A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

Now showing glossary items starting S


Animal sacrifice, usually of goats, is common in the Kargad Lands; named examples include the spring sacrifice on Hur-at-Hur and the equinox sacrifice on Atuan; twin goats born out of season are sacrificed to the Twin Gods on Atuan. Before Thol came to the throne, the spring sacrifice was of a young girl; people of noble birth convicted of treason or sacrilege are sacrificed to the Nameless Ones on Atuan. The dedication of the One Priestess at the Place of the Tombs on Atuan involves her mock sacrifice. Sacrifice isn't practised in the Archipelago

Sources: The Eaten One, ToA; The Wall around the Place, ToA; Dreams and Tales, ToA; The Dragon Council, OW

Sailing boats

See Ships


Silver and cinnabar (quicksilver or mercury ore) mines in lowland valley near Mount Onn on Havnor, said to be old during the Dark Years when they are worked by the warlord Losen and his mage Gelluk; Licky is the foreman. Buildings include barracks and a grey stone roaster tower where ore is heated to extract the quicksilver (mercury) metal as a vapour (see metal refining); the stream Yennava runs to its west

'…the stone tower, stacks of wood by its wide doorway, rusty wheels and machines by a pit, great heaps of gravel and clay. … the drifts and levels were so low and narrow the miners had to stoop and squeeze their way. In places the ceilings had collapsed. Ladders were shaky. The mine was a terrifying place…'

[The Finder, TfE]


Cattleman in Purewells village near Oraby on the High Marsh of the island of Semel; lives opposite the village tavern and offers lodgings. His wife is pregnant at the time of 'On the High Marsh'

'…a hard-bitten man in his thirties…'

[On the High Marsh, TfE]

Sand clocks

Method of measuring time used in Havnor City, presumably large sand-filled hourglasses; they are housed in the Tower of the Kings. A two-minute sandglass, used to regulate the King's Council, presumably represents a smaller version

Sources: Palaces, OW; The Dragon Council, OW

Related entries: Time

Sand Isles

See Isles of Sand


See Lookfar


Sand-filled hourglass measuring two minutes, used to regulate the length of speeches at the King's Council; presumably the sand clocks of the Tower of the Kings are larger versions of the same device

Sources: The Dragon Council, OW

Related entries: Time

Sands of Onneva

Also known as: Onneva Sands

Sandy coastal region in the west of the Bay of Havnor, at the mouth of the Onneva river and under the shoulder of Mount Onn

Sources: Palaces, OW


Small island in the northern East Reach, near Vemish and Yor. It has farm land with sheep and cows, pine woods and a high green hill with a cave. The main town has an inn; the main harbour is Sattins Harbor; other named features include West Shore, East Creek and Long Banks

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q

Sattins Harbor

Main harbour of Sattins island, home to a fishing fleet of around forty vessels

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q


In the Dark Years, one of the women of the Hand on the isle of Ark where she has a sister and two sons; she joins the Roke School of Wizardry soon after its foundation aged around 53

'Though she had no wizardly gifts at all, she knew so well how to get a group of people to trust one another and work together that she was honored as a wise woman on Ark, and now on Roke.'

[The Finder, TfE]


See Proverbs


See Perfume

School of Wizardry

Also known as: Roke School, College on Roke

School of magic and central home of wizardry, founded in around 650 by Elehal, Yahan, Medra and others of the group called the women of the Hand; later ruled by the Archmage and nine Masters of Roke. Its ethics are codified in the Rule of Roke. Located in the Great House of Roke at Thwil Town, as well as the Isolate Tower & Immanent Grove. Boys come to the school from all over the Archipelago to learn the high arts of magic, and only here is it considered that true wizards are made. At the time Ged attends as a boy, there are around a hundred students, all male.

The Archmage and Masters hold considerable political power in the kingless years, but after the restoration of the Archipelagan monarchy and the loss of the Archmage, the political role of the school is in doubt; for example, the sorcerer Ivory says: '"Roke is no longer where the power is in Earthsea. That's the Court in Havnor, now. Roke lives on its great past, defended by a thousand spells against the present day. And inside those spell-walls, what is there? Quarreling ambitions, fear of anything new, fear of young men who challenge the power of the old. And at the center, nothing. An empty courtyard. The Archmage will never return"'a

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


See Education


See Decorative arts

Sea of Éa

Also known as: Ea, Sea of

Sea north of Havnor and south of Enlad. The islands of Taon, Ea and Ebéa lie in it, and Soléa before it was engulfed was located there

Sea Otter

Two-masted, decked and cabined vessel trading between Way and Wathort; carries Ivory and Irian to Roke

Sources: Dragonfly, TfE

Sea-Guild, House of the

See House of the Sea-Guild


Lodging house, found on Serd and other islands of the Inmost Sea, which provides free food and lodging to travellers and traders, financed by the local township. The Sea-House of Serd has a long raftered hall where guests sleep on pallets

'He went to the Sea-House of Serd, where travellers and merchants ate together of good fare provided by the township, and might sleep in the long raftered hall; such is the hospitality of the thriving islands of the Inmost Sea.'

