Dragonsinger: Le Carnival des Animaux

We’ve spent only a couple days at the Harper Hall, and Menolly and her fire lizards are the talk of everywhere. She’s found some of the Masters sympathetic, and at least one that’s biased against her gender, like many of the apprentices are. And Menolly has a dorm mother who hates her and change. Jury is still officially out on the other women who are studying music at the hall.

Dragonsinger: Chapter 4: Content Notes: Mocking the disabled, Queen Bees and Mean Girls

We’re still on Day Two of Menolly at the Harper Hall. Menolly has managed to not collapse through the examinations of the various Masters, but now she needs to feed the fire lizards. Camo is delighted to help, to the point where he abandons his duties to help feed. Piemur also appears and asks if he can help feed.

“I’ve already got Camo falling over himself to feed…”
“Pretty Beauty,'” and Piemur mimicked the older man’s thick voice perfectly, ” ‘Feed pretty Beauty…’ Oh, don’t worry, Menolly, Camo and me are friends. He won’t object to me helping, too.”

I don’t think she’s objecting to your help, Piemur, at least not in my headcanon. She’s unhappy because you’re mocking Camo and then trying to pass it off as okay, because you’re friends. Because Menolly has that most precious of resources, empathy.

The dinner bell sounds, and Menolly goes to the back table with all the other women for this particular meal. All the other girls enter together, and have a fairly uniform expression of disgust and disdain for Menolly. The leader of the girls introduces herself.

“My name is Pona, my grandfather is Lord Holder of Boll.” She held out her right hand, palm up, and Menolly, who had never had an opportunity to make the gesture of formal greeting, covered it with hers.
“I am Menolly,”…”my father is Yanus, Sea Holder of Half-Circle Sea Hold.”
There was a startled murmur of surprise from the others.
“She ranks us,” someone said, rebellious and astonished.
“There’s rank in the Harper Hall?” asked Menolly, disturbed and wondering what other elements of courtesy she might unwittingly have neglected. Hadn’t Petiron always told her that the Harper Craft, in particular, laid stress on skill and musical achievement rather than natal rank? But Piemur had said “You rank ’em.”
“Half-Circle is not the oldest seahold. Tillek is,” said the dark-complexioned girl, rather crossly.
“Menolly is daughter, not niece,” said the girl who had mentioned outranking. She now extended her hands, less grudgingly, Menolly thought. “My father is Weaver Craftsmaster Timareen of Telgar Hold. My name is Audiva.”

You can guess where this is going. Having basically been excluded from the regular structure of the Hall, the girls have formed their own hierarchy based on their lineage. I have but one question about all of this so far.

Cocowhat by depizan

What. The. Fuck. Up to this point in the series, there has been no mention at all about any of this regarding ranking, inheritance, or anything else with even remote relation to some sort of complex system of primogeniture and status based on who someone’s father is. We had an entire book set mostly in a Hold where all of this could have been explored, and then maybe compared to the structure of a Weyr, and finally, the supposed egalitarianism of the Harper Hall. Mavi or Yanus or Alemi or Sella could have talked about this with her, even if they think her the unmarriageable daughter. This could have been explained as to why Menolly knows what a formal greeting is, despite apparently never having had the opportunity to use it. This doesn’t make much sense at all. Why is this appearing now…

…you know what else this reminds me of? High school drama. Which has zero need in this story, except as a provider of artificial drama. Which we already have, with the sexist teacher and the dorm mother who cannot stand her, and this is Menolly, who has been beaten by her father, gaslit by her mother and sister, and is still trying to feel out an entirely alien place to her. We have covered plenty of possibilities for drama without having to add a clique of catty women to this. Apparently, the narrative has had enough of competent and empathetic women in the books and wants more reasons why the men are totally justified in their misogyny.

But then there’s this:

Menolly are hungrily and quickly until she realized the girls were all taking half-spoonsful and breaking their bread and cheese into dainty bite-sized portions. Pona and Audiva watched her surreptitiously, and one of the other girls tittered. So, thought Menolly grimly, her table manners differed from theirs? Well, to change would mean anything that hers were faulty. She did slow down, but continued to eat heartily, making no bones about asking for more while the girls were still but halfway through their first serving.

