Dragonsinger: Overture – The Best Of All Possible Worlds

Greetings, one and all! It’s time for the second book in the Harper Hall trilogy, Dragonsinger. In book one, Menolly overcame an abusive and toxic environment to be taken in as an apprentice at the Harper Hall, guest of the Masterharper himself, on the recommendation from her Hold’s old Harper, Petiron. She also discovered and lived with several fire lizards outside of her Hold before eventually landing at Benden Weyr, courtesy of Threadfall.

The big questions on my mind are whether Menolly will be able to exact closure on Yanus and whether or not we will be able to get through a Pern book without some form of physical violence being done to a named female character. On that optimistic note, here we go.

Dragonsinger, Chapters 1-2: Content Notes: prejudice, misogyny, sexism

Dragonsinger picks up immediately after the end of Dragonsong, starting with Menolly’s arrival by dragon at the Harper Hall. This is the first book examined to lack the super-spoiler-filled introduction, incidentally, despite having a similar cover style to Dragonsong before it.

We hit the ground running, however, with T’gellan really Not Getting It.

“Don’t worry so, Menolly. Just remember,” said T’gellan, gripping her shoulder in awkward reassurance, “every Harper on Pern has been trying to find Petiron’s lost apprentice…”
“Because they thought that apprentice was a boy…”
“That made no difference to Master Robinton when he asked you to come here. Times are changing, Menolly, and it’ll make no difference to the others.
[…]
Great shells, girl, you’ve lived holdless, outrun Thread, and Impressed nine fire lizards. What’s to fear from harpers?”

What, indeed? How about the Masterharper himself, who demonstrates for all of us more of that manipulative charm he displayed at the end of Dragonsong, declaring her Petiron’s lost apprentice, and showing off her skill at collecting fire lizards, before getting to his actual point.

“Furthermore,” and he raised his volume above the raged cheers of approval, “furthermore, she found another clutch, which provided me with two eggs!”

Because nothing says “force for good, tolerance, and gender equality” like stepping on someone for your own self-aggrandizement. Again, Robinton had enough tact to celebrate Menolly first, but he’s definitely earning the side-eye from me as someone to watch out for in case he turns out villainous. There’s more plot summary from the previous book, as Menolly is hustled to bed by Silvina, headwoman for the Harper Hall, and a revelation that continues to make the official story about why Petiron neglected to mention Menolly’s gender that much less likely to be anywhere resembling true.

“Just like old Petiron to forget to mention you being a girl.”
“I don’t think he forgot,” Menolly said slowly, thinking of her father and mother and their opposition to her playing. “He told me girls can’t be harpers.”
Silvina gave her a long hard look. “Maybe under another Masterharper. Or in the old days, but surely old Petiron knew his own son well enough to-”
“Petiron was Master Robinton’s father?”
“Did he never tell you that?” Silvina paused as she was spreading the sleeping fur over Menolly. “That old stubborn fool! Determined not to advance himself because his son was elected Masterharper…and them picking a place halfway to nowhere…I beg your pardon, Menolly…”
“Half-Circle Sea Hold is halfway to nowhere.”
“Not if Petiron found you there,” said Silvina, recovering her brisk tone, “and sponsored you to this Craft….”

I think Menolly is getting suspicious about the story Petiron fed her, probably to keep her from getting too excited, and thus keep her away from Yanus and Mavi’s abuse. It certainly makes my speculation about what really happened seem more plausible. Also, it suggests that what Menolly had to fear from the Harper Hall is the Harpers themselves.

Chapter One finishes with Menolly going to sleep, although with a little foreboding as she hears various voices, one of which she doesn’t particularly like the sound of. She can’t hear the content of the discussion, just the voices. Chapter Two is Menolly’s first day proper as an apprentice, which starts with washing and then hitting the kitchen for food for her and the menagerie. Along the way, we see something that indicates either a really large tech jump or that shows how old the area now known as the Harper Hall really is.