[Hunted, WoE]

Related entries: Inns


Also known as: sea-master

The Seamasters appear to act as one of the trade guilds, teaching members skills relating to ships, such as making a compass needle point at will rather than to north, and protecting such trade secrets from non-members. The word is also used more generally for wizards skilled in such magic, apparently as a distinct branch of magic from weatherworking; some of the skills of a Seamaster, in at least the latter sense, are taught at the Roke School of Wizardry. Also used still more generally for a sailor, for example a peddler in Hort Town calls Lebannen a seamaster

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; The School for Wizards, WoE; Hort Town, FS


See Sheriffs

Seawall of Nepp

Also known as: Nepp, Seawall of

Building the deep-founded seawall of Nepp is reckoned among Ged's famous deeds; no details are known

Sources: The Rowan Tree, FS


Titles: Prince Sege

Prince of the House of Havnor; a middle-aged man who appears to function as Lebannen's deputy in the court at Havnor City, officiating over the King's Council and co-ordinating affairs of state in Lebannen's absence

'There was a middle-aged man, simply dressed, with a steady look that made Alder feel he could trust him:'

[Palaces, OW]


Titles: Eldest Lord, Doorkeeper, Maker

The creator of Earthsea, whose First Word balanced dark and light, and established the lands amidst the seas: the Making, as recounted in the Creation of Éa. All peoples of Earthsea appear to share this belief, including those of the Kargad Lands & the Children of the Open Sea. Tehanu calls the dragon Kalessin Segoy

Sources: Orm Embar, FS; Tehanu, T; Rejoining, OW

'Among all beings ever returning, the eldest, the Doorkeeper, Segoy'

[A Description of Earthsea, TfE]


See Shape-changing


Also known as: the Farthest Isle

Desolate westernmost isle of the Archipelago, around a thousand miles from the Inmost Sea, in the West Reach. Uninhabited, largely without birds or animals. A fairly large island, the south coast has dunes, and reedy marshes and lagoons, with low hills towards the interior. 'As long ago as for ever, as far away as Selidor'a is the Archipelagan equivalent of 'once upon a time'

Sources: Selidor, FS; The Stone of Pain, FS; Finding Words, T (a)


Also known as: The Sellets

Group of three islets off the south coast of Soders in the East Reach


Coastal village or town in the northwest of Gont, near Oskres and Up Selt; it lies at the head of an unnamed inlet, near the mouth of an unnamed river

Sources: Frontispiece map, T


Medium-sized island in the north west of the Archipelago, near Paln and Havnor. Forested, with cattle and sheep farming. Landscape dominated by the volcano Andanden, with a high marshy grassy plain, the High Marsh, formed by ash deposition during the last eruption. Southern coast is most populated; major towns include Oraby

'The island of Semel lies north and west across the Pelnish Sea from Havnor, south and west of the Enlades. Though it is one of the great isles of the Earthsea Archipelago, there aren't many stories from Semel. Enlad has its glorious history, and Havnor its wealth, and Paln its ill repute, but Semel has only cattle and sheep, forests and little towns, and the great silent volcano called Andanden standing over all.'

[On the High Marsh, TfE]


Cattle farmer of Re Albi when Heleth was alive

Sources: The Bones of the Earth, TfE


Town in the hills behind Berila on Enlad; a summer retreat of the Enlad royal family. It has apple orchards

'He thought he was in the apple orchards of Semermine, where the princes of Enlad pass their summers, in the hills behind Berila; he thought he was lying in the thick grass at Semermine, looking up at the sunlight between apple boughs.'

[The Children of the Open Sea, FS]


A form of magic in which the sender transmits an image of himself to a distant point; sendings do not cross water. The image can speak and hear, but has no power and casts no shadow. It need not be an accurate representation of the person. A related power is that of sending thoughts to a distant recipient, which may likewise be limited to a single island

Sources: The Rowan Tree, FS; Selidor, FS; Dragonfly, TfE

'[Ged] shut his eyes as if resting, and sent a sending of his spirit over the hills and fields of Roke, northward, to the sea-assaulted cape where the Isolate Tower stands. / "Kurrenkarmerruk," he said in spirit, and the Master Namer looked up from the thick book … which he was reading to his pupils, and said, "I am here, my lord." … under his tree, the Archmage Ged … withdrew his sending …'

[The Rowan Tree, FS]


Also known as: Senny

Female tramp of Middle Valley on Gont; mother of Tehanu. Murdered by fellow tramps Handy, Shag and Hake while pregnant

Sources: Winter, T


See Senini


Titles: Seppel of Paln

Wizard from Ferao on Paln; one of the King's Council, he lives in Havnor City, off Boatwright Street near the shipyards, where there is a small Pelnish colony. A short bearded man of around fifty, he's soft-voiced and mild-seeming, with a swarthy, soft but sharp-eyed face; described as wise. Though called a mage, he carries no wizard's staff

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

'He was a short man of about fifty, round-bodied, with small hands and feet, hair that was a little curly and unruly, and what was rare among men of the Archipelago, a beard, clipped short, on his dark cheeks and jaw. His manners were pleasant. He spoke in a clipped, singing accent, softly.'

