, O Port in the south-east, and unnamed ports on the north coast. Known for its fine silverwork. Ruled by the Lord of O

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; The School for Wizards, WoE; The Masters of Roke, FS

O my Joy!

Ballad or lullaby from Enlad

'O my joy!
Before bright Éa was, before Segoy
Bade the islands be,
The morning wind blew on the sea.
O my joy, be free!

[Dolphin, OW]

Related entries: Songs

O Port

Major port on the island of O; lies in the south east, on the Inmost Sea

O, Lord of

See Lord of O


Personal servant of Lebannen with valet-like duties; an old man who presumably comes from Enlad, and who has known Lebannen all his life

Sources: Palaces. OW

Oak Farm

Farmstead of Flint and Tenar, later owned by their son Spark, half a mile from (presumably) Oak Village in Middle Valley on Gont. Located by a grove of oaks, the stone farmhouse is built into the hillside; it has small-paned windows, a stone-floored kitchen, pantry, cool-room, dairy, hall, living room, two bedrooms and a loft. The farm comprises four fields (growing flax among other crops), sheep & cattle pasture, apple & pear orchard, raspberry canes, bean patch, hay barn, lean-to, woodhouse, well-house, pump, two tenants' cottages and a family graveyard; red wine and sheepskins are the major produce mentioned

Sources: Frontispiece map, T; A Bad Thing, T; Going to the Falcon's Nest, T; The Dolphin, T; Home, T; Winter, T; The Master, T

'Beyond the cool-room was the dairy. The house was built against a low hill, and both those rooms ran back into the hill like cellars, though on a level with the rest of the house.'

[Home, T]

Oak Springs

Village on the road between Middle Valley and Re Albi in south Gont; has a small inn

Sources: Going to the Falcon's Nest, T; The Master, T

Oak Village

Inland village on the river Kaheda in Middle Valley in the south of Gont, downriver from Kahedanan and upriver from Valmouth. Probably the village near Oak Farm

Sources: Frontispiece map, T; The Dolphin, T

Oatmeal gruel

See Gruel


Medium-sized, inhabited island in the southerly end of the West Reach, near Jessage

Sources: Orm Embar, FS; Palaces, OW

'Land lay ahead, low and blue in the afternoon like a bank of mist.'

[Orm Embar, FS]


Also known as: Ohol

Large island in the South Reach; white sandy beaches backed with forest, with great green peaks in the interior. Called Ohol by the Children of the Open Sea (raft people)

Sources: The Madman, FS; The Children of the Open Sea, FS

Officers of the peace

Along with sea-sheriffs and bailiffs, carry out law enforcement on Gont. It's unclear whether they receive any wage

Sources: Home, T; The Master, T


Also known as: Aihal, Silence, Ogion the Silent, Aihal the Silent
Titles: Mage of Re Albi, Mage of Gont

Mage of Re Albi, Gont. He was born in Gont Port to a cook at a waterfront inn and a longshoreman who died in an earthquake when he was a child. Taught by Elassen, a sorcerer in Valmouth, Heleth and also studied at Roke with Nemmerle. With Heleth, he stilled the earthquake which threatened Gont Port, ten years before 'The Shadow'a. He served first as wizard of Gont Port, becoming mage of Re Albi on the death of Heleth. Said to have refused the position of Archmage. Wanders Gont during summer and autumn, living at the Old Mage's House in winter. Teacher of Ged. Teacher and adoptive father of Tenar; he dies in her company in his late 80s. Ogion means fir cone; he uses the rune of the Closed Mouth and bears an oak staff. He's described as tall and lean, with rough hair, clear eyes and a quiet voice

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; The Shadow, WoE (a); Ogion, T; The Dolphin, T; The Bones of the Earth, TfE

'He was a dark man, like most Gontishmen, dark copper-brown; grey-haired, lean and tough as a hound, tireless. He spoke seldom, ate little, slept less. His eyes and ears were very keen, and often there was a listening look on his face.'

