Dragonsinger: Tank!/Darkness of the Unknown/Dear Friends

It’s been a couple very eventful days for Menolly at the Harper Hall. She’s been disillusioned of her lofty ideals of Harpers, has encountered the very finest in institutional misogyny, suffered the narrative’s best efforts at verbal abuse from all sides, and discovered that properly-trained fire lizards are useful for a lot of things. Menolly also understands her worth as a person in the Harper Hall has a lot to do with her fair of fire lizards. She needs a break, or at least someone who likes her without reservations or ulterior motives.

Dragonsinger: Chapter 6: Content Notes: Sexism

Chapter Six starts with an interlude, where Menolly gets to oil and express her affection for her fire lizards, who send her the pictures of their own exploits, and then Menolly takes a luxurious bath in the cottage, which the fire lizards join in on when Auntie Two gets dunked by one of the others, and finds the water to her liking.

I do like how, so far, the sanctity of the bath as a place to separate from the world and have positive experiences has not been violated. For as much awful goes on in the world outside the bath, inside is sacred space.

Menolly washes her clothes from yesterday and hangs them or to dry on her window, changing into her spare patched clothes. Cue Dunca complaining about inappropriate attire and going ballistic about the drying ledge, and some back-and-forth about where Menolly is headed to, despite Dunca not having heard anything. And the usual chaos of feeding, including Camo dropping whatever he was doing to come out. Really, at this point, it seems smarter to have Camo doing things that can be put down at a moment’s notice until Menolly and the fair are fed.

The morning is to be spent with Domick, Sebell, and Talmor playing a new (for Menolly) piece of music. Menolly notices paper records in with hide records, but has her attention directed to the music before she can investigate further. Today is an exercise in sightreading, so Menolly studies her part for a short amount of time, thinking about alternate fingerings here and there, testing one, but otherwise skimming the music for anything interesting. And then they’re off.

It had been fun, always, for Menolly to play with Petiron, particularly when he had let her improvise around his melody. It had been a pleasure yesterday to see new music in Talmor’s lesson, but now, the stimulation of playing with three keen and competent musicians gave her such impulsion that she seemed to be an irrelevant medium for fingers that had to play what her eager eyes saw. She was lost completely in the thrall of the music, so that when the rushing finale ended, she suffered a shock as keen as pain.
“Oh, that was marvelous. Could we play it again?”

Domick tries to see whether Menolly had been warned about what would happen, because, you see, he just finished that composition this morning, and he is forced to conclude that Menolly is every bit as talented as the two journeymen have said and that she hinted at during her audition, who are both having a laugh at Domick’s inability to comprehend what just happened.

“That’s enough. All right, so the joke’s on me, but you’ll have to admit that there was good precedent for my skepticism. Anyone can play solo…” He turned on the bewildered Menolly. “Did you play a great deal with Petiron? Or any of the other other musicians at Half-Circle?”
“There was only Petiron who could play properly. Fishing leaves a man’s hands too stiff for any fine music.” She flicked a glance at Sebell. “There were a few drummers and stickmen…”
“Suppose you tell me exactly what you did so at Half-Circle Sea Hold, Menolly. Musically, that is. Master Robinton’s been too busy to confer with me at any length.”

So she does, at length and detail.

Before we continue, though, no, Domick, your skepticism is not warranted, because your audition process sucks. You asked her to play solo on a piece of her choosing, some basic pieces on various instruments, tested her ability to follow and improvise a bit, and accepted that as basically the sum total of her skill. You didn’t ask her to sightread, you didn’t have a prepared piece that would challenge players so they could show off what they really knew about instrumental music, you didn’t push her audition to the point where she couldn’t and then back off from there. You expected her to not be very good because she’s a girl, I suspect, and so you deserve every bit of these two journeymen laughing at you. Shonagar did a better job at auditioning her than you did, Domick, and he never got to the part where she sang any actual music, because he could tell what her skill was. Yes, you’re not overtly sexist like Morshal is, but you’re still being sexist all the same.

Anyway, Menolly recounts the story we read in Dragonsong, and at the end, Domick seems willing to admit to what has already been demonstrated conclusively.

“When Petiron was here at the Hall, there was no finer musician, no better instructor,” Master Domick said quietly. “I had the good fortune to be his apprentice. You’ve no need to ever be ashamed of your playing…”

ASFDJHKOLARGHLEBARGLE. Argelfaster, Argelfaster, Argelfaster!