[Dolphin, OW]


Northernmost islet of the Ninety Isles, lying southeast of Paln and Eppaln, just south of the Pelnish Sea

'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;'

[The Dragon of Pendor, WoE]


Islet at the southern end of the Ninety Isles near Pody, in the Inmost Sea; the nearest of those isles to Roke, which lies thirty miles away. Described as thriving, its main port is Serd Inner Port

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

'West of Roke in a crowd between the two great lands Hosk and Ensmer lie the Ninety Isles. The nearest to Roke is Serd…'

[The Dragon of Pendor, WoE]

Serd Inner Port

Main port of the island of Serd in the Ninety Isles; it lies on the side of the Inmost Sea and has a Sea-House

Sources: Hunted, WoE


Town on the island of Enlad; it has a market place. The skin of the dragon Bar Oth is preserved there

Sources: Hort Town, FS


Titles: Master Serrathen

Ship's master of Lebannen's ship, the Dolphin during Tehanu; described as grey-haired and calm

Sources: The Dolphin, T


Also known as: River Serrenen

Stream or small river in Havnor City, which runs within the old city walls in the north of the city, lined with willows. A paved way runs alongside it, and the River House has balconies over it

Sources: Palaces, OW; The Dragon Council, OW

'…through the willow boughs at the quiet, shallow stream below them.'

[The Dragon Council, OW]


Titles: Lady of the Keep

Daughter of the Lord of Re Albi, on the island of Gont; her mother was a sorceress from Osskil. Married Lord Benderesk, and lived at the Court of the Terrenon on Osskil. Name means silver in Osskili. Tall, with long black hair and unusually pale skin. She tried to betray Ged to the Stone of Terrenon, and was killed in gull form by Servants of the Stone

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

'She was young and tall, dressed in white and silver, with a net of silver crowning her hair that fell straight down like a fall of black water. … this woman was like the white new moon.'

[The Hawk's Flight, WoE]


Titles: King of Earthsea, Serriadh the Peacemaker

Ancient king of Earthsea; son of Morred and Elfarran. Called 'the peacemaker' and 'the gentle king'

Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS; Sea Dreams, FS; The Finder, TfE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE

Serriadh, Sword of

See Sword of Serriadh


Wealthy sheep and goat farmer of Kahedanan in the Middle Valley on Gont

Sources: Home, T; Winter, T


Wealthy castles and palaces, such as the imperial court on Havnor and the Court of the Terrenon on Osskil, are run by servants. The Kargish High Princess Seserakh is accompanied by numerous veiled female attendants. The School of Wizardry on Roke employs cooks in the kitchens, and there is a cook at the Place of the Tombs on Atuan. Lesser households in the Archipelago might also have servants; for example, Vetch (Wizard of Iffish, whose father was 'a sea-trader of some means'a) employs a couple of old servants on Iffish, the wealthy merchant Golden's house has servants on Havnor, and the Master of Iria employs a housekeeper on Way

Sources: Iffish, WoE (a); The Hawk's Flight, WoE; Darkrose and Diamond, TfE; Dragonfly, TfE

Servants of the Stone

Ancient black winged creatures serving the Lord of the Stone of Terrenon

'…dark creatures were creeping forth, flapping long wings, slowly beating and circling up over the walls … botched beasts, belonging to ages before bird or dragon or man, long since forgotten by the daylight but recalled by the ancient, malign, unforgetful power of the Stone.'

[The Hawk's Flight, WoE]


Also known as: Reddy
Titles: High Princess, (High) Princess of the Kargad Lands, Daughter of Thol, Lady of Hur-at-Hur, Princess of Hur-at-Hur

Kargish princess from Mesreth on Hur-at-Hur in the Kargad Lands, daughter of High King Thol. She briefly lives at Awabath on Karego-At before Thol sent her to Havnor with a request that she should 'wear the Ring of Peace upon her arm, as Queen Elfarran of Soléa wore it, and this will be the sign of everlasting peace between the Western and the Eastern Isles'a -- interpreted by Lebannen and others as a demand for marriage between the kingdoms. A tall, vigorous young woman, with tawny hair, cream-coloured skin and blue eyes with gold flecks, she wears the heavy red & gold feyag (veil) in public, initially speaks no Hardic and conceals her name for fear the Archipelagans will steal her soul. Under her veils, she wears a long shirt, trousers and gold rings. She's described both as 'intelligent, practical, and courageous'b and 'like a brick chimney'a. Betrothed to Lebannen, King of All the Isles, in around 1066

Sources: Palaces, OW (a); The Dragon Council, OW, Dolphin, OW (b); Rejoining, OW

'…she was magnificent: tawny-haired, tawny-eyed, with round arms and full breasts and slender waist, a woman in her first full beauty and strength.'

[The Dragon Council, OW]


City on the east coast of Ark


Tiny islet near Misk and Dunnel, at the northeastern edge of the South Reach

Seven Great Ports of the Archipelago

The seven major ports of the Archipelago are said to include Hort Town. Havnor City is probably among the others

Sources: Hort Town, FS


Ship of the Andrades that carries Ged to Roke. The Shadow is a thirty-oared galley, with a crew of seventy, carrying pelts and ivory from the northern islands. It's decorated with the Old Serpent of Andrad

Sources: The Shadow, WoE


Also known as: Shadow, gebbeth

The dark creature released by Ged has various manifestations, a beast shape [The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE], a dark shapeless shadow [The Dragon of Pendor], the Skiorh gebbeth [Hunted], a shadow with some human likeness [Hunter], Ged's form casting no shadow [Iffish], various humans, a winged monster [The Open Sea]. Gensher of Way believed it had no name, while Ogion counselled that '"All things have a name"'a, and Yevaud, the Dragon of Pendor & the Stone of Terrenon both offered to give Ged its name. Ged eventually defeats it in the furthest east by naming it with his own name, and joining with it

Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; The Dragon of Pendor, WoE; Hunted; WoE; The Hawk's Flight, WoE (a); Hunter, WoE; Iffish, WoE; The Open Sea, WoE

'Light and darkness met, and joined, and were one. … "The wound is healed," he said, "I am whole, I am free." … Ged had neither lost nor won but, naming the shadow of his death with his own name, had made himself whole: a man: who, knowing his whole true self, cannot be used or possessed by any power other than himself, and whose life therefore is lived for life's sake and never in the service of ruin, or pain, or hatred, or the dark.'

