Dragondrums: Rain

Last chapter, Sebell and the Harpers deduced how Piemur escaped the pursuit after stealing a queen egg…after they participated in the torture of the dying Lord Meron until he named a successor.

Dragondrums: Chapter 8: Content Notes: None, surprisingly.

The action returns to Piemur for Chapter 8, who is still adapting to the Southern Continent. Food, water, and heat for the egg are the first order of business, as is getting farther away from Southern Weyr and Hold.

Afterward, he never could figure out why he felt the Weyr and Southern Hold were dangerous to him. He just felt he ought to avoid contact with them, certainly until his egg had hatched and he had Impressed his own fire lizard. It wasn’t logical, really, but he’d endured a harrowing experience, had already been in the time of the hunted, and so he continued to run.

Wait, so we have a golden opportunity to show off the vaunted intellect and ability of Piemur to piece together fragments of information, and we’re going to lay this at the foot of instinct?

Even though, according to Piemur’s timeline, he just recently heard Mardra deliver threats if Meron screwed up her order, and just before that, he escaped from Nabol with a stolen fire lizard egg? Surely he put two and three together and figured that the allied Hold and Weyr might exchange information, and that would put dragonriders on his tail, which would obviously be bad. Considering Piemur’s memetic Trickster God status from the past two books, and how well he put everything together earlier in the book, for this to be “running on instinct” and to not even understand why later seems like a wasted opportunity to do some showing instead of telling.

The next day, Piemur realizes that an only-fruit diet is not sustainable, and recalls Menolly’s fishing exploits from her time outside a Hold, fashions himself a line, and manages to land a fish. Then realizes where the tide line will be and dashes to move the egg away from the incoming water. Which points out that he’s been sunburned quite heavily, as the salt water exacerbates all of those lovely injuries and burns. An inland trip produces giant tubers, with grubs running off them, so he’s set for variety of diet now.

That evening, he began to wonder why he had continued moving away from hold and Weyr. Of course, it was kind of fun, discovering each new cove and the vast stretches of sandy beach and rocky strand. To be accountable to no one except himself was also a new experience. Now that he had enough to eat and some variety of food, he was enjoying his adventure very much indeed. Why, he’d wager anything he’d set foot in places no other person had trod. It was exhilarating to be first at something, instead of following others and doing just what every other apprentice had done before him Turn after Turn after Turn.

Here’s the purest “boy’s adventure story” that we have, the general exhilaration of boy versus nature, no adults, no rules, nothing for danger but what the natural world can throw at you – which, on Pern, also includes otherworldly flesh-devouring spores that rain from the sky in regular intervals.

He had seen neither fire lizards nor dragons in the sky for the past two days, so afterward he thought that might be why he had given no thought to Thread. In hindsight he realized that he had known perfectly well that Thread fell on the southern half of Pern just add it did in the North. His preoccupation with the fire lizard egg and his efforts to supply himself with food had simply divorced him from the concerns and memories of life in craft and hall.
[…Threadfall! Piemur dives into the nearest deep body of water and tries to keep himself submerged by ducking under the water as much as possible and only surfacing as needed…]
He was dizzy with lack of oxygen, pinpointed by Threadscore that burned and stung in the salty water. Menolly had at least had a cave in which to shelter and…
If he could find it, if it were sufficiently above the surface of the lagoon at this time of the tide, there was an overhanging rock….He desperately tried to place its location on the lagoon arm the next time he surfaced, but he could barely see with eyes red and stinging. He was never sure in the mist of panic and anoxia how he found that meager shelter. But he did.

Enough references to Menolly and I finally figured out something important about this story.

Dragondrums is Dragonsong and Dragonsinger in reverse. Menolly starts at a Sea Hold out in the middle of nowhere, ends up holdless to escape the abuse, finds food and shelter and survives Threadfall, gathers fire lizards, then ends up at the Harper Hall, where she has to deal with bullies before she can get what she wants. Piemur starts with everything he wants, then had to deal with bullies, ends up outside his Hall with a fire lizard egg, and survives Threadfall while finding food and shelter. On a coastline, as well. The only thing he’s missing is abuse when he comes back to a Hold or the Hall. I’ll spot him all the abuse from Shonagar and others that have already happened, so that the narrative doesn’t have to make it a complete reversal.

