“...American Novelist...” by Julie Phillips
Gedo Senki (Tales from Earthsea)
Studio Ghibli and Mr Goro Miyazaki recently sent me the synopsis of their forthcoming film, Gedo Senki (Tales of Ged), which is to be released in Japan in July 2006. I asked if I might post the translation on my website, and was kindly granted permission. Any inquiries should be directed to Studio Ghibli, please, not to me, as I have no further information concerning the film, and of course will not discuss it until I have seen it.
A sailing ship is rolling in the rough sea. The captain orders the weatherworker to calm the sea, but the weatherworker is unable to remember the true name of the sea and the wind despite his efforts. Then suddenly, two dragons appear from the dark clouds. The dragons were devouring one another. For the dragons living in the end of the West to appear in the eastern ocean area inhabited by humans, and to feed on one another was something unthinkable. The balance of the world was collapsing.
Ged was on a journey, searching for the source causing evil disturbances to the world. Ged — once an impetuous and arrogant goatherd boy — is now a mature man, called by others as "Lord Archmage", the greatest of wizards. During his travels, he meets Arren, Prince of Enlad. The youth was being pursued by a "shadow". The disastrous force destroying the world's balance and driving people mad was nearing Arren as well.
Arren fleeing from his shadow and unable to confront his own inner darkness, was very much like Ged in his younger days. The two traveled down the valley, through the mountain and many deserted ruins. Everywhere, farmers had abandoned their fields. The two arrive to Hort Town, the capital palace. The streets were crowded with people, but craftsmen have forgotten their crafts, items being sold there were all fake, slaves were being traded, and hazia addicts thronged in the backstreets. People bustled about from place to place, but seemed to be without sense of purpose. The people's eyes were fixed on dreams or on death, another world somewhere else.
The two in their quest, seek refuge to Tenar's place, an old acquaintance of Ged. Tenar was once a priestess that guarded the dark Tombs of Atuan when she was a girl. When Ged recovered the broken Ring of Erreth-Akbe from the Tomb, she was brought out to the world of freedom and light by him. Also living in Tenar's house was Therru, a girl whose face was marked with a scar of fire. Therru who had been abandoned by her parents, avoids Arren who holds darkness within and occasionally devastated with despair. Arren spends his days laboring in the fields and interacting with nature, taught and guided by Ged how all creation in the universe is realized on a balance. Therru gradually opens her heart to Arren. Yet even during this time, Arren's fear toward the shadow grows severe and he is troubled by nightmares of being chased by the shadow.
Ged is able to find that a wizard named Cob has opened the door between worlds of the living and of the dead, and that this was triggering the imbalance of the world. This man, once called "Cob of Havnor" had been using of the Pelnish Lore of Paln, and calling up any person he wished from the other world, when asked for with money. In his younger days, Ged was infuriated by Cob who had summoned his master's spirit, and forcefully took the wailing and resisting Cob to the Land of the Dead and pushed him off to the bottom of fear. After that, Cob vowed to reform and left for the West, but he had actually sworn to himself to get his revenge on Ged.
Arren who fears that he will be unable to control the violent "other self" finally goes away from Tenar's house. Running away from the shadow and fainting, Arren comes to at Cob's castle. Cob opens the doors between the worlds of the living and the dead in order to gain eternal life, and plans to kill Ged who is in the way. Arren, whose fear of the shadow has come to a head, is given hazia and loses his senses, and finally tells his true name and falls captive to Cob.
Ged and Therru both risk their lives to bring back Arren to his senses. With their help, Arren overcomes temptation to get eternal life, draws out the sword forged by magical powers and stand face to face with Cob.
Copyright © 2006 by Studio Ghibli
Website copyright © 2007 by Ursula K. Le Guin