[The Open Sea, WoE]


Male tramp of Middle Valley on Gont; possibly the one described as large, big chested, with a hairy lip. Part of group including Hake, Handy and Senini. Sentenced to slave labour in the galleys for his involvement in the murder of Senini

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

'… a big-chested fellow with coarse black hairs on his upper lip drooping over his mouth…'

[Going to the Falcon's Nest, T]


Woman employed at Oak Farm in the Middle Valley on Gont for over twenty years; tends the orchard and does the dairying. Married to the shepherd Clearbrook; they live in a cottage round the hill from the farm

Sources: Kalessin, T; Home, T


Also known as: Self-transformation, Shape-change

Art of assuming the shape of another thing; a true change, not an illusion. Shape-changing is commonly into the form of animals; for example, Ged changes into a hawk and Medra an otter. Changes into inanimate objects are also possible; Heleth transforms himself irreversibly into the earth, and changes into trees, fire, a hillock and a waterfall are mentioned. A highly perilous art, as the wizard can lose his sense of self in the thoughts of the animal, and so become trapped in the assumed form, as did the wizard Bordger of Way who became a bear and killed his son. Not the same as the change of form possible for dragon-humans, who, according to Ogion, are simultaneously two beings in a single form

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q; The Shadow, WoA; The Hawk's Flight, WoE, Going to the Falcon's Nest, T; The Finder, TfE; The Bones of the Earth, TfE

'In all the sunlight and the dark of that great flight he had worn the falcon's wings, and looked through the falcon's eyes, and forgetting his own thoughts he had known at last only what the falcon knows; hunger, the wind, the way he flies.'

[The Hawk's Flight, WoE]

Related entries: Changing


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

Sources: The Dragon of Pendor, WoE


Also known as: Shelieth of the Fountains

Capital of the island of Way, located in the south. Seat of the Lords of Way, the city has law courts and is famous for its fountains, which are praised in the Deed of the Young King. One of the old royal lineages is found here

Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS; Hort town, FS; Dragonfly, TfE

'Praised are the Fountains of Shelieth, the silver harp of the waters'

[Hort Town, FS]

Shelieth, Stone of

See Stone of Shelieth


Also known as: Royal sheriffs, Sea-sheriffs

Royal sheriffs are officers of the King of All the Isles after the restoration of the Archipelagan monarchy; they superintend local law enforcement and hear grievances from common people. Sea-sheriffs are involved in law enforcement on Gont; presumably their major role is to patrol shipping to prevent piracy

Sources: Home, T; The Master, T


See Witch marriage


Woman of Valmouth on Gont; friend of Apple

Sources: Home, T


Also known as: Boat-building

Traditionally performed only by men, it was supposed to be unlucky for women to watch a keel being laid (though the boat-builder of Thwil at the time of the founding of Roke School of Wizardry was a woman). Ships on Havnor are built of oak timber, with masts of pine; carpentry tools used there for ship-building include a plane and a bubble level

Sources: The Finder, TfE; Darkrose and Diamond, TfE


Also known as: Galleys, Longships

The main method of transport in Earthsea, ships are used for transporting goods for trade, for fishing and crabbing, and for war or raids on other islands. All vessels are powered by sails and/or oars. Oared galleys of twenty to sixty oars plus a big square sail seem to be the main long-distance vessel within the Archipelago; they island hop, mooring at night and rarely going out of sight of land. Coasters are small sailing vessels which traffic small cargoes from port to port. Larger Archipelagan trading vessels may be two-masted and multi-decked (for example, Sea Otter); it's unclear whether such ships also carried oars. In Osskil and the South Reach, the oars are manned by slaves. The Kargish ships are longships, with red sails. Long narrow sailing-ships with high triangular sails are designed to catch the wind in the South Reach, while boats in the Inmost Sea bear a high fore-and-aft sail that can be turned to catch a head wind. More modest craft include sailing dinghies, such as the eighteen-foot clinker built Lookfar, fishing-sloops, catboats and rowing boats. Little poled chips ply the canals of Havnor City, and oared tugs tow ships out of harbour in the Bay of Havnor. Reed coracles are used on Astowell, where there is no wood for building. The Children of the Open Sea travel on large log rafts with sails, but driven by the ocean currents. Paddled boats, such as canoes or kayaks, are not mentioned.

The method of construction of wooden vessels differs according to origin: in the north and the Reaches, vessels are generally clinker built (with overlapping planks), while elsewhere non-overlapping (carvel built) construction is used.

