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Old Mar 24 2009, 09:32 PM   #1
Larith
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Default Masterharper Of Pern Inconsistencies

So I've finally gotten to Masterharper and I've heard there is a lot of inconsistencies with this one. So can I get a list of things that were wrong in this book I may miss or may have already? I'm about half way through.

On the topic of the story, that itself is good but Robinton himself annoys me a bit. He is the epitome of what a Gary Stu is and people are always saying Jaxom is the Stu! He's just too perfect! He is utterly flawless, a prodigy, AND is the only male on Pern who's ever heard dragons! I'm probably going to be beaten down for this but like I said apart from the inconsistencies and Robinton I'm really liking this book.
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Old Mar 24 2009, 10:16 PM   #2
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I like the book. Dragons CAN make themselves heard by most if the really want. Most don't bother. IMO
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Old Mar 25 2009, 03:37 AM   #3
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I enjoy the book too, but its mostly a guilty pleasure. I completely agree that Robinton is a Gary Stu for the novel: seemingly brilliant and perfect, naturally talented, blessed with being brave enough or empathic enough to warrant dragon attention, and somehow extremely well-adjusted despite an emotionally absent father and what essentially boils down to a tumultuous divorce between his parents. Also, Robinton must have developed teleportation abilities of his own, because he always seemed to be at whatever hold or weyr the important action or events were.

I loved the chapters with Halanna, however. I loved the courting of Kaisa, too. Its a shame that she couldn't have stuck around more, but she obviously was going to be gone before DF. Didn't have to die, though.

The whole exchange between Robinton and Silvina was great. I also liked how Camo unsettled him. For someone like Robinton, his disappointment and unease and guilt and compassion for Camo is delightfully conflicted, believable, and a complex flaw that builds his character.
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Old Mar 25 2009, 04:22 AM   #4
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Why should you be beaten down for liking this? I hate statements like that.

I liked the book, too, very much so in fact. Disliked the inconsistencies of course and maybe Robie might indeed have been a little less genius but there are real gems and fantastic writing in this book. The "wall has two sides" is worth a short story in itself and I love the Robinton-Kasia part, the fact that that isn't your typical love story with the young wife dying (which must have often happened in a society like Pern's) etc.

The thing I could have done without is the fact that Robinton was there at Ruatha when things came to a head between Less/F'lar and Fax. I felt that did nothing for the book, it didn't add anything and should have had at least one reference in the early Ninth Pass books. As an editor I would have cut that part.

As far as I know there is no dedicated list of inconsistencies. You could do a search. One thing I remember is discussing the anne-consistency of Robinton not nowing how to sail in the Ninth Pass while being a relative good sailor in MHoP
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Old Mar 25 2009, 08:27 AM   #5
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Default Re: Masterharper Of Pern Inconsistencies

I'm another one who really enjoyed the book. I could have done without him talking to dragons so much, as that's pretty inconsistant with later events. And like Hans I could have done without the retrofit to put Robie at Ruatha when Fax is killed, but even that I've come to accept as part of Robinton's knack for being in the right place at the right time (and often saying the right thing).

I also don't think it turns Robie into a Gary Stu. If MHoP had been the first book about Robinton, then I would agree he's a Gary Stu, but because it's a prequel which explains well how he turned out to be the MasterHarper and have the relationship he did with his father, I don't see it that way.

Given that this man is a great MasterHarper, wouldn't you expect him to have had a rather extraordinary childhood? Would you expect Robinton to have not have been musically-gifted, politically-smooth-talking, or estranged from his father? How could he then turned into the man we meet in the later-set books?
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Old Mar 25 2009, 12:21 PM   #6
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A very good point, Cheryl!
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Old Mar 25 2009, 12:46 PM   #7
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The hyperdramatic "estranged from his father" bit could very easily have been tossed. For one reason: it makes it hard to go from Petiron the jerk to Petiron Menolly's beloved mentor. And I don't see anything later in Robinton's life that suggests he needs to have had some kind of bad relationship--certainly not his noninvolvement in Camo's direct raising because on Pern he would NOT be. Also it was all just a bit much--prodigy WITH a traumatic childhood WITH a tragic lost love WITH being at every major event was all just a bit too far. You could write off the lack of marriage easily with a prodigy and brilliant politician who has never really had the luxury--maybe just a relationship that must end because his duty comes first.

