A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

Now showing glossary items relating to events; see also the timeline


See Making

Dark Time

See Dark Years

Dark Years

Also known as: Dark Time

Chaotic time after the death of Maharion, when warlords ruled in the absence of an acknowledged King of All the Isles and unregulated wizardry caused plagues, famines and other ills. The best historical account of this time is found in the Book of the Dark

'"No commonwealth was left and no justice, only the will of the wealthy. Men of noble houses, merchants, and pirates, any who could hire soldiers and wizards called himself a lord, claiming lands and cities as his property. The warlords made those they conquered slaves, and those they hired were in truth slaves, having only their masters to safeguard them from rival warlords seizing the lands, and sea-pirates raiding the ports, and bands and hordes of lawless, miserable men dispossessed of their living, driven by hunger to raid and rob."'

[The Finder, TfE]

Division, the

See Vedurnan

Dragon Council

Meeting of the King's Council of Havnor City in around the year 1066, at which Orm Irian speaks of the Vedurnan and the disagreement between dragons and the Archipelagans over the domain called the other wind

'"Councillors! This is a day that will long be told and sung. Your sons' daughters and your daughters' sons will say, 'I am the grandchild of one who was of the Dragon Council!' So honor her whose presence honors us. Hear Orm Irian."'

[The Dragon Council, OW]


Gont Port lies on a fault line; two different earthquakes are mentioned on Gont. When Ogion was seven or eight, half a mile of the coast at Essary fell into the sea and a tidal wave swamped the Gont Port wharves; there were many casualties, including Ogion's father. When Ogion was the wizard of Gont Port, ten years before 'The Shadow' [WoE], Heleth and he stilled a second earthquake which threatened Gont Port; Heleth gave his life to do so. Ged and Tenar's actions in the Labyrinth on Atuan precipitate an earthquake which destroys the Tombs of Atuan

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; The Anger of the Dark, ToA; The Bones of the Earth, TfE


Also known as: Creation

Creation of Earthsea by Segoy, whose First Word balanced dark and light, raised the islands from the depths of Time, and established the lands amidst the seas; recounted in the Creation of Éa. A similar creation myth appears to be remembered by all peoples of Earthsea, including those of the Kargad Lands & the Children of the Open Sea. In a wider sense, the Master Doorkeeper of Roke identifies the Making both with dragons and with the Archipelagan magical arts; Language of the Making is a name for the Old Speech

Sources: Orm Embar, FS; Going to the Falcon's Nest, T; Home, T; Rejoining, OW

'Then from the foam bright Éa broke.'

[A Description of Earthsea, 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

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

Sorra, siege of

See Siege of Sorra


Also known as: Division, the, Verw nadan

Ancient division of humans and dragons referred to in the oldest lore-books of the Roke School of Wizardry. Largely forgotten in the Archipelago and in Karego-At except in folk tales such as 'The Lass of Belilo' and the song of the Woman of Kemay, but remembered on Hur-at-Hur, and by the older dragons, who describe it as a bargain, choice or covenant whereby humans gave up knowledge of the Old Speech in exchange for skills and earthly possessions, while the dragons retained only Old Speech and their freedom of flight between this world and the timeless other wind. The pact is deemed to have been broken when the earliest Archipelagan mages (the Rune Makers) relearned Old Speech and partitioned the dragons' realm to create the dry land. Other accounts are various: in Karego-At, the involvement of the dragons is forgotten and it refers only to the division of human peoples over the practice of magic; on Paln, it's considered the earliest triumph of the art magic. A painting on an old fan on Gont, depicting dragons on one side merging with humans on the other, may relate to these legends

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

'…in the beginning of time, mankind and the dragonkind had been one, but the dragons chose wildness and freedom, and mankind chose wealth and power. A choice, a separation.'

'"Kalessin said: 'Long ago we chose. We chose freedom. Men chose the yoke. We chose fire and the wind. They chose water and the earth. We chose the west, and they the east.'"

[The Dragon Council, OW]

Related entries: Dragon-humans

Verw nadan

See Vedurnan


Various devastating wars are mentioned during the early history of Earthsea. Around two thousand years ago, Morred fought the Enemy of Morred, leading to the ruin of Enlad and the engulfment of Soléa. Kargish raids were common in the time of Heru and Maharion, with several north-eastern islands falling; Maharion and Erreth-Akbe defeated the Kargs with the loss of the entire Kargish fleet in 430-440. Erreth-Akbe defeated the Firelord in around 440, at cost of the burning of Ilien. Raids from dragons, including Orm, were also common during the period from around 350 to 450, with the burning of several islands including Paln and parts of Havnor. The Dark Years following Maharion's death without heir in 452 were full of minor battles between warlords. In 620, Roke was sacked by the Lords of Wathort, while in 665, the fledgeling School of Wizardry of Roke defeated the fleet of the mage Early.

Outright war between the different peoples is, however, uncommon during Ged's lifetime (from around the year 1000) and the immediate history. Enlad is said to have been at peace for at least three generations in The Farthest Shore, though swordsmanship and archery are taught in the Court at Berila. The rural people of Gont are said not to be warlike and do not store weapons, though Gont Port, the capital, is guarded by soldiers. The Kargad Lands appear more organised in military matters; soldiers guard the Place of the Tombs on Atuan and even a relatively small town on Atuan has watchtowers and guards on the gate (see Kargish architecture).

During A Wizard of Earthsea, the Kargish Empire is in expansion, with raids on the islands of the Torikles, Torheven, Spevy and Gont, raiding in fleets of red-sailed longships. Relative peace is restored for a time after Ged remakes the Ring of Erreth-Akbe, and restores the Bond Rune, or Rune of Peace; however by the start of The Farthest Shore, between eighteen and twenty-five years later, matters are said to be worse than ever. The restoration of the Archipelagan monarchy in around 1051, and particularly the rise of Thol a decade later, leads to a cessation in raids, with Thol sending peaceful ambassadors to Havnor in around 1066.

Some years before the events of The Other Wind, Lebannen fights at the Siege of Sorra

Sources: A Description of Earthsea, TfE; Palaces, OW



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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