Named boats and ships include Ged's boat, the Lookfar, Lebannen's ship, the Dolphin, and the Farflyer, Gull of Eskel, Hopeful, Pretty Rose, Queenie, Sea Otter, Shadow, Stormcloud and Tern

Related entries: Travel & transport


Shops are described in larger towns and cities across the Archipelago. Thwil has a shop selling writing materials and jewelry, while shops in Hort Town sell a huge range of hardware, clothes and fabrics. In Gont Port, shop have shutters; the shop in Thwil has strings of red red clay beads ornamenting its doorway; in Havnor City, they're described as small and dark; in Hort Town, they're little more than booths piled high with wares. Even in major Archipelagan cities, goods are also commonly sold at market

Sources: The Masters of Roke, FS; Hort Town, FS; Finding Words, T; Dolphin, OW


Place in the South Reach where slaves are sold; possibly a town, or a mistake for the island of Sowl

Sources: Magelight, FS; Dolphin, OW

Siege of Sorra

Also known as: Sorra, siege of

Battle against slave traders of Wathort (including Egre and Gore), in which Lebannen fought with Tosla and a fleet of 30 ships, some years before the events of The Other Wind; Lebannen later appears to have abolished slavery across the Archipelago

Sources: Palaces, OW; Dolphin, OW

Related entries: Slavery


A rune meaning 'speed well' painted on, for example, ships; one of the True Runes

Sources: Hunted, WoE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE

'…her high bent prow carven and inlaid with disks of loto-shell, her oarport-covers painted red, with the rune Sifl sketched on each in black.'

[Hunted, WoE]

Related entries: Runes


See Ogion


Medium-sized, inhabited island in the southerly end of the West Reach, lying near Kaltuel, north-east of Jessage and west of Ensmer; grain is grown there

Sources: Palaces, OW


A rune meaning 'work well' drawn on tools; one of the True Runes

Sources: Iffish, WoE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE

'…he set the rune Simn on the spindles and looms, the boat's oars and tools of bronze and stone they brought him, that these might do their work well;'

[Iffish, WoE]

Related entries: Runes


White-and-brown goat of Ogion's flock; later a pet of Tehanu. It died shortly before the opening of The Other Wind

Sources: Kalessin, T; Bettering, T; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW

'…a white-and-brown, clever-hoofed, yellow-eyed, shameless goat, Sippy who had been Tehanu's pet, and who had died last winter at a great age…'

[Mending the Green Pitcher, OW]


Woman employed at Oak Farm in the Middle Valley on Gont; looks after the field crops. Married to Tiff; they live in the lower house near Oak Farm

Sources: Kalessin, T; Home, T

Six Hundred Runes of Hardic

The most commonly used True Runes; they have been given non-magical names in Hardic. Despite the name, not the same as the Hardic runes used for general writing purposes in the Archipelago

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE


Sawmill owner in Re Albi on Gont

Sources: The Bones of the Earth, TfE

Skin colour

Also known as: Colour

Most of the inhabitants of the Archipelago & Reaches have fairly dark skin of a colour variously described as red-brown, bronze or copper. Those from the East Reach (eg Vetch, Gensher of Way) have much darker skin, described as black-brown or black; Vetch, for example, is described as 'very dark of skin, not red-brown like Ged and Jasper and most folk of the Archipelago, but black-brown.'a Kargs are fair skinned, as are inhabitants of the northernmost isles, including Bereswek, N&S Enwas and Osskil. Azver from Karego-At is described as having 'pale reddish skin'b, Seserakh from Hur-at-Hur has skin of 'heavy cream'c, while Benderesk of Osskil is said to be bone white

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; The School for Wizards, WoE (a); Hunted, WoE; The Hawk's Flight, WoE; Dragonfly, TfE (b); Mending the Green Pitcher, OW; The Dragon Council, OW ( c)


A trader's agent from Osskil; bald and aged looking, with an ugly cruel face. He directs Ged to the Court of the Terrenon on Osskil, and is taken over by the shadow-beast to become a gebbeth on the Keksemt Moors. Serret calls him a servant of the Terrenon, and says he was a wizard once

'He had a strange, seamed, bald head, a lined face. Though age had not sounded in his voice, he looked to be an old man.'

[Hunted, WoE]


Slavery is practised across the South Reach, Osskil in the north, and the Kargad Lands at the time of The Farthest Shore. It appears to be outlawed in other parts of the Archipelago, such as Enlad. Slaves are transported in oared galleys in the South Reach, and sold at Amrun, Showl and Sowl. Ged comments that Lebannen would ' "fetch the price of a farm in Amrun market." 'a Named Archipelagan slavers include Egre and Gore. After coming to the throne, Lebannen fights the Siege of Sorra against slave traders of Wathort, and subsequently abolishes slavery across the Archipelago. Slave-labour, however, appears to remain a punishment for serious crimes.

The Kargs employ slaves on Atuan and Hur-at-Hur, and also make slaves of the lands they conquer, such as the people of Spevy

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; Hunted, WoE; The Wall around the Place, ToA; Magelight, FS (a); Winter, T; A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Dolphin, OW

Small House

Also known as: House of the One Priestess

House in which the One Priestess lives after dedication, in the Place of the Tombs on Atuan. It has a windowless sleeping cell, hallway, an inner walled courtyard with a cistern, a porch where the One Priestess's eunuch sleeps, and a small closet with a concealed spyhole onto the Labyrinth, near the iron door

Sources: The Eaten One, ToA; Dreams and Tales, ToA; Light under the Hill, ToA

'It was in a house that had been locked for years, unlocked only that day. The room was higher than it was long, and had no windows. There was a dead smell in it, still and stale.'

