A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

Now showing glossary items starting R

Raft people

See Children of the Open Sea


Sheep farmer of Re Albi on Gont

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW

Raven of Osskil

For thirty years, a pet of the Archmage Nemmerle. Spoke in Osskili

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE

Re Albi

Also known as: Falcon's Nest

Village on the edge of the high cliff of the Overfell in the south of Gont, fifteen miles from Gont Port. Governed by the Lord of Re Albi. The name means Falcon's Nest, and it commands views of Gont Port, the harbour and the Armed Cliffs. The village has a weaver's house, smithy, sawmill and a small square with a fountain; nearby lies the Old Mage's House, Overfell Marsh, Bog Lake and the Dark Pond. Farming goats, sheep and cattle is a major livelihood here

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; Mice, T; Hawks, T; The Bones of the Earth, TfE; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW

'There were scattered small houses, a small dusty square, a fountain with one thin stream of water falling.'

[Mending the Green Pitcher, OW]

Re Albi mansion house

The manor house of the Lord of Re Albi is built on a rocky outcrop above the Overfell, up the hill from Re Albi. Surrounded by hay fields and cherry & walnut orchards, it has marble external steps and marble floors

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

Re Albi, Lord of

See Lord of Re Albi


Four groups of islands outside the central Archipelago: the North Reach, East Reach (which excludes the Kargad Lands), South Reach and West Reach. Though nominally subject to the King of All the Isles after the restoration of the Archipelagan monarchy, many of the islands in the Reaches are very isolated, with rather different ways of life than in the main Archipelago. As is commonly said, 'Rules change in the Reaches.'a

Sources: Iffish, WoE (a)


Village or town in the west of Havnor island, near Glade, above which are chestnut forests

Sources: Darkrose and Diamond, TfE

Red Bucca

Red hen belonging to Heleth. The other chickens are named Brown Bucca, Grey, Leggings, Candor, and the King

Sources: The Bones of the Earth, TfE

Red Mage of Ark

Historical mage who, it is said, kept a wild boar on a gold chain

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE

Red rock door

Also known as: Prisoners' Door

Door to the Undertomb at the Place of the Tombs on Atuan, in an outcropping of red lava near the Tomb Wall. It can only be opened from outside, using a long-shafted iron key with two ornate wards (one of the ring of keys)

'A few yards down the slope an outcropping of red lava made a stair or little cliff in the hill. When she went down to it and stood on the level before it, facing the rocks, Arha realized that they looked like a rough doorway, four feet high.'

[The Prisoners, ToA]


See Seserakh


The people of the Kargad Lands believe in reincarnation after death, usually as a different person or animal/plant. Reincarnation is considered a form of immortality: 'We die to rejoin the undying world'a. The One Priestess, Arha, is believed always to be reincarnated as herself. Those of the Inner Lands are not believed to be reincarnated; Kossil says '"…when they die, they are not reborn. They become dust and bone, and their ghosts whine on the wind a little while till the wind blows them away. They do not have immortal souls."'b A belief in reincarnation does not appear to be held in the rest of Earthsea, though it seems a possible interpretation of the line 'only in dying life' from the Creation of Éa

Sources: Dreams and Tales, ToA (b); Winter, T; Palaces, OW; Rejoining, OW (a)

'But she knew what all the people of the Kargad Lands knew, that when they died they would return in a new body, the lamp that guttered out flickering up again that same instant elsewhere, in a woman's womb or the tiny egg of a minnow or a windborne seed of grass, coming back to be, forgetful of the old life, fresh for the new, life after life eternally.'

'"I think … that when I die, I can breathe back the breath that made me live. I can give back to the world all that I didn't do. All that I might have been and couldn't be. All the choices I didn't make. All the things I lost and spent and wasted. I can give them back to the world. To the lives that haven't been lived yet. That will be my gift back to the world that gave me the life I did live, the love I loved, the breath I breathed."

[Palaces, OW/Rejoining, OW]

Related entries: Religion and the afterlife

Religion and the afterlife

All peoples of Earthsea honour Segoy as the creator, and share a creation myth, the Making.

The people of the Archipelago and the Reaches otherwise worship no gods, make no sacrifices and build no temples. They seem to rely on magic to govern chance events in their lives, such as the weather and illness. After death, a shadow is believed to pass to the dry land where it remains, but the afterlife is limited to a barren shadowland where the souls do not appear to interact, and 'those who had died for love passed each other in the streets.'a

The peoples of the Kargad Lands worship the Twin Gods, the Godking and the Old Powers of the Earth, particularly the Nameless Ones, with temples and animal (and occasionally human) sacrifice. Magic is outlawed in the Kargad Lands. On Hur-at-Hur, and possibly elsewhere, keeping the Precepts forms part of religious observances. The Kargish peoples believe in reincarnation: an immortal soul which is reincarnated after death, considering that those from outside the Empire lack this immortal soul and are not reborn. Though the belief systems appear contradictory, both peoples observe rituals timed to the seasons which involve singing and dancing.

