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Old Oct 20 2010, 03:24 AM   #1
D. M. Domini
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Default Robin Hobb dragons & Pern dragons

Little hard to decide which forum this should go into. However, it does rely on (hopefully) one or two of you having read Robin Hobb's Dragon Keeper and Dragon Haven. So, spoilers for those! But it also relates to Pern.

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Ok. Dragon Haven. This is the second book, but you pretty much need to read both to get the character development.

Anyone notice the very, VERY heavy similarities of Sedric as a dragon keeper to a Pernese Dragonrider? While most of the other dragons are very intelligent and have severe over inflation of the ego, the dragon he...well, becomes the keeper of...is mentally limited. It's pointed out several times that his dragon uses his mind (once they are bonded through him consuming her blood) to make her own thoughts more clear, more distinct, more intelligent. And there's a very Impression-like scene where Sedric, afraid, far from home and the comforts he is used to, realizes his whole life and his relationship with a (male) lover who only used him and never loved him has been a sham. And she comes in and gives him unconditional love, where (and when) nobody else could or would...because he really did screw up pretty badly, in these novels. He worries repeatedly that due to her limited intelligence she doesn't know how badly he betrayed her--originally he'd meant to sell bits of her body and her blood to merchants to make his fortune. (And on top of it, his lover was his best friend's husband, and he was the one who convinced his best friend to marry his lover to give his lover an acceptable "front".) He feels his misdeeds should make the dragon turn him away, but she loves him anyway.

Reminds me so strongly of a Pern-like story. I was thinking the entire time...now, this is what the life of a green rider would be like. He's still a coward, he's still someone who had to learn how to be a good man the very hard, rough, and rocky way. He's not a 'born hero' or even 'born scoundral' a bronze rider might be. But the dragon's love is pretty much the only thing that could enable him to be more than what he's fallen to. It's the ladder that lets him climb up again.

This is a great story by itself set in the Assassin/Liveship world, but the specifics of how this thread (heh) of story wound out makes me wonder if it's Robin Hobb's answer to Pernese dragons. Because if you just lifted that thread alone and placed it in a Pernese setting, it would really fit into the Pern universe seamlessly. It's just an amazing story.

Edit: Whoops, submitted too quickly.

One thing that isn't quite touched on in Pern is what the unconditional love of a dragon might do to/for a dragonrider. There's references to a dragon coming before all, even family, but the stories never actually go there...what it must be like to be related to, or have a relationship with, a man or woman whose personality weaknesses are shored up by the unconditional love from and for a dragon. You could get some pretty freaky neglect from a dragonrider towards his or her loved ones, and some really hard-bitten situations. And all of that could make some fantastic stories. Not pretty stories, but interesting ones.
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Old Oct 21 2010, 12:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: Robin Hobb dragons & Pern dragons

I've read the first one in this series but not the second. You haven't spoiled it for me with said spoiler as I kind of guessed that something would head down that path after reading the first one. Will need to find the second one as my pile of books looks rather small at the moment for reading at night-time
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Old Oct 21 2010, 12:41 AM   #3
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Default Re: Robin Hobb dragons & Pern dragons

Sorry didn't think that once while reading Hobb's books. Do agree that they are great books though.
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Old Oct 22 2010, 05:06 PM   #4
D. M. Domini
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Default Re: Robin Hobb dragons & Pern dragons

Canker - now that I've pointed it out, do you see the similarities? I'm talking very specifically about Sedric; Robin Hobb's dragons are distinct and the other ones don't have the same parallels.

(In fact, most of Robin Hobb's dragons and elderlings strike me as an opposite of a Pern-like dragonrider relationship, since humans are perceived as lesser beings, *agree* to the dragons that they are lesser beings, and are required to constantly stroke the ego of dragons with praise. Despite the characters striving towards being keepers/elderlings, I always come off with a bad taste in my mouth. It's hard to watch characters purposely choosing to be servants, which is probably entirely due to my own biases.)
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