Petiron was held in that much esteem by you, Domick, and you apprenticed to him, and you knew that Menolly came recommended by him, and yet you… THIS? Great Maker, what was it going to TAKE for you to think that she might have some talent?

This is an excellent example of institutional sexism at work – Menolly being female apparently is such a debit that she has to be on the level of the journeymen, or even Domick, despite being recommended by Domick’s Master, before she can begin to be seen as equal. Menolly will have to be consistently better than everyone just to be good enough to Domick. Grah. And then Domick has the temerity to tell Menolly that she shouldn’t be afraid to tell him what she really wants to do at the Hall. It’s playing in a group, she says, and she thinks the experience was wonderful this morning, only…

“I didn’t play it right. I should have studied the music longer before I started playing because I was so busy watching the notes and time changes that I didn’t, I couldn’t, follow the dynamic markings…I am sorry.”
Domick bright his hands against his forehead in an exasperated smack. Sebell dissolved again into his quiet laughter. But Talmor just howled, slapping his knee and pointing at Domick.
“In that case, Menolly, we will play it again,” Domick said, raising his voice to drown out the amusement of the others. “And this time…” he frowned at Menolly, an expression which no longer distressed her because she knew she had touched him, “watching those dynamic signs, which I put in for very good reason. Now, on the beat…”

Menolly’s earnestness is setting the journeymen off, but the rehearsal to follow gives Menolly insight into how the music should be played. And before we progress, I have to say that this is another one of those elements where it appears the research has been done – when sightreading new music, if you frak the melody, rhythm, key, or tempo, it’s obvious to the audience. Dynamics, on the other hand, you can often get away with not doing and the music still sounds okay. They’re often the thing that is hardest to pay attention to, especially in the kinds of compositions that Domick makes. So the apology, and subsequent facepalm, are quite natural for me to read.

The rehearsal is interrupted by an alarm signaling the onset of Threadfall that is described much like a fire or natural disaster siren, which again, tech level of Pern is what, exactly? Which makes all the fire lizards appear, but there’s space for them and the rehearsal continues with new music and instrumentation until lunch. Where there are lots of questions for Menolly about Thread and fire lizards, until the alarm sounds again, indicating Threadfall directly above. Which also produces nine fire lizards on the mantel, sending up their own alarm at a high octave. To counteract the screams, Brudegan leads the choruses in a song that the fire lizards join in at Menolly’s prompting, after being taken aback at the strength of the massed voices. Since it’s still falling overhead at the end of the song, we get to hear “Moreta’s Ride” for the third time in as many days, but this time, as a choral piece with fire lizard accompaniment.

And Menolly conducting, which, thankfully, she does know how to do from leading evening singing. What’s different to her is “the quality of the singers, their responsiveness to her signals, that made as much difference as chalk from cheese.” The song tells a story that will eventually become a full book on its own, and what’s important here is that Menolly eventually waves the humans silent and lets the fire lizards sing the last verse of the song. Which proves their vocal worth to Brudegan, and he retakes direction of the chorus until the all-clear sounds and everyone heads to their assigned post-Thread chores.

Silvina flags down Menolly and asks whether or not her clothes had been sent forward from Benden Weyr. Menolly has no response, because she had no other clothes, which makes Silvina unhappy that she had to admit Dunca is right about the state of Menolly’s clothing. Menolly is about to apologize…

“Great shells, child, I’m not angry with you!” And Silvina took Menolly’s chin and made her look eye to eye. “I’m furious with myself for not thinking! Not to mention giving that Dunca a chance to snipe at you! Only don’t go repeating that, please, for Dunca’s useful to me in her own way. Not that you talk much anyhow. Haven’t heard you put two sentences together yet. There now! What have I said to distress you? You just come along with me.” And Silvina took Menolly firmly by the elbow and marched her toward the complex of storage rooms at the back of the Harper Hall on the kitchen level.

Augh, the cluelessness, it burns! Let’s see, Silvina, you just told an emotionally, mentally, and physically abused girl that her appearance wasn’t up to par and that you expected her to have something better to wear, and you exhibited visible anger at this. What is the abuse survivor going to think? It’s certainly not “Oh, she’s not mad at me for any of this.” Menolly is in panic mode, looking for flight opportunities so she doesn’t have to fight a losing battle against someone with a higher status. If Menolly apologizes, perhaps the crisis passes without incident. It’s a learned survival skill, Silvina. Which is why any time the Masters, or anyone else, for that matter, are visibly angry at Menolly, it’s cringe-worthy.