In The Other Wind, this difference between belief systems is resolved: the dry land is revealed to have been created by ancient mages, the Rune Makers, who, seeking immortality, appropriated part of the dragons' timeless realm, the other wind, using the arts of naming 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.'b

The Children of the Open Sea (raft people) worship god-figures they call the Great Ones represented by wooden idols of mixed dolphin, fish, man and seabird, and believed to be embodied in the grey whales. They share the custom of the Long Dance with the Archipelagan peoples

Sources: Dreams and Tales, ToA; The Children of the Open Sea, FS; Orm Embar, FS; The Dry Land, FS (a); Palaces, OW; The Dragon Council, OW; Rejoining, OW (b)


Elderly chanter and harpist of Valmouth on Gont

Sources: Home, T


Town in the southwest of Havnor Island, a hundred miles from the sands of Onneva and on the western side of the pass in the Faliern Mountains

Sources: Palaces, OW


Mage of Havnor City on Havnor island

Sources: Darkrose and Diamond, TfE

Restoration of the Archipelagan monarchy

The line of kings of the Archipelago died out on the death of Maharion in the year 452 (800 years previously according to some sources). The new king was prophesied by Maharion to have 'crossed the dark land living and come to the far shores of the day'a; such a king was thought to bring peace and unite the lands. Lebannen, son of the Prince of Enlad and heir of Morred, fulfilled this prophecy and is crowned King of All the Isles in Havnor City in around 1051.

The restoration of the monarchy is followed by various measures, including the establishment of the royal court at the New Palace in Havnor City, reopening of the King's Courts of Law, restructuring of local government, increase in taxation, crackdown on piracy, abolition of slavery (after the siege of Sorra), rebuilding of the royal palaces in Havnor City, and establishment of the King's Council

Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS (a); Home, T; Winter, T; The Master, T; A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Palaces, OW; Dragon Council, OW; Dolphin, OW


Also known as: Alembic

Vessel used for distillation; mentioned in the magician's workroom in the south tower of the School of Wizardry on Roke

Sources: Orm Embar, FS

Revelation Spell

Spell to affect the spellcaster's vision to reveal the true nature of surroundings

Sources: The Open Sea, WoE

Revnian Mountains

Range of mountains in the northeast of Havnor island

Ring of Erreth-Akbe

Also known as: Erreth-Akbe, Ring of, Elfarran's ring, Morred's ring, Bond Ring, Ring of the Runes, Ring of the King's Rune, Ring of Peace, Rune Ring

Silver woman's bracelet or arm ring, pierced with nine holes and decorated with a wave-like pattern on the outside and nine True Runes on the inside, including Pirr, Ges and the Bond Rune. Its origins are lost in the mists of time: it was given by Morred to Elfarran and was said to be old at that time. It passed to her son Serriadh and thus down through the house of Morred to Aiman, who gave it to his wife, Queen Heru. Heru, then Queen Mother, gave it to Erreth-Akbe to take to the Kargad Lands as a sign of peace. It was broken in two by High Priest Intathin of the House of Tarb, in Awabath on Karego-At, destroying the Bond Rune, the sign of peace. Half the Ring was given to Tiarath, daughter of Thoreg of Hupun, and found its way into Ged's hands after Ensar and Anthil, the last descendants of the House of Hupun, were stranded on an islet by the father of the Godking ruling in The Tombs of Atuan. The other half was placed in the treasury of the Tombs on Atuan, and stolen by Ged to remake the Ring, restoring the Lost Rune. Used as betrothal ring between Lebannen, King of All the Isles, & Seserakh, High Princess of the Kargad Lands in around 1066

Sources: The Ring of Erreth-Akbe, ToA; A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Rejoining, OW

Ring of keys

An iron ring bearing thirteen keys is among the One Priestess's traditional garments on Atuan. The key to the Treasury of the Tombs is small and silver with a dragon-shaped haft; that to the red rock door is 'a long shaft of iron with two ornate wards'a

Sources: The Prisoners, ToA (a); Voyage, ToA

'Since the rites of her coming of age, Arha had worn on her belt an iron ring on which hung a little dagger and thirteen keys, some long and heavy, some small as fishhooks.'

