Before there was Hogwarts, there was the School for Wizards on the island of Roke. What do you think of the town of Thwil? What do you think of Jasper and Vetch? How about the archmage’s raven? And, what do you think of all of the things he’s learning at Wizard school? Would you be as frustrated with the curriculum as young Sparrowhawk is? Do you think he will heed the warnings he’s been given?
Summary behind the cut!
Ged arrives at the School of Wizards. He meets many people, including a rival, Jasper, who is condescending from the very first moment they meet and his friend, Vetch. Ged excels in his studies of illusion and learning the names of things in the True Speech. We learn that you must learn something’s true name in order to do real magic on it. He gets frustrated with only learning illusion and not true change and is told by the Master Hand, “To change this rock into a jewel, you must change its true name. And to do that, my son, even to so small a scrap of the world, is to change the world.” And, for the second time, he’s told that he needs to be careful before rushing into magic. He finds Hoeg, his animal companion (or, rather, Hoeg finds him). We see the Festival of Sunreturn at which Jasper does a bit of illusion for a guest at the school, the Lady of O. We see more of the resentment and hate that Ged has for Jasper (and we know that the feeling is mutual.)
The first couple of chapters seem to me as Madeline’s cautionary tale against too much pride as it definitely gets Ged in trouble but also how toxic masculinity is also the problem. Ged is so consumed at being the best and besting all others, especially Jasper who is the only one to in his mind, show him disrespect that he conjures a spell to prove how much stronger and better than he is even though he has no idea how it will effect the balance.