23 replies on “TV Discussion – “The Legend Of Earthsea””

  1. y42 says:

    A simple question:
    What is it?

    • y42 says:

      Well, I found out

      four-hour miniseries, which is based on the beloved Earthsea books by SF author Ursula K. Le Guin.

      The pictures on sci-fi’s site inform me that there’s dragons and magic and the lovely Kirsten Kreuk. All things that are fun to look at : )

      • TomSwiss says:

        Re: Well, I found out

        The pictures on sci-fi’s site inform me that there’s dragons and magic and the lovely Kirsten Kreuk.

        Unfortunately, there seems to be little connection to the actual EarthSea novels. From this review, it sounds like they stuck a “get the magical geegaw in order to save the world” plot into the setting of EarthSea.

        I’m staying away so as not to taint my memory and constant re-reading of the novels…A Wizard of Earthsea is, quite simply, one of the very best books I have ever read, in or out of the genre, and the remainder of the series is excellent. A pox on those SciFi Channel cretins who’ve attempted to sully the series. (A longtime bureau42 lurker, I created an account just to make this comment, that’s how annoyed I am!)

        • cyberistari says:

          Re: Well, I found out

          I’m staying away so as not to taint my memory and constant re-reading of the novels…A Wizard of Earthsea is, quite simply, one of the very best books I have ever read, in or out of the genre, and the remainder of the series is excellent. A pox on those SciFi Channel cretins who’ve attempted to sully the series. (A longtime bureau42 lurker, I created an account just to make this comment, that’s how annoyed I am!)

          Parts of it were… tolerable. Danny Glover is all right as Ogion, and Shawn Ashmore isn’t bad as Ged, but the character seems… reduced, somehow. Some of the rest… Invading Roke? WTF? Oy…

          • dirtymatt says:

            Re: Well, I found out

            Invading Roke? WTF? Oy…

            Yeah, that struck me as a bit odd. I haven’t read the books, but marching an army (and not even a particularly large looking one) up to a school of wizards seems like a pretty bad idea.

        • y42 says:

          Re: Well, I found out

          The pictures on sci-fi’s site inform me that there’s dragons and magic and the lovely Kirsten Kreuk.

          Unfortunately, there seems to be little connection to the actual EarthSea novels. From this review, it sounds like they stuck a “get the magical geegaw in order to save the world” plot into the setting of EarthSea.

          I’m staying away so as not to taint my memory and constant re-reading of the novels…A Wizard of Earthsea is, quite simply, one of the very best books I have ever read, in or out of the genre, and the remainder of the series is excellent. A pox on those SciFi Channel cretins who’ve attempted to sully the series. (A longtime bureau42 lurker, I created an account just to make this comment, that’s how annoyed I am!)

          I had never heard of it… But if you lke it enough to register just to defend it’s honour, then I’ll add it to my Big Mental List Of Stuff To Read.

          I too feel very annoyed when something good is dumbed down to the lowest common denominator, join the club! I’ve been ranting about “I, Robot” for months now ;-)

    • valen1260 says:

      Re: A simple question:

      What is it?

      I haven’t read the books, and I know how SF Originals (especially miniseries and movies) tend to blow, but I couldn’t help thinking “Wow, Luke Skywalker is going off to Hogwarts to learn how to play D&D.”

  2. Daemonik says:

    Lame effects
    I’ve seen better special effects on an episode of Hercules or Xena. Not to mention the acting seemed very wooden from the supporting cast. Ged’s father appeared to have learned how to act at the Bill Shatner Acting School.

    Danny Glover was a nice touch although his existance seems to be a miracle in that he’s the only black person in the movie so far. I’m not saying that the movie should have been filmed in Oakland, but if you’re going to use a black actor in a high profile role at least throw in a few background actors to make his existance seem a little less bizarre. But hey, having never read the book maybe there’s an explanation in there.

    • Daemonik says:

      Re: Lame effects
      Oh, yeah, what was up with the doorman at the magic school. I mean Ogion tells Ged not to give his secret name to anyone that he wouldn’t trust with his soul, that his secret name gives someone power over him. Then he goes and hands it out to the first twit he meets just to get through the door. Geez.

      • coyote says:

        Re: Lame effects

        Oh, yeah, what was up with the doorman at the magic school. I mean Ogion tells Ged not to give his secret name to anyone that he wouldn’t trust with his soul, that his secret name gives someone power over him. Then he goes and hands it out to the first twit he meets just to get through the door. Geez.

        The movie did a disservice to the school. It didn’t discuss the 9 mages, that the teachers were each a mage, the forest at the center of the world, or the mage of the door. Exposition is always dangerous (“do, don’t say”), but in this case you could have spent a minute explaining to Ged as he was welcomed to the school that the 9 mages reflect the 9 aspects of magic – illusion, naming, sea maging, naming, joining (I think), push a few more. One of the recurring themes is that what outsiders see as unlimited power is actually quite constrained and comes at a tremendous cost and effort.