Anyway, Silvina shows Menolly the spare supplies room and picks out some clothes and fabrics for her, which Menolly starts to protest, before Silvina re-fixes her baleful eye on Menolly, cutting off the protest before it can start.

“You may not be proud in yourself, Menolly. In point of fact, your modesty has done you great service, but you will kindly consider the change in your circumstances. You’re not the youngest child in a family of an isolated Sea Hold. You’re an apprentice harper, and we – Silvina tapped her chest smartly with her fingers – “have appearances to maintain. You will dress yourself as well as, and if I’ve my way, better than, those fumble-fingered females, or those musical midgets who will never be more than senior apprentices or very junior journeymen.”
[…Silvina pushes Menolly into a chair and starts piling clothes on her…]
“Now these,” and from another chest Silvina extracted breast bands and underpants, snorting as she passed them to Menolly. “Dunca was quite incensed you’d no underthings at all.” Silvina’s amusement ended as she saw Menolly’s face. “Whyever are you looking so stricken? Because you wore your underthings out? Or because Dunca’s pried into your affairs? You can’t honestly be worried what that fat old fool thinks or says or does? Yes, you can and you are and you would!”

Not that Menolly has a reason to, with as poorly as she has been treated, but it likely is that survival instinct trying to keep Menolly from making enemies that will hurt her, even though it won’t help. Also, Silvina, physically pushing Menolly around is probably not the best way to have her develop assertiveness. I still don’t understand how everyone expects Menolly to change so quickly, since it has only been a little while of actual chronological time since she escaped Half-Circle. Everyone expects her to think “I’m safe now! My true personality will now shine forth!” when the reality is that Menolly still needs to feel like somewhere is sufficiently home and welcoming before she can begin to build positive relationships and stay working through her issues with relation to the years of abuse that she has lived through up to this point. Even though Menolly is where she wants to be, she has yet to have a stable, happy home life. Even characters that should know better, or perhaps have an inkling of knowing better, are all privilege-blinkered enough that they can’t figure out how to actually help.

Also, we continue to have issues with exactly what Menolly looks like. Silvina says she’s all leg, but is collecting “breast bands” for her, which are likely supposed to function like brassieres, but that would imply that Menolly is not just all legs at her age, and that she should not be so easily mistaken for a boy as she is. So we continue to have Menolly shifting back and forth between one or another body image. I hope the waveform collapses.

“Don’t think I’ve missed Pona’s little tricks, or Dunca’s. No, the cot is the wrong place for you. I thought so when you first arrived, but the were other reasons for plunking you there at first. So we’ll take the long view, as should be done, and shift you here. Oldive doesn’t want you on your feet so much, and sure as Fall’ll come again, the fire lizards are as unhappy at Dunca’s as she is to have them. The old fool! No, Menolly,” and now Silvina was angry with Menolly, “it is not your fault! Besides which, as a full harper apprentice, you really haven’t anything to do with the paying students….”

I personally believe that the “other reasons” Silvina is talking about is “the narrative made me put you there because it wanted you to suffer.” Because the narrative still wants Menolly to suffer, despite what happened in the last book.

And now I know why everyone had such a dim view of the women at the Hall. A place like the Hall wants to distinguish its residents based on their talents, and so people who pay their way in to receive the instruction are admitting that they don’t have the talent to get in on their merits. The institutional sexism present couldn’t possibly influence why it’s only guys that ever seem to make it into the Hall on their merits, not at all. Also, with them being “paying girls”, it’s supposed to help us cement that these are the mean rich girls who don’t care about the music, and are instead there to play politics games and possibly learn a little talent enough to get themselves a husband. Only Audiva looks to be more complete than that, and that’s only because the narrative has been signaling very hard that she’s more complete. Surely we can have more complete and deep characters than the Mean Girl Squad here.