This reversal continues all the way to having to rethink oneself after being outside a Hold, as Menolly did.

He, Piemur of…well, he wasn’t a herdsman’s boy anymore, and he wasn’t a harper’s apprentice either…Piemur…Piemur of Pern. He, Piemur of Pern, he went on more confidently, had survived Threadfall holdless. He straightened his shoulders and smiled broadly as he glanced proudly across his lagoon. Piemur of Pern had survived Threadfall! He had overcome considerable obstacles to secure a queen fire lizard egg. It would hatch, and he would, at long last, have a fire lizard all his own! He glanced fondly at the mound in the sand that was his little queen.

And Piemur has apparently been jealous about getting an egg for this long. Actually, a thought comes to mind. If fire lizards are the cousins of dragons, and the dragons know which of the candidates they want before (or soon after) they hatch, then maybe we can chalk up all this Gollum-like behavior to the dragon inside the egg influencing Piemur into his actions. Menolly would know, I guess, were she here.

Instead, the dragon egg hatches, and Piemur not only has to feed his new queen, he has to keep her safe from a pack of wherries that want to feast. So Piemur goes on a dash to protect his fire lizard from wherries. Sound familiar? The wherries are driven off by dragons, eventually, and Piemur and the fire lizard stay under the cover of the trees.

The narrative then shifts away from Piemur to those looking for him. We learn that Meron held out for eight days after the torture before dying. And that everyone else, save Menolly, is pretty well assured that Piemur will be just fine in Southern and will not show himself until the fire lizard egg is hatched. Menolly is on board with Piemur not appearing, but as the designated female and keeper of empathy, she’s the only one who worries about him.

“Menolly,” said the Harper soothingly, “you’re not responsible for-”
“But I feel responsible for Piemur,” she said, and then shot her Master an apologetic look for interrupting him so rudely. “If I hadn’t encouraged his interest in the fire lizards, if I hadn’t filled his ears with the pleasures they bring, he might not have been tempted to steal the egg and get himself into such a predicament.” She looked up because both men started to laugh, and she exclaimed with exasperation at their callousness.
“Menolly, Piemur has been getting in and out of trouble since long before you arrived here,” said Sebell. “You and your fire lizards calmed him down considerably. But I think you’re right about Piemur not showing himself until Impression’s been made. And Toric is on the alert for him. He’ll show up.”

But rather than tell stories about Piemur’s exploits so that she understands, the chapter finishes with Sebell off to help Deckter get installed. Piemur’s status as a memetic Trickster God stays intact without anyone having to give any details about how he got that way. At this point, I don’t think even the author really knows.

So, that means it’s wild speculation theater time! What’s the reason you think everyone fears Piemur as a prankster?

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33 thoughts on “Dragondrums: Rain

  1. depizan May 14, 2015 at 7:00 pm

    It wasn’t logical, really

    As you point out, how is it not logical? Even if he had no reason to worry that the Southern Holders might ship him back to their allies, there’s the matter of the fire lizard egg. And the fact that the Southerners are exiles, some of whom he saw raiding the mine – two more reasons for him to be wary of them. What I can’t think of is any reason for him not to be wary of them.

    So why in the world is McCaffrey acting like this – of all the things that people have done in the book – is somehow illogical?

    Enough references to Menolly and I finally figured out something important about this story.

    So did I, though mine is more depressing than yours. Menolly is apparently the only person on the planet who can actually improvise. Piemur, it appears, only survives because Menolly shared her stories. Which does go a long way to explain why people are so stunned by her exploits – people’s MacGyvering abilities seem to have been engineered out. (Probably to make sure the whole weird hierarchy stays in place.)

    But it makes Piemur’s informed attributes even more informed. :\ (And makes me wish, yet again, that we’d had another story about Menolly. Well, at least if we could actually get a different story, instead of yet another rehash. She’s been abused enough.)

    everyone else, save Menolly, is pretty well assured that Piemur will be just fine in Southern

    Why??? He’s holdless and in hostile, unfamiliar territory! I’d sort of buy people having this attitude if it were Menolly, the girl who lived holdless and outran Thread, but I’m at a loss as to what could possibly be in Piemur’s background that makes this a reasonable attitude to have.

