Sep 30

Ouch ouch ouch! Don't cross the thumbsss!!!Click for full image

Muttley’s Art Direction: A Wizard, right? You know, caped, with magic sparks or something. Big Hair (TM) too.
Published 1986

Actually, that cover IS a classical work of art!I would touch it without protective gloves.I've seen worse. Far, far, worse.Interesting, but I would still read it in public.Middlng: Neither awful nor awfully goodWould not like to be seen reading that!Awful... just awful...That belongs in a gold-lame picture frame!Gah... my eyes are burning! Feels so good!Good Show Sir! (Average: 7.29 out of 10)

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27 Responses to “Earthsea Trilogy”

  1. A.R.Yngve Says:

    QUIZ: Does the book title read

    A) EARTISEA Trilogy

    B) EARTIUEA Trilogy

    C) EARTIULA Trilogy

    D) EARTHSLA Trilogy

  2. THX 1138 Says:

    Well done! Let’s give this cover a big hand! Or two.

  3. R2D2 Says:

    Why is there hair coming out of his palms? OH, I get it. It’s Wolverine!

  4. A.R.Yngve Says:

    As the cover shows, only people with abnormally long thumbs can become truly successful wizards.

  5. Nix Says:

    They also made him Kargish, which is unfortunate given the very first chapter.

    Sure, in order to discover that his skin is not light-coloured you have to actually read the book closely enough to realise that the Kargs are considered to look different due to their light skins, or to note that Earthsea itself is more than slightly Polynesian… and reading the book is something publishers have never been good at.

    Le Guin has been scathing about this cover in particular (which survived unchanged through many printings):

    “The first British Wizard was this pallid, droopy, lily-like guy—I screamed at sight of him.”

  6. Tom Noir Says:

    I have to say that I don’t recall the novels being that, erm, hair-raising.

  7. Alessandra Says:

    Gecko fingers!

    Did anyone ever do an Earthsea cover with dark-skinned protagonists?

  8. Phil Says:

    Like Alessandra, my first thought was “gecko!” Then I saw the face, and thought for a second that it was Harlan Ellison. Then I saw the BIG hair (that is VERY BIG hair), and now I don’t know what to think. But I understand why Ursula screamed.

  9. Muttley Says:

    Even though this is the British Penguin cover (you may well ask, what’s a British Penguin, but I’ll leave that for later), Shawn Ashmore does resemble the blonde-haired white guy with sparks. I don’t know why the cover guy has got a giant hedgehog on the back of his head, though.

    I think the cover below is the one that LeGuin was complaining of

    The Jonathan Field cover is for the single-volume edition of the Trilogy, much later in publication than the first individual book “A Wizard of Earthsea”

  10. Anti-Sceptic Says:

    Didn’t we already see this cover before?

  11. Alessandra Says:

    I don’t think so … Not on this site, anyway. I went through the whole archives a few days ago and I don’t remember this one. It’s a whole new horror.

    Poor Ursula le Guin.

  12. Muttley Says:

    I’ve a horrible feeling that the Big Hair/hedgehog is supposed to be the Shadow that is Ged’s worst enemy. Why it’s taken the form of a hairball is anybody’s guess . . .

    British Penguins are of course a chocolate biscuit. As opposed to Recent Penguins, an obscure and short-lived (but influential) Liverpool pop group . . .

  13. Nix Says:

    Muttley: oh good god. That’s *appalling*, almost *too* bad for this site. “Drooping” is the word, indeed.

    I think the blue monster behind him is supposed to be the Shadow. Not… exactly. And, um, why does he have the Kremlin behind him, exactly?

  14. Nix Says:

    Alessandra: I thought I submitted this cover already, but I couldn’t find it either. But, wow, the one Muttley dug up truly beats it hollow.

  15. Alessandra Says:

    Yes, Muttley’s is decidedly awful. A sort of Oscar Wilde meets Ozma of Oz art nouveau travesty.

    Poor, poor Ursula le Guin.

  16. fred Says:

    FARTISEA Trilogy. Gotta love ambiguous letters.

  17. Don Hilliard Says:

    @Alessandra: Leo and Diane Dillon did a beautiful and accurate cover for the Science Fiction Book Club’s omnibus edition some years back, which can be seen here. I believe their son was the model for Ged.

  18. Muttley Says:

    Actually I found that copy of the Puffin cover on Wikipedia. Hiding in plain sight, you might say.

    Don, the Dillon’s cover is very good, and encapsulates the story very well, I’ve been looking at covers for Keith Roberts supreme AH novel Pavane, and theirs is one of the better ones.

    David O’Connor’s cover for Penguin Classic SF is the best, though.

    Pavane is hard to summarise. Most artists haven’t tried, or been given a good enough brief perhaps. I’d submit one of the covers where the Lady Margaret is a railway locomotive, but don’t own any, I’ve got the Classic SF edition. Hint, for anyone out there with a good bad example?

  19. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    Glowing treefrog-toes.

  20. Jerk of all Trades Says:

    Still not the weirdest choice in art on an Earthsea cover.

  21. Silkenfire Says:

    This is, I think, the original cover, and the one I remember fondly:

  22. Phil Says:

    Silkenfire, that’s a better one. EARTHSEA: THE NOGGIN THE NOG YEARS.

  23. Dead Stuff With Big Teeth Says:

    No, Ged. The dragon is behind you. Ged! Look over THERE, Ged! Oh, please, don’t– THAT WAS MY HAT! That was MY hat you just had an Edisonian disagreement with, and the bloody dragon’s getting away. I don’t want to talk to you right now, Ged. Go away and be pale somewhere else.

  24. anon Says:

    @A.R.Yngve: CARTIuFA

  25. lctwice Says:

    After this cover modeling gig, Anthony Hopkins’ career took off.

  26. Anna T. Says:

    @Tag Wizard: Where be the “font problems” tag for this one? I mean, just look at at that dead-ugly font and tell me it isn’t yet another part of the many disservices the cover does to the book. If you have to look at it several times to make sure what it says, it’s not a good font.

  27. JuanPaul Says:

    Ged a hair cut, you hippy!

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