Ms. Le Guin on which kind of Sparrowhawk

Discussion in 'Ursula K Le Guin' started by Extollager, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. Extollager

    Extollager Well-Known Member

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    Over at the "Tolkien and Agrarianism" thread

    http://www.sffchronicles.co.uk/forum/532928-tolkien-and-agrarianism.html

    a question arose about which kind of sparrowhawk, the American or the European, Ursula Le Guin had in mind in visualizing Ged/Sparrowhawk of A Wizard of Earthsea.

    Ursula Le Guin has kindly responded to my query about Ged / Sparrowhawk, which I made in response to HareBrain's comment.

    She writes:

    "It's the common Archipelagan sparrowhawk -- no Linnaean name, because Linnaeus didn't get to Earthsea, but I think he might have called it Falco sparverius Terramaris."

    Since the American sparrowhawk or kestrel, that beautiful bird, is Falco sparverius, I think we would be safe in imagining this as the sparrowhawk that Ms. Le Guin had in mind, rather than the European sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus).

    She adds: "The Kargish sparrowhawk is a little larger, and adapted to desert conditions."

    My thanks to Ursula Le Guin for her answer and to HareBrain for the question!
     
  2. HareBrain

    HareBrain Bunny of Wonder Staff Member

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    Kudos for asking her!

    Yes, falco would be kestrel-like. I'll have to replace the image of the bird in my mind when I read it next.
     
  3. Teresa Edgerton

    Teresa Edgerton Goblin Princess Staff Member

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    Since she has lived a goodly portion of her life in the Pacific Northwest, and lived as a child in the northern half of California, I would imagine that she did envision the American sparrowhawk.

    My sister, who was involved in animal rescue, had a kestrel for a time. It was a very attractive little bird, though I never saw it in flight.
     
  4. Ursa major

    Ursa major Bearly Believable Staff Member

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    Not forgetting that there's the same problem with Kestrels: it seems that the American Kestrel is not that closely related (or that similar in appearance) to old-world kestrels.

    I mention this just in case folk on this side of The Pond were trying to visualise the common Archipelagan sparrowhawk in terms of its similarity to "true" kestrels.
     
  5. Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    Arrgh I thought I had it figured and then I reached your post Ursa. :confused: :D
     
  6. wonkishere

    wonkishere Well-Known Member

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    I think it's great that she responded to your question. I loved a great deal of her work. I was under the impression that she's getting on in years now?
     
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