[The Shadow, WoE]


See Obehol

Old Black

Male animal, probably a cat, belong to Moss

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW

Old Iria

Area within the domain of Iria on Way, held by the Master of Iria. Includes a vineyard, pastures, oak woods, the half-ruined mansion house on Iria Hill and an unnamed village at its foot

Sources: Dragonfly, TfE

Old Mage's House

Timber-built house on the wind-swept Overfell a little north of Re Albi on Gont, home successively to Heleth, Ogion and Tenar, Ged & Tehanu. Variously described as 'large and soundly built'a and 'a low, small house'b, it has a large single room with a polished oak floor containing a sleeping alcove, larder, hearth, chimney and one or more shuttered windows. Outside there is a goat shed, milking shed, henhouse, poultry yard, woodshed, springhouse, small orchard with peach & plum trees, vegetable patch and goat pasture. Tehanu and The Other Wind mention a well, though in A Wizard of Earthsea, Ogion fetches water from a local spring. Below the house, steep boulder-strewn fields run down to the sea; to its north, the Overfell becomes sheer cliff; inland lies forest

Sources: The Shadow, WoE (a); Going to the Falcon's Nest, T (b); Hawks, T; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW; The Bones of the Earth, TfE

'The mage's house, though large and soundly built of timber, with hearth and chimney rather than a firepit, was like the huts of the Ten Alders village: all one room, with a goatshed built on to one side. There was a kind of alcove in the west wall of the room, where Ged slept. Over his pallet was a window that looked out on the sea, but most often the shutters must be closed against the great winds that blew all winter from the west and the north.'

[The Shadow, WoE]

Old Powers

Also known as: Powers of the Earth, Dark Powers, Old Powers of (the) Earth, Old Ones, Dark Ones, the Ones Underfoot

Ancient powers, worshipped in the Kargad Lands but considered to be evil by the Archipelagans. The spirit trapped in the Stone of Terrenon and the Nameless Ones of the Tombs of Atuan are examples. Roke Knoll, the Immanent Grove, Faliern Forest and the Lips of Paor are also said to be centres of the Old Powers. Bound to one place, they cannot cross the sea; Ged states: 'Out of the sea rise storms and monsters, but no evil powers: evil is of earth.'a Often served by women, they are associated with the feminine, in opposition to the masculine magic.

A more neutral explanation of the Old Powers is given in Tales from Earthsea & The Other Wind, where they are considered to be ancient powers associated with the earth, including caves, streams, hills and trees, neutral but exacting a price; as Alder says, 'the Powers of the Earth keep their own account'b

Sources: The Hawk's Flight, WoE; Hunting, WoE (a); The Ring of Erreth-Akbe, ToA; Dragonfly, TfE; Dolphin, OW (b)

'"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…"'

'"But before the gods and after, always, are the streams. Caves, stones, hills. Trees. The earth. The darkness of the earth."

[The Ring of Erreth-Akbe, ToA/Dragonfly, TfE]

Old Serpent of Andrad

Decorative motif associated with the Andrades; carved on the stem of the Andradean ship, the Shadow

'…the ship's master … stood on a plank let in at the jointure of the keel with the stem, which was carved as the Old Serpent of Andrad.'

[The Shadow, WoE]

Old Speech

Also known as: True Speech, Language of the Making, Speech/Words of the Making, True Language of the Making, True Words, Eldest tongue, Dragon tongue, spellwords

The language of magic, spoken by dragons and learned by wizards. All languages of Earthsea are ultimately derived from it, but Hardic has the closest roots. Words of the Old Speech are termed spellwords by some, denoting their inherent power: 'Spellwords act'a. Humans are bound to the truth speaking it; not so dragons

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Dolphin, OW (a)

'"That is the language dragons speak, and the language Segoy spoke who made the islands of the world, and the language of our lays and songs, spells, enchantments, and invocations. Its words lie hidden among our Hardic words. … Any witch knows a few of these words in the Old Speech, and a mage knows many. But there are many more, and some have been lost over the ages, and some have been hidden, and some are known only to dragons and to the Old Powers of Earth, and some are known to no living creature; and no man could learn them all. For there is no end to that language."'