Directly in front of the staircase were dragon-high metal doors with the most curious closings she’d ever seen: on the back of the doors were wheels, which evidently turned the heavy bars into floor and ceiling. At Half-Circle Sea Hold there had been the heavy horizontal bars, but this arrangement would be easier to lock and looked much more secure.

Okay, so Pern has working examples of a counterweight locking system. (At least, that’s how I’m imagining it). What I want to know is how the Harpers have managed to stop Fandarel from taking the doors off their hinges and back to the Smith Hall so he can analyze them and create replicas so every Hold has a secure locking mechanism against a Thread (or other threat) incursion. If I had to guess, it’s that he can’t convince a dragonrider to help him carry the doors home, once he gets them free, as such doors are undoubtedly going to be very heavy.

Anyway, Silvina is busily directing traffic in the kitchen as Menolly arrives. Rather than upset the kitchen, Menolly keeps the fire lizards outside, promising them food. Silvina greets her warmly, orders up food, wonders who botched the healing on her hand, and summons up help for Menolly to get everything outside. Here we get introduced to our first mentally disabled Pern resident, Camo. The good things: Camo is treated well by Silvina and the kitchen staff, and there’s no indication that anyone thinks less of him for his disability – they understand that he does well with simple and direct instructions, sometimes repeated, and Silvina remembers to thank Camo when he does a good job. The bad: Well, Menolly mentally calls him a “half-wit”, and Camo’s speech patterns evoke the idea of Rain Man, with the repetition and such. And there’s some described-as-gentle pushing that happens to get Camo moving in the right direction.

Also, he’s fascinated by the fire lizards, and when the swarm arrives to eat in the courtyard, he stands completely still and enjoys seeing everything going on around him. Which will place him well above some of the members of the Harper Hall we will meet in due time.

So, chow happens out in a courtyard to the sounds of a choir learning and memorizing their Teaching Songs. And five of the fire lizards join in singing. Which brings Menolly into it as well, and for the song or so, there’s only the music.

They were on the last two measures of the chorus when Menolly suddenly realized that it was only herself and the fire lizards singing, that the male voices had ceased. Startled, she looked up and saw that almost every window about the courtyard was filled with faces. The exceptions were the windows of the hall where the voices had come.
“Who’s been singing?” demanded an irate tenor, and a man’s head appeared at one of the empty windows.
“Why, that’s a grand way to wake up, Brudegan,” said the clear baritone of the Masterharper from Stone point above Menolly and to her left. Craning her head up, she saw him leaning out of his window on the upper story.
“Good morning to you, Masterharper,” said Brudegan courteously, but his tone indicated that he was disgruntled by the intervention.
Menolly tried to sit small, wishing herself between: she was certainly frozen motionless.

Good morning, Harper Hall. Nice to meet you?

This seems believable, though. In a place where music is the craft that someone learns, it makes sense that as many places as possible are acoustically sound. The only thing missing from this description is how loud everyone was singing. I would assume that it isn’t actually very loud at all, because Menolly is still quite nervous and there’s already singing going on, but Menolly is eating in the right place for the acoustics to carry her and the lizards’ voices much farther than intended. Silvina arrives to rescue Menolly from embarrassment and ships her up to Robinton with his morning klah and breakfast, where Robinton and Menolly have a heart-to-heart.

“Still not sure, are you, young Menolly?” He didn’t mean the fire lizards’ abilities. There was such kindness in his voice and eyes that Menolly felt unexpected tears behind her eyes.
“I don’t want to be a nuisance…”
“Allow me to differ both to statement and content, Menolly…” Then he sighed. “You’re overyoung to appreciate the value of nuisance, although the improvement in that choir is a point in my argument. However, is much too early in the morning for me to expound philosophy.”
[…]
“We’re in a period of change and readjustment, Menolly,”…”And you are likely to be a vital part of that change. Yesterday I exerted an unfair pressure on you to join the Harper Hall…Oh yes, I did, but you belong here!”
[…]
“First,”…”we must discover just how well Petiron taught you the fundamentals of our craft and what you need to further your gifts. And…” he pointed now to her left hand, “…what can be fine to correct that scar damage. I’d still like to hear you play the songs you wrote.”
[…]
“We need you, when you can craft songs like those Petiron sent me and the ones Elgion found stuck away at the back of the harper’s shelves in Half-Circle. Yes, and that’s a matter I’d better explain…” he went on, smoothing the hair at the back of his neck and, to Menolly’s amazement, appearing to be embarrassed.

