By C. N. Manlove

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Many fantasies end in disenchantment and restoration of'normality'. The status quo so preserved is no dead thing, but rather a living balance founded on continuous choice or on a delicately maintained frontier between the orders of nature and supernature. * *References are to the Gollancz editions, published respectively in 1971, 1972 and 1973 (and in one omnibus volume in 1977), and cited hereafter as WE, TA and FS. 32 The Impulse of Fantasy Literature Balance is the condition of being of Mrs Le Guin's fantastic world.

It is not only magic that enables Ged to defeat his shadow, but courage, integrity and insight; and his defeat of Cob also asks a deep love of the world and heroic self-sacrifice. The reader is told, too, of Ged's friend Vetch that, though he was a skilled mage, 'a greater, unlearned skill he possessed, which was the art of kindness' (WE, p. 52). Similarly, when Ged has to try to enter 42 The Impulse of Fantasy Literature the school of Roke and cannot step over the threshold, he finds that no magic will help him, but only the simple act of asking the Doorkeeper for help (WE, pp.

What he said of poetry - 'It is not by the morals we draw from it or the maxims it inculcates or the melodies it releases that we shall be encouraged or consoled. We must enter into its own world' 14 - must therefore be seen implicitly as a criticism of his own work. There are therefore limitations on how far the adorations of being asked by Williams's novels can be followed: how far, that 30 The Impulse of Fantasy Literature is, the ideal of acceptance becomes fully realised in the reader himself.

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