Go, Menolly. But also, we’re being set up for Menolly to always be one of the Other compared to these girls. I’m hoping that the way this turns out is more Miss Congeniality (with Menolly in the role of Sandra Bullock’s character) than Cinderella.

So the girls grill Menolly about the Impression, but not for interest in the process, but in how the social statuses of the men and women who were there have changed due to dragon. There’s disdain from Pona about Menolly’s menagerie, but Audiva deflects with some well-placed barbs about the boys Pona is chasing. The topic turns to why the dragonriders haven’t sent flame crews to the Red Start to destroy thread yet, but Menolly tunes it out because she’s exhausted from her day, and stuck somewhere with way too many people, and her feet hurt. She wants alone time, so much so that she wants to go as soon as she sees people going, but apparently dismissal is done by rank, so she has to wait (earning more disapproval from Pona).

She did not want to be among people, especially all these strange people who had odd notions and different manners, and seemingly, no sympathy for the newcomer. The Weyr had been big and well-populated, but she had felt at home there, with friendly glances and uncritical, smiling faces.
“Your feet hurting again?” It was Piemur asking, his brows contorted in a worried scowl.

Piemur has apparently mastered the art of Not Being Seen, because he tends to appear out of seeming nowhere. He offers a shoulder to Menolly to get her back to Dunca’s, where she calls out for her (this becomes important), then gets to bed, lets in the fire-lizards, takes off her clothes, uses the medicine for her hand and feet, and falls asleep. With her first day finally over, we end Chapter 4.

Also, I’m still wondering what possible power Menolly might have by virtue of her rank. If she hadn’t been beaten into submission by Yanus, and discouraged from anything by Mavi, it would make things so much easier for Menolly to say “Oh, I rank you? Well then, that makes me the leader, doesn’t it? Starting right now, you’re going to treat everyone here with respect and get Dunca to do the same thing.” Not that the narrative would allow Menolly to just take control that way, but it certainly seems like a lot of grief would be avoided by letting Menolly exploit her newfound position to her advantage.

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31 thoughts on “Dragonsinger: Le Carnival des Animaux

  1. depizan January 29, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    And once again, it feels like random elements are being stuck together rather than that there’s actually worldbuilding in Pern. Holds seem to suffer from that, particularly, with Holders being nobles or peasants as needed. I mean, it’s pretty hard to imagine the girls as they’re described here having done any work back in their home Holds – yet, Menolly, who somehow ranks them, worked and so did her father, mother, and siblings. (Or maybe they’re all playing up their noble role here and eat heartily back home where they do work. But without ever getting any kind of “normal” for Hold life, it all comes off rather incoherent.)

    And time and time again through her introduction to Harper Hall life, Menolly makes mistakes that could have been avoided if anyone had bothered to actually explain how things work there to her. Why didn’t she get any kind of student orientation? Do all newcomers to Harper Hall just have to work out the rules for themselves? (Which could only work if newcomers are always outnumbered by people who know the social rules.)

    I don’t even know why the whole rank thing was brought up because no one ever acts as if Menolly has rank or power. It’s like everyone got the memo that her family hates her and thinks she’s dead.

    (As a side note, what the fuck was wrong with Yanus? He seems to have come from an different world. Music seems to be highly valued on Pern and very, very acceptable for women. This book seems determined to reduce the possible explanations for Menolly’s treatment by her parents down to Holy Fucking Abusive Assholes, Batman. (Yet, of course, we’ll still never get any resolution to that. Menolly got away, who cares about anyone else.) Even the idea that being a Harper would be a step down doesn’t seem born out here – Audiva’s father is a crafter, yet she’s still part of the Holder nobility whatever this is.)

