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Old Apr 21 2011, 11:58 PM   #41
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

It seems to me that there are occasions when the weather isn't so constant. Where I live the weather usually comes out of the west but not always. And some of the worse weather events, including hurricanes, sometimes travel east to west and sometimes west to east.
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Old Apr 22 2011, 12:03 AM   #42
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Works the same here in the north east, most weather moves in from West to East, But The worst storms are from the North East, Hence the name Nor'easter.
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Old Apr 27 2011, 12:33 PM   #43
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Sorry for my (cowardly) siesta. I am still working on the next part of this, which covers The White Dragon. I got partly through then wandered off to read some other book when I got ticked at Jaxom's sex-of-ambiguous-consent with Corana. :-/

As I said in my very first post, I never thought I'd convince anyone with this. I'm just having fun, even when I debate.

I like awmotb's quirky theory that Petiron is Menolly's father, and this was why Yanus was so upset about her tuning. I can't see it happening, because Petiron/Mavi seems very unlikely and I don't see why Yanus would treat Menolly as his child if he suspected she wasn't when he had so many real heirs...she could just be a fosterling at Half Circle if Petiron was her father...but wouldn't it be FUN for Menolly to be Robinton's much-younger half-sister? That's such a fun theory. Funfunfun. Not practical in my mind, but fun.

Moving on...quoting Greenrider Tresa...

Quote:
If there's any wording that might be taken as indicative of romance because it was used that way elsewhere, coudln't that just be because McCaffrey also wrrote romance and used those phrases or actions out of habit?
And quoting Ryuu...

Quote:
Something to keep in mind: before Pern, Anne was a romance writer, so something of the subtext that Domini pointed out is going to be there.
I admit, I'd have to get a few ebooks together and use a word analysis across all her books to be able to prove it conclusively. That certain words trigger certain nuances for me (cries, slender) doesn't mean those nuances were intended, just that I have a biased interpretation of them. We'd need some real analysis to know conclusively one way or another.

But. You don't just interject phrases as a writer because you're used to using them. You'd literally end up with nonsense. Even if you've used them a thousand times before, they have a meaning, and you choose to use them again when that meaning fits what you're writing NOW. So even if the precise words that I pinpointed don't carry the weights that I thought they did, and thus specifically fail in this case to support my argument, in a body of work as big as AMC's we could probably find word patterns and phrases AMC tends to draw upon in certain scenes.

Am I making sense? I think I'm saying, you're right, the specific words I chose as romantic indications might be nothing of the sort. I may be biased. (I probably am.) But my theory is still plausible; AMC may display patterns of word choice and phrasing around known, canon romantic elements in her books we could use on Robinton/Menolly scenes. Without actually running some sort of word count and phrase analysis we can't conclusively prove your viewpoint OR mine though.

Once I can get my hands on a complete set of ebooks, I may do some sort of essay on my findings.

Golden Talisath - your (first, longest) response is interesting to me, as it encapsulates a reaction to AMC's work that I hypothesized but didn't specifically see anyone vocalize yet (although I wasn't looking seriously). As you point out, there's a lot of wiggle room for interpretation, and you choose to interpret these things as nothing more than a platonic relationship, where I see subtext.

One of the things I've noticed from AMC as a whole across all her works is that she's quite fond of being so subtle that it's easy for a reader to dismiss certain aspects of the ideas and notions she's bringing up. She gives her readers plausible deniability if they don't like some of the conclusions you could come to on what she's written. And a person who doesn't want to hear something is very likely to take that "out" without realizing they're passing something by.

(Anecdotally, I had a reader of one of my fanfics ding me for a relatively light-hearted use of "boo-****ing-hoo" towards a character that was being whiny and bratty, when Anne herself elsewhere had Afra Lyon saying in the book Damia's Children, "Forgot we'd get that with this effing great ball of spit!" The differences between my fanfic content and AMC's originals was one of reader deniability...I was blunt, AMC used euphemisms. Mine was THERE, but with AMC's you could pretend the character didn't actually say "****ing great ball of shit." even though any teen in this day and age would know instantly what AMC meant...or go look it up as I did. (I was sheltered.) The content was the same--both characters were cussing, with a fairly low cuss-to-non-cuss ratio across the entire works, both hers and mine. The difference was in presentation.)

