The Rule of Names
Ursula K. Le Guin
K. Le Guin is one of the great figures in science fiction. Over the
course of the last six decades, she has won multiple
as well as the National
Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American
In 1975, she was awarded the sixth Gandalf
of fantasy and in 2003 she became the second woman ever
receive the Damon
Knight Memorial Grand Master Award.
the authors thus far, Le Guin was the one I thought it most likely
the Young People might have encountered before. In
particular, her Earthsea
adult trilogy has had broad appeal
course there’s a chance the Young People might have encountered the
animated feature loosely based on the title of the series
“The Rule of Names” could serve as an introduction to both
Le Guin’s work as whole.
Rule of Names” is included in the collection The
Winds Twelve Quarters, which
We do not speak of that other
I read the extremely random assortment of Le Guin’s work available
at my village’s library when I was a kid, I don’t really remember
much about them. I feel like if I had remembered them, I might have
enjoyed this story more.
story feels like it’s supposed to be a part of a larger world, and
I suspect it’s part of the Earthsea series. While I expect that it
helps fill in more information about the world, or maybe further
develop a character, I don’t think it works very well as a
standalone. It’s fine, it just doesn’t seem to have much of a
happy to finally get a fantasy story, but perhaps because I read a
lot of fantasy stories, none of the worldbuilding in this story felt
particularly unique. As soon as the dragon was mentioned it was
obvious that it was going to be Mr. Underhill. It felt like the point
of the story wasn’t the plot so much as it was showing off how life
is for ordinary people in the world, and how magic impacts everyday
lives. We see their school, and learn what the magic is used for in
daily life, but there isn’t really any reason for any of that
within the story.
there being so little plot, and where there was of it obvious, this
feels more like a story best come to when the reader is already
invested in the world and wants to read more stories set in it,
rather than something to hook a new reader or work as a standalone.
As a standalone, I found it rather boring.
read A Wizard of Earthsea in grade five. I can still remember
the whole thing vividly despite not having reread it in many years.
Ursula K. Le Guin's writing is just that good. I hadn't read “The
Rule of Names” before, but it holds up favourably to the other
stories I've read in the Earthsea world.
was suspicious of Underhill from early on, he was clearly hiding
something. What exactly he was hiding I didn't figure out until the
twist. I liked that. As fun as it usually is to figure out the twist
before it happens, sometimes its nice to get a genuine surprise when
of a down ending, yet it somehow didn't seem as horrific as in
science fiction stories where everyone ends up dead in the end. Even
with an ending like that, the story was just so much less depressing
than all the science fiction stories we've read so far in this
project. It seems like a genre divide that fantasy stories are just
by default more upbeat than science fiction stories. Even gritty dark
fantasy has to try pretty hard to be more depressing and bloody than
a lot of science fiction.
story didn't have the vulgar sexism of some of the previous stories,
but the women were still kind of just along for the ride. There's no
real reason beyond the age that the story was written that one or all
of the main characters couldn't have been female. Reading the reviews
by the other reviewers has sharpened my eye for this kind of thing
where before I just accepted it without reflection.
story was just fun to read. I've never read a story by Le Guin that I
didn't like. That goes double for Earthsea stories. I even
liked the Studio Ghibli Earthsea adaptation, though I hear a
lot of people including Le Guin herself didn't.
thought this story was fine. It was a pretty good introduction to the
world, leaving me curious about how things work, but without making
me feel like I was missing any big important pieces of information.
As an introduction to the world, the story talks about how people
live, mentions the “rule of names” and how the rule is important
to society. It gives a simple example of how (not) to use someone's
name, and it does so in a pleasant enough way. My biggest complaint
about the story is that I don't have enough of an opinion about it to
write much more than 100 words.
have read Ursula K Le Guin’s A Wizard of Earthsea series
before for a class in university. I remember not exactly liking her
writing style as too vague on visual details, meaning that my mind’s
eye was always fuzzy, leaving me unsatisfied. I was also introduced
to her as a fantasy writer, so I was curious to see if this story
would be different from the books I have read.
starting this story, it seemed like the same world that the Earthsea
stories are set in. This story is a good primer into fundamental
rules of this world.
liked this story better than the books. It was more focused and
straightforward, with one mystery and a clear ending. It’s
basically the essence of the first book A Wizard of Earthsea.
I liked it more than I expected which was probably helped by the fact
that the story is only 4000 words long.
Guin’s writing is like an allegorical simile of the essence of a
plot. Which means it reminds of any other story but none in
particular – well, except for naming the first character Mr.
Underhill (Lord of the Rings, anyone?). It’s like eating
plain oatmeal – it sustains a plot, but for me it’s just no fun.