        In contrast, it looks like this adaptation will have people with natural skills, few limits, and the ability to **** like rabbits. (Perhaps literally. :-)

        I also think it’s a loss that the Archmage didn’t die protecting Ged from the shadow creature. Again a trivialization of the heavy cost, often to others, of magic.

      • svyerkgeniiy says:

        Re: Lame effects

        Oh, yeah, what was up with the doorman at the magic school. I mean Ogion tells Ged not to give his secret name to anyone that he wouldn’t trust with his soul, that his secret name gives someone power over him. Then he goes and hands it out to the first twit he meets just to get through the door. Geez.

        I didn’t see the episode, but from what I can tell the miniseries is a serious distortion of the books– which I have read. For example, your “secret” or true name in the books is never revealed except to your most trusted friends, and your “use” or common name is what most people call you. Ged is the main character’s true name, but it is used casually throughout the miniseries. By strange coincidence, in the book when entering the wizard school one must use one’s true name– apparently one of the few real aspects of the original stories that made it through the formula-over-faithfulness movie-by-committee group. The significance of this requirement is obviously now lost to the viewer.

        What appears to have happened is that the writers took the facts and characters of the book, threw them up in the air, let them crash land, picked five or ten of them, squished them into a tight ball, and then wrote a completely different story using the chosen squished aspects of the original.

        Thus the original characters and the events they experience among unique aspects of the Earthsea world are lost to those viewing the miniseries. What the viewers see instead is a Hollywood-like production full of cliché and recycled fantasy. If you want to know what Earthsea is about, read the books– they are relatively short and can each be finished in a day or two. But don’t expect the miniseries to be more than Lord of the Ring meets Star Wars meets Hercules meets Harry Potter.

        I have to say, my hopes have been dashed. Ursula K. LeGuin’s own disdain for the whole process speaks volumes (see her own words on the subject), as does the NY Times scathing review. Unfairly, the NY Times reviewer lays some of the blame at Ms. LeGuin’s feet when this is purely the producer’s fault. I understand that books must be seriously edited for the screen, but the writers seem to have ignored every opportunity to bring the wonder of Earthsea to the average viewer. I wonder whether people will actually want to read her books more; probably not, and that is a pity.

        –dv

      • vanyel says:

        Re: Lame effects

        Oh, yeah, what was up with the doorman at the magic school. I mean Ogion tells Ged not to give his secret name to anyone that he wouldn’t trust with his soul, that his secret name gives someone power over him. Then he goes and hands it out to the first twit he meets just to get through the door. Geez.

        I’m pleased to see the comments here indicating that the books are a lot better than the show. Among many things:

        If the wizards knew the fleet was attacking, they’d never set foot on the island! And they couldn’t pull the “come on in, oh now you’re outside again” trick?

        The first thing that came to mind in the wizard school was what a ripoff of harry potter. Though to be fair, it *is* what wizard students would be like, save I would think that summoning a tree in the middle of the room would have gotten a smack down.

        One pet peeve/cliche is that the teachers are all so enigmatic, and then they get surprised when the students do something incredibly stupid. I suppose it’s realistic (just look at “abstinence” teaching that doesn’t mention condoms), but it does annoy me as much in fiction as it does in real life. At least with abstinence, they don’t hide what happens when you do it anyhow.

        Well, I’ll just have to go read the books now…

        • coyote says:

          Re: Lame effects

          If the wizards knew the fleet was attacking, they’d never set foot on the island! And they couldn’t pull the “come on in, oh now you’re outside again” trick?

          This is why you are not a wizard. Of course the mages could keep the fleet from coming anywhere near the island, but at what cost to the balance of the world?

          It’s been a long time since I read the book but I vaguely recall one of the threats being a power rogue wizard (not king, but perhaps in service to one) who threw the world seriously off balance. If the balance was lost the islands of Earthsea would return to the sea and everyone would die.

      • ixitar says:

        Zzz…

        Oh, yeah, what was up with the doorman at the magic school. I mean Ogion tells Ged not to give his secret name to anyone that he wouldn’t trust with his soul, that his secret name gives someone power over him. Then he goes and hands it out to the first twit he meets just to get through the door. Geez.

        I did not even get that far before I turned it off. I turned it off shortly after Ogion helped the animal. I found that I did not care for any of the characters.

  3. is says:

    never heard of it
    Who is the author… so I can get and read the books?

    • pythor says:

      Re: never heard of it

      Who is the author… so I can get and read the books?


      Ursula K. LeGuin

      I suggest that anyone here who has not read at least A Wizard of Earthsea get a copy and read it. This is one of the classics of the fantasy genre. It may not have quite the impact it would if you were reading it as a teen, which I believe is the original intended audience. On ht eother hand, the concepts and world are both original and fascinating.

      • hitch says:

        Re: never heard of it

        Who is the author… so I can get and read the books?


        Ursula K. LeGuin

        I suggest that anyone here who has not read at least A Wizard of Earthsea get a copy and read it. This is one of the classics of the fantasy genre. It may not have quite the impact it would if you were reading it as a teen, which I believe is the original intended audience. On ht eother hand, the concepts and world are both original and fascinating.

