Stuffs and Scruffs
In other ways my story didn’t follow tradition. Its subversive elements attracted little attention, no doubt because I was deliberately sneaky about them. A great many white readers in 1967 were not ready to accept a brown-skinned hero. But they weren’t expecting one. I didn’t make an issue of it, and you have to be well into the book before you realize that Ged, like most of the characters, isn’t white.
My story took off in its own direction, away from the tradition, also in the whole matter of what makes heroes and villains. Hero tales and adventure fantasies typically put the righteous hero in a war against unrighteous enemies…this convention was and still is so dominant that it’s taken for granted…But there are no wars in Earthsea. No soldiers, no armies, no battles. None of the militarism that came from the Arthurian saga and other sources and that by now, under the influence of fantasy war games, has become almost obligatory."