A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

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Ged carries a light pack on his back in Atuan, with a water bottle slung from it; he and Lebannen carry light packs in The Farthest Shore containing clothing, packets of bread, water bottles and fishing lines. Tenar and Tehanu carry light leather packs containing a water bottle when travelling on Gont; Alder carries a thin pack walking on Gont. A pack closed at the top by cord running through eyelets is mentioned on Gont. Presumably peddlars and travellers generally carry goods & baggage in packs on their backs, as beasts of burden appear rare on most islands

Sources: Light under the Hill, ToA; Lorbanery, FS; The Stone of Pain, FS; Going to the Falcon's Nest, T; The Master, T; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW

Related entries: Pouch

Pain, Mountains of

See Mountains of Pain

Painted Room

Also known as: Room of Pictures

Mural-decorated room in the Labyrinth on Atuan. The murals depict 'bird-winged, flightless figures with eyes painted dull red and white'a, which may represent non-reincarnated spirits of Archipelagan people trapped in the sterile afterlife of the dry land. The date at which they were painted is unknown, as is the artist/s. No similar paintings are found elsewhere in the Place of the Tombs. The room has a door with iron bolts and a large spy hole in its arched roof, located in the treasury of the Temple of the God-Brothers

Sources: Light under the Hill, ToA; The Great Treasure, ToA (a); Palaces, OW

'[Arha] was going to the Painted Room. She liked sometimes to go there and study the strange wall drawings that leapt out of the dark at the gleam of her candle: men with long wings and great eyes, serene and morose. No one could tell her what they were, there were no such paintings elsewhere in the Place, but she thought she knew; they were the spirits of the damned, who are not reborn.'

[Light under the Hill, ToA]

Related entries: Decorative arts

Palace of Maharion

See New Palace


Schoolmistress of Sattins island in the East Reach; aged twenty; described as plump and pretty. Leaves Sattins with the fisherman Birt

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q


See Beds and bedlinen


Large island in the west of the Archipelago, immediately south of Semel; over 300 miles from Havnor City and separated from Havnor by the Pelnish Sea. The north is mountainous and wild; the only town mentioned is Ferao. The inhabitants speak accented Hardic (Seppel's accent is described as clipped and singing) and have many words of their own dialect; they have a reputation for uncanniness in the rest of the Archipelago. Ruled by the Lords of Paln, who in ancient times refused fealty to the King of All the Isles. Famous for wizards who do not attend Roke School of Wizardry and are trained in the Lore of Paln, a different tradition from that of Roke. Also said to be great shipbuilders

Sources: Palaces, OW; Dolphin, OW; Rejoining, OW

'…in the mountains of the north part of the island, wild country without farms. Hunters used to go there to hunt mountain sheep and catch falcons to tame…'

[Palaces, OW]

Passage into manhood

Also known as: Naming ceremony, Naming day, Passage, Passage into womanhood, Crossing into manhood/womanhood

Ceremony held in the Archipelago after a child passes thirteen in which the child is given their true name and so passes into adulthood. The ceremony involves the child walking naked through water at daybreak after their childhood name has been taken away, before the namer gives them their new name; afterwards there is much feasting and celebration. The day and its anniversary are referred to as the nameday; nameday presents are traditional on Gont. The namer is always a person with some skill in magic; according to the witch Rose of Old Iria in 'Dragonfly' [TfE] the name comes to the namer's open mind rather than being chosen. The details of the ceremonies in the Kargad Lands are not stated (though they do not appear to involve renaming); crossing into adulthood occurs at around fourteen there

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; Dragonfly, TfE; Dolphin, OW

'On the day the boy was thirteen years old … the ceremony of Passage was held. The witch took from the boy his name Duny, the name his mother had given to him as a baby. Nameless and naked he walked into the cold springs of the Ar where it rises among rocks under the high cliffs. … He crossed to the far bank, shuddering with cold but walking slow and erect as he should through that icy, living water. As he came to the bank Ogion, waiting, reached out his hand and clasping the boy's arm, whispered to him his true name: Ged.'