    But then, whether it’s a big deal for someone to be holdless varies wildly. Like everything else. :\

  2. genesistrine May 15, 2015 at 2:11 am

    Plus Menolly’s chores included food-gathering – she knew what was edible, where to find it, how to prepare it. Where did Piemur learn to gut a fish? He left his herder family when he was, what, 7 or so? And there’s no mention of apprentices doing kitchen chores or heading out into the wild for exciting camping adventures, learning how to bang convenient rocks together to create FIRE and whatnot.

  3. depizan May 15, 2015 at 3:00 am

    Oh, WTF. And there’s no way to excuse it by trying to claim that everyone knows those things, because I’m pretty sure how to gut a fish was on the list of things Whasisface had Menolly teach him. This is such a mess!

  4. genesistrine May 15, 2015 at 3:40 am

    Not to mention that he actually, literally does start his fire by banging a couple of rocks together. (McCaffrey has so obviously never tried to start a campfire.) He ought to be choking down chunks of raw fish for his first meal at least….

  5. notamolly May 15, 2015 at 6:23 am

    I never liked the Harper trilogy and these deconstructions explain why. It would have made too much sense to actually have Harpers taught survival skills (they do some traveling as part of their job and are not usually riding a dragon from place to place). But the survival by sheer dumb luck just shows how very very poorly trained the protagonist is. And as everyone has asked, just what pranks did this supposed trickster pull? And what mad skills does he have exactly that make him the most special apprentice Ever?

  6. depizan May 15, 2015 at 12:49 pm

    Urgh, I just thought of yet another thing wrong with everyone’s “Oh, don’t worry, he can take care of himself.” attitude. Is there no potential for fallout should he be caught by the Southern Hold people? They may not know he’s an apprentice Harper, but there’s a chance that people at Meron’s hold would. Or he might tell them.

    If the people engaged in the (blackmarket?) trade between the continents know that the Harpers know, or at least are investigating, then… er… I’m not sure, because I’m still not sure if Meron’s hold is even doing anything wrong and not merely tacky, or something. I can think of extreme solutions – attempts to discredit the Harpers by framing (a conveniently dead) Piemur for something bad. But if I had a better grasp of how anything worked on Pern, other possibilities might occur to me.

    It does appear that Southern and Meron’s hold have at least some reason to make sure no one knows about their deal. Or at least it did before we moved on to the Harpers knowing and apparently not caring at all. Or do they think they’ve solved the problem by replacing Meron with Dekter, who, presumably, won’t carry on the trade because the Harpers have told him not to. (Hope it’s not vital to the welfare of the hold!)

    I guess it’s just completely unpossible that the Southerners would then resort to raiding for their goods, or merely to finding another hold that wants extra business and starting the whole arrangement all over again.

    And, um, there’s no chance, I guess, that the peeved Southerners, cut off from their supplies might decide to take their wrath out on Piemur, should they catch him.

    But, yeah, sure, playing pranks in Harper Hall is totally the same as being stuck on the Southern Continent with people who may want to kill him. (Yeah, yeah, people at Harper Hall apparently wanted to kill him, too. And nearly succeeded. Which proves he’s just fine down there. Or is Toric supposed to singlehandedly rescue him if something goes wrong. Because one dragon and dragonrider is totally a match for a whole pissed off hold of them. Yepers.

    Does this book even have a plot? We seem to just be randomly skipping from event to event, beginning plots and then just abandoning them in favor of something else. Piemur’s voice changes and he must learn to be a drummer. Whoops, no, there are Southern dragonriders raiding a mine. Whoops, no, Piemur’s fellows hate him and are trying to kill him. Whoops, no, we’re investigating a hold that’s trading with the Southerners. Whoops, no, Piemur’s having a wilderness adventure with his own fire lizard queen. PICK A PLOT, DAMN IT. OR AT LEAST FINISH ONE.