  2. boutet January 29, 2015 at 9:25 pm

    I didn’t really question the Harper being a step down for women thing but I’m wondering now if it’s because of all the other non-specified old time period fantasy stuff I was reading treated women entertainers as part thief and part sex trade worker. I had internalized that fantasy novels/worlds saw women performers as being trashy, so it didn’t occur to me to see it as odd even when it is, as depizan points out, made ridiculous by having respected young women learning musicianship from Harpers at the Hall.

  3. beappleby January 29, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    I don’t think Menolly was defending Camo so much as worrying that having Piemur along would make the fire lizards cause even more of a commotion.

  4. emmy January 30, 2015 at 11:33 am

    >Why didn’t she get any kind of student orientation? Do all newcomers to Harper Hall just have to work out the rules for themselves?

    Maybe they’re used to starting all their apprentices together at the beginning of a ‘school year’ and training them in herds, so no one quite knows what to do with an older student showing up at a random time? Especially as she’s not exactly being integrated into the apprentice set?

    On the one hand, given that they’re using boy sopranos, it makes sense that they might traditionally start apprentices very young and thus only have ‘orientation’ aimed at seven-year-olds (that’s about the age we take them into boychoir schools I think). But surely they must occasionally get older students who demonstrate interest in music and a skill other than singing?

  5. Lodrelhai (@Lodrelhai) January 30, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    Spoilers for upcoming scenes, but if I remember correctly Menolly’s established rank (and any power such rank would supposedly convey) serves two purposes in the narrative. First, it is used to unjustly accuse Menolly of pulling rank by Dunca. Second, it is immediately taken from her because Menolly is an apprentice, and apparently joining a craft immediately strips any rank and privileges of being a holder.

    *If* Pernese society places value on women based on potential alliances and/or dowries/bride prices, that might explain why Menolly was taught that women can’t be Harpers. As daughter of a Holder, she has value as a bargaining token. As an apprentice she would be worthless, and even if she attained any rank that value would go to the crafthall, not her home hold. A young woman of rank might study music to be well-rounded in her talents and accomplishments, but never actually apprentice.

    The restriction then becomes less “women can’t be Harpers” than “proper women of rank aren’t Harpers.” Since Menolly’s the only one at Half-Circle with any inclination towards it, she was denied. If studying as a student at the Hall rather than an apprentice also costs coin (which seems possible), Yanus could quite easily decide it wasn’t worth it to spend coin on a skill which, to him at least, added no value to Menolly in a marriage bargain.

  6. Silver Adept January 30, 2015 at 7:51 pm

    @ depizan – I don’t know where the orientation committee is, if one exists, but the fact that Robinton didn’t send someone to escort Menolly and show her around (or do it himself) is so weird. It’s not like Menolly can just instantly absorb everything.

    I like Lodrelhai’s take on the idea of why Menolly isn’t supposed to become a Harper, but there’s basically no support for that in the books from either Yanus or Mavi, who have been much more about obedience than marriageableility. And with Menolly being the youngest daughter, it would make sense for her to receive the least amount of effort and coin into her marriage.

    That said, if Half-Circle has worries about finances, they would be encouraging going into a craft, as that means one less bride price to pay.

    @ beappleby – That may be so, but considering that Menolly has just come from an environment that regularly treats the disabled (Old Uncle, Menolly, Alemi) with contempt and disdain, I expect Menolly to be both more sensitive to those situations and to have a greater desire to stop anyone from making fun of a disabled person. Especially since she’s a Designated Empathy character.

    @ Lodrelhai – This limbo about power should be exploitable. To the Harpers, Menolly is just another apprentice, with no special rank or powers except those given and earned at the craft. For these women students, who are apparently explicitly outside the craft hierarchy, outside rank appappears to be the way things are ordered. By their own admission, Menolly’s lineage is more direct and powerful. If they really did care about rank, Menolly should be put in charge, as the highest-ranking member of the group. But nobody switches allegiance from Pona. So rank really must not be as important as they’re making it out to be.

  7. depizan January 30, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Except that, as far as I can tell, Menolly’s loss of status is temporary. As an apprentice she is no longer of rank, yet when she makes journeyman, she once again gains rank and status – rank and status that seems to be at least equal to what she had before, except now it’s hers. (Not because of who she’s related to.)

