A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

Now showing glossary items relating to body parts


Beards are said to be rare in the Archipelago. Examples include Seppel of Paln, who has a short, clipped beard; Nemmerle, who has a white beard as an old man; Hare in Hort Town; and fur-cloaked merchants at Gont Port. Blackbeard's beard is rare enough to give him his usename. Ged usually seems to be clean shaven, but acquires a sparse beard travelling on Atuan; prisoners there have tangled beards, though, as other Kargish men are not described as having facial hair, this may well be a sign of neglect

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q; The Shadow, WoE; The School for Wizards, WoE; The Prisoners, ToA; Hort Town, FS; Dolphin, OW

Related entries: Hair styles


Many men and women with prominent birthmarks or other blemishes become witches or sorcerers being said to be 'marked for it'

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW


See Skin colour

Hair styles

Dark straight hair is the norm in the Archipelago and Reaches, while people of the Kargad Lands generally have fair or yellow hair; there are, however, exceptions, including dark-haired Tenar and red-haired Sopli. People in the west of Havnor isle generally have curly or frizzy hair. Some men are explicitly described as having long hair; for example, Ged as an old man wears his hair tied back, Alder has long hair loosely gathered at the nape, Sopli has long wiry reddish hair, Cob in his Sending has long black hair, and Ivory is described as having braided hair with the braid clubbed. It's unclear whether others have short hair, but it seems probable. Skiorh and an unnamed sailor on the Dolphin are bald. Women generally seem to have long hair. In the Archipelago, women's hair is often described as unbound; for example, Serret's hair (as a child on Gont) is described: 'Her hair fell long and straight like a fall of black water'a; the witch of Ten Alders has uncombed, tangled black hair. Braided hair is, however, mentioned for Rush, a common woman on Pody in the Dark Years, and the Gontish witch Moss has her hair tied in charm-knots. Hairpins are mentioned on Gont.

Kargish warriors wear their fair hair long, as does Azver, the Kargish Master Patterner; in court dress, their hair is braided, though the warriors who attacked Ten Alders seem to have worn their hair loose. Manan is described as hairless. Plaited or braided hair is mentioned for women at the Place of the Tombs of Atuan; Arha's (Tenar's) hair is cut short during her dedication to the Nameless Ones, but is later described as braided

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; The Shadow, WoE (a); Hunted, WoE; Lorbanery, FS; Ogion, T; Finding Words, T; The Finder, TfE; Palaces, OW

Related entries: Headgear; Beards

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)


Some of the Children of the Open Sea (raft people) adorn their bodies with tatoos; these are not mentioned elsewhere in Earthsea

'…with a blue crab tattooed all across his back.'

[The Children of the Open Sea, FS]



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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