Helloooooo, resolved plot point! Also, Menolly apparently hid them well enough that neither Yanus nor Mavi found them to destroy them (Yanus, remember, can apparently tell variant chords apart), which…suggests they didn’t go looking for them? Or if they found them, assumed they were Elgion’s? Or Elgion found them immediately upon arrival and sent them away as soon as he found them? I don’t know, and Menolly doesn’t ask.

Also, Robinton only appeared embarrassed here. Considering what we’ve seen of his apparently Jedi abilities at persuasion, I’m not sure I should ever trust anyone who comments on Robinton’s state of mind. In any case, Robinton explains that he finished up Menolly’s tune about the fire-lizards and praises her abilities, much to her chagrin, because recovering from an abusive environment takes time and positive reinforcement, and she promised Yanus, you see…

“Menolly!”
Startled, she looked up at his stern tone.
“I want you to promise me – and you’re now my apprentice – I want you to promise me to write down any tune that comes into your mind: I want you to play it as often as necessary to get it right…do you understand me? That’s why I brought you here.” He tapped the slate again. “That was a good song even before I tampered with it. I need good songs badly.
What I said about change affects the Harper Hall more than any other craft, Menolly, because we are the ones who effect change. Just as we teach with our songs, so we also help people accept new ideas and necessary changes. And for that we need a special type of harpering.
Now, I still have to consider Craft and standards. Especially in your unusual situation, the conventional procedure must be observed. Once we’ve dispensed with the signatories, we can proceed with your training as fast as you want to go. But this is where you belong, Menolly, you and your singing fire lizards. Bless me but that was lovely to hear this morning.”

Have I mentioned yet about how Robinton understands what kind of power he wields in Pern? Because he clearly gets it. He’s also trying to get Menolly over the fears and into his upper echelons fast. But he’s not willing to bend his own traditions and the process to do it. It’s probably mostly for the optics and to not appear like he’s playing favorites with anyone, but it does mean that Menolly will be subjected to the culture of the Hall. Which is not likely to include female harpers and apprentices, so congratulations, Menolly, if you want to punch your ticket to doing what you’ve always wanted, you’re going to have to run the glass ceiling gauntlet.

Robinton’s philosophizing is interrupted with the arrival of Master Oldive, the healer, whose head is permanently slanted to one side, apparently, which makes him shorter than Menolly. Who is supposed to be tall, if I recall correctly. The slant comes from “a terrible malformation of his spine”. Oldive checks over Menolly’s feet and hands, giving her a cream for the feet and physical therapy exercises for her hands to stretch the scar tissue, break it down, and regain her full range of motion in her hand. After he leaves, Silvina returns to get Menolly settled in a dormitory, and they discuss Petiron and why he did so many things for her, but without telling her about the Harper Hall, lending still more credence to the idea that Petiron didn’t forget to mention Menolly’s gender, but that he couldn’t. Silvina mentions that Menolly will need a gitar, which provokes a flashback for Menolly about the beating Yanus gave her when she supposedly went off script with the fosterlings. Menolly shows her reed pipes as a way of getting off that line of questioning. Fire lizard food logistics are discussed (and Silvina shuts down an attempt by Menolly to apologize for being a bother.), and they arrive to see Dunca, who oversees the women’s quarters at the Hall. Menolly notices another of the metal doors, smaller this time. Again, Fandarel would probably want it.

