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Erreth-Akbe is a fictional character in Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula K. Le Guin
Ursula Kroeber Le Guin is an American author. She has written novels, poetry, children's books, essays, and short stories, notably in fantasy and science fiction...

's Earthsea
Earthsea is a fictional realm originally created by Ursula K. Le Guin for her short story "The Word of Unbinding", published in 1964. Earthsea became the setting for a further six books, beginning with A Wizard of Earthsea, first published in 1968, and continuing with The Tombs of Atuan, The...

 realm. He is introduced in A Wizard of Earthsea
A Wizard of Earthsea
A Wizard of Earthsea, first published in 1968, is the first of a series of books written by Ursula K. Le Guin and set in the fantasy world archipelago of Earthsea depicting the adventures of a budding young wizard named Ged...

and is part of the historical back-story
A back-story, background story, or backstory is the literary device of a narrative chronologically earlier than, and related to, a narrative of primary interest. Generally, it is the history of characters or other elements that underlie the situation existing at the main narrative's start...

 of the Earthsea novels.

Character Overview

Erreth-Akbe lived many centuries before the primary events that take place in the Earthsea novels. Erreth-Akbe was a famous hero and a great sorcerer
Magician (fantasy)
A magician, mage, sorcerer, sorceress, wizard, enchanter, enchantress, thaumaturge or a person known under one of many other possible terms is someone who uses or practices magic that derives from supernatural or occult sources...

, as well as counselor and good friend to King Maharion. Erreth-Akbe was a dragonlord, i.e. esteemed enough to be spoken to by dragons.


Erreth-Akbe gained undying fame when he fought and defeated the Firelord, a being of immense power who sought to conquer the lands of the inner sea and stop the sun at midday so there would be light unending.

In 440, he carried the Ring of Morred (later to be called the Ring of Erreth-Akbe) to King Thoreg of the Karg
The Kargs are a fictional people in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea canon.-Appearance:Kargs have fair skin and many have blond hair, unlike the majority of the inhabitants of Earthsea, who have dark skin and hair. Tenar, perhaps the best-known Kargish individual, happens to have dark hair...

s, as a sign of peace
Peace is a state of harmony characterized by the lack of violent conflict. Commonly understood as the absence of hostility, peace also suggests the existence of healthy or newly healed interpersonal or international relationships, prosperity in matters of social or economic welfare, the...

 between the Archipelago and the Kargad Lands. However, he found himself in the midst of a coup, organised by a Kargish High Priest, who broke the ring in half.

In 448, Erreth-Akbe fought the ancient dragon
A dragon is a legendary creature, typically with serpentine or reptilian traits, that feature in the myths of many cultures. There are two distinct cultural traditions of dragons: the European dragon, derived from European folk traditions and ultimately related to Greek and Middle Eastern...

 Orm on Selidor
Islands of Earthsea
The Islands of Earthsea are the hundreds of named islands, groups of islands, and unnamed islets that make up the lands of the largely oceanic fantasy world of Earthsea in the stories of Ursula K. Le Guin.-List of Islands and Places:...

, the remotest island in the West Reach. The battle resulted in the death of both Orm and Erreth-Akbe.

Later, after Ged
Ged (Earthsea)
Ged , is the true name of a fictional character in Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea realm. He is introduced in A Wizard of Earthsea, and plays both main and supporting roles in the subsequent Earthsea novels...

found half of the Ring of Erreth-Akbe, he met the dragon Orm Embar, descendant of Orm, on Selidor. Orm Embar told Ged the history of the ring half he carried. When Ged was an archmage, he met the ghost of Erreth-Akbe summoned by Cob, in the place where the hero died.

The dragons on Selidor and in the West Reach remember Erreth-Akbe and respect him. Ged later said of his meeting with Orm Embar:
"He thought it very funny that I hadn't known. Dragons think we are amusing. But they remember Erreth-Akbe; him they speak of as if he were a dragon, not a man."