I think this is the technique she used to get gay dragonriders into the series without censorship back in the 70s. (This isn't a tangent with regards to Rob/Menolly; hear me out.) Her setup was subtle enough that those not interested/supportive/receptive to the idea of homosexuality or gay rights could point out that "perhaps she wasn't thinking the logic through with the greens being female with male riders--after all, she didn't portray any male-ridden green flights "on screen" from one of those rider's POV. So why read homosexual things into the weyr system? You're bringing your own bias in!" If you didn't want to see it, you didn't have to. By the time AMC started getting more direct on-screen, proving her subtle allusions to it weren't just being mis-interpreted, there were many, many other examples in the genre that were far more explicit about homosexuality than AMC's ever been.

It's a technique I'm ambivalent about...on one hand, it most definitely was a combo of Anne McCaffrey and Marion Zimmer Bradley and Mercedes Lackey that got me over my initial, "Being gay is icky!" feeling when I was a teen, and of those three, AMC and MZB were subtle about it (and also admittedly predated Lackey by a few decades, so they needed to be). So it's obviously a valid way to expose certain ideas to people who are receptive to them, without causing overt distress among those who are not ready to be receptive to them.

But on the other, because the references to some things in AMC books are so fleeing and subtle, you can never really pin anything down (or explore the deeper ramifications which can get pretty profound)...which is where the debate on Robinton/Menolly comes in. What can we pin down as evidence of a romantic desire that never came to fruition, and what was just a depiction of a paternal or "friendly" non-romantic relationship? Was it meant as a romantic tragedy? Or a subtle encouragement of May/December relationships? Or as some of you think, I'm seeing things that don't exist? AMC leaves so much in our hands.

The whole homosexuality-as-portrayed-in-AMC's-works doesn't directly apply to Robinton/Menolly, since they're male/female. But...it is clear that the subtle wording and subtle forwarding of certain ideas in a non-obvious way is WITHIN AMC's toolkit as a writer. Did she use it here with Robinton/Menolly? Occluding the issue due to maybe the age or authority gap much like she occluded the issue with gay dragonriders? I think yes. But I may be wrong. Did she use it in as many places as I'm seeing it? I don't know. I could be barking up the wrong tree with some of the examples from Dragondrums. You might be very right in that some of the stuff I pointed out is intended as platonic, and even if many readers could see a non-platonic reading it didn't mean AMC meant it that way. But I don't think all of it is...although even then, I'm not entirely certain what point she was trying to make with subtext Robinton/Menolly. AMC seems very careful about relationships, even when all other sorts of details in the books can get screwed up by forgetfulness and the vagaries of time.

I'm such a nerd. I'm not even being geeky here, I'm being outright nerdy.

(Oh, and I hope I don't sound like I'm attacking anyone. I use the quotes I do and reference the posts I do because they help me illustrate things I'm pondering.)
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Old Apr 27 2011, 05:32 PM   #44
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Quote:
But. You don't just interject phrases as a writer because you're used to using them. You'd literally end up with nonsense. Even if you've used them a thousand times before, they have a meaning, and you choose to use them again when that meaning fits what you're writing NOW. So even if the precise words that I pinpointed don't carry the weights that I thought they did, and thus specifically fail in this case to support my argument, in a body of work as big as AMC's we could probably find word patterns and phrases AMC tends to draw upon in certain scenes.
Or just in general. Most writers I know DON'T think about every single tiny word--they'd never get anything done (and turning out finished work is the name of the game). Nitpicking every tiny phrase and word choice is in fact a rookie habit, from the phase when the writer just cannot learn to be finished and quit "crafting". It's a job, after all, not an art, if you're doing it for a living. And most DO have distinct verbal 'tics'--phrases and word choices that are repeated in widely different contexts, quirks given to characters in completely different settings--it's ingrained and part of their style. Anne tends to have a rather florid (for an SF writer; I'm not saying she's Barbara Cartland) style. So I do think the fact she wrote romance first is a valid point--she uses, probably without any conscious choice, a sentence structure and vocabulary that can lend itself to the romantic.
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Old Apr 30 2011, 07:06 AM   #45
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Quote:
Originally Posted by D. M. Domini View Post
Sorry for my (cowardly) siesta. I am still working on the next part of this, which covers The White Dragon. I got partly through then wandered off to read some other book when I got ticked at Jaxom's sex-of-ambiguous-consent with Corana. :-/
I hope you will show us those texts soon, as I respect your point of view (although I may not always agree with it).

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Originally Posted by D. M. Domini View Post
I like awmotb's quirky theory that Petiron is Menolly's father, and this was why Yanus was so upset about her tuning. I can't see it happening, because Petiron/Mavi seems very unlikely and I don't see why Yanus would treat Menolly as his child if he suspected she wasn't when he had so many real heirs...she could just be a fosterling at Half Circle if Petiron was her father...but wouldn't it be FUN for Menolly to be Robinton's much-younger half-sister? That's such a fun theory. Funfunfun. Not practical in my mind, but fun.
Can we hope for a story on this topic, then?

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Originally Posted by D. M. Domini View Post
Golden Talisath - your (first, longest) response is interesting to me (...)
About the ,,longest response'' thing... what can I say? You should see my essays
About the answer... like I said before, different people have different points of view. And your right, some people (including me, I admit) tend to skip some things and not see something that catches the attention of others. But we may never know what the writer wanted to say with some lines, unless we ask him/her themselves. In the meantime, we can guess and give clues and our points of view. I don't think anyone should get angry when others give their response to someone's line or question and it's not exactly what they expected or wanted to hear.
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Old Apr 30 2011, 07:54 PM   #46
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

GoldenTalisath, I can't tell what part of that quote you're responding to.
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Old May 2 2011, 08:24 PM   #47
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

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Or just in general. Most writers I know DON'T think about every single tiny word--they'd never get anything done (and turning out finished work is the name of the game). Nitpicking every tiny phrase and word choice is in fact a rookie habit, from the phase when the writer just cannot learn to be finished and quit "crafting". It's a job, after all, not an art, if you're doing it for a living. And most DO have distinct verbal 'tics'--phrases and word choices that are repeated in widely different contexts, quirks given to characters in completely different settings--it's ingrained and part of their style. Anne tends to have a rather florid (for an SF writer; I'm not saying she's Barbara Cartland) style. So I do think the fact she wrote romance first is a valid point--she uses, probably without any conscious choice, a sentence structure and vocabulary that can lend itself to the romantic.
I get what you're saying...and I half agree. Half agree because what you're talking about and what I'm talking about aren't quite the same thing. But I do understand what you say in your context. And in that context I agree.

As for my context, I'm not hypothesizing that AMC was polishing to a brilliant gleam every single word in her books. (Although some writers DO do this, who are not rookies--take Patrick Rothfuss, who chooses his words SO exceedingly carefully that deep meta-discussion like we are having here with AMC's work *actually applies* to his work...and was also the reason it took years before The Wise Man's Fear came out. He broadcast Kvothe's mother's identity in the first book in a "throw-away" bit of doggerel ONE TIME and it applied to the second book in the series--although he still hasn't come right out and told the fans directly the identity of Kvothe's mother. So yeah, working writers do use this technique, not just rookies--but obviously, not ALL writers do.)

Anyway, I don't think Anne McCaffrey sat down and used calculus or something to figure out the exact weight a word choice would have on us. That's not her style as far as we can tell.

But.

I don't know how to explain what I'm saying, except to make a music simile. In music, in a traditional orchestra, there are musical instruments that have become...typecast. A blare of trumpets for the king. Booming drums for the military, or for action. Eerie bagpipes to unsettle the listener. And you have pitches--deep, masculine sounds to give a song weight. Or a sweet violin solo for the maiden.

Sometimes, instead of words, I "feel" an...orchestra. You have a set of tools around you, and you only pick up particular tools when you need them. You have a pace, the tempo, which is set to make the action quick and heart-pounding, or slow and sleepy. You have high shrill notes/words, or high sweet notes/words. You have bassy rumblings of certain phrases that carry certain nuances. You have sharp percussion, of punctuation, or of consonants. When you write a scene, sometimes you are reaching out to tap something for effect, a chime. Or a drum. Or you're a conductor raising your arms to ask the orchestra to swell. You pull a tried-and-true...bit of architecture out, in order to manipulate human emotion. I've had much, much less musical training than AMC has, and this is how I "feel" it.