  7. Brenda Appleby May 15, 2015 at 4:35 pm

    It’s not really been made clear at this point, but Southern Hold and Southern Weyr are not affiliated. The Holders are people who decided to stay in their settlement despite the takeover of Southern Weyr by the exiled Oldtimers. They put up with the Weyr as their price for unlimited settlement opportunities, and for the most part both sides leave each other alone.

    Piemur apparently lucks out with his rocks – I remember in Dragonsong it specifically says that it takes Menolly several days to find the right kind to spark a fire.

  8. depizan May 15, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    @Brenda

    What. But that doesn’t make any sense. Southern Weyr, the Weyr made up of Oldtimers who didn’t like how uppity the modern Holds were, is somehow perfectly willing to go off and provide for themselves and leave Southern Hold alone? Do the Weyr people even know how to provide for themselves? Does this mean that Southern Weyr doesn’t protect Southern Hold from threadfall?

    And the Southern Hold folk must be just so thrilled with the North for a) sticking them with a group they don’t like and b) making them exiles, too, for no reason other than wanting to stay in their homes.

    Does Bendan Weyr do anything besides make enemies?

  9. genesistrine May 16, 2015 at 3:44 am

    @Brenda: Piemur lucks out with everything, including sunburn. Coming from an indoor life into direct midday sunlight with extra UV bouncing off the sea? He ought to be burned all over including the soles of his feet, sick and shocky. Bad sunburn is no joke.

    OK, Rukbat may be less of a UV producer than our Sun, Pern may have a stronger ozone layer and/or Pernese humans may have been engineered to have skin that doesn’t sunburn as easily, but somehow I don’t think that’s what’s going on here….

    @depizan: Yep! to all of that.

  10. boutet May 16, 2015 at 10:48 am

    @depizan “Does this book even have a plot? We seem to just be randomly skipping from event to event, ”

    This is actually how I view most of the Pern books. It’s like she has an idea of the things that she wants accomplished (Menolly becomes a Harper, Piemur gets a firelizard) but she isn’t invested in the general structure of the novels. So things just happen until the thing that she’s aiming for happens, then she can wrap it up and be done.

    Which I honestly don’t really mind in the hands of a good writer with interesting characters. I tend to enjoy the not-plot-essential farting around that characters do. But I expect a bit more world-building in all that farting around. The characters can fart around. The author shouldn’t.

  11. depizan May 16, 2015 at 11:29 am

    What frustrates me about McCaffrey’s farting around is that nothing ever gets resolved in any kind of satisfying manner. She uses her “Oop, never mind, let’s do this plot thread instead” to kind of get out of dealing with the situations she creates. Piemur is nearly killed by his fellow apprentices, and they only receive the same punishment they got for peeing on his clothes. If we didn’t zip off to Investigate the Blackmarket Trading, we might notice that something’s wrong with that. It feels like she keeps relegating things to Actually A Side Plot to avoid really dealing with them.

    That and her characters either fail to act in any kind of consistent way or are consistently horrible. And wandering through the world like this highlights how completely incoherent it is.

    So, yeah, I’m with you on a good writer with interesting characters being able to write stories that are low on plot or made of a bunch of little plot-lets. But here? It’s just another Argh!

  12. emmy May 16, 2015 at 8:06 pm

    @depizan
    “Does this mean that Southern Weyr doesn’t protect Southern Hold from threadfall?”

    I believe at some point there’s shock and scandal when it’s revealed that Southern Weyr does NOT bother to protect Southern Hold from threadfall, although I don’t have a reference handy.

  13. Only Some Stardust May 16, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    humans engineered to have skin that doesn’t sunburn as easily = dark skin. It’s basic biology; you can trade off on vitamin D production to avoid sunburnsies, or you can have light skin and absorb sunlight for the nutrient. I don’t know, is it ever mentioned what skin color he has?

  14. genesistrine May 17, 2015 at 2:49 am

    I can assure you from friends’ experience that people with dark skin who grew up in Northern latitudes can get nasty sunburn too!

