A glossary of people, places & objects in Earthsea

Now showing glossary items relating to animals or plants


Male dragon, brother of Orm Irian; referred to by Lebannen as a chief among dragons

'…the dragon hovered, its long wings beating quick and short like a hovering hawk's. But these wings were fifty feet from tip to tip, and as they beat they made a sound like kettledrums or rattles of brass. As she came closer to it, a little curl of fire escaped from the dragon's long, long-toothed, open mouth.'

[The Dragon Council, OW]


Much of the wildlife mentioned is familiar. Animal species common to our world and Earthsea include goats, sheep, mountain sheep, cattle, oxen, horses, donkeys, mules, pigs, cats, dogs, mice, woodmice, field mice, voles, rats, moles, rabbits, hares, squirrels, polecats, ferrets, deer, boars, bears, polar bears (called icebear), lions, tigers, foxes, badgers, lions, bats, grey whales, whales, dolphins, spotted seals, otters, toads, frogs, lizards, tortoises, snakes, adders, vipers, chickens, sparrows, finches, pigeons, doves, ravens, crows, carrion crows, jays, swallows, larks, hawks, goshawks, sparrowhawks, marsh hawks, kestrels, ospreys, eagles, grey eagles, falcons, pilgrim falcons, vultures, owls, swans, ducks, gulls, murres, black-headed terns, sandpipers, sea-geese, (wild) geese, albatross, pelicans, petrels, herons, cranes, octopi, sharks, herrings, sea bass, haddock, pannies, eels, minnows, carp, trout, crabs, mussels, oysters, clams, barnacles, snails, anemones, spiders, scorpions, mites, weevils, wasps, bumblebees, bees, hornets, butterflies, dragonflies, mayflies, flies, moths, cicadas, crickets, ants, gnats, midges, fleas, silkworms, tent caterpillars, maggots and worms. Ivory is mentioned, but it's unclear whether it derives from elephants or some other tusked animal.

Species unique to Earthsea include harrekki (tiny dragon), otak (small mammal), pellawi (furred mammal, see pellawi-fur), enderfalcon of Roke (fishing hawk), turbies (oily fish), and, of course, dragons.

Obviously, the geographical distribution of the various species differ, with some being confined to particular islands or regions. For example, pellawis seem to be limited to the northern islands, otaks are only found on four islands including Roke, harrekki are found on Iffish but not other islands, while horses are rare except on Havnor, Semel and Way. Selidor lacks animal and bird life


Also known as: Trees of the Grove

Trees found only in the Immanent Grove on Roke, particularly near its centre. Tall, long-lived, with brown trunks and oval leaves with a hint of gold, they're described as akin to oak or chestnut, with leaves like aspen or poplar. Arhada is Old Speech; they have no name in Hardic

Sources: Rejoining, OW

'"Their leaves don't all turn in autumn, but some at every season, so the foliage is always green with a gold light in it. Even on a dark day those trees seem to hold some sunlight. And in the night, it's never quite dark under them. There's a kind of glimmer in the leaves, like moonlight or starlight. … As you go deeper in, it's more and more only the trees of the Grove. And the roots of those go down deeper than the island. Some are huge trees, some slender, but you don't see many fallen, nor many saplings. They live a long, long time."'

[Rejoining, OW]

Bar Oth

Young dragon killed by Keor, Prince of Enlad three hundred years before The Farthest Shore, the last dragon to be seen in Enlad. Its skin was preserved at Serilune on Enlad

'I saw the skin of Bar Oth. It is heavy as iron, and so large that if it were spread out it would cover all the marketplace of Serilune, they said. The teeth are as long as my forerarm. Yet they said Bar Oth was a young dragon, not full grown.'

[Hort Town, FS]

Related entries: Dragons


Animal belonging to Moss, possibly a hen

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW

Brown Bucca

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

Sources: The Bones of the Earth, TfE


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

Sources: The Bones of the Earth, TfE

Children of Segoy

See Dragons


Corly-root smoke is used as a treatment for fever, though its efficacy appears doubtful

Sources: The Dragon of Pendor, WoE

Related entries: Healing; Herbal remedies

Dragon of Pendor

See Yevaud

Dragon of Selidor

See Orm Embar


Also known as: Children of Segoy, People of the West, the Eldest

Vast winged, lizard-like, fire-breathing creatures; they speak the Old Speech. Described by Orm Irian as jealous and irate; dragons obey none and have no king. Very long-lived: some are older than any other living thing; young dragons are thin and black, with little fire-breathing capacity. According to the lore of the Vedurnan, dragons and humans were one people in ancient times; in token of this, one or two dragon-humans are born into each generation. At the time of the Earthsea cycle, dragons are largely confined to the westernmost isles, especially the Dragons' Run; they move between this world and the timeless region west of west, the other wind. At the end of The Other Wind, dragons abandon the earthly realm. Named examples include Kalessin, Orm, Orm Embar, Yevaud (the Dragon of Pendor), Bar Oth, Orm Irian, Ammaud and Tehanu.

