I listened to the audiobook version of this story, which was narrated by Rob Ingles. Many years ago he performed the Lord of the Rings; it was a wonderful surprise to hear that old favorite voice retelling this story. Perhaps because of this narration I felt there were echoes of Tolkien's work. An old wizard, a rising king, a long journey.
I loved the characters, particularly Ged. The idea of a great person who is also extremely humble, a sorcerer who loves to sail — I appreciate the juxtaposition.
I could also see a bit of Le Guin's interest in the Tao Te Ching seeping into the story. When Ged and the other characters discussed leadership, they depicted Lao Tzu's ideal of a sovreign who did very little and allowed people to govern themselves. Strange to have a story of the ascendency of a King to play upon anarchistic themes.