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Education Bookcast

Oct 26, 2023

Since I've now reached episode 150, I've decided to do something I've never done before - discuss a fiction book. (This episode contains spoilers.)

A Wizard of Earthsea is a fantasy novel from 1968, a time when the genre was still not very well-developed. Ursula Le Guin deliberately wanted to contravene some trends she saw in the existing genre, including the main characters being fair-skinned, and war as a moral analogy. In this book, the key issues are internal to a character, a fact that becomes increasingly clear as we read further.

The main character Ged (a.k.a. Sparrowhawk) goes through several educational regimes - a local witch who wants to take advantage of him; a regional wizard, Ogion, who hopes to provide him with the wisdom not to abuse his precocious powers; and a school, on the island of Roke, which teaches him all the knowledge he wants. Ged learns through bitter experience the value of Ogion's wisdom, though he spurns it as a child hungry for knowledge, power, and other people's approval.

I've read this book at least four times, and in three languages - English, Polish, and Spanish. Although its relevance to education is tenuous, I wanted to take advantage of episode 150 to talk about the book I've read the greatest number of times in my life.

Enjoy the episode.