Ursula K. Le Guin is our resident dragon expert. Her series, The Earthsea Cycle, features some of the most elegantly written fantasy ever. Le Guin’s world is fully realized and her spin on dragons and magic is, I’m 100% serious here, groundbreaking. For Le Guin, there are no spells in the familiar sense. Instead, everything has a true name only wizards have access to, and when the true name is uttered, the wizards can command the things to do…things. So if you have the name of the wind (looking at you, Patrick Rothfuss), you can make your ship sail faster. As Ged does. Often.
Anyway, Le Guin is genius. She writes a lot of magical, heartbreaking, and empowering things. Here are some of my favorites:
1. What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?
2. Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.
3. It is very hard for evil to take hold of the unconsenting soul.
4. Nobody who says, “I told you so” has ever been, or will ever be, a hero.
5. The creative adult is the child who has survived.
6. To learn which questions are unanswerable, and not to answer them: this skill is most needful in times of stress and darkness.
7. When you light a candle, you also cast a shadow.
8. The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty: not knowing what comes next.
9. People who deny the existence of dragons are often eaten by dragons. From within.
10. My imagination makes me human and makes me a fool; it gives me all the world and exiles me from it.
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