Finally, A Wizard of Earthsea is drawn as a brown man

Those of you who follow SciFi and Fantasy are probably aware of Ursula K. Le Guin. For those who don’t, she is a highly influential writer who incorporates considerable cultural diversity in her writing.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who follows this blog that Ms. Le Guin has had a huge problem with her multi-cultural work consistently getting whitewashed. Her most famous work, The Earthsea series, features a wizard named Ged who is clearly described in the books as being Native American in appearance and yet this is how he was portrayed on TV:

WhiteGed

Fail.

Ursula was not amused. She’s complained a lot that the cover art for her books has drawn her characters as white when she clearly describes them as POC. It’s been a thorn in her side since she started publishing.

Now if looks like A Wizard of Earthsea is finally getting the the cover art and illustrations it deserves. The Folio Society is issuing a new version of the book with cover art and illustrations by David Lupton who worked closely with Le Guin to get the look right. Ged now looks like this:

NAGed

Much better!

Le Guin is apparently quite happy:

“The racial bias shown in most of the books’ jacket covers after the first one has been most happily put to rest, I hope forever, by David Lupton’s illustrations to this edition. I was able to tell Mr Lupton what I thought my people and dragons looked like, and he had both the good will to heed what I said, and the wonderful power to turn my words into vivid images. Collaboration between artists in different media is a difficult, chancy matter, but it can work a happy Magic.”

You can see more artwork on IO9.

Leave a Reply