Characters in Earthsea
In Earthsea, one character often has several names. This is because in Earthsea, the true name of a person has power and a wizard can wield total power over someone whose name he knows. Consequently, any person guards his true name closely and only shares it with those whom he or she can totally trust. Through childhood up to puberty, children are known by a child-name; at their rite of Passage, about the age of thirteen, children are given a true name in the Old Speech, usually by a wizard, that they will keep for the rest of their lives. In the Kargad lands this is not done and a name given to a child functions as that person's name for life: it may, or may not, be the person's true name.
In dealings with most people, the Hardic peoples of Earthsea use a "use-name", usually a common word in the Hardic language (rendered into English) by which they are identified. Use-names are often words referring to animals (Dragonfly, Goha, Hare, Hawk, Hound, Lark, Murre, Otak, Otter, Sparrowhawk, Tern), plants (Alder, Apple, Aspen, Beech, Hemlock, Heather, Ivy, Lily, Littleash, Moss, Rose, Rowan, Vetch, Yarrow), stones and other substances (Diamond, Flint, Golden, Ivory, Jasper, Onyx): but some are simply sequences of sound without obvious meaning.
A person may keep one use-name all his or her life, or may change it at whim, or may be known to one group of people by one name and to others by another name. While each true name only refers to one person, use-names may be shared by several people: there are, for instance, three different characters called Rose.
In the list below, true names are used where known, otherwise use-names and nicknames. A secondary list below gives the use-names and child-names of those whose true names are known.
Names of characters in Earthsea
True names are shown in bold type, use names in italics. Child names, names of unknown status and nicknames are unmarked. Titles in brackets are the novels or stories in which the character appears.
- Aihal – A wizard on Gont, student of Heleth and master of Ged; called Ogion. ("The Bones of the Earth")
- Akaren – A dyer of Lorbanery, who lost her magical powers. (The Farthest Shore)
- Anieb – A woman of the Hand, called Flag. ("The Finder")
- Ard – The Mage of Perregal, master of Heleth. Created Ard's lore-books. A female mage.
- Ath – The mage who wrote the first Book of Names.
- Ayeth – A sorcerer on Semel. Called Sunbright. ("On the High Marsh")
- Ayo — A woman of the Hand, on Havnor, mother of Anieb. ("The Finder")
- Azver – The Master Patterner of Roke, from Karego-At. Means "banner of war" in Kargish. ("Dragonfly")
- Beech – Sorcerer of Valmouth. (Tehanu)
- Benderesk – Lord of the Terrenon in Osskil, husband of Serret. (A Wizard of Earthsea)
- Blackbeard – A mage, descendant of the Sealords of Pendor, who challenges Yevaud. ("The Rule of Names")
- Brand – Master Summoner of Roke after Thorion. (The Other Wind)
- Cob – A sorcerer whom Ged meets and defeats. (The Farthest Shore)
- Crow — A book-collector from Hosk. ("The Finder")
- Deyala – The Master Herbal of Roke. ("Dragonfly")
- Duby – A eunuch at the Place of the Tombs. (The Tombs of Atuan)
- Dune – Old wizard on Roke, friend of Elehal and Yahan.
- Elehal – A mage on Roke, called Ember, partner of Medra, sister of Yahan. ("The Finder")
- Elfarran – Wife of Morred.
- Elt – A wizard wise in names.
- Emer – A woman of Semel. Called Gift. ("On the High Marsh")
- Enemy of Morred - An unnamed mage of great power who fought Morred.
- Ennas – Great Mage of Perregal, from whom Ard's lore-books came.
- Erisen – A twisted mage and follower of Cob. Called Aspen. (Tehanu)
- Erreth-Akbe – Hero-mage of Havnor, companion of King Maharion. Erreth-Akbe lived many centuries before the primary events that take place in the Earthsea novels. Erreth-Akbe was a famous hero and a great sorcerer, as well as counselor and good friend to King Maharion. Erreth-Akbe was a ‘dragonlord’, i.e. esteemed well enough by some dragons that they were willing to speak with him.
- Essiri – A gifted man of Havnor, who abandons wizardry for musicianship. The word means "willow" in the Old Speech. Called Diamond. ("Darkrose and Diamond")
- Estarriol – A mage of Iffish, friend of Ged. Called Vetch. Older brother of Murre and Yarrow. (A Wizard of Earthsea)
- Etaudis – A witch on Way. Called Rose. ("Dragonfly")
- Firelord – A mage of great power who attacked the inner Isles as he sought to stop the sun at noon. Defeated by Erreth-Akbe. Thought to have perhaps been a dragon.