[The Eaten One, ToA]


Small island in the East Reach, near Koppish

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; The Open Sea, WoE


Hen belonging to Moss

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW


Small, hilly inhabited island in the East Reach, a hundred miles south of Iffish; it has a port

Sources: The Open Sea, WoE


Town or village in Middle Valley in the south of Gont; has a Round Barn which serves as a council chamber for the villages of the valley

Sources: Home, T


Also known as: Guards

A masculine occupation in the Archipelago and probably in the Kargad Lands. Cities of the Archipelago are guarded by soldiers, who may be employed by the regional lord or prince (as in Gont Port) or by the king (the king's guards of Havnor City). In the Kargad Lands at the time of the Godking, temple guards defend the Place of the Tombs, and even a relatively small town on Atuan has watchtowers and gate guards drawn from the Godking's soldiers. Little about military organisation is detailed; the Atuan temple guards are led by a captain, and a gate captain & lieutenant are mentioned among the king's guards

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; The Western Mountains, ToA; Bettering, T; Finding Words, T; Palaces, OW

Related entries: War; Weapons; Armour

Soldiers of the red helmet

See Godking's soldiers


Northern island in the Sea of Éa known for its orchards; engulfed in the sea by the spell of the Enemy of Morred one or two thousand years ago, drowning everyone on it, including Elfarran

Sources: The Open Sea, WoE; Hort Town, FS; A Description of Earthsea, TfE


Coastal village or town in the southwest of Gont, near Essary and Var

Sources: Frontispiece map, T

Song of the Creation

See Creation of Éa

Song of the Sparrowhawk

Song composed on Low Torning in the Ninety Isles, celebrating Ged's defeat of Yevaud, the Dragon of Pendor

'They pressed around their young wizard and asked for the tale again. More islanders came, and asked for it again. By nightfall he no longer had to tell it. They could do it for him, better. Already the village chanters had fitted it to an old tune, and were singing the Song of the Sparrowhawk.'

[Hunted, WoE]

Song of the Woman of Kemay

Song sung in northwest Gont, composed by the Woman of Kemay, which tells of the Vedurnan

'Farther west than west
beyond the land
my people are dancing
on the other wind.

[Going to the Falcon's Nest, T]

Related entries: Songs

Song of the Young King

See Deed of the Young King


Also known as: Chants

Songs such as the Deed of Enlad, Deed of the Young King, Deed of the Dragonlords, Deed of Ged, Deed of Hode, Lament for the White Enchanter, Lay of the Lost Queen, Deed of Erreth-Akbe, Lament for Erreth-Akbe, Winter Carol and the Havnorian Lay record the history of the Archipelago and its heroes, and are sung at festivals and other times. (Some history-recounting songs are local only, such as the song of the Woman of Kemay, sung in northwest Gont.) They may be sung unaccompanied or accompanied by music of eg drums, pipes, flute, harp and lute. Wizards sometimes use illusions to change their appearance when miming the songs. The oldest song is the Creation of Éa. New songs are made to celebrate acts of bravery, such as the Song of the Sparrowhawk, commemorating Ged's defeat of Yevaud, the Dragon of Pendor. Teaching the songs to children is traditionally the province of witches.

More frivolous songs also exist, including sailors' songs eg 'The Lass of Belilo', love songs eg 'Where my Love is Going', riddle songs eg 'Three things were that will not be', cat's cradles' rhymes, cradle songs, lullabies, ballads eg 'O my Joy!', drinking songs and shepherd's songs.

Chanting, unaccompanied or accompanied by horn and drum, also forms part of religious observances in the Kargad Lands; many of the words chanted are so old as to have lost all meaning, 'a signpost still standing when the road is gone'a. Named chants include the Nine Chants

Sources: The Eaten One, ToA (a)


Titles: Dyer of Lorbanery, the Dyer

The Dyer of Lorbanery, son of Akaren, a tall, broad-shouldered man with a bush of wiry brownish-red hair, in his late twenties or early thirties. A former wizard, driven mad in his search for the key to eternal life, he acts as guide to Ged and Lebannen on the Lookfar, despite his terror of water. Unable to swim, he drowns near Obehol when he jumps out of the boat

'The man was a full head taller than Sparrowhawk, and broad-shouldered, and a panting, raving, wild-eyed madman.'

[Lorbanery, FS]


Also known as: Witch-men

Male practitioners of magic, both the base crafts and some of the high arts, including some knowledge of Old Speech. Their main skills are stated as windbringing/weatherworking, finding and binding. Distinguished from wizards in that sorcerers are not trained in the art magic, do not carry a wizard's staff and often do not practise celibacy. Usually train each other, with no formal succession as for wizards

Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE


See Witches


Location of the siege of Sorra; presumably a town on Wathort or in the South Reach

Sources: Palaces, OW; Dolphin, OW

Sorra, siege of

See Siege of Sorra


Small island off the west coast of Osskil, near Norst and Ebosskil; it lies on the northwestern edge of the Archipelago, facing the Open Sea


Islet in the eastern North Reach, northeast of the Allernots, near Komokome and Chemish


Wealthy harbour village on the island of Lorbanery, governed by the Mayor of Sosara; the houses are thatched with twigs from the local hurbah trees. Features include an inn, and worksheds for the major industry of silk weaving and dyeing

'The houses were curious, with little windows set randomly, and thatches of hurbah-twigs, all green with moss and lichens. It had been a wealthy isle, as isles of the Reach go, and this was still to be seen in the well-painted and well-furnished houses, in the great spinning wheels and looms in the cottages and worksheds, and in the stone piers of the little harbour of Sosara, where several trading galleys might have docked.'