[The Prisoners, ToA]


Islet in the easterly West Reach, near Usidero


Inhabitant of Re Albi during the time Heleth was alive; owner of a well

Sources: The Bones of the Earth, TfE

Ritual of the Unspoken

A brief ritual; one of those performed nightly at the Place of the Tombs on Atuan

Sources: The Wall around the Place, ToA

River Ar

See Ar

River House

Also known as: Queen's House

Small, beautiful palace on the northern edge of Havnor City on Havnor, built fitting into the old city wall, with a shady courtyard, halls, anterooms, a dark inner audience room, and balconies over the River Serrenen. Built by Queen Heru, and frequently called the Queen's House, Lebannen had it rebuilt on ascending the throne, and uses it for summer festivities, as a retreat and to meet his mistresses

Sources: Palaces, OW; The Dragon Council, OW; Dolphin, OW

'…it was a lovely, peaceful place, sparsely furnished, with dark, polished, uncarpeted floors. Ranks of narrow door-windows slid aside to open up the whole side of a room to a view of the willows and the river, and one could walk out onto deep wooden balconies built over the water.'

[ The Dragon Council, OW]

River Kaheda

See Kaheda

River Kember

See Kember

River Onneva

See Onneva

River Serrenen

See Serrenen

Roads of Balatran

Also known as: Balatran

Place where the rafts of the Children of the Open Sea meet and come together in summer for the Long Dance

Sources: The Children of the Open Sea, FS


Son of the Lord of Metama on Ark, staying at the imperial court at the Havnor New Palace; aged nine during The Other Wind. Befriends Alder, who gives him the young cat Tug

'…a small, thin boy in a tunic that was too long for him.'

[Palaces, OW]


See Rogmy


Also known as: Rogm

Medium-sized island north of Osskil in the west of the North Reach, near Borth and Udrath. Osskili is probably the language spoken there

Sources: A Description of Earthsea, TfE


Also known as: Isle of the Wise, Isle of the Wizards, Morred's Isle

Island in the Inmost Sea; said to be the heart of Earthsea and the second land raised from the sea. Location of the legendary Morred's Isle. Famous for the School of Wizardry, it is governed by the Archmage. Main town is Thwil on Thwil Bay in the south east, which is the only harbour; other named features include Roke Knoll, the Immanent Grove, Thwilburn and the Isolate Tower. The island is partly farmed, partly oak wooded, with green hills, heaths, pastures and granite cliffs

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; The Finder, TfE

Roke Bay

See Thwil Bay

Roke Knoll

A high green hill on Roke Island above Thwil, near the Immanent Grove; steep, round & treeless, it's covered in long grass and sparkweed. Said to be the first land to stand above the sea at the Creation, and whose roots go down to the centre of the earth. In 'The Finder' [TfE], however, it states that Roke was the second island to be raised, after Ea. A site where the Old Powers are manifest; all things take their true form there

Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; The Finder, TfE; Dragonfly, TfE

'The presence of that hill where many wonders had been worked was heavy, like a weight in the air around them. As they came on to the hillside they thought of how the roots of it were deep, deeper even than the sea, reaching down even to the old, blind, secret fires at the world's core.'

[The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE]

Roke School

See School of Wizardry

Roke wind

Also known as: Roke-wind

Magewind that defends the island of Roke from evil powers

Roke, Great House of

See Great House of Roke

Roke, Masters of

See Masters of Roke

Roke, Rule of

See Rule of Roke


Also known as: Rolomeny

Medium-sized island in the southwestern East Reach, south of Kopp and west of Soders

Sources: The Open Sea, WoE


Medium-sized island in the South Reach, near Lorbanery and Toom

Sources: The Open Sea, WoE

Room of Bones

Room in the Labyrinth of the Place of the Tombs where the remains of some of those who died within the Labyrinth are left

Sources: The Man Trap, ToA

Room of Chains

Large underground room at the Place of the Tombs which houses prisoners. Accessed via a minor labyrinth off the Undertomb, it lies beneath the Hall of the Throne. It has a wooden door without lock, walls with rings driven into the rock, and iron chains with padlocks; the ceiling has a small wooden trapdoor to one of the rooms behind the Empty Throne

Sources: The Prisoners, ToA; The Man Trap, ToA

'…a large low room, walled with hewn stone and lighted by one fuming torch hung from a chain.'

[The Prisoners, ToA]

Room of Pictures

See Painted Room


Wizard at Berila on Enlad

Sources: The Rowan Tree, FS


See Darkrose

Rose of Endlane

In the Dark Years, a farm woman from Endlane village, on Havnor; she moved to Havnor City to find work and there married a boatwright. Mother of Medra and an unnamed daughter, she has a brother, Littleash; her mother's name is Rowan. After her husband's death she returns to live in Endlane, and takes in the wizard Hound

Sources: The Finder, TfE

Rose of Enlad

Titles: Princess of the House of Enlad

Wife of the Prince of Enlad, mother of Lebannen. Dark-eyed; described as 'a blithe patient woman'a. Dies of fever at Berila two years before The Other Wind

Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS (a); Palaces, OW

'…her dark eyes under dark arched brows, her delicate hands.'

[Palaces, OW]

Rose of Old Iria

Also known as: Etaudis

Witch of an unnamed village in the domain of Old Iria on the island of Way; squint-eyed with iron grey hair

'Sometimes Dragonfly thought the cast was in Rose's left eye, sometimes it seemed to be in her right, but always one eye looked straight and the other watched something just out of sight, round the corner, elsewhere.'

[Dragonfly, TfE]

Rose of Westpool

Youngest daughter of the wealthy landowner Birch of Westpool on the island of Way; her mother is the niece of the Lord of Wayfirth. Dying of a wasting cough aged fourteen

'…the youngest daughter, Rose, who was busy crowding a lifetime of keen observation into the fourteen years that were all she was going to have for it.'

[Dragonfly, TfE]

Round Hill

Hill near Kahedanan in the south of Gont; site of an old slaughterhouse

Sources: Winter, T


In the Dark Years, woman from Endlane village in the interior of Havnor island; mother of Rose of Endlane

Sources: The Finder, TfE

Royal sheriffs

See Sheriffs

Rule of Roke

Also known as: Way of Roke, Roke, Rule of

Rule governing the use of magic by which all those of the Roke School of Wizardry are bound. Later came to mean teaching of high arts only to men, the exclusion of women from the Roke School, and the practice of celibacy

'They saw the Rule of Roke established, though never so firmly as they might wish, and always against opposition; for mages came from other islands and rose up from among the students of the school, women and men of power, knowledge, and pride, sworn by the Rule to work together and for the good of all, but each seeing a different way to do it.'

[The Finder, TfE]

Rules of Names

Two rules relating to names are taught on Sattins island: never ask anyone their true name and never tell your own. Though not formally codified elsewhere, these rules are followed across the Archipelago & Reaches

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q

Rune Makers

Also known as: Rune Masters

The earliest mages, from Ea and Soléa, a thousand years before the first kings of Enlad (around 2250 years before the Earthsea cycle). The earliest records of the Isolate Tower on Roke suggest that they invented writing, True Runes and the art of naming. Other accounts, however, suggest that True Runes date back to the creation of Earthsea, Segoy having written them in fire on the wind. Seeking immortality, the Rune Makers used the arts of naming 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 and so created the Archipelagan afterlife, the dry land

Sources: A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Rejoining, OW (a)

'"A thousand years before the first kings of Enlad, there were men in Éa and Soléa, the first and greatest of mages, the Rune Makers. It was they who learned to write the Language of the Making. They made the runes, which the dragons never learned. They taught us to give each soul its true name: which is its truth, its self. And with their power they granted to those who bear their true name life beyond the body's death."'

[Rejoining, OW]

Related entries: Religion and the afterlife; Immortality

Rune Masters

See Rune Makers

Rune of Ending

See Agnen

Rune of the Closed Door

A rune preventing access

'When Alder left the ship at the docks at Thwil Town, one of the sailors had drawn the rune of the Closed Door on the top of the gangplank to prevent his ever coming back aboard.'

[Mending the Green Pitcher, OW]

Related entries: Runes

Rune of the Closed Mouth

Rune used as signature by Ogion

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE

Related entries: Runes

Rune of the Talon

Rune used as signature by Ged; possibly one of the Hardic runes

Sources: Palaces, OW

Related entries: Runes


See Book of Runes


See Books


True Runes or Runes of Power, such as the Six Hundred Runes of Hardic, Further Runes and Runes of Éa, are used for magic. Non-magical Hardic runes are also used for general writing purposes in the Archipelago

Sources: A Description of Earthsea, TfE

Related entries: Books

Runes of Power

See True Runes

Runic writing

See Hardic runes


Poor linen spinner and one of the women of the Hand in Telio on the island of Pody in the Dark Years. Neighbour of Dory. She has black braided hair

Sources: The Finder, TfE

Rushwash tea

Herbal tea; the main hot beverage mentioned, it is drunk on Gont, the Ninety Isles & Sattins, and presumably elsewhere in the Archipelago & Reaches

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q; The Dragon of Pendor, WoE; The Hawk's Flight, WoE

Related entries: Beverages, non-alcoholic


Also known as: Wicker

Wicker baskets, hand made from rushes, are commonly used as containers for carrying food. Alder adapts a covered poultry basket to transport his kitten, Tug. Oak Farm on Gont has a cane-bottomed chair, presumably made from some form of rushwork

Sources: Bettering, T; Winter, T; Palaces, OW


Titles: Mrs

Married woman of West Shore on Sattins island, in the East Reach

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q



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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