[The School for Wizards, WoE]

Related entries: Language

Further information on Old Speech


Small island in the Inmost Sea and Ebavnor Straits, south of Havnor and near Ark

'The black basalt columns of the Isle of Omer towered off the ship's right side as she worked across the Ebavnor Straits'

[Dolphin, OW]

One Priestess

Also known as: First Priestess, Priestess of the Tombs, Arha
Titles: The Eaten One, Priestess Ever Reborn, the Reborn

Priestess of the Nameless Ones at the Place of the Tombs on Atuan; associated with the Tombs of Atuan, Hall of the Throne, Undertomb and Labyrinth. Nominally the senior priestess of the Kargad Lands, though her influence diminished after the rise of the Godking. Believed always to be reincarnated as herself; her name, Arha, means 'the eaten one' or 'the one who was devoured'. Her traditional accoutrements include a horsehair belt, a ring of keys and a ceremonial dagger

Sources: The Eaten One, ToA; Dreams and Tales, ToA

'"O let the Nameless Ones behold the girl given to them, who is verily the one born ever nameless. Let them accept her life and the years of her life until her death, which is also theirs. Let them find her acceptable. Let her be eaten!"'

'It still made her feel strange when Thar and Kossil spoke to her of things she had seen or said before she died. She knew that indeed she had died, and had been reborn in a new body at the hour of her old body's death: not only once, fifteen years ago, but fifty years ago, and before that, and before that, back down the years and hundreds of years, generation after generation, to the very beginning of years when the Labyrinth was dug, and the Stones were raised, and the First Priestess of the Nameless Ones lived in this Place and danced before the Empty Throne. They were all one, all those lives and hers. She was the First Priestess. All human beings were forever reborn, but only she, Arha, was reborn forever as herself.

[The Eaten One, ToA/Dreams and Tales, ToA]

Related entries: Reincarnation; Tenar

One Who Turns

Constellation of the dry land, the stars that do not set

Sources: The Dragon of Pendor, WoE

Onn, Mount

See Mount Onn


Also known as: River Onneva

Major river on Havnor island, which feeds into the Great Bay of Havnor; at its mouth, under the shoulder of Mount Onn, lie the sands of Onneva

Sources: The Finder, TfE; Palaces, OW

Onneva Sands

See Sands of Onneva


Small island in the northerly West Reach, near Derhemen


Medium-sized island on the easterly side of the West Reach, lying near the Toringates, west of Paln. The mage Ath is said to have been killed by the dragon Orm there

Sources: The Stone of Pain, FS; Dolphin, OW


Titles: Master Onyx

Wizard at Lebannen's court at Havnor City on Havnor; trained at Roke School of Wizardry by Thorion the Summoner. He's around forty, with a rather worn-looking, sallow face, and said to be deeply reserved

Sources: Palaces, OW; Rejoining, OW

'There was a man of forty or so who carried a wooden staff of his own height, by which Alder knew him as a wizard of the School on Roke. He had a rather worn face, fine hands, an aloof but courteous manner.'

[Palaces, OW]


Titles: Lady Opal of the Old Demesne of Ilien, Lady Opal of Ilien

Lady of the Old Demesne of Ilien; a suave lady at the imperial court on Havnor who's in charge of Seserakh's ladies-of-waiting at the River House during The Other Wind

Sources: Dolphin, OW

Open Sea

The sea bordering all the islands. Unclear whether it stretches infinitely, wraps back (ie, Earthsea is spherical) or terminates in other unknown lands. According to the dragons, there are lands beyond any that humans have sailed to

'…the Open Sea going on past all knowledge; …'

[Sea Dreams, FS]

Related entries: World view


Town on the island of Semel with an inn and a whorehouse

Sources: On the High Marsh, TfE


Eastmost of the Inward Isles, lying just north of Barnisk in the Gontish Sea, near Havnor, the South Teeth, Garhirien, Ea and Ebéa. Its blue hills are visible from Re Albi on Gont