    If Yanus had shown any sign of wanting to marry her off to anyone (or, for that matter, of wanting to marry any of his kids off to anyone), her value as a bargaining token would be a potential explanation. (Though, again, they were willing to cripple her, which seems like it would also damage her value as someone to marry off. The problem is, there’s no hint of that.

    But, of course, the real problem is that exactly how Pernese society works is incredibly unclear. One could just as easily imagine a society in which having a son or daughter who’s even just a journeyman Harper is seen as a bonus to the status of their home Hold and family. (And maybe, if you’re not Yanus, it is.)

  8. Lodrelhai (@Lodrelhai) January 31, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Ah, well, I figured Yanus (and Mavi, though it’s unclear if she’s been complicit from the first or became complicit over a lifetime of surviving under Yanus) was more a controlling ass using an abusive but widely accepted cultural norm as a cover for his even more abusive behavior. Much the way some widely-known promoters of patriarchal/fundamentalist religious systems use those systems to excuse the abuse they inflict on their families and others under their leadership.

    But you’re right that it’s incredibly unclear, and expected norms seem to shift from book to book. About the only way I can figure it out is regional differences brought about by isolated populations, and perhaps emphasized by Holders/Lord Holders/Craftmasters/Weyrleaders having supreme uncontested rule of their Hold/Crafthall/Weyr. Except the populations aren’t really that isolated (I seem to remember their being another seahold, possibly even a major one, within a couple days walk of Half-Circle, which means a few hours by sea or runner). Moreover, the laws and traditions should be fairly uniform, because the primary teachers everywhere come from the same place, Harper Hall.

  9. Only Some Stardust January 31, 2015 at 8:32 pm

    i could see a few hours being a bit of a barrier, if people rarely travel back and forth or one group is particularly xenophobic. And it’s possible that there’s room for variation in interpretation of the traditions and songs, especially if some of them are vague, contradictory, or mostly concerned with glorifying leadership and saying how great they are. Many traditions and myths and stories have a great deal of vagueness and contradiction, and I can imagine that would only increase with a purely oral account.

    I mean, just look at the some 8000 different varieties of Christianity, all based on the Bible. With oral and not written teaching the problem might be even worse. The cunning and charismatic leader will easily bowl over the lone Harper at his/her Hold, especially if all he/she needs to do is bribe them or make their life a bit… unpleasant… when they disagree with them. Unless the Harpers are willing to back things up with force like the Church was over relatively harmless heresies, it is absolutely not going to be uniform at all.

    The sort of thing like ‘how valuable something is perceived’ isn’t likely to be conveyed in a song or tradition, but something you pick up from other people: ‘Oh, I hear fish prices have gone up this year’ or ‘Ick, fish made me puke, we should prohibit them all and make it taboo forever’. Even if you put a taboo song against, say, shellfish, that’s only going to get obeyed/enforced if people learn the taboo from their parents and friends. Otherwise, they’re going to claim that it totes is just a metaphor or that it doesn’t apply these days -wink-.

    So I can completely see a ‘harper womens are bad bzness’ as being a local area taboo, as that’s something that must be enforced/taught by the community, not a single teacher who may be perceived as a bit of an outsider.

    Actually, I could see some isolated holds coming to mistrust Harpers in general; they’re outsiders who come to tell you how to live and what to do and don’t do anything honest for a living. As long as they just sing pretty songs, they’re tolerable enough, but once your children want to be them instead of something respectable or they try telling you what to do and that you aren’t following some Teaching Song just right, that’s a straw too far… Was there ever any evidence that Yanus actually liked Harpers much at all? Would he truly have been more pleased if it was a son instead of his daughter interested in singing?

  10. Silver Adept February 1, 2015 at 10:52 pm

    @ depizan – It is entirely unclear as to what status is accorded to a journeyman Harper. And whether it’s considered a good thing for a family to have one. We get no idea of what normal Hold life is like.