Small dragons, around a yard long, live in the mountains on Hur-at-Hur; they have only wing stubs and hiss without speaking. Considered sacred animals, a spring sacrifice is made to them annually at the Place of the Sacrifice. Tiny dragon-lizards called harrekki are found on Iffish in the East Reach

Sources: Palaces, OW; The Dragon Council, OW

'…that the dragon and the dragon's speech are one thing, one being. That a dragon does not learn the Old Speech, but is it."/"As a tern is flight. As a fish is swimming,"''

[Palaces, OW]

Enderfalcon of Roke

Large white-and-brown-barred fishing hawk, found on Roke

Sources: The Rowan Tree, FS


Old male black dog that never barks, belonging to the Witch of Ten Alders on Gont

Sources: Warriors in the Mist, WoE; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW

Gontish sheep-guard

Large grey breed of dog found on Gont; presumably used to mind sheep

'…one of the big grey Gontish sheep-guards, with their wise, curly heads.'

[Home, T]


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

Sources: The Bones of the Earth, TfE


Also known as: harikki, harekki

A tiny dragon-lizard, common on Iffish, that lives in oak trees and eats wasps, worms and eggs, and grows no larger than a hand. Yarrow keeps one as a pet

Sources: Iffish, WoE


Also known as: hazia-root

Addictive drug used in Hort Town to give visions; users chew the root. It blackens the mouth and causes nervous disorders and eventually death

'"It soothes and numbs, letting the body be free of the mind. And the mind roams free. But when it returns to the body it needs more hazia … and the craving grows: and the life is short, for the stuff is poison. First there is a trembling, and later paralysis, and then death."'

[Hort Town, FS]


Large tree found on Roke, and probably elsewhere

Sources: Rejoining, OW

Herbal remedies

An important part of healing in the Archipelago. Herbal remedies mentioned include corly-root, for fever; white hallows, a white-flowering herb of unknown use; witch hazel, used on burns; and cobweb-wrapped perriot leaves, used to staunch bleeding (cobwebs alone are also used for bleeding). Herbs may be ingested as tea, applied to the skin in ointments, salves or poultices, or burned for their scented smoke; they may also form a component of potions and elixirs. Herb lore is commonly known by village witches & sorcerers, and is taught by the Master Herbal at the Roke School of Wizardry

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; The School for Wizards, WoE; The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; The Dragon of Pendor, WoE; A Bad Thing, T; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW

Herbs, trance inducing

See Trance-inducing herbs


See Otak


Horses are rare in the Archipelago except on the islands of Havnor, Semel and Way; indeed they are never directly mentioned in the original Earthsea trilogy. Apart from the cowboys of Semel, even on these islands horseriding seems to be a mark of status, largely confined to the nobility and the relatively wealthy. The imperial court at Havnor City has royal stables equipped with 'fine, strong, slender-legged creatures'a (Lebannen rides a big grey gelding), and stables attached to a mansion house and a farm are mentioned on Way. A carriage drawn by four grey horses carries Seserakh in state in Havnor City, and cart horses are occasionally mentioned pulling carts or wagons. Transporting horses by ship appears rare. Horses are cared for by cowboys, handlers or hostlers; riding gear mentioned includes saddle, saddle blanket, bridle, reins, headstall, whip and a mounting block. Except for a horsehair belt among the One Priestess's garments on Atuan, horses are not mentioned in the Kargad Lands

Sources: The Finder, TfE; On the High Marsh, TfE; Dragonfly, TfE; Palaces, OW (a); Dolphin, OW

Related entries: Travel & transport

Hurbah trees

Low round-topped trees on whose leaves silkworms feed; ubiquitous on Lorbanery, where houses are thatched with hurbah-twigs and wine is made of hurbah-berries

Sources: Lorbanery, FS


Titles: The Eldest

The oldest of the dragons, immense, scarred, iron black with red wings and yellow eyes; so old that Orm Embar is but a yearling kid beside him (or her). Inhabits an island called the Keep of Kalessin in the Dragons' Run. Calls Tehanu 'my child'; she calls him Segoy

Sources: The Stone of Pain, FS; Kalessin, T; Tehanu, T

'Its head, the colour of iron, stained as with red rust at nostril and eye socket and jowel, hung facing him, almost over him. … It did not move. It might have been crouching there for hours, or for years, or for centuries. It was carven of iron, shaped from rock -- but the eyes, the eyes he dared not look into, the eyes like oil coiling on water, like yellow smoke behind glass, the opaque profound, and yellow eyes watched Arren.'

