Something a little less ponderous as the USians engage in the Turkey Holiday.
In the in-between for these books, as I was thinking about all the bad things that have happened to the named women of Pern for having feminist ideas about their lot in life and they all seem to have connections to one cast member, even without all six degrees needed. A person with progressive ideas about women and their role in society.
At least, after the Great Cosmic Retcon, that is. Before then, Lessa wouldn’t have fit into the idea, as she precedes the nexus in her ambition and feminism.
Otherwise, it’s Brekke as the center connecting point of both violence and progressive ideas for women. We see her regularly standing up for women, asking why women can’t be fighting riders, and challenging the norms of Weyr culture. After her rape at the hands of the possessive Brown Rider and the queen fight that cost her Wirenth, she’s more mellow about expressing the opinion, but it didn’t go away.
Connected to Brekke first is Kylara, who does what she wants, who she wants, and she doesn’t give a fuck what anybody else thinks about what her responsibilities are. Kylara gets punished with the loss of Prideth and is not saved by the narrative from the state of mind that follows the death of a dragon, nor is anyone inclined to be sympathetic to her in that state, despite at least two other people having gone through that state themselves.
Brekke’s also directly connected to her fosterling, Mirrim, and it looks like all the ideas that Brekke has about equality and Kylara’s give-no-fucks have both imprinted on her. Mirrim is outspoken about her opinions to the point of having a reputation for being brash and without social graces. She also ends up being the first green dragonrider when Path seeks her out at the Hatching Ground, which should force some sort of change in the culture, if she weren’t the only one there. Instead, we’re supposed to find her unpalatable and perfectly suited to be the butt of jokes about dragon PMS, instead of it being treated as a serious matter with Kylara and with the incident that led to the stabbing of the Brown Rider Rapist that led him to Brekke. Or, if one considers that most dragon and fire-lizard sex is not very consensual, making jokes about what will happen to Mirrim is still, well, a dick move.
What’s important, we’re told, is that Mirrim has a disagreeable personality and therefore probably deserves all the pain and assault she’s going to get.
Menolly is connected to Brekke as well, through Mirrim’s friendship with Menolly. And while Menolly’s main abuse came before knowing either Mirrim or Brekke, it’s still Menolly’s belief that women can be Harpers that sets it all in motion. Brekke and Mirrim help it along quite a bit, though, and Menolly takes flak from Piemur about their continued friendship.
And now there’s Sharra, who has trained under Brekke and works closely with her on numerous occasions. She’s unafraid of telling others what she thinks and whether or not their ideas are good ones in relation to life at Southern or the health of her patients. She even tells Jaxom that he’s just infatuated with her because she nursed him to health. The narrative rewards her independence by making her wrong about Jaxom, ignored by the Craftmasters, and imprisoned by her own brother so that she can be a more suitable match for someone else in marriage. Only because Jaxom has to get his happy ending is Sharra rescued, so that she can be married to Jaxom instead.
It all traces back to Brekke, and all the results so far have not been ideal. Perhaps, now that we’re leaving this particular time period, we can find a Pern that treats women better intentionally.