It's not nit-picky turd polishing. It's a musician reaching out to tap precisely the note (word) needed, at the tempo (pace) needed, at the volume needed, to provoke a human reaction. And you just DO it, and you move on. No intensive editing needed.

And THAT is what I sense here, and am having a damnable time trying to explain. You pull out...certain words, or certain phrases, that have very distinct nuances, and you pile them together to evoke the human emotion in a scene. Can not a jazz player play improvisationally, using their store of musical phrasings to make that improvisation happy or sad or queerly in between? On the fly? So can a writer, or at least some writers, without having to take a measuring tool, or days upon days of polishing and editing, to choose the nuances of the piece.

It's not turd-polishing...because I have moments like this when I write my rough drafts. Scenes and places where I use a very particular phrase with a very particular nuance as a part of my...tapping-on-the-gong. And I think most creative people, in music or writing or acting or whatever, once they hit a certain level of proficiency, have this internal set of creative tools they draw upon instantly and without thought to create a particular feel. It changes from thought to reflex.

Gosh. I wish I could explain it better. Yes, AMC will have a vocabulary that leans towards the romantic...but that doesn't mean she looses sense of when and where to tap that gong with the phrases just because "she's so used to writing the romantic". And it doesn't mean I expect her to be sitting down raptly examining every nuance of every word she sets to paper. But if you don't take out the measuring tape for each word, it doesn't mean you aren't purposeful or measured. There's an aspect of art, of intuition, to writing, and to communication.

I think she's been "tapping the gong" if I can say that with a straight face, in regards to some of the Robinton/Menolly scenes and interaction. A very soft, very subtle gong, but the gong's still shivering from the mallet underneath the rest of the louder, overpowering orchestra that is the main plot and drive of the DRoP books. I'm just not sure I can prove it with hard evidence, because as with music, it's not a single word here or there, but the way they're strung together with tempo and volume and pitch, to set the emotions and thoughts in play.

/end channeling Robinton

(I am not a Harper, I just trained as one on fiddle for five turns )
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Old May 2 2011, 08:55 PM   #48
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

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Originally Posted by Golden Talisath View Post
I hope you will show us those texts soon, as I respect your point of view (although I may not always agree with it).
I'm trying to find them; I found a narrative I did, but I KNOW I was writing down page numbers and I can't find that. I know I saved it somewhere on this computer...

One thing The White Dragon made clear when I began to read through it is that even though the Harper Hall Trilogy is a Trilogy (ya know, with 3 books) NOW, TWD was released BEFORE DDrums. So, oddly enough, there's a "reveal" of Menolly/Sebell as a couple that reads REALLY peculiarly if you don't realize TWD was published prior to DDrums.

You can't believe the o.O going on in my mind until I thought to check the publication dates!

Quote:
Can we hope for a story on this topic, then?
::stares at the woobie-eyed plot bunny::

::plot bunny stares back::

Shoo. Go on now. I already have 3 or 4 of you to feed, plus that Jaxom/Lessa thing.

::plot bunny stares back, nose twitching::

SHOO!

::plot bunny stares back, with gigantic brown eyes::

I hate you.

(I'd like to write it; I don't know if I'll have the time though in all honestly. Mebbe someone else will adopt it?)
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Old May 2 2011, 09:57 PM   #49
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

I never saw it as much of a reveal - just that Jaxom hadn't met Sebell yet, even if the entire Harper Hall knew about them being an "item"!
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Old May 3 2011, 12:56 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by D. M. Domini View Post
<sinp>
The whole homosexuality-as-portrayed-in-AMC's-works doesn't directly apply to Robinton/Menolly, since they're male/female. (Oh, and I hope I don't sound like I'm attacking anyone. I use the quotes I do and reference the posts I do because they help me illustrate things I'm pondering.)
I understand, my mind just got it self blocked for a bit. We see the start of it from Dragonquest, on not how to do it. http://books.google.com/books?id=OQm...gether&f=false F'nor notes the brighting of the green, and that they should have taken this pair so far from there home Weyr.

We see from Jaxom point of view while a green(s) is 'blooding' kills at Fort Weyr, and how the taking part 'male' riders are reacting to it, they are shown stumbling to the special place for them in the lower caverns. http://books.google.com/books?id=xgK...umbled&f=false
He see it first on the wing tip traning, and the one I've posted is when he is on the ground, he was I don't how to put it 'ready' to chase but Ruth wasn't ready to chase, but was there 'mentally' sharing in what he did in answer to that. The rest of the group were to young and the Weyrlingmaster had keep them busy else were when the green got caught
http://books.google.com/books?id=xgK...caught&f=false
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Old May 4 2011, 08:21 PM   #51
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Ginny, it's really not helpful to quote the entire post when it's that long. I can't tell which part you were replying to.
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Old May 9 2011, 08:10 PM   #52
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

the Menolly /Robinton subtext did come to a head in my opinion, in The White Dragon. On Idarolan's ship, Dawn sister. I'm sure my page number differs, but here is the text of that part of the scene.

It was an endearingly childlike action. Her face, now blotchy from crying, was suddenly so vulnerable that Robinton felt his heart give a startling thump. He smiled tenderly at her, stroked tendrils of her hair back from her face. Tilting her chin up, he kissed her cheek. He felt her hand tighten convulsively on his arm, felt her lean into his kiss with an appeal that set both fire-lizards humming.

Perhaps it was that response from their friends, or the fact that he was so startled that caused him to stiffen, but Menolly swiveled away from him.

"I'm sorry," she said, her head bent, her shoulders sagging.

"So, my dear Menolly, am I," the Harper said as gently as he could. In that instant, he regretted his age, her youth, how much he loved her-the fact that he never could-and the weakness that caused him to admit so much. She turned back to him, her eyes intense with her emotion.
He held up his hand, saw the quick pain in her eyes, as the merest shake of his fingers forestalled all she wanted to say. He sighed, closing his eyes against the pain in her loving eyes. Abruptly he was exhausted by an exchange of understanding that had taken so few moments. As few as at Impression, he thought, and as lasting. He supposed he had always known the dangerous ambivalence of his feelings for the young SeaHold-bred girl whose rare talent he had developed. Ironic that he should be weak enough to admit it, to himself and to her, at such an awkward moment. Obtuse of him not to have recognized the intensity and quality of Menolly's feelings for him. Yet, she'd seemed content enough with Sebell. Certainly they enjoyed a deep emotional and physical attachment. Robinton had done everything in his subtle power to insure that. Sebell was the son he had never had. Better that!

"Sebell . . ." he began, and stopped when he felt her fingers tentatively closing over his.

"I loved you first. Master."

"You've been a dear child to me," he said, willing himself to believe that. He squeezed her fingers in a brisk grip which he broke and, elbowing himself off the pillows, retrieved the cup he had set down and took a long drink.


Sorry about the length there, but that was the spot I believe Domini was searching for.
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Old May 11 2011, 08:13 AM   #53
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

I've changed it, Brenda. It may sound stupid, but I didn't mean to quote the whole thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by D. M. Domini View Post
::stares at the woobie-eyed plot bunny::

::plot bunny stares back::

Shoo. Go on now. I already have 3 or 4 of you to feed, plus that Jaxom/Lessa thing.

::plot bunny stares back, nose twitching::

SHOO!

::plot bunny stares back, with gigantic brown eyes::

I hate you.

(I'd like to write it; I don't know if I'll have the time though in all honestly. Mebbe someone else will adopt it?)
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Dragonman avoid excess
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Old May 31 2011, 04:52 AM   #54
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

I seem to remember in one of the novels, Menolly had her head on his lap and at one point she starts to respond to Robinton's comment on her having Sebell. Robinton stops her from finishing her comment and then the book states that 'he regretted his age and her youth and what could never be', or something along those lines. But the point is, I got the distinct impression that both were mutually attracted, but it was Robinton who kept the distance. It may have been on his voyage to Cove Hold after his heart attack, but I can't remember for certain at this point. I'll have to reread the books to find out for sure! Such a hassle.......WAIT! What am I saying!? Runs off to find the novels....



OOPS!! read most of the posts and then skimmed the last few and missed where the conversation in question was quoted, so, ignore my post. Sorry it's very late here (3 o'clock in the morning to be exact).

Last edited by elvenart; May 31 2011 at 04:55 AM. Reason: saw last post
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