Anyway, Silvina says Menolly is coming back to the guest room she was at, flippantly suggesting she’ll strip the room of the finery. Menolly thinks it’s a good idea, and seriously negotiates it out so that nobody thinks of her as putting on airs or thinking of herself as better. She does take an extra apprentice cot for the fire lizards as a concession to their extra weight. After everything is properly arranged, Piemur arrives to take Menolly to Master Shonagar. Since she has no post-Thread chores, he insists she comes to him to continue voice lessons. And he “did roar and bellow and carry on” about Menolly not being there and he makes her promise that she’ll be there, no matter what. Shonagar, are you going to join all the other Masters as someone who doesn’t care and show empathy, or am I going to be able to pass it off as you blustering for Menolly’s benefit, but that you weren’t really mad about any of it? Not that I think it’s a good move on your part, Shonagar, because Menolly is still the recovering abuse survivor.

Anyway, Chapter Six finishes with that exchange. So answers to those questions will have to wait until another time.


19 thoughts on “Dragonsinger: Tank!/Darkness of the Unknown/Dear Friends

  1. genesistrine February 12, 2015 at 4:51 am

    To be fair to the Harper Hall denizens, Ithey may not realise how bad Menolly’s home life was. Elgion was the only one with a chance to actually see and he… well, doesn’t come across as particularly observant, to put it kindly. A couple of more perceptive people in the Weyr – Manora, for example – obviously figured out that something was badly wrong, but all anyone in the Harper Hall knows when she turns up is what Robinton’s told them, and he seems to have emphasized “nine fire lizards! Lived in a cave! Awesomecool earworms!” over “forbidden to play music, father has bizarre control issues, treat her with consideration for existing physical injuries and possible emotional ones.”

    From what they know of her she could equally well be some bratty spoiled diva/violent hermit/whatever. Though you’d hope that some of them at least would be perceptive enough to notice something was up even though Menolly has her game face/must get on with everyone so I can stay here! attitude on.

    Re the siren, you can get hand-cranked ones (http://www.amazon.com/Vestil-SIREN-120-Economical-Crank-Siren/dp/B0027YKHXM , for example) and given that the Smithcrafters can reverse-engineer a flamethrower in a few days they shouldn’t have any trouble creating/maintaining those.

  2. genesistrine February 12, 2015 at 1:19 pm

    Oh and in point of fact, your misery has done you great service is a Freudian misprint – it should be “your modesty”…

  3. Only Some Stardust February 12, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    “There was only Petiron who could play properly. Fishing leaves a man’s hands too stiff for any fine music.” She flicked a glance at Sebell. “There were a few drummers and stickmen…”

    I just love that drummers are incapable of fine music.

    Anyway, if I were in Menolly’s place, I’d be stricken for another reason. ‘Oh great, someone who wants me to wear clothes that may not necessarily be comfortable for me just so I look proper to them, and likely looks down on the fashion of folk they do not like.’

  4. Silver Adept February 12, 2015 at 8:00 pm

    @ genesistrine – The misprint has been fixed – thanks.

    Presumably, Elgion has had time to report back to Robinton about the situation in Half-Circle through his friendship with Alemi. And Manora might have sent word with Robinton about Menolly, but he didn’t pass it on. For people supposedly in the business of information, the Harpers seem to be regularly caught with their pants down about various important situations.

    @ Only Some Stardust – The anti-drummer sentiment is weird for us, but drums, we’ll find out, have other users than for making music.

    I hadn’t considered that Menolly might have the same issues with Silvina and clothes as she does with Dunca. Menolly isn’t really able to do a whole lot of thriving as an independent person, is she?

  5. genesistrine February 13, 2015 at 6:10 am

    @ Silver Adept, he’s had the time, but we don’t what he considered relevant to report (or even noticed…)

  6. avantgarbe February 13, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    “You’re not the youngest child in a family of an isolated Sea Hold. You’re an apprentice harper, and we – Silvina tapped her chest smartly with her fingers – “have appearances to maintain.”

    What the hell are the relative social statuses of people again? Menolly as a Holder’s daughter ranks the others (including granddaughters of Lord Holders). Apprentices don’t have any rank, just journeyman. But clothing-wise, apprentices are expected to dress better than Holder children? Are all apprentices provided clothing from crafthalls, or just ones who arrive with no family and therefore no money to support them? Clothing is *expensive* in a non-tech world.