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; Kalessin, T


Small northern island, east of Andrad and north of Gont


Ancient great dragon who killed the mage Ath. Later killed Erreth-Akbe on Selidor, and was slain by him; its bones lie buried in the sands of Selidor. Of its lineage are Orm Embar and Orm Irian

Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; Orm Embar, FS; The Dragon Council, OW; Dolphin, OW

Orm Embar

Also known as: Dragon of Selidor

Ancient dragon of the lineage of Orm, the mightiest of all dragons. Identified Ged's half of the Ring of Erreth-Akbe on Selidor. Killed by the mage Cob on Selidor

'Ninety feet, maybe, was he from tip to tip of his vast membranous wings, that shone in the new sunlight like gold-shot smoke, and the length of his body was no less, but lean, arched like a greyhound, clawed like a lizard, and snake-scaled. Along the narrow spine went a row of jagged darts, like rose thorns in shape, but at the hump of the back three feet in height, and so diminishing that the last at the tail-tip was no longer than the blade of a little knife. These thorns were grey, and the scales fo the dragon were iron-grey, but there was a glitter of gold in them. His eyes were green and slitted.'

[Orm Embar, FS]

Orm Irian

Dragon form of Irian, described as red-bronze with red-gold vaned wings, gold flanks, a gold-mailed, red-horned head and huge amber eyes. Claims to be the sister of Tehanu, Ammaud & Orm Embar, and grandchild of Orm; called daughter by Kalessin (as Kalessin is considered the oldest dragon, this may denote some more distant or honorary kinship)

Sources: Dragonfly, TfE; Palaces, OW; The Dragon Council, OW; Rejoining, OW

'As she went farther from them they saw her, all of them, the great gold-mailed flanks, the spiked, coiling tail, the talons, the breath that was bright fire. … Then with a rattle like the shaking of sheets of brass the wide, vaned wings opened and the dragon sprang up into the air, circled Roke Knoll once, and flew.'

[Dragonfly, TfE]


Major port on the east coast of Hosk, on the Inmost Sea

'Orrimy is an old town, built heavily of stone and brick, walled against the lawless lords of the interior of Hosk Island; the warehouses on the docks are like forts, and the merchants' houses are towered and fortified.'

[Hunted, WoE]

Os, Mountains of

See Mountains of Os


Coastal village or town lying near the head of an unnamed inlet in the northwest of Gont, near Kedun and Selt

Sources: Frontispiece map, T


Town in the Kargad Lands, possibly on Atuan. It has a minor temple to the Godking

Sources: The Wall Around the Place, ToA


Also known as: Ravenland

Large Y-shaped island in the north-west of the Archipelago, north of Enlad and south of the North Reach. The main city is Neshum in the east; the Court of the Terrenon is located on the Keksemt Moors in the interior. Other features include the Mountains of Os and the Gut of Osskil, the sea channel between the arms of the Y. Language spoken is Osskili not Hardic

Sources: Hunted, WoE; The Hawk's Flight, WoE

'"There are happenings here not dealt with by the loremasters of the South, and things here not named in the Namers' lists."'

[The Hawk's Flight, WoE]

Osskil Sea

Sea between Osskil and Enlad, at the northern edge of the Archipelago, south of the North Reach

Sources: Hunted, WoE; The Hawk's Flight, WoE

'Then as a red sun rose they rowed out on the Osskil Sea, into the northeast winds that blow unhindered from the islandless vastness of the North Reach.'

[Hunted, WoE]


Language spoken on Osskil and two islands northwest of it (probably Borth and Rogmy). Originally derived from Old Speech, as are all languages of Earthsea, but closer to Kargish than to Hardic

Sources: A Description of Earthsea, TfE

Related entries: Language

Further information on Osskili


The inhabitants of the northern island of Osskil; they are white-skinned and speak Osskili, distinct from Hardic. The freemen habitually carry a long knife at the hip

'…they were dour men, pale-skinned with black drooping moustaches and lank hair.'