  15. depizan May 17, 2015 at 11:28 am

    @emmy,

    What about the other half of that, then? Is Southern Hold supporting Southern Weyr at all? Or did they have to figure out farming and all that themselves? Is that supposed to be why they’re raiding northern places? (Though why for gems? You can’t eat those.)

    And who was trading through Meron’s Hold? Southern Hold or Southern Weyr? (If it’s Southern Hold, that might be an explanation for McCaffrey claiming it was illogical of Piemur to hide from them. She knows they’re not the bad guys, and she forgot that he can’t know that. Except that Meron and his Hold were portrayed as bad for trading with the south. Which gets even more morally weird if it was the Hold and not the Weyr they were trading with. Ugh.)

  16. genesistrine May 17, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    @depizan: It’s Southern Weyr doing the illicit trading with Nabol – dragon transport, Mardra and T’ron making menacing remarks, etc.

    The status of Southern Hold is… hard to figure out. Apparently it’s under the Benden Interdict too, hence Sebell’s Dead Top Sekrit missions there to… something, whatever, who knows. Bringing back useful plants for Oldive seems to be the only thing he actually does, though he has been in touch with the Southern Hold boss, Toric.

    And Piemur deduced this earlier on, if you remember. Figuring out which way to Southern Hold seems to be something he’s not interested in, though. (Though I find this plausible; he’s spent most of his life in a highly regimented school with no holidays longer than a day – this fantasy scenario of beach living is the first time he’s had his life to himself.)

    Relations between Southern Hold and Southern Weyr are in the same weird indeterminate state. You’d think the people with the large flying flamethrowers would be all over the people they expect to bring them food, but that doesn’t seem to be case. Toric is contemptuous of dragonriders (as well as northerners in general and everyone who isn’t Toric in particular), but he doesn’t seem to be terrorised by them.

    Of course it’s possible that the Oldtimers loaded enough slaves – sorry, drudges – and general staff onto their dragons when they left that they’ve got them doing the cattle-husbandry and fruit-picking and whatnot, but if so it’s an extremely disturbing thought that we never hear of or from any of these people, and even more disturbing that that still makes it a plausible scenario from this writer….

  17. depizan May 17, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Ah, yes, stupid question. Though it may say something about how alike the characters are that they all tend to become an undifferentiated mass in my mind. (Also, I hadn’t realized until Brenda said something that Southern Weyr and Southern Hold weren’t united.)

    The morality of exiling the Southern Weyr folk just seems to get worse and worse, though. They’ve been put in a position where – if they acted in (apparent) character – they would take over and control an innocent hold, and they’ve been allowed to take innocent people with them. Whatever protection drudges might have in the rest of Pern (if any) is removed by the exile.

    And I cannot for the life of me figure out why the Southern Weyr would leave Southern Hold alone. Unless Southern Hold has some protection from dragons that we just haven’t been told about? Would they be willing to share?

  18. boutet May 17, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Maybe we switched to Piemur’s perspective because Menolly got into a position where she could be expected to know things that McC couldn’t be bothered to figure out? If we did this piece of the timeline from her perspective we would -know- why it was illegal to trade with Southern, we would understand the inheritance procedures for holds, we would read juicy bits of gossip about the ruling types that McC just did not ever bother to figure out. So she couldn’t have written a third Menolly book without fleshing out the rest of the world. Instead we get Piemur who knows just enough to give us the bare bones, and then vanishes into the wild before he can be expected to figure out any more than that. We get an adventure story while the rest of the world gets worked out offstage.

  19. Firedrake May 17, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    boutet: or, apparently, doesn’t get worked out.

  20. genesistrine May 18, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Yeah, I think “not interested in figuring out” is closer to the truth; other than that I agree with boutet.

    One thing that just occurred to me; Southern Weyr quite possibly can’t fly against Thread – where are they supposed to get firestone from? They’re not allowed to trade for it and they’re not miners….

  21. Silver Adept May 19, 2015 at 3:04 pm

    It’s a little bit of future knowledge, but as best I can tell, the South works this way:

    The South is under Benden’s interdiction so that there isn’t a rush from North to South to claim all the unexplored land there. Southern Weyr is where all the dragonriders that won’t obey Benden go, with the expectation that they and their dragons will live out their lives in the warm sun and die, rather than try to continue being a Weyr.

