The Other Wind
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
|Author||Ursula K. Le Guin|
|Published||2001 (Harcourt Brace & Company)|
|Media type||Print (hardcover & paperback)|
|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.[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.
The sorcerer Alder fears sleep. He dreams of the land of death, of his wife, who died young and longs to return to him so much that she kissed him across the low stone wall that separates our world from Dry Land where the grass is withered, the stars never move, and lovers pass without knowing each other. The dead are pulling Alder to them at night. Through him they may free themselves and invade Earthsea.
Alder seeks advice from Ged, once Archmage. Ged tells him to go to Tenar, Tehanu, and the young king at Havnor. They are joined by ambered-eyed Irian, a fierce dragon able to assume the shape of a woman. The threat can be confronted only in the Immanent Grove on Roke, the holiest place in the world and there the king, hero, sage, wizard, and dragon make a last stand.
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.
- 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.