[The Stone of Pain, FS]


Cock belonging to Heleth. The other chickens are named Red Bucca, Brown Bucca, Grey, Leggings, and Candor. Missing when Ogion moves into the Old Mage's House, presumably killed by a fox

For monarchs of Earthsea, see King of All the Isles, Godking & High King

Sources: The Bones of the Earth, TfE


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

Sources: The Bones of the Earth, TfE

Little Grey

Female cat belong to Moss; Alder takes Tug, one of her kittens to Havnor

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW


Giant brown seaweed whose fronds are 80 to 100 feet long, whose fibres are used by the Children of the Open Sea (raft people) for cloth, rope and nets

Sources: The Children of the Open Sea, FS

Old Black

Male animal, probably a cat, belong to Moss

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW


Ancient great dragon who killed the mage Ath. Later killed Erreth-Akbe on Selidor, and was slain by him; its bones lie buried in the sands of Selidor. Of its lineage are Orm Embar and Orm Irian

Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE; Orm Embar, FS; The Dragon Council, OW; Dolphin, OW

Orm Embar

Also known as: Dragon of Selidor

Ancient dragon of the lineage of Orm, the mightiest of all dragons. Identified Ged's half of the Ring of Erreth-Akbe on Selidor. Killed by the mage Cob on Selidor

'Ninety feet, maybe, was he from tip to tip of his vast membranous wings, that shone in the new sunlight like gold-shot smoke, and the length of his body was no less, but lean, arched like a greyhound, clawed like a lizard, and snake-scaled. Along the narrow spine went a row of jagged darts, like rose thorns in shape, but at the hump of the back three feet in height, and so diminishing that the last at the tail-tip was no longer than the blade of a little knife. These thorns were grey, and the scales fo the dragon were iron-grey, but there was a glitter of gold in them. His eyes were green and slitted.'

[Orm Embar, FS]

Orm Irian

Dragon form of Irian, described as red-bronze with red-gold vaned wings, gold flanks, a gold-mailed, red-horned head and huge amber eyes. Claims to be the sister of Tehanu, Ammaud & Orm Embar, and grandchild of Orm; called daughter by Kalessin (as Kalessin is considered the oldest dragon, this may denote some more distant or honorary kinship)

Sources: Dragonfly, TfE; Palaces, OW; The Dragon Council, OW; Rejoining, OW

'As she went farther from them they saw her, all of them, the great gold-mailed flanks, the spiked, coiling tail, the talons, the breath that was bright fire. … Then with a rattle like the shaking of sheets of brass the wide, vaned wings opened and the dragon sprang up into the air, circled Roke Knoll once, and flew.'

[Dragonfly, TfE]


Also known as: Hoeg

Small silent animal with brindled fur; rare, being found only on four southern isles (Roke, Ensmer, Pody and Wathort). Ged kept one as a pet; it saved his life in Low Torning, bringing him back to his body by washing him, and died when the gebbeth attacked him on Osskil

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; Mending the Green Pitcher, OW

'They are small and sleek, with broad faces, and fur dark brown or brindle, and great bright eyes. Their teeth are cruel and their temper fierce, so they are not made pets of. They have no call or cry or any voice.'

[The School for Wizards, WoE]


Silvery fur lining a lordly cloak that Ged is given in Osskil, presumably from a furred creature, the pellawi. The red cloaks of merchants from the Andrades are also trimmed with this fur. Both Osskil and the Andrades are in the north

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


Red-flowering tree growing in the Ninety Isles, Hort Town and Roke

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; The Dragon of Pendor, WoE; Hort Town, FS

People of the West

See Dragons

Perriot leaves

Perriot leaves, wrapped in cobwebs, are used in healing to staunch bleeding; cobwebs alone are also used against bleeding

Sources: The Loosing of the Shadow, WoE

Related entries: Herbal remedies


People of the Archipelago commonly keep dogs and cats as pets; they also serve as watchdogs, sheep dogs, hunting animals and for vermin control. Named examples include the Witch of Ten Alders' dog Gobefore, Moss's cat Little Grey and Alder's kitten Tug. The people of Havnor City 'put birdcages out the windows on gilt poles among the flowers'a. More unusual pets include Ged's otak, Nemmerle's talking raven of Osskil, Yarrow's harrekki (dragon-lizard), Tehanu's goat Sippy, and the wild boar said to be kept by the Red Mage of Ark

Sources: The School for Wizards, WoE; The Dragon Council, OW (a)

'"They say Gontish wizards often keep familiars," said Jasper, who sat on the other side of Vetch. "Our Lord Nemmerle has his raven, and songs say the Red Mage of Ark led a wild boar on a gold chain. But I never heard of any sorcerer keeping a rat in his hood!"'

