Friday, June 29, 2007

Well of Urd: Technique: The Magic of Yevaud's Name

My main login ID, for a long time now, has been "Yevaud". I took this name from one of my favorite books of all time: A Wizard of Earthsea, by Ursula K. Leguin. She wrote the book back in the late 60's, and I stumbled upon it at the tender age of 12 in my 6th grade public library. I read those words like they were magic, and I felt transformed by her work to a world of wonder and fantastic possibilities. It meant all the more to me because I stumbled upon it myself - it was like a secret treasure i had uncovered that was mine, and mine alone.

I recently ran across this entry in someone's blog. It talks about the technique of naming things when writing fantasy stories, or creating fantasy settings. (Link, here) It brought back to mind one of my long-standing reasons for heaping so much praise on the novel. It seems every time I read it, a new insight comes through.

I have never really found another author who could write such profound words while at the same time keeping the narrative straightforward enough that a 12 year old could follow it. There have always been books that both kids and adults could enjoy together, from C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe", to J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series. However, none of them have, in my mind, matched the accomplishment of Leguin's work. Her novel manages to remain as deep and insightful at 35 as it was at 12. The difference is in the way I read it - and the concepts I focus on. The layers of this novel are amazing - even more so because it seems on the surface to be such a straightforward story. Yet, I am continually finding new insights when I return to the book throughout the years.

If you have not yet read this landmark fantasy story, especially if you're interested in reading fantasy stories with your children, or you are a young adult yourself, check this book out as soon as you can. I think you will find it quite enjoyable.

-Michael Moore (June 29th, 2007 - Seattle, WA)