And the talking with dragons was another "Huh" with what's already been written. If it had been a single one-time event when he was four or so, he could have forgotten. But it doesn't make sense he wouldnt' know what he was hearing in DQ when it happened more than once.
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Old Mar 25 2009, 12:48 PM   #8
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I suppose it could be a case of trying very hard NOT to be like your parent...

I like most parts of the book, but not the whole, for the reasons already described.

I always wanted to know what Falloner did to be sent away from the Weyr!
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Old Mar 25 2009, 02:26 PM   #9
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I always suspected it was nothing but give Corana an excuse to insist he be sent away....
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Old Mar 25 2009, 05:40 PM   #10
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Corana?
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Old Mar 25 2009, 11:34 PM   #11
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The hyperdramatic "estranged from his father" bit could very easily have been tossed. For one reason: it makes it hard to go from Petiron the jerk to Petiron Menolly's beloved mentor.

And the talking with dragons was another "Huh" with what's already been written. If it had been a single one-time event when he was four or so, he could have forgotten. But it doesn't make sense he wouldnt' know what he was hearing in DQ when it happened more than once.
I actually have no problem with Petiron's relationship with Menolly. She was not competition for his wife's love.

As for forgetting dragons...even if it had just been the one occurrence, I don't think any Pernese could forget a dragon speaking to them. Rather momentous event. And Robie LOVED dragons to the point of being willing to try to touch one. He wouldn't forget, even one time.

I do love the book...I just skip around some parts.
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Old Mar 26 2009, 01:02 AM   #12
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I always suspected it was nothing but give Corana an excuse to insist he be sent away....
Umm wasn't Corana to do with Jaxom in "The White Dragon", G.T.?
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Old Mar 26 2009, 03:40 AM   #13
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I always suspected it was nothing but give Corana an excuse to insist he be sent away....
Jaxom was whoring with the deceased Benden Weyrwoman? That just makes things so much more...dynamic? All of a sudden. O_O

(I think you meant Carola )
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Old Mar 26 2009, 07:15 AM   #14
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Default Re: Masterharper Of Pern Inconsistencies

Logically; given the way Ruth can flit around timing it, Jaxom could have flitted back to when she wasn't dead (if really fancied her).

I think it would take a very good Masterharper to keep track of all the Pern Anne-consistancies.
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Old Mar 26 2009, 10:25 AM   #15
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I actually have no problem with Petiron's relationship with Menolly. She was not competition for his wife's love.
And sometimes, people, after reflecting on parts of their lives, will realize how badly they screwed up a part of their lives, and try to redeem themselves.

I think this has a lot to do with why Petiron treated Menolly so kindly. That, and he may have been desperate to talk about music, and she was the only one there that showed any signs of competence. She did serve an unofficial apprenticeship under him.

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Old Mar 26 2009, 12:17 PM   #16
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After having to deal with girls like Halanna, Petiron must have been absolutely thrilled to have a student who was truly talented and truly loved music. Music is what caused their relationship to become what it did: the teacher-student relationship first, then the mentor, then the confidante.
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Old Mar 27 2009, 03:15 AM   #17
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After having to deal with girls like Halanna, Petiron must have been absolutely thrilled to have a student who was truly talented and truly loved music. Music is what caused their relationship to become what it did: the teacher-student relationship first, then the mentor, then the confidante.
Halanna didn't hate music, it just wasn't her first priority. I see what you're saying, though. Being at an isolated hold where few appreciate music, let alone have the skill, and other harpers were unlikely to be able to stop by must have made Menolly a hot commodity in Petiron's eyes.
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Old Mar 27 2009, 04:00 AM   #18
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Wasn't she lucky then.