Dunca promptly flips the fuck out at the presence of one fire lizard, dismisses the last resident of her available room as a “hysterical girl who’ll panic during Threadfall and scare us all with imagining that Thread is actually in the cottage”, calls other girls (her drudge(s)?) “lazy sluts” for not having proper amounts of light in the cottage, freaks out at Silvina opening the shutters on the windows, and then goes into a complete panic as the other eight fire lizards arrive in the sparse room.

All of which apparently amuses Silvina. Menolly can see the writing on the wall about how well she’s going to get on with Dunca, but Silvina believes its all to keep the Hall women from falling prey to all the boys competing over them, that she may hold an issue because Dunca wanted to get Petiron after his wife died, and that she just fears change in general. Now, if I were an otherwise empathetic headwoman tasked with finding a good spot to sleep for my still-likely-emotionally-fragile charge and the only room at the inn has an innkeeper who will clash horribly with my resident, I’d say “Fuck this. Menolly, you can stay in the guest room for a little while longer while we wait for something better to open up.” Because there is space elsewhere. But, because the narrative wishes it, Silvina has to let Menolly stay anywhere she’s likely going to hate, with someone who likely hates her. Because the narrative still feels the need to punish Menolly, I guess? Or for cheap drama? Likely both.

In any case, Chapter Two closes with Menolly stepping into the instrument creation lab, to find Master Jerint and get herself a gitar.

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18 thoughts on “Dragonsinger: Overture – The Best Of All Possible Worlds

  1. depizan January 15, 2015 at 10:56 am

    “Petiron was Master Robinton’s father?”

    I smell retcon! I don’t remember any suggestion in the previous book that they had a relationship of any kind, beyond both being Harpers. That no one who thought about them – not either of them, not Elgion, not anybody I’ve forgotten who might have known – said or thought anything that even hinted at a relationship seems highly, highly unlikely.

    (And were they so estranged that Robinton didn’t consider traveling to the SeaHold to see his father in his last days? Or to attend his funeral? I don’t know what the customs of Pern are, and, sure, they could’ve been that estranged, but I’m not really getting that implication. It’s all very odd.)

    the women’s quarters at the Hall

    If there aren’t other women apprentices, who are these women? Servants? If so, it seems kind of weird to place Menolly there. And does not seem like a good idea if they want the other apprentices to view Menolly as a fellow student.

    Why is Dunca in charge of anything, much less allowed to oversee other women. I’m getting the impression that she categorically hates them (puts down the last resident of the room for no reason, puts down – with a slur – the other servants/whoever they are) and is impossible to please. “It’s too dark, mutter mutter. Oh my fucking god you opened the window and let light in!” What would you have liked her to do, Dunca? Glow?

    Silvina believes its all to keep the Hall women from falling prey to all the boys competing over them

    Again, who are the Hall women? Servants? Random people staying there? Has this been established? (I sort of vaguely remember you saying something about people going there for “normal” instruction as opposed to “gonna be a Harper” instruction… which seems odd for other reasons, but not impossible.) Why are the boys after them? I’m assuming the boys are all there to be Harpers (though some of them could be there just to learn music, too). Are the women there solely to be married off to Harpers? And why in the world would Dunca being an asshole help them not fall prey to the boys? Wouldn’t make them more likely to?

    Ugh, I think I already hate this book.

  2. Lodrelhai (@Lodrelhai) January 15, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    I’ve been both looking forward to and dreading this day. Dragonsinger was my first introduction to Pern, and I still love my memories of it, though I know longer have the book itself. Through all the glaring problems exposed in the previous reviews I have stubbornly held onto the hope that this one will be different. This one will live up to my memories, will not have glaring issues I blithely ignored in my youth. This one will be GOOD.

    But I also knew it wouldn’t. I knew, just from my memories, that the best to hope for would be “It’s not as bad as the previous books.” And I do still believe it will be, but even in some of my favorite scenes I can see the problems coming a mile away.