    @ Only Some Stardust – Regional variances or local customs seem like something the Harpers would be interested in categorizing, and then squashing if it turned against them, since they’re the keepers of tradition (TRADITION).

    Then again, if most journeymen are as effective at their jobs as Elgion was at finding Menolly, then Robinton has his hands full trying just to keep his spy network functioning, much less properly intimidating everyone else into doing things their way.

  11. bekabot February 1, 2015 at 11:27 pm

    As long as they just sing pretty songs, they’re tolerable enough, but once your children want to be them instead of something respectable…that’s a straw too far

    This sounds very plausible to me, and it might be one of the reasons for the caste-separation between the Holdings and the Crafthalls. Once exposed to Craft personnel and given the chance, too many of the brighter or more ambitious or simply more restless Hold kids might want to run off and join the Crafts, since the Crafts appear to offer more of a scope for a satisfactory life. And that’s something the Holds can’t allow. At the very least they’d be in a position to lose willing hands and the potential parents of the next generation and if you believe in brain drain, they might be subject to that too.* One remedy would be for the Holds to invent a taboo to the effect that Hold kids ought not to join up with the Crafts, that it’s not a respectable thing to do, and that if the Hold kids in question are girls, the prospective mothers of the next batch of little Holders, it’s something they can’t do, unless they’re abducted. Hence, no female Harpers.

    Here’s one thing: all this would be going on against a background of the genuine ongoing problem the Holds have with the Weyrs snatching their girls — there’s no reason I know of to believe the Crafts don’t snatch girls as well. Here’s another thing: to an observer unacquainted with all the facts who knows only what his/her eyes tell him or her, Menolly’s rescue would look a lot like an abduction.

    What I’m saying is that I don’t think it’s too unlikely that the caste separation between the Holds and the Crafts was instituted from below, by the Holds, in the interest of maintaining Hold integrity.

    *Which might explain a few things…

  12. depizan February 1, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    @ Silver Adept,

    The end of the book certainly treats it like Menolly’s won the lottery, so to speak. Of course, it’s sorta from her point of view, so she could be wrong, but I don’t think the narration there is supposed to be unreliable.

    But, yeah, since we’ve just got random bits and no normal Hold to compare anything to and pretty much everything is subject to change without notice (Including Menolly’s body type and height.) trying to figure anything out is pretty much hopeless.

  13. Only Some Stardust February 2, 2015 at 12:51 am

    Wow, yeah, I completely forgot about the fact the weyrs would be taking people at the same time this is going on too. Having kids separated from families… that’ll mess you right up alone. I’m surprised they don’t go all Jedi and Sith on us.

    And you’ve got the different sexual moores of the different groups to boot. Err, did we ever get a view on what the sexual practices of the Harpers are (or were when there women ones)? I know his father didn’t create Robinton all by himself (or DID HE >_>). Are they basically like the Holders? Or are they a little bit like the dragon riders? Because if they’re anything like the dragon riders, hoo boy, I can see that not being respectable for wommenz for that alone. It wouldn’t just be that she’s a singer, she’s, gasp, promiscuous, and clearly not marriageable anymore. Although I wouldn’t think they’d trust sending any women there if that was too strong an association.

    Even if it isn’t true that Crafters/Harpers are promiscuous, it might be possible that all outsiders get mentally merged together a bit, so they’re perceived as being so simply from association with the dragon riders.

  14. emmy February 2, 2015 at 10:23 am

    re: brain drain

    I’ve read a fanfic that proposed that the reason Holds are badly run and full of terrible mean-spirited people is that anyone with empathy/sensitivity is likely to be snatched up for Search.and taken to the weyrs. (Not like the weyrs don’t have their own share of horrible people though)

    During the interval, though, they wouldn’t have been going on search often if at all. Jora’s gold laid only a dozen eggs a flight, and the Weyr has kids of its own to raise (plus the harper who accidentally impressed) so they wouldn’t have been taking people regularly for a long time.