Can you imagine what her life would have been like if Petiron hadn't been posted there and some 'fumble fingered' journeyman had taken the posting instead?
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Old Mar 27 2009, 04:53 AM   #19
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If Petiron hadn't gone to Half Circle Dunca might have been Robinton's stepmother
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Old Mar 27 2009, 09:43 AM   #20
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If Petiron hadn't gone to Half Circle Dunca might have been Robinton's stepmother
That's a horrible thought. I hope Petiron would have had more sense than that.

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Old Mar 27 2009, 11:12 AM   #21
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He did Dunca's advances were an important reason for him wanting a posting to the other end of Pern!
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Old Mar 28 2009, 09:54 AM   #22
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If Petiron hadn't gone to Half Circle Dunca might have been Robinton's stepmother
I think that Petiron would have asked to be taken between before that happened!
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Old Mar 28 2009, 04:51 PM   #23
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If they had married; I think that DUNCA might prefered to be between too.
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Old Apr 22 2009, 05:34 AM   #24
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So, I've just finished this book and I was wondering if we could go back to that list of inconsistencies for a minute because I didn't really notice anything hugely wrong with it.

1. Robinton was at Ruatha, even though he wasn't in Dragonflight.
I agree that this feels a little tacked-on, but so much of the book had been about Robinton's concern over Fax and his involvement with other incidents that the events at Ruatha would need to be covered somehow, otherwise the books would just leave it hanging.
Besides DF never explicitly said he wasn't there, and everything where he makes it known he was happens whilst our attention is elsewhere, so it's possible to reconcile the two.

2. Robinton speaks to dragons, but is suprised in later books that he can.
I seem to remember it did specifcally say somewhere that a dragon had never spoken to him before, which would be a flat contradiction, but not really a major issue. Alternatively if it doesn't say that they'd never talked to him before his suprise is not at all...suprising, because after F'lon died I think the only dragon that spoke to him was C'gan's Tagath, and then only once. He'd probably assumed they never would again.

3. Robinton doesn't know how to sail in later books.
Well, again it had been years. I'm not sure I remember how to set up Scuba diving equipment and it's only been a year and a half since I last did it, it's entirely possible he'd forget how to sail since it's not something he ever did regularly.

Are there any I've missed? Because that seems like a very short list of relatively minor issues for a book that a lot of people have deemed almost unreadable or a complete contradiction of everything that came later.
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Old Apr 22 2009, 11:25 AM   #25
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It's more of a "whole is the sum of its parts" thing. There's a lot of little niggling parts that were a bit...off. If the whole book was smooth and only had one or two of those things, eh. We'd pick it apart anyway, but the general concensus would be more positive. But between the inconsistancies and the fact that Robinton, greatest Harper evern born, never felt truly GREAT in this book, MHoP was something of a disappointment.

I was re-reading The Heritage of Hastur by Marion Zimmer Bradley. In it, one of the characters, Lew, does some family and feud-reconcilliation, much like Robinton mends the feud between the two families in the bowl scene. Had the scene in MHoP been written like the scene in Marzion Zimmer Bradley's book, nobody would kevetch about it--MZB's scene, although only about three lines long, had a gravitas that Robinton's scene SHOULD have had, and didn't. So it wasn't just the inconsistancies that cause issues, but the fact that the book itself just wasn't written all that tightly. (AMC has done work just as good as MZB, after all...we know she can do it. But it didn't really happen in this book.)
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Old Apr 22 2009, 12:49 PM   #26
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It's more of a "whole is the sum of its parts" thing. There's a lot of little niggling parts that were a bit...off. If the whole book was smooth and only had one or two of those things, eh. We'd pick it apart anyway, but the general concensus would be more positive. But between the inconsistancies and the fact that Robinton, greatest Harper evern born, never felt truly GREAT in this book, MHoP was something of a disappointment.
This. It's not so much any ONE thing as all of them together. I mean, I would probably forgive everything else, kvetch a bit but not dislike the book, without the DF ending. That pushed it from "a bit much" into "raging Gary Stu territory."