[The School for Wizards, WoE]


Plant life largely overlaps with earth species. A wide range of plants and trees are mentioned, including oak, yew, cedar, fir, ash, elm, beech, aspen, poplar, chestnut, hemlock, rowan, willow, alder, juniper, olive, apple, pear, peach, cherry, walnut, hazel, raspberry, blackberry, blueberry, currant, grapevine, cantaloupe melon, potato, onion, bean, cabbage, lettuce, beet, turnip, squash, tomato, corn, barley & other grains, rose, bramble, heather, broom, witch hazel, thistle, fourfoil, king's foil, rosemary, mint, thyme, parsley, yarrow, clovenfoot, tansy, bay, moly, velver, sagebush, strawflower, pennyroyal, miller's-bane, (blue) daisy, madder, flag iris, grass, dune grass, wire-grass, bunchgrass, sedge, reed, rockwort, seaweed, fern, moss, lichen, fungus and mould.

Species probably unique to Earthsea include the pendick-tree (red-flowering tree), hurbah trees (low-growing trees that silkworms feed on), arhada (trees of the Immanent Grove), hemmen, hazia, perriot (see perriot leaves), corly (see corly-root), white hallows, sparkweed (yellow-flowered weed), lacefoam (white-flowered weed), rushwash (herb used to make rushwash tea), paramal (herb) and nilgu (brown seaweed).

The geographical distribution of most species is not constant throughout Earthsea. For example, hurbah trees are ubiquitious on Lorbanery in the South Reach but not mentioned elsewhere, pendick-trees are mentioned only in southerly isles such as Wathort. The desert vegetation around the Place of the Tombs on Atuan is predominantly wire-grass, sagebushes and juniper trees. Selidor has dune grasses, sedge and rushes, with few or no trees

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

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

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]


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]


Hen belonging to Moss

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW


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]

Trance-inducing herbs

Also known as: Herbs, trance inducing

Unnamed herbs burned on bronze trays produce fumes that enable the One Priestess in Atuan to prophesy or to enter a trance-like state whilst dancing in the ceremonies of the darkness

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

Trees of the Grove

See Arhada


Grey kitten from Moss's cat, Little Grey, which Alder takes to Havnor in a covered poultry basket to help him sleep. It stays with him in his room in the New Palace of Havnor City, a sand tray being provided for its use. Alder later gives the cat to the young boy Rody when he departs for Roke

Sources: Mending the Green Pitcher, OW; Palaces, OW; Dolphin, OW

'The kitten, evidently happy to be away from the household of dogs and tomcats and roosters and the unpredictable Heather, tried hard to show that it was a reliable and diligent cat, patrolling the house for mice, riding on Alder's shoulder under his hair when permitted, and settling right down to sleep purring under his chin as soon as he lay down. Alder slept all night without any dream he remembered, and woke to find the kitten sitting on his chest, washing its ears with an air of quiet virtue.'

[Mending the Green Pitcher, OW]


Small fish caught in the Ninety Isles for their oil, the foundation of the local economy

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

White hallows

White-flowering herb growing in river meadows and marshes on Gont; prized by healers

Sources: The Shadow, WoE; Kalessin, T

'He came on a meadow between two streams where the flower called white hallows grew thick, and as these blossoms are rare and prized by healers, he came back again next day.'

[The Shadow, WoE]

Related entries: Healing; Herbal remedies


Also known as: Dragon of Pendor

Ancient male dragon. Laid waste to the west of Osskil in the time of Morred, being driven forth by the wizard Elt, and to the island of Pendor four generations before A Wizard of Earthsea. Apparently capable of shape-changing, he lives in human form for four years on Sattins island in the East Reach as the wizard, Mr Underhill, after being temporarily driven from Pendor by the League after around a hundred years of occupation. Later returns to Pendor, where Ged defeats him by knowing his name, binding him and his offspring not to fly eastwards to the Archipelago. Of his eight sons by a she-dragon of the West Reach, Ged kills six

Sources: The Rule of Names, W12Q; The Dragon of Pendor, WoE

'When he was all afoot his scaled head, spike-crowned and triple-tongued, rose higher than the broken tower's height, and his taloned forefeet rested on the rubble of the town below. His scales were grey-black, catching the daylight like broken stone. Lean as a hound he was and huge as a hill. Ged stared in awe. There was no song or tale could prepare the mind for this sight.'

[The Dragon of Pendor, WoE]

Related entries: Dragons



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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