' "You're there in the water, together, you and the child. You take away the child-name. People may go on using that name for a use-name, but it's not her name, nor ever was. So now she's not a child, and she has no name. So then you wait. In the water there. You open your mind up, like. Like opening the doors of a house to the wind. So it comes. Your tongue speaks it, the name. Your breath makes it. You give it to that child, the breath, the name. You can't think of it. You let it come to you. It must come through you and the water to her it belongs to…'

[Warriors in the Mist, WoE/Dragonfly, TfE]

Related entries: Names

Passage of Felkway

Also known as: Felkway Bay

Channel between the islands of Felkway and O leading to the Ebavnor Straits; also termed Felkway Bay in some sources

Sources: Palaces, OW


See Master Patterner


Art of meaning and intent. One of the high arts of magic, also considered a part of the art magic. Ged uses what he calls a Patterning to make the two halves of the Ring of Erreth-Akbe 'whole … as if it had never been broken'a. Taught in the Immanent Grove at the Roke School of Wizardry by the Master Patterner

Sources: The Anger of the Dark, ToA (a); A Description of Earthsea, TfE


Boatmaker of Low Torning, friend of Ged, whom he teaches to sail by conventional methods. His son is Ioeth

Sources: The Dragon of Pendor, WoE


Tiny inhabited island in the easternmost region of the East Reach, three days' southeast of Soders. At the time of The Wizard of Earthsea, its main town has a deranged sorcerer. Hardic is spoken there with a strong accent

'…a small isle humped high above the high grey seas.'

[The Open Sea, WoE]


Silvery fur lining a lordly cloak that Ged is given in Osskil, presumably from a furred creature, the pellawi. The red cloaks of merchants from the Andrades are also trimmed with this fur. Both Osskil and the Andrades are in the north

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; The Hawk's Flight, WoE; Hunting, WoE

Pelnish lore

See Lore of Paln

Pelnish Sea

Broad sea channel between Paln & Semel to the west and Havnor to the east; it lies north of the Ninety Isles

Sources: The Dragon of Pendor, WoE


Red-flowering tree growing in the Ninety Isles, Hort Town and Roke

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; The Dragon of Pendor, WoE; Hort Town, FS


Island to the west of the Archipelago; spoiled by Yevaud, the Dragon of Pendor. In the Dark Years, before Yevaud's arrival, a peaceful, prosperous island, whose lords were then described as 'good men. They remember the kings. They don't seek war or plunder'a, though they send men west hunting dragons for sport. Later, however, they were said to be 'pirates, slave-takers, war-makers, hated by all that dwelt in the southwest parts of Earthsea'b

Sources: The Dragon of Pendor, WoE (b); The Finder, TfE (a)

'Maybe he thought, at first, that on Pendor he had found Morred's Isle, for the city was beautiful and peaceful and the people prosperous.'

[The Finder, TfE]

Pendulum of Ath

Method of measuring time used in Havnor City; hung high in the Tower of the Kings, it swings for precisely an hour. Presumably invented by Ath

Sources: Palaces, OW

Related entries: Time


Friend of Arha (Tenar), in the service of the Godking at the Place of the Tombs on Atuan. A tall, plump girl with pink cheeks, she's described as 'soft and comfortable-looking'a and 'round and full of life and juice as one of her golden apples, beautiful to see'b; her voice is soft and dreamy. The same age as Arha, she came from a village by the sea; the sixth girl in her family, her parents dedicated her to the Godking's service in Ossawa aged seven because they could not afford to bring her up. She seems to have an irreverent attitude, being more interested in food than religious duties, though she's also described as 'submissive and easily bullied'b; she's afraid of the dark

Sources: The Wall around the Place, ToA (a); Dreams and Tales, ToA (b)

'"I'd rather marry a pig-herd and live in a ditch. I'd rather anything than stay buried alive here all my born days with a mess of women in a perishing old desert where nobody ever comes! But there's no good wishing about it, because I've been consecrated now and I'm stuck with it. But I do hope that in my next life I'm a dancing-girl in Awabath! Because I will have earned it."'

