This still wasn’t a favourite book for me in the Earthsea sequence, because it deals so much with the consequences of what happened to Ged in The Farthest Shore. Considering I’m not a great fan of that plot (though I have come to appreciate it more as an artistic choice and for the way it changes Earthsea), I guess it’s not surprising that I’m not such a fan — even though, like The Tombs of Atuan, this brings the female point of view to the fore and deals with some of the issues of sexism in the world.
The brief glimpse of Lebanen as the young king is lovely, and the understanding Tenar and Ged eventually come to is too. The stuff about the friendship between women, and the way Tenar realises that she’s totally failed to raise the kind of man she’d like for a son, also works pretty well.
But it takes away Ged’s dignity — and that, more than the loss of his power, I dislike intensely. He’s always been proud, and here… he can’t fight, can’t save himself. He needs Therru and the dragons.
So as with The Farthest Shore, I see the thematic importance. I just… don’t like it that much.