  15. Silver Adept February 3, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Between the possibility of the talented going to the Crafthalls and the empathetic going to the Weyrs, the remaining possibilities for Hold children and adults starts to move on a particular track. We’re supposed to see this as a feudal sort of society, albeit only the Holds seem to be practicing the feudal aspects, while both Craft and Weyr zip by them on the technology road. [Spoilers] Nqq va cevzbtravgher, be ng gur zbfg cebterffvir, fcernqvat n Ubyq nzbat n srj fbaf, naq lbh unir gur znva O-cybg bs gur arkg gjb obbxf – gurer’f na rkprff cbchyngvba bs Ubyqre fbaf jvgu ab yvxryvubbq bs vaurevgnapr, hayrff gurl gnxr vg ol sbepr sebz fbzrbar ryfr. Fb gur Ubyqref ner qrfcrengryl gelvat gb xrrc n yvq ba guvf srfgrevat pbasyvpg orsber vg rehcgf vagb bcra jne. Crea ynpxf gur phygheny vafgvghgvbaf gb fgvpx bgure fbaf va, yvxr gur puhepu be gur zvyvgnel.

    Lrg gurer’f fgvyy ab vaqvpngvba bs rapbhentrzrag bs aba-vaurevgvat fbaf naq rkcrafvir qnhtugref gb tb trg ncceragvprq gb n Pensg, fvapr gurer’f abguvat sbe gurz ng ubzr. Gur fbpvny pbasyvpg pbhyq or oyrq bss fvtavsvpnagyl vs lbhatre puvyqera jrer fgnfurq va Pensgf.[/Spoilers]

  16. Pebblerocker February 5, 2015 at 12:11 am

    The dark-complexioned girl standing behind Pona and Audiva, niece of the lord of Tillek, isn’t named until about three pages after she first appears: she’s called Briala. Is this the first explicit mention of people being anything other than fantasy-Northern-European in the series?

    It doesn’t say anywhere that Menolly isn’t black, so that’s how I’ve been picturing her (and family) since halfway through the last book.

  17. Silver Adept February 5, 2015 at 10:11 pm

    I think you’re right, Pebblerocker, since most of the action to this point where there have been people is Ruatha, which is supposed to be very northward and snowy. Half-Ciwould certainly be southward of that, so there should be a darker-complexioned Menolly, not that she’s so on most of the cover images that have a person.

  18. genesistrine February 8, 2015 at 5:08 pm

    @ emmy

    The evopsych explanation’s tempting, but doesn’t explain why all these super-telepaths keep showing up in Ruatha Hold. Shouldn’t there be enough of those genes floating around in the Weyrs by now to make sure that some proportion of dragonriders – or weyrborn support staff – can speak to all dragons?

  19. Only Some Stardust February 8, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    A good point. If speak to all dragons is an advantageous gene (helping you rise in status for instance), it should spread through the population fairly quickly. That it doesn’t, means possibly that it actually isn’t advantageous – maybe it has negative effects on fertility?

    Or, that it is only a beneficial gene in very small ratios, after which, if there are too many carriers, it ceases to be advantageous somehow (perhaps with a small negative effect on fertility that is less of an issue for a few high status carriers who can still find great partners). Maybe if too many people could hear all dragons you’d get, I dunno, unknown side effects we haven’t heard about.

    I suppose it is also possible that it’s a complex multi recessive genes phenotype and it appears in only a few people the same way double or triple recessive phenotype traits are fixed in laboratories or in the pet trade… by inbreeding. Or heck, how normal rare single recessive gene traits are fixed.

    This is oddly likely to have occurred anyway; inbreeding isn’t actually too uncommon when you have powerful families that rely on inheritance and thus use marriage within the family to keep the wealth, so the Ruathan nobility (or Lord Holders, anyway) may have practiced marriage to cousins or even brothers and sisters (is there a taboo against that?) at some point.

  20. genesistrine February 9, 2015 at 3:28 am

    A good point 2. It’s definitely a status advantage for non-weyrbred women (though it would make sense for it to help men Impress too), but it’s one that comes with an automatic fertility disadvantage – betweening makes it difficult to carry babies to term. It’s even used as an abortion method. I wonder if it has an unmentioned effect on male fertility too?

