Still transfixed by Earthsea, I virtually galloped through The Tombs of Atuan, in which Ursula Le Guin writes about Arha, Priestess of the tombs, guardian of old powers and wanderer of the great Labyrinth of the Nameless Ones. Arha is the principal character in the second adventure of the young wizard Ged, and her story is darker and more restrained than the promising tone of A Wizard of Earthsea – which was perhaps a better story in the telling. It is no less compelling however, and metaphors for the real world abound in the plot, in the characters, in the layout of the Labyrinth. It is a touching story that one can smile about inwardly, when it is over.
“Your magic is peculiar, ” she said, with a little dignity of equals, Priestess addressing Mage. “It appears to be useful only for large matters.”