[Dreams and Tales, ToA]

People of the West

See Dragons


Also known as: Scent

Rose perfume is sold in little brass jars in Hort Town market, apparently used for sweetening the breath, while the whole town smells of incense. Burning scented oils forms part of the death-related customs of the Archipelago. Some forms of healing involve burning herbs to produce scented smoke; for example, a herb burning with a smell of dark earth under pine woods is used on Roke to induce sleep. On Atuan, scents of musk and incense characterise the temples; rose oil is stored in brass stoppered jars at the Place of the Tombs and attar of roses is burned in the Temple of the Godking; gifts of incense and an ancient iron chest of musk are stored in the temple treasuries; scented vinegar is used to wash the hair of the One Priestess as part of her dedication ceremony, and sage-scented water is mentioned for washing hair. Seserakh's serving ladies from Hur-at-Hur are described as perfumed

Sources: The Prisoners, ToA; Hort Town, FS; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW; Dolphin, OW


Islet off the southern tip of Way, near Outer Innran, in the east of the Archipelago


Small island north-east of Gont, one of the nearest islands in the Archipelago to the Kargad Lands. Under Kargish rule for at least a generation in the time of Maharion

Sources: A Description of Earthsea, TfE

Perriot leaves

Perriot leaves, wrapped in cobwebs, are used in healing to staunch bleeding; cobwebs alone are also used against bleeding

Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE

Related entries: Herbal remedies


People of the Archipelago commonly keep dogs and cats as pets; they also serve as watchdogs, sheep dogs, hunting animals and for vermin control. Named examples include the Witch of Ten Alders' dog Gobefore, Moss's cat Little Grey and Alder's kitten Tug. The people of Havnor City 'put birdcages out the windows on gilt poles among the flowers'a. More unusual pets include Ged's otak, Nemmerle's talking raven of Osskil, Yarrow's harrekki (dragon-lizard), Tehanu's goat Sippy, and the wild boar said to be kept by the Red Mage of Ark

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

'"They say Gontish wizards often keep familiars," said Jasper, who sat on the other side of Vetch. "Our Lord Nemmerle has his raven, and songs say the Red Mage of Ark led a wild boar on a gold chain. But I never heard of any sorcerer keeping a rat in his hood!"'

[The School for Wizards, WoE]


Unit of volume used in Earthsea; presumably silently translated from the actual unit. Beer is sold in pints

Sources: On the High Marsh, TfE

Related entries: Imperial measures


Daughter of Apple, granddaughter of Tenar; lives in Middle Valley on the island of Gont. During The Other Wind, she's nearly twelve

Sources: Dolphin, OW


Appears to be a relatively common practice in the Archipelago, increasing in the years immediately preceding restoration of the Archipelagan monarchy. The islands of Gont and Wathort are famous for their pirates, and the Lords of Gont, as well as the former Lords of Pendor, are said to engage in piracy. Egre and the wizard Hare are mentioned as a famous pirates

Sources: Magelight, FS; Mice, T


Rune drawn on houses which protects from madness and from wind and fire; also used in treatment of burns. One of the True Runes and one of the nine Runes of Power engraved on the Ring of Erreth-Akbe

Sources: Iffish, WoE; The Ring of Erreth-Akbe, ToA; A Bad Thing, T; A Description of Earthsea, TfE

'…the rune Pirr he wrote on the roof-trees of the huts, which protects the house and its folk from fire, wind, and madness'

[Iffish, WoE]

Related entries: Runes

Place of Atuan

See Place of the Tombs

Place of the Sacrifice

A place on Hur-at-Hur to which small, flightless dragons crawl annually along the Dragons' Way for the spring sacrifice