    Still, to quote one of my favorite fanfics, “this is better: knowing is always better.” And even with all their problems, I can enjoy the books for what they were to me at the time I read them. At a time when I was coming to terms with not being a ‘proper girl’ and getting a lot of flack for doing ‘boy stuff,’ these books told me that gender didn’t matter, that the only barriers to doing what I wanted were ability and desire, and yes, that I would continue to face prejudice, but I could also find support.

    I just hope that the young women going through now what I did then have better examples and signposts than these.

  3. emmy January 15, 2015 at 8:38 pm

    Dunca and the girls (the nebulous singular entity of ‘the girls’, as we’ll see) have always made me angry. Not in the in-character sense, but because I always felt like they were ridiculous, inauthentic characters who existed for no reason other than to make Menolly’s life suck. Which is acceptable for an antagonistic character or two, but bothers me when it’s cast as an entire group being relentlessly stupid and horrible for no clear reason. It tends to make me want to yell at the author that they’re being unfair.

    But maybe we’ll come up with some deeper interpretation of these ridiculous people as we go.

  4. Silver Adept January 16, 2015 at 9:59 am

    @ depizan – I may have glossed over it, but in a few chapters we’ll see that the other women are students at the Harper Hall, daughters of various Holders who have arranged for musical instruction as a way of making them more marriageable to Holder sons, much like you postulated in the last book. Dunca is there to protect them from the otherwise all-male Harper apprentices and journeymen who might want to fool around with them. Hold and Craft culture is apparently much different than dragonrider culture. (see: Brekke’s inhibition) As we’ll see, though, they’re basically going to serve as a Mean Girl Squad to make Menolly that much more of a special case. And Dunca serves as their enabler. All of this, though, is seen as a side business to the real work of Harpering, which is why Dunca is still in charge – nobody cares enough to unseat her, and even more so to then take care of the women students. Even though Robinton says women can be Harpers, the book will prove him flat wrong. Only exceptional women can be Harpers.

    @ Lodrelhai – That is the silver lining in all of these books – perseverance does achieve a happy ending, even if the struggles to get there are great and everyone else doesn’t agree with you. And gender isn’t determinative of your lot in life. It’s just covered with a lot of other crap.

    @ emmy – We may be up the creek when it comes to a good interpretation of the girls, but I would welcome any attempts to humanize them.

  5. depizan January 16, 2015 at 1:09 pm

    @Silver Adept

    AFJSDKLFDJK

    *bangs head on desk*

    I swear to god the supposed world changes every damn book. I will be shocked if anything in this book fits sensibly with the last book, what with us being off to a wonderful start like that. If you all hear a really loud thud sometime between 6 and 9 pm MST tonight, that will be me throwing the book against the wall. (I’ve – probably foolishly – checked it out to read.)

  6. Pebblerocker January 17, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Dedication: to Andre Norton. Grand dames of SFF in solidarity!

    Map: well-drawn and more attractive than in the previous book, but still a little unclear; the place names (Ruatha, Fort, Boll etc) appear to mark regions or provinces rather than Holds. Weyrs are marked with stars and Holds with dots, but it’s hard to tell which of the dots in the Fort region is Fort Hold and which are lesser holds. And Half-Circle Sea Hold has moved from the east coast of the Nerat peninsula, facing open ocean, to the west coast, on the sea between Nerat and Keroon. I’ll have to turn the image of the Dragon Stones around in my head to fit with the new map, if this is a retcon to canon and not an error. I wonder what difference it makes to the fishing.

    I realised today that I’ve been assuming north is at the top of the Pern map for the last twenty years, but the compass points considerably to the right of that, making Benden Weyr the most northerly settlement on the continent. Classically temperate Ruatha and scorching desert Igen are at similar latitudes; temperate Fort and notoriously frigid High Reaches are roughly the same latitude as the tropical island Ista. Altitude, ocean currents, weather patterns and so on can account for some of that, but I wonder if the author has assumed north is at the top while writing and/or the compass rose is more of a decoration… Or if my assumption of the map’s orientation has caused me to read Fort Hold as being less warm in climate than it’s actually shown to be in the text.

