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More on Earthsea

This week Entertainment Weekly features a review of the SciFi Channel’s production of Earthsea. They give it B-.

The mag also features one page spotlight an Earthsea‘s author, Ursula K. LeGuin. According to the article, LeGuin was not consulted at all during the production and was appaled that a first draft of the screenplay “missed the whole point of the book”.

As if that weren’t bad enough, on November 13th, LeGuin posted on her website a response to a SciFi Channel Magazine article with Earthsea’s director Rob Lieberman. LeGuin was offended that the director was putting words into her mouth regarding her intentions when writing the books. LeGuin feels that the movies misinterpret the books.

The article goes on to say that LeGuin dismisses young adult fiction as a fake category born out of the needs of publishers, bookselleers, and librarians even though she does not shun the demographic. “Writing for kids is a responsibility,” she says.

Earthsea premieres Monday, December 13.

About John DeNardo (13013 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

8 Comments on More on Earthsea

  1. Did Le Guin cash the check she got for the flick or not? If she’s really annoyed, I hope she did not accept the money and demanded the removal of her screen credit.

  2. I haven’t read the books but I caught part 1 last night. Slow start but got better. Overall, not bad…good even. I’ll watch part 2.

  3. I watched part 2. I liked it even though it’s all been done before. I’d give the whole production a 3.5 out of 5.

  4. And here’s a larger writeup by LeGuin on the matter.

  5. Great writeup – Fred notice the time involved (she accepted the money years before the production happened.)

  6. Still more from LeGuin. This time from Slate.

  7. The SCi-Fi version was terrible: the film-makers were attempting to remake Roke into a warmed over version of Hogwarts. Certain additions were pointless (why have the Khargide King overwhelm Roke?); others were banal (did Sparrowhawk actually need a love interest? Is the bland “Amulet of Peace” actually a better term than the “Ring of Erreth-Ekbe”?); others were merely predictable (was anyone surprised at the fate of the king who craved immortality?); others were senseless to the point of brain-numbing (if Sparrowhawk is the characters SECRET TRUE NAME and not his public use-name, why would he carry an image of a Sparrowhawk on his staff?); others were banal to the point of silly (why have the Nameless Powers of the elder world look like a bunch of shrieking bats? Why have Sparrowhawk be the Chosen One, subject of a prophacy? Why have the cryptic horrors produced by the Gebbeth be nothing other than a serial murder spree?).

    It annoys me to see plot holes through which one could drive a truck carrying a wide load, especially when such holes could have been plugged by adding a line or a plot element. In order to make the evil King not look like a total idiot, it would have been necessary to give him (1) some reason to think the Nameless Ones were ready, willing, and able to give him immortality and (2) some reason to think that the magic of Roke could not squish him like a bug as easily as Jasper, and, later, Sparrowhawk are squished (one is turned dimwitted, the other is frozen in place with a mere gesture). Obvious solution: give the evil Karhide king an evil Wizard helping him, named, O, let us say, Cob from the isle of Paln. Cob claims to have found a way to overcome death. He can breath on an extinguished candle and make it flare to life again. But where he goes, the magic dies out of the world. Sound like a cool character? To me, he does. Because he is straight from the original books and could have been adapted easily.

    To adapt this character to the film and plug the plot holes, all that would have been needed to be done was to have Cob be luring the Mad King onward with false promises of immortality, and claiming that he speaks for the Nameless Ones.

    Despite all my gripes, I must say that Mr. Glover turned in a fine performance as Ogion the Silent; and I liked the riddle scene with the dragon of Seldor. They ALMOST got Ursula LeGuin’s dragon’s right.

  8. Here’s yet another discussion from Le Guin, this time an article in the latest Locus Magazine.

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