        Honestly, I wasn’t as impressed with it as everyone said I would be…I’ve read a few other of her books and liked them a great deal…but Wizard of Earthsea felt…I don’t know…not like the kind of book I was expecting somehow. I kept waiting for something…and it never came. Oh well, In any case, Neil Gaiman posted this link to what Ursula herself thought of the miniseries in his online journal. So there you go, if you’re interested.

        • joe__gee says:

          Re: never heard of it

          Wizard of Earthsea felt…I don’t know…not like the kind of book I was expecting somehow. I kept waiting for something…and it never came. Neil Gaiman posted this link to what Ursula herself thought of the miniseries in his online journal. So there you go, if you’re interested.

          I agree, having read the Earthsea trilogy as a youngster the books captured me in a way that might not have been possible had I read them later in my life. The last time I reread the books I was struck by their starkness. Earthsea’s world and characters seem cold and dreamlike. :)

          As for the comment you linked to, ouch. Ms. Le Guin appears to not be pleased. I am glad I didn’t interrupt my normal Monday schedule to watch this. It doesn’ t sound like I missed anything. :)

          -Joe G.

        • y42 says:

          Re: never heard of it

          Who is the author… so I can get and read the books?


          Ursula K. LeGuin

          I suggest that anyone here who has not read at least A Wizard of Earthsea get a copy and read it. This is one of the classics of the fantasy genre. It may not have quite the impact it would if you were reading it as a teen, which I believe is the original intended audience. On ht eother hand, the concepts and world are both original and fascinating.

          Honestly, I wasn’t as impressed with it as everyone said I would be…I’ve read a few other of her books and liked them a great deal…but Wizard of Earthsea felt…I don’t know…not like the kind of book I was expecting somehow. I kept waiting for something…and it never came.

          Was it simply because it had been overhyped? Or you had grown past the intended reader’s age? As someone who had never even heard of this before, I’m intrigued and interrested in your (spoilerless) counterpoints to the fan view.

          And that link is very interresting: It contains the usual hype bullshit from someone with something to gain from the commercial success of the adaptation, and the rebuttal from the creator of the concept. It makes me wish more than ever that Asimov were still alive, if only to tell people how much the movies they are making from his books are lame (Bicentenial Man would have been good if they hadn’t replaced the robot’s motivation for becomming human with the usual, lame, “love conquers all”).

          • hitch says:

            Re: never heard of it

            Was it simply because it had been overhyped? Or you had grown past the intended reader’s age? As someone who had never even heard of this before, I’m intrigued and interrested in your (spoilerless) counterpoints to the fan view.

            actually, it was pretty much as the previous commenter suggested – it felt very stark and cold. I was almost completely disconnected from the characters. it wasn’t until the last few sections of the book that I really got into it at all. And I certainly didn’t feel like there was an epic story waiting to be told beyond what I’d read. I don’t know…I was just underwhelmed. Partially, I’m sure, because of the hype, but I don’t think I would have been particularly impressed even without it. Just that feeling unimpressed was somehow *strange* given how everyone else felt.

    • chad says:

      Re: never heard of it

      Who is the author… so I can get and read the books?

      The Earthsea books are (in order):

      The first three were the original “trilogy”, followed years later by the others.

  4. ponytrax says:

    So Horribly BAD
    [for some reason this is not letting me do paragraphs. Sorry for the long
    block of type.] The original trilogy [A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of
    Atuan, and The
    Other Shore] were pubished in the late sixties/early 70s, and were then
    followed in the 90s by Tehanu and The Other Wind.

    The first part, the trilogy, was specifically written as young adult novels–
    aimed square at the 12-16 year old reader. The language and the attitudes
    of the characters are quite spare.

    I personally loved them when I first read them 30 years ago, and have reread
    them every few years. I’m not sure that if I came to the trilogy as an adult I
    would have been so taken (although I also read and work with fairy tales in
    my writing and teaching, so I am more in tune with the more mythical, less
    rounded or realistic language and manner).

    The tone of the made-for-tv movies removed the high, hieratic aspect of the
    novels in favor of casual and modern attitudes. That’s one of the the aspects
    of the movie that makes it BAD (that is, bad squared, not just ill-formed or
    poorly acted but a sort of perversion of the material).

    Another is the
    exploration of power and order…one of the themes of the book is the
    restoration of the king to the throne, which has been empty for generations.
    Again, the movie is BAD because it subverts the theme of the missing king in
    favor of the Kargad king plot. Finally, in the novels, sex and procreation–
    that power–is subsumed or sublimated into the power of magic. The movie
    is BAD in that it just blows off the idea that magic has a cost, which has to be
    reckoned with.

    At any rate, the movie is bad on the level of costumery, bad on the level of
    casting, bad on the level of acting, bad on the level of music…I didn’t stick
    around for the special effects, too disgusted.

    It is a bit it was such a botch, as I have often imagined a well-done series.

    • ulst says:

      holy sh*t
      I really hoped for more, really, really hoped for more
      but as usual they seem to have a knack at f**king it always up!

      And is it me and I forgot or wasn´t Ged the name that Ogion gave him and that sparrow thingy that everybody else called him?

Comments are closed.