This paper discusses Ursula Le Guin’s Tehanu, part of the Earthsea series, by comparing it with J. R. R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings”.

This paper explains that, in “Tehanu”, part of the Earthsea series, Ursula Le Guin, much like J. R. R. Tolkien, introduces a new and deeper quality to her characters, creating a most unlikely hero who motivates action and saves the day when the greatest fail. The author points out that, by giving the reader such unlikely heroes as Le Guin and Tolkien have presented in their novels, they are creating another dimension to the stories; they make the reader the hero. The paper relates that Tolkien suggests that we escape into fantasy; and Le Guin agrees because, in the escape, we find ourselves.
“In Tolkien’s essay On Fairy Stories, he asserts the purpose of fairy stories to be fantasy, recovery, escape and consolation. All of these things are achieved in Tehanu and The Lord of The Rings. Fantasy is achieved in the creation of another world, recovery is gained through the politics, which compare to our own, escape is found in the magic, and consolation is given by the happy ending. Le Guin says in her essay The Child and the Shadow, in discussing writing fantasy for children, that they must be given the truth as well. She says that his job in growing up is to become himself. He can’t do this if he feels the task is hopeless, nor can he if he’s led to think there isn’t any task. It seems that in combining these two theories of fantasy, Le Guin and Tolkien are attempting to inspire their readers to find the heroes within themselves. They are given that task and called upon to act in the context of their own story.”