- Flint – Husband of Tenar. (Tehanu)
- Gamble – Student on Roke. Later becomes the Master Windkey. (The Farthest Shore, The Other Wind)
- Ged – Archmage of Roke. Called Sparrowhawk.
- Gensher of Way – Archmage of Roke after Nemmerle. (A Wizard of Earthsea)
- Golden – Merchant of Glade, Havnor, husband of Tuly, father of Essiri. ("Darkrose and Diamond")
- Gray Mage – Mage from Paln who made great spells (the Lore of Paln) to summon the spirits of the dead to counsel the Lords of Paln a thousand years before the time of the novels.
- Hara – A sorcerer from Taon, called Alder. (The Other Wind)
- Hare – A former wizard in Wathort, follower of Cob. (The Farthest Shore)
- Hayohe – Daughter of Flint and Tenar. Called Apple. (Tehanu)
- Hemlock – Wizard of South Port, Havnor. ("Darkrose and Diamond")
- Hatha – Witch of Re Albi. Called Moss. (Tehanu)
- Heather – Goatherd at Re Albi. (Tehanu)
- Heleth Farseer – Master of Aihal. Called Dulse. ("The Bones of the Earth")
- Highdrake – A mage of Pendor who taught Medra. ("The Finder")
- Hound – A mage gifted in finding and tracking, servant to Tinaral and Teriel. ("The Finder")
- Ioeth – child-name of a son of Pechvarry. (A Wizard of Earthsea)
- Irian – see Orm Irian
- Irioth – A powerful summoner who loses his mind. Called Otak. ("On the High Marsh")
- Ivory – A sorcerer from Havnor who pretends to be a wizard on Way. ("Dragonfly")
- Ivy – A witch of Middle Valley. (Tehanu)
- Jasper – A sorcerer of O. Son of Enwit, born in the domain of Eolg, Havnor. Childhood rival of Ged. (A Wizard of Earthsea)
- Kalessin – The eldest dragon. S/he flies Ged and Arren home after they defeat Cob. Once called Segoy, suggesting a similarity or identity to the creator-deity of the songs and legends of Earthsea. (Tehanu)
- Kest – A woman of Iffish, called Yarrow. Younger sister of Vetch and Murre. The word means "minnow" in the Old Speech. (A Wizard of Earthsea)
- Kossil – A corrupt Priestess of the God-king at the Place of the Tombs. (The Tombs of Atuan)
- Kurremkarmerruk – Name used by the Master Namers of Roke.
- Lark – A woman of Middle Valley, friend of Tenar. (Tehanu)
- Lebannen – King of Earthsea. The name means "rowan tree" in the Old Speech. Called Arren.
- Lord of Re Albi – A pirate-lord of Gont, father of Serret.
- Licky — Slavemaster at the Samory mines in Havnor, servant of Tinaral.
- Littleash — Brother of Rose, uncle of Medra, from Endlane in Havnor. ("The Finder")
- Losen – 'King' or warlord of Havnor in the Dark Years.
- Maharion – The last king of Earthsea before Lebannen
- Manan – Eunuch at the Place of the Tombs of Atuan. (The Tombs of Atuan)
- Mebbeth – Priestess at the Place of the Tombs. (The Tombs of Atuan)
- Mead — A woman of the Hand on Havnor, sister of Ayo. ("The Finder")
- Medra – The first Master Doorkeeper of Roke. Called Otter and Tern. ("The Finder")
- Mevre – A witch on Taon, married to Hara, called Lily. (The Other Wind)
- Morred – Mage-King of Enlad, ancestor of some of the kings of Earthsea. Also known as "The Young King".
- Murre – Brother of Estarriol and Kest (middle sibling). (A Wizard of Earthsea)
- Nemmerle – Archmage of Roke when Ged is young. Formerly the Master Patterner. (A Wizard of Earthsea)
- Nereger – Mage of Paln.
- Nesty — A woman from Firn, in Havnor ("The Finder")
- Onyx – A wizard of Roke (The Other Wind)
- Orm – A dragon of the West Reach. Slayer of Erreth-Akbe.
