The Other Wind

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The Other Wind
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Author Ursula K. Le Guin
Country United States
Language English
Series Earthsea
Genre Fantasy novel
Published 2001 (Harcourt Brace & Company)
Media type Print (hardcover & paperback)
Pages 246
ISBN 0-15-100684-9
OCLC 46777444
813/.54 21
LC Class PS3562.E42 O84 2001
Preceded by Tales from Earthsea

The Other Wind is a fantasy novel by the American author Ursula K. Le Guin, published by Harcourt in 2001. It is the fifth and latest novel set in the fictional archipelago Earthsea.[1][a] It won the annual World Fantasy Award for Best Novel and was runner up for the Locus Award, Best Fantasy Novel, among other nominations.[1][2]

The Other Wind is a sequel to Tehanu, the fourth novel, and to "Dragonfly", one story collected in Tales from Earthsea.


It is about fifteen years since the events described in Tehanu, and eight after those in Dragonfly. King Lebannen has his share of problems. The dragons want the return of the lands men have stolen from them in the distant past, the Kargs want to marry him to their princess and thus cement a diplomatic relation between the two countries, and the dead seek release from the perpetual twilight of the afterlife. Accompanied by three wizards, two dragons in human form, and a Kargad princess, he sails to Roke where, together with the Masters of that island, they are able to right an ancient wrong and restore the balance between the living and the dead.


The Other Wind continues the stories of Earthsea characters Lebannen, Tenar, Tehanu, and, in a minor role, Ged, from the previous books. With the exception of Tehanu, these characters are already fully developed, and there is little further development. Tehanu, now a young woman, is still very shy and emotionally dependent upon her adoptive mother, Tenar. Nevertheless she reluctantly agrees to accompany the King on a mission to meet and parley with the dragons. On their first encounter with one, despite the creature's apparent hostility, and her own particular fear of fire, she rides forward to meet it in the hope that it would recognize and honor her kinship with the ancient Dragon Kalessin established in the book Tehanu. In the denouement of the book, she transforms into dragon form herself, and is thus freed from the burden of the injury inflicted upon her in childhood.

The theme of reconciliation underlies this book. In addition to Tehanu's personal reconciliation with her own nature, the sorcerer Alder is reconciled with his dead wife, Lebannen with his future bride, and through that marriage, a lasting peace with Kargad is forged. The disparate lores of Paln, Roke, and Kargad are each shown to be imperfect reflections of the true history of the world. The spell that created the Dry Land, which was intended to create an artificial afterlife, is broken, and the land itself returned to the dragons, from whom it had been stolen thousands of years ago. The dead at last gain their release, and the pattern of death and rebirth is reestablished for all.


  1. ^ Two short stories preceded the first novel (1968) and a collection of short stories and essays, Tales from Earthsea (May 2001) was published a few months before The Other Wind (September). See Earthsea Cycle series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.


  1. ^ a b The Other Wind title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB).
  2. ^ "Ursula K. Le Guin". Index of Literary Nominees. The Locus Index of SF Awards. Locus. Retrieved 2012-02-25.
  • Bernardo, Susan M.; Murphy, Graham J. (2006). Ursula K. Le Guin: A Critical Companion (1st ed.). Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-33225-8. 
  • Cadden, Mike (2005). Ursula K. Le Guin Beyond Genre: Fiction for Children and Adults (1st ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-99527-2. 
  • Drout, Michael (2006). Of Sorcerers and Men: Tolkien and the Roots of Modern Fantasy Literature (1st ed.). China: Barnes & Noble. ISBN 978-0-7607-8523-2. 

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