[Hunted, WoE]


Also known as: Hoeg

Small silent animal with brindled fur; rare, being found only on four southern isles (Roke, Ensmer, Pody and Wathort). Ged kept one as a pet; it saved his life in Low Torning, bringing him back to his body by washing him, and died when the gebbeth attacked him on Osskil

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW

'They are small and sleek, with broad faces, and fur dark brown or brindle, and great bright eyes. Their teeth are cruel and their temper fierce, so they are not made pets of. They have no call or cry or any voice.'

[The School for Wizards, WoE]

Other breath

Also known as: Eduevana

Words spoken in prophesy; eduevana is Kargish

'"There came on me what my people call the eduevana, the other breath. Words came to me and I spoke them."'

[Dragonfly, TfE]

Other wind

Also known as: West beyond the west

Realm of dragons in the west beyond the west, outside time; dragons inhabit it in body, while men can only go there in spirit. Knowledge of it has been lost in the Archipelago, but it's referred to in the Song of the Woman of Kemay. The dragons claim that half this realm was stolen in ancient times by mages (the Rune Makers) making walls of spells to exclude dragons; the stolen region became the dry land of the Archipelagan afterlife. At the end of The Other Wind, these barriers are destroyed; the other wind is made whole again, and restored to the dragons

Sources: Going to the Falcon's Nest, T; Palaces, OW; The Dragon Council, OW; Rejoining, OW

'"Do you think we dragons fly only on the winds of this world? Do you think our freedom, for which we gave up all possessions, is no greater than that of the mindless seagulls? That our realm is a few rocks at the edge of your rich islands? You own the earth, you own the sea. But we are the fire of sunlight, we fly the wind!"'

[Rejoining, OW]


Capital of O, an inland city towards the north. Seat of the Lord of O and Lady of O-tokne

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE

O-tokne, Lady of

See Lady of O-tokne


Also known as: Eskel

Islet off the east coast of Way, in the east of the Archipelago; sometimes known as Eskel. One of the nearest islands to the East Reach


See Medra

Otter of Shelieth

Motif depicted on one side of an ivory counter from Way

Sources: Dragonfly, TfE


See Woodedge

Otter's House

Small hut or house at the edge of the Immanent Grove on Roke, in a meadow by the Thwilburn. Built by Medra (Otter) & Elehal, and possibly later occupied by other Patterners, though when Irian stays there in around 1058 it appears to have been empty for some time. Eight years later, it's described as decrepit

Sources: Dragonfly, TfE; Rejoining, OW

'…a low, moss-ridden roof half hidden by the afternoon shadows of the trees.'

[Dragonfly, TfE]

Outer Innran

Tiny islet south of Way, near Perilane, in the east of the Archipelago; one of the nearest islands to the East Reach


Town in the East Forest region in the east of Gont island. Near Wiss, from which it is separated by a high pass

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; The Shadow, WoE


Mentioned for baking on Gont; baking is listed amongst women's skills

Sources: Kalessin, T


West-facing cliff top or rocky ledge of red sandstone in southern Gont, described as an 'air-swept shelf of rock'a jutting out from the mountainside, 2000 feet above the sea. The village of Re Albi is located on the cliff top; the Old Mage's House lies on a steep grassy slope near the cliff edge, just north of the village. Further back from the cliff edge, the Overfell becomes a narrow strip of marsh, Overfell Marsh, behind which rise the wooded slopes of Gont Mountain

Sources: Going to the Falcon's Nest, T; Kalessin, T (a)

'Ogion's house stood apart from the village and closer than any other house to the edge of the Overfell, here a steep grassy slope broken by ledges and outcrops of rock, where goats could be pastured. As you went on north the drop grew ever steeper, till it began to fall sheer; and on the path the rock of the great ledge showed through the soil, till a mile or so north of the village the Overfell had narrowed to a shelf of reddish sandstone hanging above the sea that undercut its base two thousand feet below. / Nothing grew at that far end of the Overfell but lichens and rockworts and here and there a blue daisy, wind-stunted, like a button dropped on the rough, crumbling stone.'

[Kalessin, 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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