The Books: The Earthsea Cycle (five books, plus a collection of short stories set in the same world, published between 1968 and 2001)
The Miniseries: Legend of Earthsea (two episodes, aired on the Sci-Fi Channel in 2004)
The Movie: Gedo Senki or, Tales from Earthsea (2006)
The Hate: In a 2004 essay entitled “A Whitewashed Earthsea“, Le Guin lays out her issues with the television adaptation, starting with the fact that her protagonist Ged changes from “a boy with red-brown skin” to a “petulant white kid.” Le Guin points out that race, “a crucial element” of the series, was totally removed from the Sci Fi version, and that Danny Glover was the only man of color present in the main cast. These changes, she writes, made for a final product that was nothing more than a “generic McMagic movie.”
The 2006 Studio Ghibli adaptation also came as a disappointment to Le Guin. She was approached by Hayao Miyazaki years earlier about adapting her work, but at that time, she wasn’t familiar with either his movies or anime, so she turned him down. She later became a fan, and was displeased when directing duties fell to Miyazaki’s son Gorō Miyazaki instead. After she watched the film for the first time, Gorō Miyazaki asked if she liked it, to which she responded, “Yes. It is not my book. It is your movie. It is a good movie.” But she was once again troubled by its approach to race, and the muddled plotting and moral themes.