[Lorbanery, FS]

Sosara, Mayor of

See Mayor of Sosara

South Enwas

See Enwas

South Port (Gont)

See Gont South Port

South Port (Havnor)

See Havnor South Port

South Reach

Group of islands lying south and southwest of Wathort, described as 'the place least known and fullest of mysteries' in all of Earthseaa. They include the Isle of the Ear & the Great South Shoals in the east; Wasny, Misk, Dunnel & Set in the northeast; Toom, Rood, Lorbanery, Far Sorr & the Isles of Sand in the south; and Obehol, Wellology & the Long Dune in the southwest, near the West Reach. The climate here is generally warmer than in the rest of Earthsea. Slavery is practised in parts of the South Reach

Sources: Sea Dreams, FS (a); The Open Sea, WoE; The Madman, FS

'"A strange part of the world, where the fish fly, and the dolphins sing, they say."'

[Sea Dreams, FS]

South Teeth

See Teeth


Small island in the South Reach east of Wathort and near Namien; exports gauze fabric to Hort Town, and also markets slaves

Sources: Hort Town, FS; Dolphin, OW


Son of Tenar and Flint; brother of Apple; probably twenty or more during the events of Tehanu. Born premature and sickly as a child, as an adult he's tall and thin, white-skinned, with a narrow face and lank hair; said to be restless. His use-name is a joke as he was struck off Flint, his father. Became a sailor aboard a merchant ship aged fourteen; by around 1049, he's the third mate aboard the Gull of Eskel; later second mate. After 1052, a farmer and vintner at Oak Farm in the Middle Valley on Gont; no wife or children are mentioned

Sources: Bettering, T; The Dolphin, T; The Master, T; Dolphin, OW

'…growing, he became a wiry boy, endlessly active, driven; no use on the farm; no patience with animals, plants, people; using words for his needs only, never for pleasure and the give and take of love and knowledge.'

'He was as thin as ever, but looked older, tanned dark, lank-haired, with a long, narrow face like Flint's but still narrower, harder.

[Bettering, T/The Master, T]


Yellow meadow flowers common on Roke and Havnor, come into flower in early spring; said to grow where the wind dropped the burning ashes of Ilien after the assault by the Firelord

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

'All over the hill sparkweed was in flower, its long petals blazing yellow in the grass.'

[The Finder, TfE]


See Ged


A small island between Gont and the Kargad Lands. Taken by the Kargs around a year before the start of A Wizard of Earthsea; the land was looted and laid waste, and the people taken into slavery. Previously under Kargish rule for at least a generation in the time of Maharion

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; A Description of Earthsea, TfE


Spinning using a drop spindle and sometimes a distaff is an oft-mentioned occupation of women, performed both indoors and outside, often while doing other activities such as talking or minding children. A spinning wheel is used in the well-to-do Oak Farm on Gont. Much peasant clothing appears to be homespun

Sources: Finding Words, T; Home, T; The Finder, TfE; Dragonfly, TfE

'The witch emerged with a soapstone drop spindle and a ball of greasy wool. She sat down on the bench beside her door and set the spindle turning. She had spun a yard of grey-brown yarn before she answered.'

[Dragonfly, TfE]

Spring sacrifice

Sacrifice to small, flightless dragons occurring on the fourth day of the fifth month at the Place of the Sacrifice on Hur-at-Hur. Formerly a human sacrifice, since Thol became king of Hur-at-Hur, a she-goat and a ewe have been sacrificed

'"Since then, they've only sacrificed a she-goat and a ewe. And they catch the blood in bowls, and throw the fat into the sacred fire, and call to the dragons. And the dragons all come crawling up. They drink the blood and eat the fire."'

[The Dragon Council, OW]

Springwater Isle

Rocky sand bar near Karego-At on which Ensar and Anthil, the last descendants of the House of Hupun, were stranded. The isle was named for the spring of freshwater that Ged charmed

Sources: Hunting, WoE


See Wizard's staff

Staff of the Grey Mage

Also known as: Grey Mage, Staff of the

Long steel rod or blade, enchanted and engraved with runes; born by Cob, who uses it to impale and kill the dragon Orm Embar

Sources: Selidor, FS


One of the Children of the Open Sea or raft people; owns a raft on which Lebannen stays

Sources: Children of the Open Sea, FS

Sticks and counters

Game played by the eunuch Wardens of the Place of the Tombs on Atuan, and sometimes by Arha (Tenar), involving throwing a bundle of sticks and catching them on the back of the hand

Sources: Dreams and Tales, ToA

Related entries: Games

Stone of Shelieth

Also known as: Shelieth, Stone of

Ancient stone from the island of Way, in which a mage could see visions of truth. Brought to Roke School of Wizardry by Gensher of Way, and kept in the magicians' workroom

'…a great stone like a diamond uncarved. It was rock-crystal, coloured faintly deep within with amethyst and rose, but clear as water. Yet as the eye looked into that clarity it found unclarity, and neither reflection nor image of what was real round about, but only planes and depths ever deeper, until it was led quite into dream and found no way out. … in the hands of a mage it held truth.'