  7. Pebblerocker February 14, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    It is possible – from experience – to be mistaken for a boy and/or mocked for being too flat-chested, and to be catcalled or slut-shamed for having visible breasts, on the same day while wearing the same work uniform and the same bra. So it’s perfectly believable to me that Menolly is absolutely required to wear breast-bands while also not having much to put in them. I see Dunca as very much the type to make it her business whether another woman’s body is properly restrained and concealed… and Silvina is invested in “maintaining appearances”, which may not mean just an upgrade from cave-dweller style. As the only girl apprentice, there may be pressure on Menolly not to risk distracting the boys with unbound breasts and too much skin showing through ragged clothes.

  8. genesistrine February 15, 2015 at 3:18 am

    Menolly looked respectable enough when she arrived that Silvina didn’t bother to check clothing (though why she didn’t notice her lack of luggage is obviously authorial fiat yet again. Or maybe she was too busy staring at the fire lizards). I think it’s a safe bet that Menolly doesn’t actually need support but Decent Women Wear Breast Bands (whatever they are; I envisage a sort of Ace bandage thing and wince).

    I also wonder if part of Menolly’s embarrassment is that she’s never worn them before and doesn’t want to contradict Silvina.

  9. beappleby February 15, 2015 at 11:56 pm

    Menolly really hasn’t talked much to anyone about Half-Circle, other than general information about life there. Everyone knows she ran away because they wouldn’t let her make music, but they don’t know how abusive the situation had become.

  10. Silver Adept February 16, 2015 at 10:45 am

    @ genesistrine / beappleby –

    Yet Manora knows, or has a pretty good idea of the contours of the problem from Menolly’s stay with her. But none of her information appears to have come with Menolly. And Elgion has been at Half-Circle with Alemi, whose friendship should reveal a lot about what’s going on there. Yet, nobody knows. Author fiat, I suppose. It just doesn’t make sense to me.

    @ avantgarbe –

    For those who want to see Menolly as a Harper, her apprentice rank means she doesn’t have much status. For those who couldn’t give a damn about Menolly as a Harper, her status as a Lord Holder’s daughter takes precedence. But the truth is that no matter what status Menolly is supposed to have, she’s supposed to be constructed as the outsider, and everything else will arrange themselves to insist on that.

    Re: clothing –

    I think the Harper Hall has an image to present of being a respectable institution, and that means a certain amount of conspicuous consumption to make sure everyone stays suitably impressed with them so as not to question their position.

    Thanks for the information about perception, Pebblerocker. It continues to make Menolly’s appearance an enigma, but it’s useful. As for breast bands, I think the idea of never having had them is a good one. Half-Circle is supposed to be the arse end of nowhere on the planet, and the insistence that one’s lot in life there is fish suggests that, even if Half-Circle is wealthy, Yanus wants his children to live simple lives, so none of that useless frippery beyond simple clothes and undergarments would be available.

    I think what we’re supposed to imagine for the actual clothes is something akin to a tube top or other strapless covering. It’s authorial fiat that they have one in Menolly’s size (or adjustable to it), but that’s what I’m seeing, rather than a binder of some sort.

    I’m still not entirely sure what Dunca’s purpose is, other than to be an overbearing dorm mother instilling sexual shame in her women and keeping them from really associating too much with the Harpers.

  11. genesistrine February 16, 2015 at 4:45 pm

    @ Silver Adept: look at how long it took Elgion to twig who the mystery tunesmith was! He has a fair bit of charm and musical ability, but his observational skills must be seriously below par – then again, Half-Circle Hold is a dead-end posting so I guess Robinton wouldn’t want to waste a good information-gatherer on it….

    Manora – well, she may have assumed that Robinton had the sensitivity and perception to make sure that Menolly was treated gently at the Harper Hall, when he apparently doesn’t. Or is happily assuming that everything’s all right now she’s got what she wanted yay.

    Re clothing, as a matter of status the Harper Hall would want all its apprentices to appear well-dressed and well-fed anyway, and, slight spoiler, but we’re soon to find out gung Zrabyyl vf Znfgre Ebovagba’f bja cnegvphyne ncceragvpr – fur’f orra gbyq, ohg unqa’g ernyvfrq gur fvtavsvpnapr. Fb n enttrq nccrnenapr jbhyq cebonoyl ersyrpg ba uvz gbb.

  12. Silver Adept February 19, 2015 at 1:09 am

    @ genesistrine – good points. I can’t figure out whether this is supposed to be a comedy of errors or a malevolent narrator, and the way things have been going, I suspect the latter. It is odd how much of Menolly’s past life never manages to get mentioned to anyone, especially the people who really should know.