    Master Oldive’s scoliosis is a reasonably positive depiction of physical disability; he’s an important, respected and highly skilled person. Camo’s treatment is not as bad as I’d feared, assuming Silvina is correct in thinking he does well with very simple repeated commands, and isn’t talking down to him because people assume he’s less intelligent than he is.

    Menolly has been treated kindly and with respect for her likely mental state at arriving here far from everything she’s known. Following that by shoving her into Dunca’s care is a really unfortunate move, but we have to have some conflict, I suppose.

  7. genesistrine January 18, 2015 at 6:15 am

    Yeah, the Hold girls are as blatant an attempt to make Menolly’s life suck by authorial fiat as Half-Circle was. It’s not quite as bad, since at least they’re not the author trying to convince us that her entire social milieu contains not one single solitary person who gives a sh** (except her brother who says he does but I’m reasonably sure we never actually see them interact with each other) ack I need to take a breath sorry.

    Ahem.

    Re the doors, they could just as well indicate that Half-Circle is a bodged-up pesthole instead of the Harper Hall having something special in the way of locks – I can’t remember any descriptions of other halls’ locking systems offhand, but I can imagine Fandarel staring at the Half-Circle doors speechless with horror at their inefficiency.

    All this “no girls in the Harper Hall” stuff is going to get sickeningly funny when/if we make it to Masterharper of Pern, Robinton’s backstory, in which we find (slight spoilers) srznyr wbhearlzra naq znfgref naq vg orpbzrf cresrpgyl boivbhf gung gur ernfba gurer’f ab jbzra va Unecvat gurfr qnlf zhfg or n qryvorengr cbyvpl ba gur cneg bs gur vapbzvat Znfgreunecre… Ebovagba.

  8. depizan January 18, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    genesistrine,

    It’s certainly a new flavor of authorial fiat suck. I’m glad that Menolly actually gets people who care about her and who she interacts with this time, but I find myself simultaneously really pissed off that McCaffrey effectively shoved the conflict off onto the female characters. Instead of the struggle of Menolly to overcome her abuse or even the struggle of Menolly to be the first female Harper, we get Mean Girls: Pern. Which seems like a really sexist writing decision. (Also, I’m fairly disgusted with the “musical talent = decent person” and vice versa thing.)

    Re the rot-13: WHAT WHAT

  9. genesistrine January 18, 2015 at 4:29 pm

    Ohhh, yes. The fixfics will have to go into overdrive, and the theory that Robinton is actually evil and manipulative but the author hasn’t noticed or is covering up will get such a boost.

  10. boutet January 18, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    @depizan For Petiron and Robinton, it gets better established in later books that they really were that terribly estranged. For several spoilery reasons they are not father and son in their relationship at all and effectively haven’t been since Robinton was quite young. So I can see how their relationship would not be that terribly well known. Robinton could have missed the funeral simply because no one thought that Robinton should be told that quickly since as far as the Hold knew they were just telling the boss that an employee had passed, not telling a son that his father had. (also: don’t read the Robinton background story if you would rather avoid reading a really horrible abusive/neglectful parenting story)

    I didn’t mind the grandstanding of Robinton with the fire lizard announcement since it seemed like it could be a big flashy distraction to get everyone past the Petiron’s apprentice is a lady and also she’s going to be a Harper announcement. Like, hey everyone, I’m going to change the way we do things but also MINI DRAGONS HOW AWESOME IS THAT!? It was more careful manipulation of the crowd than seeking self glorification, at least how I read it.

  11. depizan January 18, 2015 at 8:36 pm

    @boutet,

    Except here their relationship does seem to be known. *sigh* I realize a certain amount of retconning is pretty much inevitable in a series, but I keep feeling like everything in Pern is subject to change without notice between books. (And sometimes within the same book.)