Sources: The Dragon Council, OW

Place of the Tombs

Also known as: Place, the, Place of Atuan
Titles: Most Sacred Place of the Tombs

Sacred place in the interior of the island of Atuan where the Tombs of Atuan and Hall of the Throne are located, as well as the Temple of the Godking, Temple of the God-Brothers, Small House, Big House, accommodations for eunuch wardens, slaves & guards, farm buildings, store rooms, stables, barn, goat pens, sheep folds & apple/peach orchard. Around 200 people live there. Set in the desert, half a mile from a river, hemmed in by the Western Mountains and two days' walk from the coast; the nearest town is over 20 miles away. Though it's the oldest and most holy place in the Kargad Lands, by the time of The Tombs of Atuan, few pilgrims visit and the Godking no longer consults the One Priestess

'It looked like a little town, seen from a distance, from up on the dry hills westward where nothing grew but sage, wire-grass in straggling clumps, small weeds and desert herbs.'

[The Wall around the Place, ToA]

Further information on Place of the Tombs

Place, the

See Place of the Tombs

Placing of the sacred words upon the doors

One of the nightly rituals at the Place of the Tombs on Atuan; probably the same as the blessing of the doorways

Sources: The Wall around the Place, ToA


Plant life largely overlaps with earth species. A wide range of plants and trees are mentioned, including oak, yew, cedar, fir, ash, elm, beech, aspen, poplar, chestnut, hemlock, rowan, willow, alder, juniper, olive, apple, pear, peach, cherry, walnut, hazel, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, currant, grapevine, cantaloupe melon, potato, onion, bean, cabbage, lettuce, beet, turnip, squash, tomato, corn, barley & other grains, rose, bramble, heather, broom, witch hazel, thistle, fourfoil, king's foil, rosemary, mint, thyme, parsley, yarrow, clovenfoot, tansy, bay, moly, velver, sagebush, strawflower, pennyroyal, miller's-bane, (blue) daisy, madder, flag iris, grass, dune grass, wire-grass, bunchgrass, sedge, reed, rockwort, seaweed, fern, moss, lichen, fungus and mould.

Species probably unique to Earthsea include the pendick-tree (red-flowering tree), hurbah trees (low-growing trees that silkworms feed on), arhada (trees of the Immanent Grove), hemmen, hazia, perriot (see perriot leaves), corly (see corly-root), white hallows, sparkweed (yellow-flowered weed), lacefoam (white-flowered weed), rushwash (herb used to make rushwash tea), paramal (herb) and nilgu (brown seaweed).

The geographical distribution of most species is not constant throughout Earthsea. For example, hurbah trees are ubiquitious on Lorbanery in the South Reach but not mentioned elsewhere, pendick-trees are mentioned only in southerly isles such as Wathort. The desert vegetation around the Place of the Tombs on Atuan is predominantly wire-grass, sagebushes and juniper trees. Selidor has dune grasses, sedge and rushes, with few or no trees


Small fertile island, south of the Ninety Isles, near Ensmer and Wathort. Major town is the old port of Telio. Linen making is a major industry, with flax-retting houses in the weavers' quarter of Telio. At the time of 'The Finder', the island had been ruled by the lords of Wathort for a century, and was very run down

'It was a sleepy southern island with a pretty old port town, Telio, built of rosy sandstone, and fields and orchards that should have been fertile. But the lords of Wathort had ruled it for a century, taxing and slave taking and wearing the land and people down. The sunny streets of Telio were sad and dirty. People lived in them as in the wilderness, in tents and lean-tos made or scraps, or shelterless.'

