The other thing about Wizard of Earthsea, which I didn’t much want to put in my book review, is how much it reminds me of gaming. The wizards answer to their own reservoirs of power, yes, but there are also the Old Powers of the earth, and the Open Sea, and the rules of magic change the farther one goes from the center of the world. “Rules change in the reaches,” is the proverb that several characters quote.
The book reminded me how important it is to divide spell lists up, not only into levels, but into books… it’s important to be able to say, “this spell caster cast spell X, so he must have gotten it from book Y or book Z, and those books are only available to these three wizards and their apprentices and journeymen.” Its a way of structuring story, in other words.
I’m not sure how much I can do with this, but I may work up some D&D style magical books to show what I mean.