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Series / Earthsea

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Earthsea (originally titled Legend of Earthsea) is a 2004 Sci Fi Channel miniseries very loosely based on Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea novels. It stars Shawn Ashmore as a wizard named Ged.

This TV series provides examples of:

  • Animorphism: A story is told about a wizard who got so obsessed with shapeshifting into a bear that the bear's personality eventually displaced his own, causing him to eat his entire family.
  • Compensating for Something:
    Jasper: Blacksmith! Perhaps you could entertain us with a [magic] demonstration of your own. You could make something miniscule appear enormous: your brain for instance!
    Ged: (chuckles) You may want to try that trick on yourself, Jasper, just aim a little lower.
  • Compressed Adaptation: The miniseries essentially merges the plots of A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan, among other things making Ged's shadow from Wizard into a Nameless One he accidentally releases from the Tombs.
  • Girl of My Dreams: Tenar is this to Ged.
  • I Know Your True Name: They keep the concept since it's the major rule for works of magic in the setting, although Ged becomes the character's public name and Sparrowhawk his true name.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: Tygath runs Kossil through from behind after she's outlived her usefulness to him.
  • Literal Genie: The dragon Orm Embar, after Ged speaks its true name and forces it to give him some information instead of eating him.
    Orm Embar: Two questions, wizard, and two questions only.
    Ged: Isn't it usually three?
    Orm Embar: True, but with that you're back to two.
  • Magical Negro: Ogion the Silent is depicted as this instead of being Race Lifted like all the other dark-skinned characters from the novel.
  • The Mole: Jasper has apparently been feeding Tygath information for a while, and helps his troops break through the wizarding school's magicked gate and capture the school.
  • Race Lift: Although many of the characters in the novels were dark-skinned, the cast of the mini-series is very white apart from Danny Glover as Ogion and Kristin Kreuk as Arha/Tenar (who actually was white in the novel).
  • The Rival: Jasper, per the novel. The nobleman takes instant dislike to the common-born but more naturally talented Ged, and their competition eventually leads to Ged summoning a Nameless One on a dare.
  • Storming the Castle: Tygath his men to conquer Roke about halfway through but they're stymied by the magicked gates of the wizarding school while the wizards blast them to pieces from the battlements. Then Jasper helps them break through.
  • Sexposition: Early in the first episode, King Tygath and Kossil exposit their plot to take over the temple on Atuan and release the Nameless Ones as Kossil strips to join Tygath in bed.
  • Token Minority: There's a few girls at the Roke wizarding school, in contrast to the book version where wizards were supposed to be male and celibate (explained in one of the Tales from Earthsea short stories as the work of an extremist faction that took over the order early on).
  • Torture Always Works: Downplayed. Tygath's men torture a captured wizard for information on a prophesied mage who will derail his plans. The torture succeeds in getting the prisoner to tell them that the prophesied wizard is in Earthsea now (it's Ged), but he dies before the torturer can make him give up the name.
  • Two Halves Make a Plot: Each of the protagonists unknowingly hold onto a half of the Amulet of Peace, the MacGuffin necessary to literally close the door on a realm full of unspeakable evil.

Alternative Title(s): Legend Of Earthsea