[Ursula K. Le Guin] The Farthest Shore

The Earthsea Cycle

  • Title: The Farthest Shore
  • Author: Ursula K. Le Guin
  • Published: 1972
  • Publisher: Simon and Schuster
  • ISBN: 978-1-4424-5993-9

He has done with doing. He goes home.

from the book


The Farthest Shore” is the third story of the Earthsea Cycle. It is about the companionship between an archmage Sparrowhawk (Ged), and a prince Arren (Lebannen) to fight against evil that devours all archipelago. There are no grand epic battles between good and evil. It is the journey to find the meaning of life and death, and finally yourself.

The first reading might distract you with many clichés such as a prince, friendship, dragons, and evil people. The journeys of Sparrowhawk and Arren seem pointless and nothing new compared with the previous two stories. It seems it is just the continuation of the previous flow and nothing new to attract a reader’s attention. But this monotonous tone keeps us answering the main theme: death, fear, life, and obsession.

One of the longest and primary questions of philosophy or thoughts of humanity is the fear of death. Mortality defines us and distinguishes us from gods. Everyone knows we will die, but somehow we do not think over death because we fear death. We do not think, but we do fear. It is embedded in our consciousness or in our subconsciousness. The fear erupts from time to time, but mostly the fear controls our thoughts and behavior under the hood. The obsession with life is not just from the love of life but also the fear of death.

Religions and philosophy are based on the fear of death. Some emphasize the current life because death is the end of all. Heidegger mentioned that we do not need to fear death because we do not exist after death. Others, such as Christianity, persuade us to look at the after-death. In the journey of Ged and Lebannen, the choice between death and life is obscure. What is the most important point is that the choice is ours, but we are responsible for our choice.

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