Thursday, March 01, 2018

Five of the best threequels

Spencer Ellsworth is the author of the Starfire Trilogy, including the newly released threequel, Memory’s Blade. One of five favorite threequels he tagged at
The Farthest Shore by Ursula K. Le Guin

I love The Tombs of Atuan, as do many lapsed church kids, but I have to honestly admit that The Farthest Shore is the strongest of Le Guin’s early Earthsea books, and the one that best gives the essence of Earthsea. (Disclaimer: I haven’t read past Farthest Shore, so Tehanu might change my mind.)

Ged confronts his dark shadow-self in Wizard, in Tombs Arha must confront the darkness of denial and brainwashing. In Shore, the darkness is everywhere, and when it takes hold of Arren, he runs through a brutal gamut of emotions as he tries to reconcile Ged’s own human frailty with the every-darkening world. When Sopli leaps overboard to his death, and the boat drifts in horrid ennui, the book takes on a somber and scary quality that wasn’t there in the first two books. It’s not quite the fun, magical place, but it returns to the themes in Wizard and Tombs. Le Guin’s evil never comes from a Dark Lord, but always our own fear and despair, amplified and twisted by human creation, and Ged and Arren must cling to hope to get through death itself.

I may just prefer this one because of the title itself. What is the farthest shore but the other side of our own despair?

Well done, Farthest Shore. I got you a special night light to drive away the darkness, and to keep your brother awake.
Read about another entry on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue