The Masterharper of Pern: The Inevitable Tragedies Begin

Last chapter, Robinton balked that Fax could just say no to education in his hold, and further more that his fellow Harpers aren’t forcing the issue. The narrative then tried to pass off the idea that the original charter survived all this time instead of being a rediscovery of the AI. Those two things created a situation where it should be incredibly difficult for Fax to pull off the same crap that Chalkin did.

The Masterharper of Pern: Chapter X: Content Notes: Fat-shaming

We are in a training montage, of sorts, from the beginning of the chapter, as it says Robinton spends three years at High Reaches, before noting that Faroguy certainly seems on top of everything, except Fax, which Mallan speculates might be because Fax is Faroguy’s from another woman before his legitimate heirs were born. Lobirn squashes that line of thought, and we are then treated to an account of “how Robinton lost his virginity.” Robinton’s grown up handsome, and Mallan goads him into dancing with a young holder girl, Sitta, who is interested in him, too, and then just manages to conveniently be wherever he is by chance. And welcomes him home from a trip with food and drink and an offer to warm his bed. (There’s also another woman, Marcine, who has her eye on him, but Sitta is so good at being everywhere she gives up, and Triana’s only really interested in him as a dance partner…) There’s even the equivalent of the sock on the door — tipping a chair against the table as an indication of a do not disturb.

Here’s how Sitta’s described:

It wasn’t that he hadn’t noticed her, with her delicately slanting eyes and her tiny figure, set off by the bright dark blue of her Gather dress.

And now I’m a little less okay with this. Mostly because it seems to be “huge guy, tiny girl” and a vaguely Asian fetish possibly going on, but also a bit because a name like “Sitta” suggests South Asian ancestry rather than East Asian and I’m a little annoyed that the author doesn’t seem to want to do the research.

In any case, Sitta is mostly a fling for Robinton, and the narrative shifts over to another name drop situation – Carola is ill, and the only other available queen is Nemorth, who bonded with Jora, who is afraid of heights. (Which makes me think of the person who trained the Rowan, also afraid of heights and imparting it on to the Rowan.)

Carola dies afterward, and Robinton knows before everyone else because he feels Simanith’s grief, but he doesn’t say anything. Soon after, Robinton is recalled to the Harper Hall for a new assignment. Lord Faroguy sends Robinton in with a full purse of money and a solid recommendation. F’lon has a laugh about how it won’t “matter a pile of old ashes” that Jora’s terrified of heights when Nemorth is ready to mate. Before having a laugh at Robinton when Simanith just drops off the edge rather than leaping into the air to get the speed to go into hyperspace. Robinton asks Simanith for a little warning the next time.

Robinton’s return means getting to see his mother again, which is slightly disturbing because she looks older and he’s not ready for that. He also sees Silvina again, and the child has become a pretty woman in his absence. And then there’s business and reunions and Master Gennell also telling Robinton that he should let go of Fax’s decisions about education.

“We can only do so much, Rob, and are wiser not to trespass where a harper’s life might be endangered.”
Robinton blinked in surprise. “Endangered?”
“There have been such problems before, lad, and there will again, but somehow it comes right. As long as Fax keeps his ideas to his own hold, I can do nothing. Nor is it wise to. That’s something you learn as you go on. Cut your losses when you have to. One small hold in the northern lands is not as vital as a larger one nearer home, as it were.[…]

Cocowhat by depizan

This keeps happening? And yet Pern still hasn’t created a solution, regardless of the “autonomy” clause? It’s okay that generations get lost on the regular and then have to be accounted for later? Just…insert last week’s rant, even more so now that we know that this is a thing that happens on the regular. That this hasn’t been fixed in this long is still highly improbable.

Gennell assigns Robinton to Benden and advises against arriving with F’lon, because Benden’s Holders and Benden’s Weyrleaders are not getting along with each other right now. Which gives Robinton time to catch up with his mother and to get told by both F’lon and Merelan that Silvina clearly fancies him. Petiron is off at Tillek, so it’s a nice time for Robinton, catching up and singing songs with Merelan. He knows something is different, but he can’t put his finger on it.

So Robinton travels by ship and learns he won’t get seasick, that he can handle runnerbeasts, that the Dawn Sisters exist, and that just about everywhere he goes, he can play an evening and get the best meal and bed available.

Except, of course, in a place where Harpers are distrusted. A small hold where Targus, the holder, is not happy to have a Harper, but his wife, Kulla, is more than hospitable to him. (Even if his runner doesn’t like the place.) Targus gives us a little insight as to why places might not be all in favor of Harpers.

“Preferable?” sneered Targus as his thick and slightly greasy fingers gathered the mark piece from Robinton’s palm. “Harper words. What’s wrong with ‘Is that good?’ Or do you always have to show off your larnin’?”
“Why’s Pa hate music so?” Erkin asked.
“He says harpers sing lies,” Mosser said, malice in his twinkling eyes.
“Didn’t hear a one,” their mother said stoutly. Then she waggled her finger at Mosser. “Nor you, neither, or you’d’ve stirred yourself out of the room when your pa left. […]”

And again, there is this tantalizing prospect of an entire space outside the narrative where people don’t believe in Harpers, not because their lords are actively keeping them away, but because they think the Harpers are spinning some sort of lie. If only these people would be more specific about what they believe, other than “they’re elitist, with their education and fancy words.”

Robinton makes it to Benden without further incident, and is greeted by Raid and Hayara, who bring him up to speed on everything (Maizella is about to be married, and has been helping the Hold Harper, joint-ail is affecting all sorts of people). After a quick call back to which staircase he should be using, Robinton goes to help Master Evarel in the classroom, and that starts the second stay. Eventually, Evarel admits to being old and retires to the south, leaving Robinton in charge of Benden. And not too soon after, Nemorth almost gets flown and F’lon is pissed about it, because Jora faints when Nemorth gets into heat (remember that bit where queen riders see through the eyes of their dragons?) and that makes Nemorth very concerned.

But it happens, eventually, and Nemorth has a clutch, and Robinton is entirely wistful about the fact he never got the chance to be a dragonrider. F’lon complains that Maizella’s spouse is fish-faced (Robinton agrees with this privately) and that he doesn’t believe in Thread. Which gives Robinton the opportunity to ask about the rift between Hold and Weyr, and apparently we’re back to the problem where the interval has caused disbelief in the reality of Thread.

The feast at the Weyr is fantastic (and, as another way of making sure that we understand the hierarchy, green riders help to serve the extra guests, while bronze and brown riders take seats to be served), but the narrative can still take time to shame Jora.

She was pretty enough, in a sort of overblown way, but was already getting more plump than was healthy for a rider, not to mention for a young woman. She was flushed with the success of her young queen, Nemorth, and making what appeared to be giddy confessions to Lady Hayara, who merely listened with a polite smile plastered on her face.
His [F’lon’s] tone turned disdainful. “Not only is she afraid of heights, but she’s nervous with Nemorth, and if S’loner hadn’t been helping, she’d’ve let the queen eat before her mating flight.” He snorted in contempt.

So, for what other purpose than “the narrative wants a chew toy” did Jora Impress? Yes, we have to eventually line up with whatever was said previously about her, which was also negative, but I would have thought that being terrified of heights would have been a draconic disqualifier. The rest of it is fat-shaming and the narrative forgetting that life in a Weyr would be the most food-secure situation a person could find themselves in. It’s quite possible that Jora is still adjusting away from starvation mode. Or that she would be perfectly healthy, were it not for the narrative.

Robinton leads the musical festivities, and that seems to keep spirits high, at least until Nemorth interrupts them by announcing the death of S’loner’s dragon, Chendith, and the deaths of both S’loner and Lord Maidir (eventually confirmed when Lady Hayara goes back to Benden and can’t find him) in what is determined to be an accident – S’loner had been having chest pains, so it’s possible a heart attack killed him at the crucial point, and Chendith took Lord Maidir with him, because he was the unlucky passenger. Lady Hayara said that Robinton’s music had been possibly mending the rift, but she couldn’t hear because Jora was talking (she didn’t say so specifically, but the implication is clear). Jora, of course, is far too drunk and passed out to be easily revived (because narrative chew toy), and the party gets broken up pretty soon afterward.

F’lon is unhappy that Robinton asked C’gan for transit back. Robinton points out that F’lon just lost his father, which F’lon dismisses as unimportant because Weyrbred and tell me again why Robinton isn’t also having trouble with this? He’s been concerned that Merelan will die soon, and he’s still stuck in the situation where Petiron won’t acknowledge him, so why is he still so put together? Is he going to fall apart once the immediacy wears off? The text notes that Robinton is envious of the fact that F’lon had a relationship with his father. But the chapter ends with Robinton heading back to Benden, so there’s going to be other crises to deal with before Robinton can process his own feelings.

I realize this is Act II, where the tragedies happen and the old guard gives way to the new characters, but these stories don’t seem to have situations where someone, say, lives a full life and then passes away in their sleep. Except Robinton himself. Everything seems to change in violence. Which might seem like a good idea to make backgrounds more interesting, but it also means just about all the main characters have tragedies and traumas in their backgrounds, too.

And maybe I’m starting to get sick of it.


24 thoughts on “The Masterharper of Pern: The Inevitable Tragedies Begin

  1. genesistrine April 5, 2018 at 12:42 pm

    Um – bright dark blue?

    Re Jora; how in the hell did they even fly her to the Weyr as a candidate in the first place when she’s terrified of heights? I can see how difficult it would have been in Pernese culture to say no to a dragonrider, but what qualities did she have that made her a candidate in the first place? Was she just outrageously hot? All we get in the text is “pretty enough but not a patch on Carola”, though it’s heavily hinted that she was the only candidate – why her?

    But all the text bothers to do is tell us she’s TOOOO FAAAAT and BOOOORING and GETS DRUUUUNK and EWWWW apparently never considers the actually-pretty-important question of “well, how come someone went to the trouble of putting her in front of a dragon egg in the first place then?” Because I really want to know.

    Re the politics: it doesn’t surprise me at all that the reaction to Fax is “peasants are being badly treated? Oh well, none of our business, don’t rock the boat”. These people are all scum. Loathsome scum.

  2. Wingsrising April 5, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Yeah. I’m far from an expert on feudal societies, but I don’t think that “Other lords have limited right to interfere if a lord abuses his peasants” would be all that unusual. It’s one of the many, many reasons feudal societies suck for most people who live in them, and thus that it makes no sense that either (in-universe) the original colonists or (out-of-universe) McCaffery decided to pick feudal society as their model for an ideal society.

  3. Silver Adept April 5, 2018 at 3:18 pm

    Not an autocorrect on that bright dark blue. I went and checked.

    As for Jora, I’ve glossed a little over how the dragonriders are going out less on Search and getting less on Search. I can’t comprehend why, because I would think that so many families would love to get rid of their daughters so they don’t have to marry them off, but apparently the pool of candidates is smaller, so Jora gets to stand. And then gets chosen, so there has to be something going on. But no, all we are ever going to get about Jora is that she’s fat and unattractive now and everyone hates her and that she’s afraid of heights. Because fate needs the Weyr in decline so that the appropriate Benden Weyrleaders can bring it back to glory. Or something.

    Regarding the peasants in Fax’s hold, it’s the cavalier attitude that burns me. Time and again, we see confirmed reports that someone is doing a thing that’s terrible to their people. We’re also asked to essentially suspend disbelief and take as a given that everyone believes so firmly in autonomy that nobody considers the idea of invading someone else’s territory while they are dealing with whatever it is that’s causing the abuse. Or starting riots or doing any of the things that Lessa will do to undermine Fax later. Faroguy has other children, proper inheritors, who probably aren’t very fond that this “nephew” is taking their territory. Yet nobody seems to be actively involved in trying to undercut Fax, even at this point. Our even raising token protests about the treatment of his people so that Fax looks bad to everyone, including his own people. Everyone is looking at how this is going and saying “Eh. Not my problem.” So Robinton can look like he cares, mostly.

    Team Thread for Pern. At least until they can get a liberal and democratic system of governance established.

  4. WanderingUndine April 5, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Huge guy, tiny girl? Is Robinton exceptionally great in height and build?

    Ugh at the implication that plumplness is especially “unhealthy” for a young woman. It arguably might be indirectly so in places where a woman’s quality of life depends on what kind of husband she can attract, but that’s less true in the Weyrs than in most of Pern. Ostensibly. I thought. Maybe not.

    What allowed Nemorth to “eventually” get flown? Jora stopped fainting? Nemorth stopped getting too distracted by concern about Jora fainting? Did the man whose dragon mated with Nemorth (F’lon?) ‘uncontrollably’ rape Jora? Ugh.

  5. saidahgilbert April 6, 2018 at 8:16 am

    If that is what happened to Jora, then I feel even more sympathy for her. And Pern is a terrible, terrible place for women.

  6. Silver Adept April 6, 2018 at 11:18 am

    @ WanderingUndine –

    Robinton is remarked on as being very tall, and some parts of the narrative have talked about his general fitness when wrestling and self-defense come up, but the support for that in the text has been fragments that I’ve been jumping over. The tall is mostly Merelan and a little of Gennell, and the fit is mostly purple talking about how much Fax would love to embarrass Robinton in some sort of combat.

    “Plumpness” will come back with a vengeance when Halanna reappears after another of the inevitable tragedies, but her plumpness will be described as a good thing, as befitting her Happy (Hot?) Housewife status, so the narrative is drawing a line between attractive fat and DEATHFAT with Jora.

    And how the deed gets done gets description later on, but the short of it is that all the bronze dragons steal Nemorth’s food after she sucks the blood dry, which eventually provokes Nemorth into a mating rage and the bronze (Simanith) gets to mate with her, and presumably F’lon does the same with Jora, the dragons overriding whatever squick the humans have about the matter. And I think we’re supposed to assume that this also takes care of Jora’s fear of heights.

  7. Wingsrising April 6, 2018 at 2:56 pm

    I was just in a talk where a colleague mentioned John Rawls, and while I don’t actually know all that much about Rawls, I do know that he talks about a “veil of ignorance,” which says that when designing or evaluating a society you need to do it assuming you have no knowledge about what role you will play in this society, or about your race, your gender, your class, your physical and mental abilities, etc.

    Just made me think about what we’ve been saying about Pernese society. As all our protagonists are talented crafters, dragonriders, or people highly placed in the hold, I think people’s first reaction is to view Pernese society assuming that, were we to live there, that’s who we would be. Thinking about it from the point of view of a drudge, or someone holdless, or living in a tiny hold under a bad Holder and Lord holder, it looks totally different. But I know I read these books for YEARS growing up without every thinking about them that way.

    Random Friday afternoon musings.

  8. genesistrine April 6, 2018 at 4:37 pm

    Re Robinton, he’s regularly been described as tall in earlier books – I particularly remember how pleased he is when Cove Hold’s set up that they’ve had a chair made to fit his height.

    @SilverAdept: As for Jora, I’ve glossed a little over how the dragonriders are going out less on Search and getting less on Search. I can’t comprehend why, because I would think that so many families would love to get rid of their daughters so they don’t have to marry them off, but apparently the pool of candidates is smaller, so Jora gets to stand. And then gets chosen, so there has to be something going on.

    Well, yeah, that makes no sense whatsoever given Pernese bro culture and the demonstrated habit of bronze riders of hoovering up women they find attractive, not to mention that *someone* must have been into Jora enough to bring her to the Weyr (unless we’re supposed to believe she came up herself with a caravan or on a runnerbeast and stuck around). There’s a possible Doylistic interpretation based on the author’s prejudices: i.e. dragons never make mistakes, Nemorth chose Jora, Jora is a designated icky and useless character, therefore she must have been the only possible choice, QED.

    The Watsonian alternative is a nightmare when you read past the authorial sneers. It’s worth bearing in mind that F’lar, for all his many, many faults seemed to be the only bronze rider in DF who was actively looking for character and resilience in his candidates rather than just “yeah, I’d hit that”, so she may well lack personal resources and experience on top of acrophobia or vertigo or whatever it is she has and as far as we’re told everyone at the weyr is more or less contemptuous of her. F’lon’s attitude is bluntly that she’s an object to get him the Weyrleadership, and none of the other bronze riders seem to think any differently.

    We’re never given an explanation for her fainting at the mating flight, but the fact that every bronze rider was heading towards her with dragon-generated lust on their minds seems a pretty good one for me, poor girl. And puts a worrying spin on why she might want to get blackout drunk when she gets the opportunity.

  9. Nothing April 6, 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Possible spoilers here…

    It just occurred to me—and it has been years since I read these books—that it may be possible Sitta is Lessa’s relative, maybe even her mother. Lessa is also an Asian-heritage character who is of small stature, and the time frame is probably about right, assuming Lessa is a little older than Camo. If that hypothesis is true, then McCaffrey went well out of her way to make everything about Robinton. Somehow I have the feeling we are supposed to make that connection, even though later on we are informed that Camo is Robinton’s only child and it’s supposed to be extra tragic. I don’t remember if it’s ever even stated precisely who Lessa’s parents were; she is Ruathan by blood, but that doesn’t mean she was the direct heir before her family were killed in Fax’s coup.

  10. alexeigynaix April 6, 2018 at 10:58 pm

    Lessa’s father is Kale. (I shit you not.) I don’t remember her mother’s name.

  11. Nothing April 7, 2018 at 3:48 pm

    It’s been over a decade I think since I read the books. That said, Kale sounds right. I wonder if Sitta was related to Lessa though. It’s also possible that Kale is not Lessa’s biological father. But that is still pure speculation. Wouldn’t put it past McCaffrey, though, since she went out of her way to retcon Robinton being involved with virtually everything ever.

  12. WanderingUndine April 7, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    Rectonning a beloved character’s involvement with everything — Piers Anthony did that with Magician Humfrey’s backstory in the Xanth novel Question Quest, a backstory that did not endear him to deconstructors any more than previous books had. I just started noticing the probably-coincidental parallels.

  13. Sontin April 8, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Well, this is pre-Lessa and the whole “Queens can TOO fly!” thing, so I’m willing to accept that a Weyrwoman who’s terrified of heights wouldn’t cause the same level of concern as, say, a bronze rider with the same problem.

    I also don’t get why the book sets Jora’s weight up as a problem. Weyrwoman doesn’t strike me as a physically demanding job, and even if this was post-Lessa, I refuse to believe that any human being could be too heavy for a dragon to carry.

    I seem to remember reading in either one of the Pern novels or short stories that it’s the dragons more than the riders who do the Searching (blues are supposed to be particularly good at it IIRC). Then again, the AMC Rule of Weyrwomen makes it very clear that any Weyrwoman who isn’t Lessa is pretty much doomed from the start, so I guess it doesn’t matter who picks them out. (I wrote a character analysis/deconstruction ages ago about Menolly’s status as a Canon-Sue; maybe I should have done one for Lessa as well).

  14. genesistrine April 8, 2018 at 3:38 pm

    Well, this is pre-Lessa and the whole “Queens can TOO fly!” thing, so I’m willing to accept that a Weyrwoman who’s terrified of heights wouldn’t cause the same level of concern as, say, a bronze rider with the same problem.

    I would be too, except that according to the text Jora has literally nothing going for her. No-one has a good word to say about her, no-one spends time with her, she has no demonstrated talents or abilities other than being eh-kinda-pretty-I-guess. We’re not given any reason as to why anyone would take the trouble to get someone with such a crippling fear of heights up on a dragon and to the Weyr in the first place, however unimportant they thought the role of Weyrwoman actually was. Why her?

  15. genesistrine April 8, 2018 at 3:40 pm

    Sorry, italics attack. Should just be “trouble” and “why her?” italicised.

  16. Silver Adept April 9, 2018 at 9:14 am

    @ Nothing –

    There’s no indication that I know of that will say Sitta is Lessa’s actual mother, but that we can make an implication and it doesn’t seem out of place says a lot about the work that’s going on here.

    @ genesistrine and Sontin –

    Blues are canonically very good at finding candidates, and from what little has been shown off the process, the blues are tuned to people that have strong mental abilities. So, theoretically, what Jora has going for her is a high psi rating that will help her control her queen, and in turn, control the dragons.

    None of this is actually said, of course, because there’s no narrative purpose in making Jora anything other than the person everyone hates and that nobody finds anything other than grotesque. And there’s no reason to believe that Search dragons didn’t find other candidates that would have been better queen riders, whether inside or outside of the Weyr.

    Past “the narrative of an earlier book says we have to,” there’s no reason why Jora is Weyrwoman.

  17. emmy April 11, 2018 at 7:57 am

    Without having read the book at all (this is past the point where I stopped), I’m just going to headcanon Jora as a cuddly puppy-loving girl who had a zillion animal friends and was a completely natural choice for both a search dragon and Impression (high empathy score), but she then annoyed the heck out of all the dragonriders by being the wrong kind of ultra-feminine.

    A girl who wants to bake cookies and play dress-up and talk to her pets all the time, but is grossed out by anything resembling blood or sex and is slightly timid and non-confrontational, which leads to her quickly being read as weak and useless. She’s not headstrong at all, so their standard procedures for ‘breaking’ a woman into line don’t work with her – she just weeps, and they give up in disgust.

    From that start point I can easily imagine that Jora actually heard all dragons, but never told anybody because no one ever asked her. The weyr generally reacts to her with barely-polite tolerance to her face, and eye-rolling disdain behind her back.

    Deciding that she’s just useless and not up to the job, people don’t bother bringing her the sort of tasks that are traditionally left to the Weyrwoman, then blame her for not doing a better job managing the Weyr. But again, not to her face. They just mutter, while she surrounds herself further with pets and comforts because she’s otherwise alone.

    We know she’ll end up with F’lon in the next mating flight, and become strongly attached to him and devastated when he dies. We also know he has at least two children with other women, but NOT with Jora. Perhaps she had no interest in sexuality at all, and she and F’lon reached an agreement offscreen in which she would put up with the mating flights because she had to, but otherwise they would be nonsexual companions. And so she devotes herself to him because he feels like the only one willing to find out what SHE wants, even though he doesn’t actually love her. When he finally dies, she feels utterly alone, and deeply resents the Weyr for having taken over her whole life – and develops into the Jora who “rarely stirred from her apartments” before she died.

    Obviously this is all just me making up ideas, but there is room here for Jora to be an interesting character.

  18. genesistrine April 11, 2018 at 2:19 pm

    @SilverAdept: there’s no reason to believe that Search dragons didn’t find other candidates that would have been better queen riders, whether inside or outside of the Weyr.

    F’lon makes a crack about “I could wish there’d been more choice for Nemorth than that Jora!”, which is why I’ve been assuming she was the only candidate.

    there’s no narrative purpose in making Jora anything other than the person everyone hates and that nobody finds anything other than grotesque.

    Well, I guess it depends on what prequels should do, really. AMC only seems interested in telling us how great her favourite characters are and how everyone else is a poopyhead, but a good prequel ought to be able to show things changing, giving us new insights into characters, etc etc. As with emmy’s remarks below – something like that could give us new insight into Jora; we could have had new insight into Fax; what he wants and why he chose that way to get it, but no, evil/bully/nobody-does-anything, business as usual.

    @emmy: a possible explanation for her fear of heights; there are illness that can affect balance: . So it’s possible that her balance was perfectly normal when she Impressed, but she got an inner-ear infection or something later. Which would have only added to the problems she was having with the Weyr (and vice verse)

  19. Silver Adept April 11, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    @ genesistrine –

    I’d forgotten that comment. Still weird, though, if Jora really was the only candidate.

    And thank you for pointing out my ambiguity – when I said “no narrative reason,” I meant “the narrative is giving us no reason” rather than “there’s no reason the narrative could.” You and emmy both point out lots of ways that this work could provide context and characterization to people who were previously flat. Maybe Jora was a fine candidate, but one of the plagues gave her inner ear problems and she became terrified, not of heights, but of the vertigo she experiences when she realizes how high up she is. I would expect a writer to add these details, but this one seems set only on expanding the story of her chosen one, and definitely not in taking a hard look at Weyr customs and how they are utterly falling Jora right now.

  20. genesistrine April 11, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    Yeah, there’s no reason the narrative couldn’t. Except for its author.

    AMC likes happy endings for her protagonists, and there’s no happy ending for poor Jora. Any sympathetic narrative would involve far too deep a look at her utopian society, and why it wouldn’t be utopian for very many of the people in it….

  21. Firedrake April 11, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    genesistrine, back in Dragonflight it seemed that respect for the Weyrs was declining; perhaps some of them were refusing to send their daughters off to a life of depravity and freethinking when they could be useful marriage pawns instead, and thus not enough (female) candidates? (Obviously that’s not consistent with this, where Fax is a one-of-a-kind rather than a particularly clear symptom of the general decay.)

  22. Wingsrising April 11, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    @Firedrake: That parenthetical made me think that one of the things that I find weird about this whole book is that it really highlights the Early Installment Weirdness of Dragonflight. This is clearly not set in the same world that Dragonflight was. Neither was, say, The White Dragon but the fact that this is meant to be a prequel to Dragonflight really makes it obvious.

  23. genesistrine April 12, 2018 at 12:53 am

    @Firedrake: I can certainly see that as an explanation for a drop in numbers, but then again, how enthusiastically is someone going to say no to a bloke with a giant carnivorous flamethrower? And respect for the Weyr was at an all-time low on Lessa’s Search, and they still fielded a choice of candidates for Ramoth.

    So I think I have to stick with my meta explanation that this is because AMC is so contemptuous of Jora that she can’t imagine a dragon would pick her if it had the choice. It’s so weird. I’ve been trying to think of other examples of a published writer so obviously loathing a character, and can only think of Ariana Franklin writing Rosamund the Fair, and that’s another example of “omg this character is so icky because she’s FAT”.

    It’s kind of creeping me out.

  24. Silver Adept April 14, 2018 at 9:15 am

    The book is not done fat-shaming Jora, either, so there’s still plenty yet to come. It’s like the author took everything they loathed in a character and rolled it all up into Jora. I can understand writing characters you personally don’t like or don’t want to be, but they usually serve some sort of narrative purpose or plot advancement and make themselves necessary to what’s going on. Jora’s only here so that she can keep a timeline consistent, and the author isn’t even trying to hide this fact by making everyone contemptuous of her.

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