    Southern Hold, on the other hand, is discreetly the pressure valve for excess Holder sons, where the most adventurous, the hardiest, or those who have no chance of succession except through bloody warfare are shipped off, to explore and clear away the jungle of the South, taking anything they can hold on to as theirs until they meet their inevitable premature demise at the hands of other sons, consuming an improper plant, being outside during Threadfall, or any number of possible deaths due to nature.

    So Benden basically expects anyone who goes to the South to die there and never return. And intends on enforcing that…somehow.

    Yet everyone will be shocked (in the next book) to discover that Southern Weyr doesn’t fly Thread.

    As for Piemur, perhaps “sharing stories” really means that Menolly has been teaching all the apprentices her survival skills and lore as a class, in case they need to do something like that as part of their assignments. It would explain her knowing the apprentices well and her ease at administering discipline.

  22. Only Some Stardust May 19, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    I don’t think there is any way for bare skin to /completely/ avoid sunburn, not without some drastic modification. They could produce a natural ooze as a sunscreen. I think that would get a mention if all the humans were coated in slime, though. Or they could become fur-coated.

    I don’t know, I think they all certainly could be slimeballs and you would never notice the difference.

  23. Michael I May 19, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    @genesistrine

    In “The White Dragon” we’re told (by Sharra, who we meet later on in this book) that the Southern Weyr does sometimes fly against Thread although they more often ignore it.

    So they do have access to firestone.

  24. depizan May 19, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    I think we’ve actually reached a point where the books are starting to make negative sense. The southern continent has proven that dragonriders aren’t necessary, and Bendan using it to exile people is just underscoring that. Maybe they hope that word will somehow not come back to the northern continent and screw them over. But, seriously, you’ve got the Southern Weyr not flying Thread, but everything’s just fine anyway. Whoops, your world building.

    Everything about the exile is an incoherent mess and a moments thought about it makes pretty much everything about Pern unravel.

  25. aussiesmurf May 19, 2015 at 9:49 pm

    I’ve just read through the entire history of the articles with sinking stomach. When I was around 10 I bought Dragonflight and simply LOVED it. I thought it was simply the apex of fantasy fiction (along with Dragonlance and Piers Anthony (don’t judge me)).

    Couldn’t agree more about F’lar. I never warmed to him as a ‘protagonist’. I always viewed Lessa as the hero of Dragonflight, with F’lar’s attitude to be one of the obstacles she had to overcome. Most of the rapey / sexual content flew MILES over my head at the time.

    I don’t think you’ll ever be able to take away my heartfelt love for Dragonsinger. Everything that you have said about the book makes logical sense, but Menolly’s elevation to Journeywoman has put chills in my spine the (literally dozens) of times I have read that book.

    One thing that I think (respectfully) you may have not given enough weight to is the dislike which I would imagine these master have for teaching, both for boys and girls. People like Domick and Morshal particularly would view teaching as necessary to ‘pay the bills’ while wishing they could spend more time on scholarly and similiar pursuits. I always viewed this (in my headcanon) as being the reason (but not the justification) for their lack of time for their students, and Menolly in particular.

    Re the headwomen (Silvina and Manora in particular) I always viewed them as being analagous to the housekeepers in the Edwardian stories – an assumed level of ultra-competence, without acknowledgement of the tremendous work and accomplishment which was required.

    With regard to this chapter, I never had a huge amount of time for Piemur. The whole ‘lovable scamp’ thing got a bit old, and after having this ‘mini-arc’ in the first half of the book where he learned discretion and judgement, the theft of the queen egg and this mad adventure in the Southern Continent seemed to come out of nowhere.

  26. genesistrine May 20, 2015 at 5:55 am

    @Michael I: I think there’s mention of old firestone mines in the South either in DQ or TWD (and if it’s the latter I apologise for jumping ahead). But the Oldtimers aren’t miners, so if they want more after they use up any they might have brought or any that the previous riders left then they HAVE to trade for it.

