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“Earthsea” on TV

Over the Easter holiday ITV4 broadcast a two-part mini-series called Earthsea. This was allegedly based on Ursula Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy, but pretty insecurely based. Le Guin is an uneven writer, I think, but at her best she is very good indeed. The Left Hand of Darkness seems to me to be one of the best SF novels, and at least the first two books of the Earthsea trilogy are head and shoulders above nearly all “fantasy” novels.

You wouldn’t have guessed this from the TV version, however. The plot was stitched together from the three novels and was crude and unconvincing, as were the characters. Anyone seeing it might have thought the books were an inferior version of Harry Potter, whereas the truth is just the opposite.

I’m sorry Le Guin agreed to this travesty. Actually, it seems she is sorry too: see her website for more details on this. But don’t let it put you off reading the books.


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