Wizard of Earthsea possible reference?

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
When Ged first sees Serret in the Court of the Terranon, he compares her to the Lady of O, who, "had been like a slight, bright candle-flame, but this woman was like the white new moon."

This reminded me of Lord Gro's serenade to Lady Prezmyra in E.R. Eddison's 'The Worm Ouroboros':

You meaner Beauties of the Night,
That poorly satisfie our Eies,
More by your number then your light,
You Common-people of the Skies;
What are you when the Moone shall rise?


Of course, Eddison cribbed this poem whole from Sir Henry Wotton's, 'Verses to Elizabeth, Queen of Bohemia'. So LeGuin might have got the simile directly from the source, but I prefer the idea that she perhaps got it from 'The Worm Ouroboros' (I have long thought that book, along with Earthsea, the two best fantasies after the Lord of the Rings. ('The Worm' has many flaws, and can be a difficult read, and hard to get into, but a great fantasy, with one of the best and strangest eucatastrophic endings ever) .

Does anyone know of any evidence that LeGuin might have been inspired to this simile by either of these possible sources?
 

Jim Deutch

Well-Known Member
Does anyone know of any evidence that LeGuin might have been inspired to this simile by either of these possible sources?
All it takes is a quick google:
Product Description for The Worm Ouroboros Kindle edition on Amazon.com said:
The Worm Ouroboros is an undisputed classic of fantasy literature, and has been an avowed influence on the likes of J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Ursula K. Le Guin.
Influences section wikipedia article on Ursula K. Le Guin said:
when I got older I found Lord Dunsany. He opened up a whole new world – the world of pure fantasy. And ... Worm Ouroboros. Again, pure fantasy. Very, very fattening. And then my brother and I blundered into science fiction when I was 11 or 12.
It appears that fantasy was her first influence, and science-fiction came later. The citation for the wikipedia text is
Wilson, Mark. "Interview: Ursula K. Le Guin". About.com Sci-Fi / Fantasy. Archived from the original on November 18, 2012.

I think you've hit the nail on the head with this.
 

Flammifer

Well-Known Member
Thanks Jim,

That comparison of a lady to the Moon immediately reminded me of 'The Worm Ouroboros', so I wondered if that might have been what inspired LeGuin.

Thanks to your reference, it looks like it could well have been.
 
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