    But queens don’t accept weyrbred riders (and why not?), so any weyrbred woman with the speak-to-all-dragons gene or gene-complex wouldn’t have that problem. And the Weyrs should be fairly inbred too; the support staff don’t get to date outside the Weyr, and during Intervals there won’t be much new blood coming in from outside as candidates.

  21. Silver Adept February 10, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    And, if I recall correctly, Lessa is quite proud of the purity of her bloodline at the beginning of Dragonflight, and Jaxom only gets to sit on the throne of Ruatha because he had enough pure blood in him. So it’s quite likely those abilities only show up in people who have a lot of inbreeding in their family lines.

  22. Starry February 10, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    Well there is one more possibility, that it is in fact a purely heterozygous trait. Those can be notoriously hard to fix in the population, as you need carriers of more than one allele/gene. So the gene or genes became fixed in some inbred populations, but silently. This would require Lessa not be quite as pureblooded as she thinks she is; Momma cheated on daddy maybe or Momma was secretly speak to all dragons herself. This would also be a case of hybrid vigor.

  23. genesistrine February 11, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Maybe. We’re told they show up a lot in ~RUATHAN BLOOD~, but the people we know of with the ability are Lessa, N’ton and Brekke, and the last 2 are craftbred. (And historically, Moreta, another Ruathan.)

    Still seems very odd that we don’t see any weyrbred with the knack; if there was one place you’d expect to see it it’s there….

  24. Only Some Stardust February 11, 2015 at 11:05 pm

    Yeah, I’m going to have to go with the conclusion the author just didn’t plan out the genetics of this.

  25. genesistrine February 12, 2015 at 2:31 am

    Either that or the genetics machines buried in various Holds’ basements occasionally hiccup into life and irradiate a passing pregnant woman!

    (Ruatha’s is particularly prone to this, obviously.)

  26. Silver Adept February 12, 2015 at 7:37 pm

    Or, possibly, the dragons select in partners those unlikely to carry that particular mutation. We still don’t really know how much dragons affect their riders, and if mating flights are controllable to some degree, the dragons might quietly ensure the exclusion of someone who might produce a repeater.

  27. genesistrine February 13, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Well, N’ton’s going to be the test case for that theory, I guess! Last seen being posted to Fort Weyr with the covert intention on F’lar’s part of his bronze flying a Fort queen and him presumably becoming Weyrleader in time, IIRC….

  28. Silver Adept February 15, 2015 at 10:53 am

    Well, failure of theory, then, because N’ton succeeds at becoming Fort Weyrleader. Unless his Weyrwoman has the more dominant gene that would prevent the expression of his repeater skill in the next generation. We probably won’t know about that, though.

  29. genesistrine February 15, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    AMC’s son’s still writing books set in Pern, isn’t he? Though I suppose whether his books count as canon or not is a matter of taste….

  30. Firedrake February 15, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Yes and no. From 2003 the books were co-credited or by Todd alone (those three were a distinct sub-series), but there’s been nothing but rumour since July 2012.

  31. beappleby February 15, 2015 at 11:53 pm

    There’s more than one type of HAD. There are people who can hear and speak with just one or a few other dragons: N’ton and Moreta I. (The Moreta who rides to end the plague is only able to talk to one other dragon. Evidently Alessan and Nerilka’s daughter Moreta II was HAD, and the two got combined in legend.) Sharra and Iantine, who are able to talk with the dragons of their significant other. And occasionally Master Robinton, or occasionally others – when the dragon starts the conversation.

    There are people like Lessa and Brekke and Torene who can speak with any dragon. They hear other dragons, but evidently not all the time, or unless the dragon is broadcasting – but they have no difficulty in communicating with any dragon.

    Then there’s Aramina, who has a nonstop line into all dragon conversation, to the point that it is giving her a nervous breakdown because she can’t NOT hear them.

    Of those, Lessa, Moreta II and Aramina are of Ruathan heritage.

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