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[Earthsea mainpage] Gedo Senki
(Tales from Earthsea)

Goro Miyazaki's Blog Translation (Page 1)

14th December 2005

Number 1 - I wanted to do it because it was Earthsea[1]

Yesterday "Tales from Earthsea" was officially announced. This morning, looking at the newspapers and magazines, I was surprised at the immensity of the reaction, but rather than being by that, I kept on going with production the same as always. Today I'm going to write about my reasons for agreeing to direct. My prime motivation was that the original works the film is based on are the "Earthsea" series.

The first time I read the Earthsea series, I was in high school. I didn't buy the books myself, but read copies that were lying around the house.

Now the Earthsea series goes up to the sixth book: "Tales from Earthsea", but at that time it only extended as far as the third book, "The Farthest Shore".

At that time the book that most interested me was the first one. What was interesting for me about it was not the excitement of a magical realm, but that the story of the inner growth of a boy who couldn't control his own magical powers resonated with me. As a high school student myself, I projected myself onto the protagonist, Ged.

This time when, I was re-reading the books as part of the planning for the movie "Tales from Earthsea", I discovered a totally different attraction.

Then and now, stories about magicians, such as "Great Adventures in a Magical world!" or "Magical School Battles!"[2], usually depict magic as supernatural powers beyond human understanding, but in Earthsea magic is depicted as a means to understanding the truths of everyday life.

In Book One, Ged's teacher Ogion says something like this:

Boy, do you know how the roots and leaves and flowers of fourfoil change with the seasons? You must thoroughly absorb this knowledge, and can distinguish fourfoil at a single glance, or smell or merely looking at the seed. Then you will become able to learn its true name, and to understand the whole of its existence."[3]

In the Earthsea saga, magic is searching for the true nature of things and by knowing their true names, to work upon the existence of the thing itself. Thus, the study of magic is nothing other than the study of reality itself.

This way of thinking about magic was really a fresh discovery for me.

When considering current fantasies, something like: "A story of gaining magical powers and adventuring in a fantasy world" is the first image that bobs up. But is that really the true nature of fantasy? This is the question in my mind.

For instance, even a plain, everyday, question such as: "Why are sunsets so beautiful?" contains the mystery of existence and that is what I think fantasy is.

Translator's Notes

[1]: He is referring to the original books here. The series is usually called "Earthsea" or the Earthsea series/saga etc. in English. "Tales from Earthsea" is the title of one of the recent books. I have tried to make it clear when he is referring to the books and when to the film.

[2]: I wasn't able to find any real titles matching these. I'm assuming he has made them up as examples of the sort of thing he is talking about.

[3]: What Ogion actually says in the original English version is: "When you know the fourfoil in all its seasons root and leaf and flower, by sight and scent and seed, then you may learn its true name, which is more than its use." [p.26 of my edition, the second page of Chapter 2]. I presume the director is either referring to the text of the Japanese translation or has an imperfect recollection of the passage. In any case, his comments about the passage fit better with the version as he quotes it, so I have translated this and put the original English text in this note.



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