  12. genesistrine January 20, 2015 at 5:45 am

    I think Menolly is getting suspicious about the story Petiron fed her, probably to keep her from getting too excited, and thus keep her away from Yanus and Mavi’s abuse.

    It just occurred to me that a very likely reason for Petiron wanting to keep Menolly around for a while longer is that she’s his carer. If she leaves for the Harper Hall his options are 1) Go back to the Harper Hall run by his estranged son and whatever happens to dependent retired harpers with what sounds like rheumatoid arthritis and 2) Stay in Half-Circle with Sella-or-similar looking after him as a duty rather than from affection, and no-one to play music with/teach advanced musical stuff (as opposed to rote ballads)/mentor. Presumably a new Harper would be needed soon anyway, and I can easily imagine Yanus shipping Petiron back to the Harper Hall in that case anyway, thinking why should he keep a Harper who can’t play music around?

    So he sends off tunes of hers that are just good enough to get the Harper Hall interested, but not so interested that Robinton will get his buddies at Benden Weyr to send a dragon to grab this musical genius immediately, assuming (accurately) that once he’s dead the new Harper will be sent in with instructions to find Menolly and send her over whatever anyone else thinks of the matter, Menolly will wholeheartedly cooperate because MUSIC and getting away from crappy family, and in the meantime he gets a talented pupil/companion/carer.

    Unfortunately this was a selfish-asshole plan in the beginning, and got further derailed by the time it took to get word of his death back to the Hall, how long it took Elgion to get to Half-Circle, Menolly’s family taking the opportunity to be extra-shitty to her once Petiron couldn’t protect her any more, and a fish-gutting accident.

  13. Silver Adept January 20, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    @ boutet – It’s possible Robinton intends to deflect, but it seems more like fire lizards are common enough at this point that their appearance is intended more for glory than anything else.

    @ genesistrine – Intriguing theory about Petiron. Perhaps he selfishly keeps Menolly because he knows she won’t abuse him (taking to Old Uncle, maybe).

  14. genesistrine January 21, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Quite possibly that too, but it must also be nice for him to have a nurse-companion who appreciates and creates music and who he can occupy himself teaching the advanced stuff his other students aren’t interested in (or aren’t allowed to learn because it would distract them from FISH). Menolly takes him seriously and respects his skills in a way that poor Old Uncle doesn’t get from anyone any more.

  15. Silver Adept January 22, 2015 at 8:49 pm

    That’s true. Unfortunately, all we get to see of that relationship is the aftermath, and it’s not really that pretty or good for Menolly. But it must have been nice for Petiron to have had someone who he could talk to and teach all of those things he would normally need a Harper for.

  16. Brenda A. January 24, 2015 at 12:14 am

    About the songs – there’s a mention in Dragonsong that Menolly is still writing down bits of songs, hiding them in the back of the Records racks. Elgion finds them and sends them on.

    I actually wrote a short fanfic to explain when the Fire Lizard song was actually written – Menolly first sees the fire lizards and composes a tune on the day Elgion arrives at the Hold. It’s then probably two months later – after cutting her hand and recovering from it enough to climb cliffs – that she experiences the events in the song… and almost immediately runs away. So this is my explanation…

    “Missing Link”
    http://archiveofourown.org/works/1090210

  17. Silver Adept January 26, 2015 at 11:26 am

    That’s a good linking piece, Brenda A. Pern could use a lot more of that kind of narrative.

  18. Brenda A. January 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Thank you! I have a few more scenes from Dragonsong, actually.

    “Mirrim’s Vigil” – shows what Mirrim was doing during the Hatching, worrying about Brekke.
    http://archiveofourown.org/works/1086772

    “News from the Weyr” – shows Elgion’s return to Half-Circle Seahold after the Hatching.
    http://archiveofourown.org/works/1086776

    And then there’s this one, which gives an alternate ending to that Hatching.
    “Dragonsong: An Alternate Tune”
    http://archiveofourown.org/works/1122000

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