A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

Now showing glossary items relating to the various races & peoples of Earthsea


See Dark Folk

Children of the Open Sea

Also known as: Raft people, Raft-Folk

Dark-skinned people who dwell on great rafts made of logs in the Open Sea of the west. Their existence is only a legend to the Archipelagans, and they share very little of the lore of land-dwelling men. The rafts are made of square-cut logs, and have shelters and masts; the largest raft houses a temple called the House of the Great Ones. At the Roads of Balatran, in spring to midsummer, seventy rafts in a circle a mile across cluster together to form a floating town; at this time of the year, the Long Dance is held and people marry before the rafts separate for the rest of the year, following the grey whales (whom they worship as Great Ones). They only come to shore once a year in autumn, at the beaches of Emah on the Long Dune by Wellology, to cut wood and refit the rafts. They are very slender and only the height of children; some bear tatoos. They speak a heavily accented version of Hardic, are ruled by a chief, eat fish, swim like dolphins, measure time only in days and nights, practise polygamy (the chief has three wives), use whale ivory for tools, and sealskins and a fibre made from the nilgu seaweed for cloth and rope

'… stalk-thin and angular, great-eyed, like strange, dark herons or cranes. Their voices were thin, like birds' voices.'

[The Children of the Open Sea, FS]

Dark Folk

Also known as: Accursed-sorcerers

Kargish pejorative terms for the Hardic people of the Archipelago

Sources: The Dragon Council, OW


Humans who are also dragons, or dragons who are also humans. According to Kalessin, one or two are born in each respective generation, as a sign that humans and dragons were once one people (see Vedurnan); when the Archipelagan dead are released from the dry land at the end of The Other Wind, 'a few here and there … rose up flickering into dragons, and mounted on the wind.'a Examples include Irian, Tehanu, the Woman of Kemay and the girl of the song 'The Lass of Belilo'; it may be significant that all known examples have female human forms

Sources: Going to the Falcon's Nest, T; Dragonfly, TfE; Palaces, OW; The Dragon Council, OW; Rejoining, OW (a)

'They saw the dragon, the huge creature whose scaled belly and thorny tail dragged and stretched half across the breadth of the terrace, and whose red-horned head reared up twice the height of the king---they saw it lower that big head, and tremble so that its wings rattled like cymbals, and not smoke but a mist breathed out of its deep nostrils, clouding its shape, so that it became cloudy like thin fog or worn glass; and then it was gone. The midday sun beat down on the scored, scarred, white pavement. There was no dragon. There was a woman. … She stood where the heart of the dragon might have been.'

'"Then Kalessin said: 'Once we were one people. And in sign of that, in every generation of men, one or two are born who are dragons also. And in every generation of our people, longer than the quick lives of men, one of us is born who is also human. Of these one is now living in the Inner Isles. And there is one of them living there now who is a dragon. These two are the messengers, the bringers of choice. There will be no more such born to us or them. For the balance changes.'"

[The Dragon Council, OW]

Hoary Men

See Kargs


Also known as: Hoary Men, Eastern peoples

Inhabitants of Kargad Lands, generally white-skinned and fair or yellow-haired. Considered war-like barbarians by the Archipelagans, who sometimes call them 'Hoary Men' for their frost-like colouring

Sources: Dragonfly, TfE

'…they are a savage people, white-skinned, yellow-haired, and fierce, liking the sight of blood and the smell of burning towns.'

'…the tall, rawboned men with their pale, braided hair, their plumed headdresses, their court armor of silver mesh interwoven with feathers.

[Warriors in the Mist, WoE/Palaces, OW]


The inhabitants of the northern island of Osskil; they are white-skinned and speak Osskili, distinct from Hardic. The freemen habitually carry a long knife at the hip

'…they were dour men, pale-skinned with black drooping moustaches and lank hair.'

[Hunted, WoE]

Raft people

See Children of the Open Sea



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