The concluding story of Earthsea. A culmination of Ursula's beautiful prose and thoughtful fantasy. We go along with events that mend the world by breaking the world.
I found it beautiful how story threads from Tales from Earthsea were woven together as vital pieces of The Other Wind. We learned of Dragonfly becoming Orm Irian, which is crucial now, when she becomes a representative for one of the branches of people in the Dragon Council.
Ursula's writing remains a piece of art. She writes with tenderness. Many of her characters transcend the adolescent tendencies of so many other fantasy works. Her worlds and words feel mature; especially in how she deals with age. In this book, Ged is about seventy years old, and mostly along the sidelines for the whole plot. There's still much wisdom in him, but his powers are spent and he remains to water the cabbages and fetch back the goats. Tenar is greyed, tender, and wise in dealing with the sometimes youthful temper of Lebannen. And there is room for true sorrow.
The ending is ambiguous. How does the breaking of the stone wall impact Earthsea? Where exactly do dragons go when they fly on the other wind? What happens to the world after it was broken to be a whole again?
Ursula tells us to find our own meaning in her stories. And Earthsea lends ample opportunity for us there.
I see myself coming back to Earthsea to read it to my own children some time.
Let me end this with a few passages from the book. These aren't the most beautiful per se, but symbolize the consistent beauty of Ursula's prose.
Even as he saw him old, content with his garden, with no power in him or about him but that of a soul made by a long life of thought and action, he still saw a great mage.
Cold to the bone, he sat up, staring to see the space of the house about him, to draw its reality around him like a blanket.
Leaving the throne room with him, Lebannen said, "Thank you, Sege," and the old prince said, "Between you and the dragon, Lebannen, what could the poor souls say?"