- Orm Embar – A powerful dragon of the West Reach descended from Orm. Killed by Cob. (The Farthest Shore)
- Orm Irian – A dragon-woman. Called Dragonfly. ("Dragonfly")
- Pechvarry – A boatmaker of the Ninety Isles. He befriends Ged when Ged first arrives. Ged fails to save his sick son Ioeth. (A Wizard of Earthsea)
- Penthe – A trainee priestess at the Place of the Tombs. Friend of Tenar. (The Tombs of Atuan)
- Red Mage of Ark
- Rose — Mother of Medra. ("The Finder")
- Rose – A woman on Havnor, beloved of Essiri, daughter of Tangle. Also called Darkrose. ("Darkrose and Diamond")
- Rose – Mother of Lebannen, from Endlane in Havnor. (The Farthest Shore)
- Rowan — Mother of Rose, grandmother of Medra. ("The Finder")
- Segoy – The creator of Earthsea, from the time before humans and dragons became separate beings (The Other Wind)
- Seppel – A wizard of Paln (The Other Wind)
- Serrathen – Captain of the King's Ship, the Dolphin. (Tehanu)
- Serret – Daughter of the Lord of Re Albi, wife of Benderesk. The name means "silver" in Osskilian. (A Wizard of Earthsea)
- Serriadh – Son of Morred and Elfarran.
- Seserakh – Kargish princess, daughter of Thol. (The Other Wind)
- Skiorh – An Osskilian who becomes possessed by the shadow that is unwittingly released into Earthsea by Ged. (A Wizard of Earthsea)
- Spark - Sailor son of Flint and Tenar. (Tehanu)
- Sopli – A Dyer of Lorbanery who goes mad. He accompanies Ged and Arren on their quest, but drowns himself soon after. Son of Akaren. (The Farthest Shore)
- Tangle – Witch on Havnor, mother of Rose. ("Darkrose and Diamond")
- Tehanu – A burned child, a woman-dragon. Called Therru. (Tehanu, The Other Wind)
- Tenar – Priestess of the Tombs of Atuan, White Lady of Gont. Called Arha and Goha. (The Tombs of Atuan, Tehanu, The Other Wind)
- Teriel – A mage of Havnor in the dark years. Called Early. ("The Finder")
- Thar – A priestess of the Twin Gods at the Place of the Tombs. (The Tombs of Atuan)
- Thol – King of the Kargad lands (The Other Wind)
- Thorion – Master Summoner on Roke.
- Tinaral – A mad wizard of Havnor. Called Gelluk. ("The Finder")
- Tuly – Woman on Havnor, wife of Golden. ("Darkrose and Diamond")
- Uahto – Eunuch at the place of the Tombs. (The Tombs of Atuan)
- Yahan – a mage on Roke, sister of Elehal. Called Veil. ("The Finder")
- Yevaud – the Dragon of Pendor. ("The Rule of Names", A Wizard of Earthsea)
Use-names and Child-names
- Alder – Hara
- Apple – Hayohe
- Arha – Tenar, when she was priestess of the Tombs of Atuan. Arha means "eaten" in Kargish.
- Arren – Lebannen, before he became king. Arren means "sword" in the Hardic dialect of Enlad.
- Aspen – Erisen
- Diamond – Essiri. For short, "Di".
- Dragonfly – Irian.
- Dulse – Heleth
- Duny – child-name of Ged
- Early – Teriel
- Ember – Elehal
- Flag – Anieb
- Gelluk – Tinaral: an Osskilian name.
- Gift – Emer
- Goha – Tenar, after she had settled on Gont. Goha is a word for a white web-spinning spider in Hardic.
- Gully – Irioth. Transient use-name.
- Hawk – Ged, when he sailed the South Reach in disguise.
- Kelub – Ged, when he rowed on an Osskilian galley. Kelub means "red" in Osskilian.
- Lily – Mevre
- Moss – Hatha
- Ogion – Aihal. Ogion means "fir-cone" in Hardic.
- Otak – Irioth
- Otter – Medra, during his youth in Havnor.
- Rose – Etaudis.
- Silence – Aihal, when he was serving Heleth.
- Sparrowhawk – Ged
- Sunbright – Ayeth
- Tern – Medra, when he dwelt in Roke.
- Therru – Tehanu. Therru means "burning" or "flaming" in Kargish.
- Underhill – Yevaud, when he dwelt on Sattins island.
- Veil – Yahan
- Vetch – Estarriol
- Yarrow – Kest
- The Dictionary of Imaginary Places, eds. Alberto Manguel and Gianni Guadalupi (New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 2000), pages 180.