Can't make any MZB comparisons--I've only gotten through "Mists of Avalon". I like Anne's worlds better.
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Old Apr 22 2009, 01:19 PM   #27
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The thing that annoys me most about MHoP is the way women qualify at a Master level (Oldive's predecessor at the Healer Hall and at least one female Fishcraftmaster) all of a sudden, yet not 50 years later Menolly gets into big trouble when she wants to join the Harper Hall as an apprentice.
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Old Apr 22 2009, 01:54 PM   #28
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The thing that annoys me most about MHoP is the way women qualify at a Master level (Oldive's predecessor at the Healer Hall and at least one female Fishcraftmaster) all of a sudden, yet not 50 years later Menolly gets into big trouble when she wants to join the Harper Hall as an apprentice.
Yeah, that's one of the things that bothered me the first time I read the book the first time. I know I even had a discussion about it with my mother at some point, and how it didn't make logical sense.
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Old Apr 22 2009, 05:16 PM   #29
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That one does make sense to me in a strange way.

I admit it feels weird to me, especially since so many people who are opposed to the idea must have been apprenticed under female masters themselves. But there are many parallels on earth. A survey done about a year ago in the UK said something like 80% of adults had good or great memories of climbing trees as a child and 75% would not allow their children to climb trees because it's too dangerous.

As far as women's roles go we've generally seen the reverse in recent years but it's still similar logic - people who grew up probably never thinking twice about all those things which were clearly a man's job and not something a woman could do even if she wanted to (which of course she wouldn't) would now be shocked and confused at the idea of denying a woman the chance to do the job purely because she's a woman. Of course that doesn't apply to everyone but it is true of many people.

50 years might not seem like a long time, esspecially since it's well within one person's lifetime, but a lot can change in that time and as we've seen the Pernese have a habit of rapidly solidifying anything normal into tradition. It only took one Weyrwoman who was afraid of heights for even dragonriders to start insisting that a queen 'rider' should never actually fly.
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Old Apr 22 2009, 07:47 PM   #30
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That one does make sense to me in a strange way.

I admit it feels weird to me, especially since so many people who are opposed to the idea must have been apprenticed under female masters themselves. But there are many parallels on earth. A survey done about a year ago in the UK said something like 80% of adults had good or great memories of climbing trees as a child and 75% would not allow their children to climb trees because it's too dangerous.
With this, I think it's a matter of adults thinking about things like broken limbs more than kids do--I would be had you polled THEIR parents when THEY were children, the results would have been similar.

Quote:
As far as women's roles go we've generally seen the reverse in recent years but it's still similar logic - people who grew up probably never thinking twice about all those things which were clearly a man's job and not something a woman could do even if she wanted to (which of course she wouldn't) would now be shocked and confused at the idea of denying a woman the chance to do the job purely because she's a woman. Of course that doesn't apply to everyone but it is true of many people.

50 years might not seem like a long time, esspecially since it's well within one person's lifetime, but a lot can change in that time and as we've seen the Pernese have a habit of rapidly solidifying anything normal into tradition. It only took one Weyrwoman who was afraid of heights for even dragonriders to start insisting that a queen 'rider' should never actually fly.
The problem is the Pern presented in Dragonflight does not track with this AT ALL. It's not one Weyrwoman afraid of heights, it's "queens don't fly and NEVER flew." If we take MHOP at face value that's patently absurd. R'gul, S'lel, Manora, Lytol--they are ALL old enough to remember Weyrwomen prior to Jora. It's believable that the decline could happen over the long interval--450 years is plenty room for cultural degredation--but MHOP would have us believe that we basically went from the Oldtimer's Pern to the opening scenes of DF in, not just fifty years, but pretty much the last twenty or so. We go from having a female Masterhealer to a Holder being unsure that Lessa, the single most powerful woman on the planet as sole queen rider, can read. We have F'lar casually thinking about ripping off Lessa's clothes when she's an unconscious, nameless drudge.


