A friend of mine reads a ton of fantasy books. Me, not as much. But recently I polished off the first Earthsea book and we got to talking about it.
He said, "Earthsea was such a refreshing read...it's good to read something where the solution isn't just 'throw a fireball' and the hero wins. It felt like reading a pure fantasy book."
I didn't really touch on this in my review for the book but, yeah, basically every conflict in the story is solved by discussion, or self-sacrifice. Very little "let me cast my spell of chain-lightning."
As I was reading Paris Marx' 2022 Politics + Technology book Road to Nowhere the other night, Le Guin popped up, notably her talking about how fucking dumb it is that narrative fiction ends up coming down to physical conflict:
I agree. We should be using our back packs more, and our great swords less. Also, autonomous cars are never happening, sorry techbros.