[Orm Embar, FS]

Stone of Terrenon

Also known as: Terrenon, the

Stone in a locked underground room in the Court of the Terrenon, the founding stone of the tower, with an ancient evil spirit imprisoned within, said to have been made before Segoy raised the islands. Serret tells Ged that 'It has a voice, if you know how to listen. It will speak of things that were, and are, and will be. … he who can make the Terrenon answer what he asks and do what he wills, has power over his own destiny: strength to crush any enemy, mortal or of the other world: foresight, knowledge, wealth, dominion, and a wizardry at his command that could humble the Archmage himself!'a, though it is unclear whether this is true or a ruse to trap Ged into touching it. The same stone appears to be described in the Matter of the Dragons

Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; The Hawk's Flight, WoE (a)

'It was rough and dank as the rest, a heavy unshapen paving-stone: yet he felt the power of it as if it spoke to him aloud. … This was a very ancient thing: an old and terrible spirt was prisoned in that block of stone.'

[The Hawk's Flight, WoE]


Young boy of Re Albi on Gont

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW

Stories, children's

See Children's tales


Warship of the warlord Losen; one of the fleet of eighty ships that Early sends against Roke School of Wizardry during the Dark Years

Sources: The Finder, TfE

Story of Andaur and Avad

One of the children's tales told on Gont; it tells of a woodcutter, Andaur, who cut down a great oak which cried out in a human voice

Sources: Finding Words, T


Young boy of Sattins island in the East Reach; described as fat and quick

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q

Sudidi, North

See North Sudidi


Man of Easthill in west Havnor, probably a mule breeder or trader

Sources: Darkrose and Diamond, TfE


See Master Summoner


Summoning of spirits of the living and the dead (mainly derived from the Lore of Paln), and of energies such as light, heat, magnetism, weight, form, colour and sound. Summoning living people is forbidden by the Rule of Roke: '"Only the dead may we summon. Only the shadows. You can see why this must be. To summon a living man is to have entire power over him, body and mind. No one, no matter how strong or wise or great, can rightly own and use another."'a It was, however, practised during the Dark Years eg by the mage Early, and was abused by Irioth, and possibly also Thorion, 'to use men, to control them wholly.'b One of the high arts of magic, also considered a part of the art magic. Taught at the Roke School of Wizardry by the Master Summoner, summoning is considered one of the greatest and most perilous arts

Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; On the High Marsh, TfE (a); Dragonfly, TfE (b)

'He dealt with no illusion, only true magic, the summoning of such energies as light, and heat, and the force that draws the magnet, and those forces men perceive as weight, form, colour, sound: real powers, drawn from the immense fathomless energies of the universe, which no man's spells or uses could exhaust or unbalance. … As for calling of real things and living people, and the raising up of spirits of the dead, and the invocations of the Unseen, those spells which are the height of the Summoner's art and the mage's power, those he scarcely spoke of to them.'

'The Summoner, though, dealt not with bodily things but with the spirit, with the minds and wills of men, with ghosts, with meanings. His art was arcane, dangerous, full of risk and threat.

[The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE/Mending the Green Pitcher, OW]


See Ayeth


See Festival of Sunreturn


Women are considered to bring good luck to a ship, though it's supposed to be unlucky for women to watch a keel being laid. On the other hand, it's considered unlucky for men to so much as pick up a shovel in a mine. The Fallows are considered an unlucky time, especially for travellers and the sick. In Karego-At, shooting stars are said to be the souls of dragons dying

Sources: The Finder, TfE; Dolphin, OW; Rejoining, OW

Sword of Erreth-Akbe

Also known as: Erreth-Akbe, Sword of

The oldest sword in the world; set into Tower of the Kings of Havnor City on Havnor, after Maharion retrieved it from Selidor where Erreth-Akbe was slain. Described as a 'slender steel blade'a, it is explicitly said to be older than the Sword of Serriadh, suggesting that it must have had many previous owners before being passed down to Erreth-Akbe

Sources: The Great Treasure, ToA; The Masters of Roke, FS; A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Palaces, OW (a)

'"On the highest of all the towers, the Sword of Erreth-Akbe is set, like a pinnacle, skyward. When the sun rises on Havnor it flashes first on that blade and makes it bright, and when it sets the Sword is golden still above the evening, for a while."'

[The Great Treasure, ToA]

Sword of Serriadh

Also known as: Serriadh, Sword of

Second oldest sword in the world (after the Sword of Erreth-Akbe), it belonged to Serriadh, the son of Morred and Elfarran. It is handed down among the Princes of Enlad and is held by Lebannen in The Farthest Shore. The sword is plain, with a cross-hilt of silvered bronze

'This had never been laid away or hoarded up, but worn; yet it was unworn by the centuries, unweakened, because it had been forged with a great power of enchantment. Its history said that it never had been drawn, nor ever could be drawn, except in the service of life. For no purpose of bloodlust or revenge or greed, in no war for gain, would it let itself be wielded.'

[The Masters of Roke, FS]



WoEA Wizard of Earthsea
ToAThe Tombs of Atuan
FSThe Farthest Shore
OWThe Other Wind
W12QThe Wind's Twelve Quarters
TfETales from Earthsea

Earthsea and its inhabitants were created by Ursula Le Guin, and no infringement of her copyright is intended in this fan site