    Which they’re forbidden by author fiat to do, and then called terrible people for not flying against Thread regularly when they only have limited resources to do so. Nice move, McCaffrey. Classy.

    @depizan: But, seriously, you’ve got the Southern Weyr not flying Thread, but everything’s just fine anyway.

    Grubs. They even fix Threadscored plants. All anyone needs is to keep a lookout so they can get stock and people under stone or metal so they don’t get et by Thread on its way down.

    Which, of course, doesn’t explain why the southern beaches of the Northern continent aren’t teeming with boat people and exploiters taking everything the boat people own for passage to the Promised Continent, or why people aren’t saying sod fire lizard eggs, gimme a bushel of grubs!

  27. Nothing May 20, 2015 at 6:14 am

    When you get to TWD, there’s a majorly problematic piece of world building I want to bring up… It relates to the green dragons and fire lizards.

  28. Nothing May 20, 2015 at 6:14 am

    Sorry to double post, but wanted to mention, it is also relevant to Southern Weyr specifically.

  29. depizan May 20, 2015 at 12:56 pm

    @genesistrine

    Which, of course, doesn’t explain why the southern beaches of the Northern continent aren’t teeming with boat people and exploiters taking everything the boat people own for passage to the Promised Continent, or why people aren’t saying sod fire lizard eggs, gimme a bushel of grubs!

    This! Exactly this! The Southern Continent breaks everything. Before we had Southern Hold and Southern Weyr not talking to each other, grubs could be downplayed. Maybe they were enough to keep the continent going but not enough to protect human settlements. Except, nope, they totally are.

    Bendan Weyr exiled people to paradise and gave the people they’d least want to the ability to break the entire social structure of Pern. (Yet somehow this doesn’t happen.)

  30. genesistrine May 20, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    The one explanation that might possibly work is that Benden and the Harpers have clamped down on info as well as movement.

    Creative rumourmongering from the Harpers to make sure the masses can’t be sure what’s going on in the Southern Continent, whether it’s infested with monsters, crawling with Thread or the Oldtimers patrol the shores and feed anyone they catch to their dragons, and any Lords or Craftmasters who do know keep their mouths shut. Toric and his crews run the secret shipping line and anyone who gets too close to the truth gets shanghaied South along with the landless Holder sons….

  31. genesistrine May 21, 2015 at 2:20 am

    Which, in a better-plotted novel, would be what Piemur finds out about, along with the slaves of the Oldtimers, and gangs up with Menolly and Sebell, disillusioned by witnessing torture, to try and make Pern a better place….

  32. Silver Adept May 21, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Welcome aboard, aussiesmurf! You’ll find no judgment regarding Piers Anthony from me (points at user name). Maybe if Dragonrider interest ever peters out, I’ll go take on my own sacred cow of the Apprentice Adept series.

    Regarding the Masters and their attitude toward teaching, I have zero sympathy. There are Harpers in every Hold, Hall, and Weyr on the planet. If they wanted to not have to teach, they could take assignment out there, where they’d only have to teach the basic songs to kids on occasion. Or they could just retire and let someone else take over the teaching who actually cares. Yet they continue. While Shonagar is abusive in technique, he still has the passion for the teaching. Morshal just needs to go.

    @ genesistrine –

    You’re not actually that far from the truth, which will be revealed in the next book – there is an active conspiracy afoot, the Harpers are hip-deep in it, and Benden is involved. And Toric has ambitions of his own…

  33. genesistrine May 22, 2015 at 4:05 am

    I haven’t read TWD for probably 20 years, and I was a lot less cynical then. But somehow I doubt it has freeing slaves/improving life for the masses/Liberty and Justice for All! as a theme….

    I do remember Robinton trgf uvf fjrrg fjrrg ergverzrag ubzr va gur Fbhgu gubhtu. V guvax V’yy pnyy vg Pnfn qry Cvabpurg.

    @aussiesmurf: oh, I know, I still get teary at Menolly walking the tables too. AMC is a bad writer in a lot of ways, but she’s still an engaging one – she’s got the knack of carrying you along even when you’re thinking, “Hang on a minute here….”

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