  13. beappleby February 19, 2015 at 4:38 pm

    Re: rank and status – I think Half Circle is a minor Hold, not a major one. It’s independent in its own right, but it’s smaller, not on a level with Fort or Benden or Ruatha. Yanus is Seaholder, not Lord Holder – while Tillek, which has also been called a Seahold, does have a Lord Holder. So Menolly has enough rank to signify, but if the daugher of Tillek’s Lord had been there, she would not have come out on top.

    (Just something that’s been picking at my brain recently.)

  14. Silver Adept February 20, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    Right. Which makes the rank system weird, because it privileges a direct descendant of a minor Hold over the indirect descendant of a major Hold. And they are both likely higher ranked than a generational descendent of a Mastercrafter.

    To hear them describe it, though, the date of founding of the Hold is the determiner of rank among those of the same relation, which makes Half-Circle worthy of a lot of respect, if Tillek is the only place that beats them.

    Yet, Yanus doesn’t really appear to give a damn about the prestige of the Hold or any other thing that would normally accompany such high status.

    So I’m no closer to understanding than when I started.

  15. genesistrine February 20, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    Yeah, it’s weird – Menolly and Sella don’t seem to have been brought up any differently from other girls in the Hold; they get scut work, no form of higher education or ladylike accomplishments, no consideration of marriageability. But then Menolly does apparently know the correct formal greeting salute, so… yeah. It’s fractally confusing; every single part is as confusing as the whole thing.

  16. beappleby February 21, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    She probably saw Yanus use it when greeting F’lar or something like that.

  17. Silver Adept February 22, 2015 at 12:19 pm

    There wouldn’t be any context to that, and I totally see Yanus as the kind of person that rewards curiosity with beatings. Petiron is the most likely teacher – since Harpers are keepers of culture and teachers, Menolly probably picked up the formal greeting from there.

    If Half-Circle really were that important, Yanus would have certainly been more aggressive about maintaining the honor of the place, and it wouldn’t he TRADITION that he relies on as his justification for violence.

  18. bekabot February 22, 2015 at 2:59 pm

    What the hell are the relative social statuses of people again? Menolly as a Holder’s daughter ranks the others (including granddaughters of Lord Holders). Apprentices don’t have any rank, just journeyman. But clothing-wise, apprentices are expected to dress better than Holder children? Are all apprentices provided clothing from crafthalls, or just ones who arrive with no family and therefore no money to support them? Clothing is *expensive* in a non-tech world.

    It’s head-canon with me that the Crafter world is certainly richer than the Holder world and possibly richer than the world of the Dragonfolk. Holder life seems to proceed pretty much hand-to-mouth (very much hand-to-mouth in the case of Half Circle Hold) what with the serfdom, actual or functional, and the strict rules that must be abided by, and the lack of technology, and the persistent medievalism, and the necessity of perpetually tithing to the Weyrs. As for the Weyrs themselves, they subsist on what they’re able to wring out of the Holder population, and sometimes it’s a challenge for them even to get that. The various Crafts, OTOH, are in a position which allows them to create their own wealth, an avocation otherwise unheard-of on Pern. So, yes, I can see where Menolly might rate better clothing as a Craft apprentice than as a Lord Holder’s daughter. If the Holders are divided between gentlefolk and peasants and if the Weyrs are basically a standing army (a status which comes with honorary “noble” standing for all, at least for all the fully-fledged adult male dragonriders) then the Crafters are middle-class and it’s right for them to display a wholly bourgeois concern with the state of their clothing. Holders expect their rank to speak for them and dragonriders depend on their deeds (they can wear tattered wherhide and it just makes them look all that much cooler) but Crafters must present themselves as fit to be seen. Crafters have a canon of pecuniary decency which doesn’t otherwise exist on their planet because it hasn’t had a chance to develop and/or because there’s been no need for it. JMO.

  19. Silver Adept February 25, 2015 at 8:53 am

    When Menolly gets outside the Hall in a little while, this whole thread will probably need revisiting in light of the new information provided there. The Crafts are definitely the merchant class and concerned with making sure they have enough wealth on display to seem on an equal footing with the Holders and dragonriders. But there’s a lot more to it, I think, than just conspicuous consumption.

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