This is the third of the Earthsea Cycle, which I assume is the earliest and primary trilogy in the world. This is from 1972, and less so than the previous two novel, but still plenty, this novel feels like it’s from 1972. What this means is that while it’s still very good, it’s so endemic of early fantasy novels. The scope of the novel’s plot outpaces it’s tone and size. It’s too big a story for a relatively short novel. I think about Middlemarch when it comes to pacing in stories. George Eliot’s novel is 800 pages and pushes the plot forward in each of those pages. Anna Karenina does the same thing. So, too, do the Game of Thrones novels (yes I know its other dumb name), and many many other long fantasy novels. There’s a need to have the plot contained within the novel actually take the time to tell the story, otherwise you end up with not the Game of Thrones novels, but the Game of Thrones tv show.
So the plot here, being the third novel, does something quite interesting. The first book started with Ged learning the wizarding trade as an apprentice, the second novel involved him making a name for himself, and this third, he is now the master and teaching a new acolyte. That’s a solid progression.
This novel still deals heavily with names, death, the world around us, wisdom, limits, and education. It reminds me (like the others do) a lot of the Lloyd Alexander “Chronicles of Prydain” novels.