[The Finder, TfE]


Poets are mentioned as among the members of the King's Council. Most poetic expression appears to take the form of songs, so poets may (also) be song writers

Sources: The Dragon Council, OW


Poison is an acknowledged method of disposing of enemies in the Kargad Lands. Kossil, High Priestess of the Godking on Atuan, is said to keep boxes and phials of poisons to introduce into food or water, as well as poison dust which can be blown into the air. The father of the Godking reigning during The Tombs of Atuan is alleged to have refrained from poisoning the last descendants of the House of Hupun merely on grounds that they are of royal blood. Poisons aren't limited to Kargad: environmental mercury poisoning was an occupational hazard in the Samory roasting tower on Havnor during the Dark Years, and fatal neurological damage is the consequence of chewing the poisonous psychoactive herb hazia, used in Hort Town. Various witches' potions of evil intent are mentioned, and it seems possible that unscrupulous wizards, sorcerers and witches put their herbal knowledge to use in poisoning

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; The Great Treasure, ToA; The Finder, TfE


Cowherd of Sattins island in the East Reach

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q


Young girl of Sattins island in the East Reach; described as little

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q


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


See Taverns


Also known as: Elixirs

Potions are commonly made by village witches; they include love-potions and 'other, uglier brews ... made to serve men's jealousy and hate.'a The production of elixirs of unknown purpose is mentioned in 'The Rule of Names' as part of the skills of wizards; their distinction (if any) from potions is unclear, though Ged dismisses potion-making as an inferior discipline. A High Priestess on Atuan is said to keep phials of poison, which could be potions or elixirs

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q; Warriors in the Mist, WoE(a); The Great Treasure, ToA; Lorbanery, FS


Deyala, the Master Herbal, carries a many-pocketed pouch in which he carries plant specimens. Heleth carries a pouch containing food and a wine bladder

Sources: The Bones of the Earth, TfE; Dragonfly, TfE

Related entries: Pack


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

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q; The Western Mountains, ToA

Powers of the Earth

See Old Powers


Keeping the Precepts forms part of the religious observances on Hur-at-Hur, and possibly the other Kargad Lands

Sources: The Dragon Council, OW

Pretty Rose

Small shabby coaster on which Alder travels from Gont to Havnor

Sources: Palaces, OW

Priestess of the Tombs

See One Priestess


See Wardens of the Place of the Tombs


Before the first Godking, 150 years ago, the Kargad Lands were ruled by Priest-Kings descended from Intathin of the House of Tarb. The Priest-Kings seized power from the secular kings of the House of Hupun in around 440

Sources: Dreams and Tales, ToA; Voyage, ToA; A Description of Earthsea, TfE


Regions of the Inner Lands that constitute the Archipelagan kingship; includes Enlad (the Principality of Morred), Ilien (including Ark), and Way, and formerly, Ea (including Taon) and Havnor. Each was governed by a Ruling Prince descended from the ancient kings; the royal lines on Ea and Havnor have died out

Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS

Prisoners' Door

See Red rock door


Whores are mentioned in the town of Oraby on Semel

Sources: On the High Marsh, TfE


Also known as: Sayings

Numerous proverbs and sayings are quoted, many of which pertain to magic. They include: 'Infinite are the arguments of mages' (commonly cited); 'Weak as woman's magic, wicked as woman's magic', 'Better shark than herring' & 'Hot snow, dry water' from Gont; 'Two staffs in one town must come to blows' & 'Rules change in the Reaches' in the East Reach; 'As fat as a cow of Iria', 'As lucky as an Irian', 'If a word can heal, a word can wound. … If a hand can kill, a hand can cure. It's a poor cart that goes only one direction' & 'a wizard without his porridge' (meaning an unprecedented event) from Way; and 'the man drowning doesn't ask what the rope cost.' from Taon

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; Iffish, WoE; Mice, T; Winter, T; Dragonfly, TfE; Dolphin, OW

Punitive system

See Legal and punitive systems


Titles: Warden, Warden of the Place of the Tombs

Eunuch; one of the ten Wardens of the Place of the Tombs on Atuan. At the time of The Tombs of Atuan, rather deaf

Sources: Dreams and Tales, ToA


Itinerant entertainers on Havnor, and probably other islands of the Archipelago

Sources: Darkrose and Diamond, TfE


Small village on the High Marsh on the island of Semel. Features include a single street, tavern and a well with pure water

Sources: On the High Marsh, TfE



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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