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The main character is Ged (known also as Sparrowhawk.) He's a wizard who inadvertently releases a nameless evil which the story refers to as "the shadow" but it's description could easily be equated to a kind of black smoke. There's no mainland in the story. Only islands.
- The main character, Sparrowhawk, grows up on an Island. His mother is dead.
- He's raised by the village witch who teaches him the little she herself knows, but his power far exceeds hers.
- his pride and arrogance grow even faster than his skill and, in his hubris, he accidentally summons forth "The Shadow."
- Sparrowhawk has a bond with the shadow that cannot be broken. The shadow and Sparrowhawk cannot avoid a final confrontation.
- Though some of his teachers had thought "The Shadow" to be nameless, Sparrowhawk and his adversary speak at the same moment, each naming the other by their true name: Ged. Sparrowhawk embraces his foe and the two become one.