Aihal

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Aihal is the true name of a fictional character in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea realm. He is commonly called by his Hardic name Ogion, and is also known as Ogion the Silent.

Character Overview[edit]

Aihal is a famous mage who trained Ged on Gont.[1]

Biography[edit]

Aihal was born in Gont Port, the chief town of Gont Island. His father was a longshoreman and his mother a cook. His father died in an earthquake; his mother apprenticed him at the age of twelve to Elassen, a sorcerer in Valmouth, Gont. At the age of fifteen Elassen sent him to Roke Island, where he was schooled as a wizard. Instead of receiving his staff there, however, he returned to Gont to work with Heleth Farseer, the wizard of Re Albi (the most important mage on Gont), then going under the name of Dulse. Aihal's temperament was always compassionate but reserved, rarely speaking; therefore Heleth called him Silence. Later on, after Aihal had left Heleth's service, he took the name Ogion, which means "fir cone" in Hardic.

After Heleth Farseer gave up his life to calm a major earthquake, Aihal became the Wizard of Re Albi in his place. Some ten years later he gave the young Ged his name and took him on as an apprentice, but after a short period allowed Ged to attend school on Roke. Five years later, as reported in A Wizard of Earthsea, Ged returned when being chased by the "shadow" he unleashed as a student in Roke; Aihal counseled Ged to confront it rather than fleeing from it. In The Tombs of Atuan, Ged promised to take Tenar to Aihal after helping her escape from Atuan where she had been a priestess in the Tombs.

Tenar was raised by Aihal as his ward, and later went on to become a farmer's wife. At the end of his life, as recounted in Tehanu, Aihal summoned Tenar to him, and gave her his name before he died, as she explained to the two wizards who came after his death: "His name was Aihal. His name in death is Aihal. In the songs he will be known as Aihal of Gont."

Aihal was a powerful mage. In Tehanu the Master Windkey from Roke mentions that Aihal had been offered the position of Archmage, but had refused it.

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ The Dictionary of Imaginary Places, eds. Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 2000), page 180.

References[edit]