If it were JUST Menolly, that would be one thing--it's easy enough to believe one small holder could have strict ideas about his daughter's role and that maybe, just maybe, the Harper Hall doesn't consider a "Master Singer" to be a real Harper, and that they would think that the Healercraft is just that different. Maybe. But put that with the attitudes towards women in DF and it just does not wash.
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Old Apr 22 2009, 10:45 PM   #31
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Well, we do see a lot of cultural change going on in MHoP.

As for the "Queens can't fly" thing, I always interpreted that as a deliberate and calculated attempt to keep Lessa powerless, which fit into a long list of things she was mis- and uninformed about.

The holder who wasn't sure if Lessa could read didn't seem to be especially well educated himself - it was probably rare for even men of his class to be literate, and I doubt he had much exposure to more powerful people. Half-Circle Seahold was well-established as being pretty backward, and the only real opposition Menolly actually got at Harper Hall was from one misogynistic Master and apprentices who wouldn't know about past precedent and probably wouldn't care if they did.

Admittedly, I'm mostly playing devil's advocate here. I really don't think the "Queen's don't fly part" is an inconsistency in depiction of Pernese society, but for the others, yeah, even if the individual elements can be handwaved, the fact that there are so many of them definietly seems a bit off.
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Old Apr 23 2009, 12:30 AM   #32
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With this, I think it's a matter of adults thinking about things like broken limbs more than kids do--I would be had you polled THEIR parents when THEY were children, the results would have been similar.
The difference being that adults then mostly accepted that children, particularly boys, are attracted by and need "danger" to grow. Most of them would've called parenting today mollycoddling, and not in a good way.

The problem with MHoP is that it was written in a different era from DF, and women's roles in our society are somewhat different to what they were. Anne's said so herself several times. However, since she wrote for contemporary readers, she should've IMO left Robinton's era alone and either continued the post-AIVAS story to its logical conclusion (the end of thread and the death of Lessa and F'lar, probably from old age) or started writing in a completely new Pass where the rules could be different.
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Old Apr 23 2009, 01:59 AM   #33
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The problem with MHoP is that it doesn't match anything of what we were told about the interval at all in other books, including the roles of women, Sebell's entire storyline, the level of threat Fax offered, how involved Benden was with the rest of the world and a bunch of other stuff I remember being really irritated by when I read the book 5 years ago but can't recall now because I've never made it through that thing twice. Also Robinton's totally a Stu, and that's annoying in and of itself.

Writing for modern readers isn't really a good excuse for retconning as much as she does in this book. I've read plenty of dark SF and fantasy with lots of outrageous gender roles that was written within the past decade, so that excuse really doesn't fly for me. And trying to shoehorn in all the changes with explanations, like Calinlily's explanation for why Lessa would be told queens can't fly, only carries it so far, and not far enough IMHO. Though that is a pretty clever explanation, even if it doesn't explain why all the other riders help carry the lie.
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Old Apr 23 2009, 05:03 AM   #34
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Remember that 50 years ago in the US something like twenty-four states had laws which made it illegal to employ any married female in any role whatever.
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Old Apr 23 2009, 05:28 AM   #35
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Remember that 50 years ago in the US something like twenty-four states had laws which made it illegal to employ any married female in any role whatever.
So then it'd be equally valid to say that 50 years from now things'll return to limited freedom for women? Well, actually it is, it's the future, who knows, but the changes that occur still don't match the mass amnesia that apparently overtook Pern at the same time, causing everyone to forget that queens can in fact fly and that women also obtain craft mastery. I prefer the much simpler explanation that it's just a badly written book.
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Old Apr 23 2009, 02:13 PM   #36
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So then it'd be equally valid to say that 50 years from now things'll return to limited freedom for women? Well, actually it is, it's the future, who knows, but the changes that occur still don't match the mass amnesia that apparently overtook Pern at the same time, causing everyone to forget that queens can in fact fly and that women also obtain craft mastery. I prefer the much simpler explanation that it's just a badly written book.
Agreed. In fifty years, there'll be limited freedom, AND everyone, including those who are old enough to remember otherwise, will act like it was never any other way in living memory? The attitudes and behavior of the characters in DF do not make any sense compared to those in MHoP, INCLUDING THOSE WHO ARE THE SAME PEOPLE. When they talk about vague rumors and stories of queens flying, it's not "back when Lytol and I were kids", it's "in the ballad of Moreta's ride". I don't think it's just about the era in which the books were written, either--the Pern of DF is a VERY brutal place, and I think that was intentional--Lessa is a transformative heroine in many respects.
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Old Apr 23 2009, 08:17 PM   #37
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Another point is that there are two queens for quite a while in MHoP, where in DF "Benden has only had one queen for so long that the legends of a Queen's wing are regarded as black heresy!"

