How extensively has Le Guin’s ‘Earthsea’ series influenced Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ books?

It goes without saying that J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” series is the most celebrated and accomplished contemporary young fantasy work. George R.R. Martin’s “A Song of Ice and Fire” books are not truly comparable, as they deal with heavier themes. One fantasy series comes really close, though: Ursula Le Guin’s “Earthsea.”

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In fact, many argue that Rowling would not have written her series without Le Guin’s influence. There are a lot of similarities, for sure. Both fantasy works are set in a wizardry school, where the “special” kid and would-be hero (Ged in Earthsea, Harry in HP) meets other student wizards, hones his skills, and goes on to become a master wizard. Both characters start conflicted and picked upon. In “Earthsea,” the bully wizard is Jasper; in HP, it’s Draco Malfoy.

“Earthsea” has an archmage in Roke (the school) named Nemmerle, whose counterpart is Hogwart’s Dumbledore in HP. Ged’s mother died before he reached one-year old; Harry’s parents died when he was a baby. Both Ged and Harry would rise above the teasing and bullying to become the best wizard in their school.

But the similarities in the tropes end there. Plot-wise, “Earthsea” is more segmented; all of the first three books (‘A Wizard of Earthsea,’ ‘Tombs of Atuan,’ ‘The Farthest Shore’) are close-ended, with Ged moving on to an entirely different adventure in the next. Also, the tone is more somber, more of heroic high fantasy, especially as readers explore the second book onward and Ged encounters dragons and battles with his own shadow.

Even though they likewise get dark toward the end, the “Harry Potter” books are more detailed, consistently young-adult fantasy in treatment. The series breaks away more from the Tolkien tradition than “Earthsea” does, favoring intensive character development (and there are many characters in HP) and allowing the fantastic world to interact more with the real.

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Steve Silvers leads Paint Squad, a Los Angeles, CA-based company that aims to bring the highest standard to the residential and commercial painting industry. He enjoys listening to classic rock, tasting wines, and reading books, with the ‘Harry Potter’ series one of his favorites. For more on his work and hobbies, visit this blog.


Home Improvement: Tips On Working With Contractors

Hiring a contractor for home improvement projects is the better alternative than DIYs in most cases, as this can ensure that the job is done effectively and efficiently. However, there are incidences when selecting the wrong contractor can also lead to substandard work, delays, and, worst, legal issues.

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To choose and create a good working relationship with the right contractor, here are some tips:

  • Check the contractor’s qualifications. If the contractor holds a license, which he could only attain after passing an exam, it is evidence of his knowledge in his craft and building codes. Also, it is better if he is a member of certain organizations, such as the Building Industry Association (BIA) and National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), that bind him to a strict code of ethics.
    Agree on expectations and sign a detailed contract. A contract spells out everything and sets every expectation and parameters, even the most minute details. It not just serves as protection for both the homeowner and the contractor, it also assures the quality of the job.
    Connect with the contractor. In any project, communication is key to ensure the home improvement work is running smoothly. Creating a connection with the contractor can open clear communication lines with the contractor, foremen, and the workers.
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Steve Silvers owns Paint Squad, a California-based leader in the home improvement and painting industries. He is also a family man, sports fan, and wine enthusiast. For more articles about home improvement, follow this Facebook account.

Amusing Facts About The Paint Industry In The United States

Not many people pay much attention to the paint industry in the United States. They should. It’s a fascinating industry, and the knowledge gathered goes much deeper than the number of colors in the market. Here are some entertaining facts about the paint industry in the United States.

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  • On an average, a full-time painter earns around $32,000 annually.
  • Since paint is more of a luxury than a necessity, painters sometimes have a hard time looking for work.
  • The US paint industry estimates that only 5,500 painting jobs will be created in the next ten years.
  • Painters in the automotive industry sometimes need two years of training. This is a lot more than most painters, who only need a few days to a week. Automotive painting may also require completion of classes, courses, and degrees.
  • The demand for paint products worldwide has surpassed over 50 metric tons and the value of the painting industry all over the world is totaled at a staggering $150 billion. In the United States, the revenue reached around $30 billion the past year.
  • Due to environmental concerns, paint manufacturers are little by little developing more water-based products to replace their old solvent-based paints.
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Steve Silvers runs Paint Squad, a quality paint company for homeowners. Discover more about the industry by subscribing to this Twitter account.

Alphabet Palette: Examining The Models Of Color

Color models revolve around primaries, a group of colors which, when mixed, create further derivative colors. Each color model has its own set of primaries, the initials of which give the color model its name.

Each color model is sorted as additive or subtractive, which is based on how color is derived from a particular wavelength of light being reflected and perceived by the human eye. Paint and ink employ a subtractive model, which involves the physically mixing different pigments to create color, whereas computer screens employ an additive color model that involves mixing different wavelengths of light to create color.

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This leads to peculiar situations wherein mixing colors in one medium does not always yield the same result as the other; mixing green and red light, for instance, produces yellow, which is a far cry from the brown created by mixing red and green paint.

Perhaps the most familiar color model to the layperson is the RYB color model, popularized in wheel form by Sir Isaac Newton. Its primaries are red, yellow, and blue, which are often the first things to come to mind when one hears the word “primary color.” It is quite limited in scope; thus, it has largely been superseded in other graphic disciplines. It remains the principal color model used by artists and paint stores.

Extensively employed in the modern print industry, the CMYK model yields a broader assortment of colors. It retains yellow as a primary but swaps blue and red with cyan and magenta, respectively. The K stands for “key” and designates the color black. While black is formed from the combination of all three primaries in the model, in practice it is treated as a separate color to save on ink and to produce higher contrasts.

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Because of the differences between them. Converting from one color model to another can be a challenge. Tools exist to help individuals approximate CMYK tones to paint Pantone’s.

Steve Silvers is the owner of Paint Squad, a painting service that caters to the needs of both homes and businesses. Visit this blog for more updates on important painting considerations.