And Sebell. In DQ he's either an apprentice or journeyman as of the wedding gather; in DSi, he's "only just walked the tables" as a journeyman. How can he have been Robinton's right-hand-man for over a decade and yet only just walking the tables?
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Old May 3 2009, 06:10 PM   #38
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If Petiron hadn't gone to Half Circle Dunca might have been Robinton's stepmother
AAAARRRGGGHHHH!! No, not Dunca!!! yechh. Petiron fortunately showed way more class than that.
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Old Apr 10 2017, 02:53 PM   #39
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I know this is an old post, but I have just recently reread MHOP and had to chip in. There are some MASSIVE inconsistencies that drive me crazy.

1. As noted - Women craftmasters. As noted by others, in Dragonflight and Dragonsinger, the idea of women craftmasters, and even women reading, is unheard of.

2. The Crossing - Petiron is writing a composition on the Crossing (the coming to Pern and crossing to the North) Yet in White Dragon, all anyone knows is that man came to Pern and established a hold in the south. There's even some debate on whether Fort is the original establishment or the Southern Continent.

3. The Charter - This REALLY bugs me. Everyone apparently knows the Charter. It's even called the charter AND they have the original preserved under glass at the Harpercrafthall. Yet, in AWOP, Lytol makes a big point on how they're still operating under the original Charter and how amazing that is. As if the Charter had been completely forgotten and just rediscovered with AIVAS. Additionally, IF they had the original Charter, they would know a whole lot more about their beginnings than is apparent.

4. Sebell's age. Again, something that REALLY bugs me. In Dragonquest and Dragonsinger, Sebell is a young man who JUST became a jouneyman. Piemer makes a point of saying how Sebell just recently walked the tables. Yet, in MHOP he's already a journeyman and Robinton's right hand man by the start of Dragonflight. It would also make him about 37 in Dragonquest and Dragonsinger, definitely NOT a young man as described by Menolly, and also MUCH older than Menolly, MORE THAN 20 YEARS! WAAAYYY too old for them to get together. I have to say, this is probably what bugs me the most. TOTALLY unnecessary, and COMPLETELY ruins the timelines of other books.

5. Weyr-hold relations. This is another big inconsistency. In Dragonflight, a big deal is made of how F'lar gets rid of old traditions - using non-weyrbred as candidates, inviting outsiders to hatching, etc. In Dragonquest, the Oldtimers seem shocked and aghast at the idea of using non-weyrbred (refusing F'lar's offer of candidates) and of opening up impressions. Yet in MHOP, the Weyr only stops doing this after F'lon's death.

6. Queen's flying. As others have mentioned, F'lar states that Benden only had one queen at a time for a long time. Also, noone remembers queens flying. IF the Weyr had been isolated, like all the Weyrs were in the 8th pass, during the interval, there would have been no need for the queen to fly, and everyone would be shocked by seeing Ramoth fly (like they are in Dragonflight). However, if Nemorth was the only queen that didn't fly, why is everyone so shocked?

These are just the major ones off the top of my head, I'm sure there are more.
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Old Apr 13 2017, 03:01 PM   #40
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Okay, Anne wasn't perfect, with infallible recall: that's why we used to talk about Anneconsistancies.
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