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Old Oct 25 2011, 05:44 AM   #1
D. M. Domini
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Default Petiron

I just had a thought...

I've been researching Asperger's Syndrome (partially on the basis that I think I might have it), and Petiron, as a character, seems to display some traits in MHoP that seem typical of this syndrome.

Asperger's Syndrome is considered to be on the autism spectrum, but high functioning. Here's a bit of what the Wikipedia says:

Quote:
Asperger syndrome or Asperger's syndrome or Asperger disorder is an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. It differs from other autism spectrum disorders by its relative preservation of linguistic and cognitive development.
With Petiron, consider:

* He was the Master Composer, and his work was often complicated and ornate, as opposed to Robinton's simpler tunes
* There is little evidence that he had hobbies other than his interest in music
* Petiron was able to completely miss his son's talents at first, and later more focused on not appearing to advocate favoritism than actual care for his son; he demonstrated limited empathy for a person who could not yet keep with him intellectually
* Petiron worked better with older, more disciplined students, as opposed to younger, less disciplined ones
* He also missed his wife's emotional nuances
* There's no reference to Petiron contacting Merelan when she left him and went to Benden with Robinton; he seems to have just let her and his son go
* He didn't seem to exhibit guile in his behaviors. He did not scheme or plan anything; he was dense and stubborn on some topics but forthright
* Merelan was a very empathic and loving woman, the sort that might have tolerance for others that are "different", enough tolerance to love one for his positive traits such as his mind and talent while overlooking empathic difficulties
* By the time Menolly came to him, many many many turns later, he seemed to have learned more nuance and understanding. I've read that many aspie folks do learn tolerance as they grow older...they just learn this form of empathy much slower and in more of a brute-force way than the more intuitive way of non-aspies. Petiron was at the end of his life when he met Menolly. I've also interacted directly with someone who I believe is an aspie, and he spoke to me about how much of a colossal jerk he was when younger, and how he has to work with himself to be less arrogant and more understanding and forgiving. These traits seem to have dulled with time, certainly by the time I met him, like Petiron's were shown to.
* Although I don't think Camo displayed classic "autism" traits as McCaffrey wrote him, I don't have enough experience with autistic people to know for sure. However, if Petiron could be considered an aspie, you could theorize that perhaps Camo was autistic, and not just affected by being born with the cord around his throat, as asperger's/autism spectrum disorders are heritable, and Robinton was likely a carrier
* Asperger's might not have been considered a genetic disease by the colonists; people with aspie traits make good scientists and intellectuals because they focus so completely on their topic of choice. The social difficulties are...well, difficult...but otherwise they bring a lot to the table with their mental skills. So it's conceivable that they were not screened out, and in some cases were welcomed

Fanderal and Wansor are two other characters displaying these traits, except without the specific social mishaps Petiron is written to have in MHoP. But that could be because we never see them "up close".
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Old Oct 25 2011, 07:50 PM   #2
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Default Re: Petiron

It could be.

It could also be that he was very, very talented at a young age. If he was treated as if he could do no wrong, than he just assumed he had the right to do what he wanted. After all rules did not apply to HIM.

Like the way sports stars are treated today. As long as they are good in sports rules do not apply for them They are above the rules. For some it starts in high school. They get by with stuff that would get any other student kicked out. They are not taught how to act in most social acceptable ways. At least that is how they are treated here.
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Old Oct 26 2011, 01:56 AM   #3
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Default Re: Petiron

He sounds like a lot of academics I know. They don't all have Aspergers, as far as I can tell, but they do get so used to thinking in certain ways and certain areas and with too similar people that their mindsets can become restricted out of habit.

The fact that Petiron mellowed once he'd moved out of academia per se and into a realm where there were people with more important concerns than music may have allowed him to stretch those atrophied mental muscles again.

I do think your thesis could hold water - but this is my alternative. And for what it's worth, Fandarel and Wansor also look more like normal academics to me. Out of the three of them Petiron is perhaps the best candidate for someone with Aspergers IMO.

Nice thread!
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Old Oct 26 2011, 06:25 PM   #4
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Default Re: Petiron

I've always thought of Petiron as one of those child geniuses that was so dedicated and, perhaps, pushed into his talent that he never really gained the social skills that most of us ordinary people develop by the time we reach adolescence. He was dedicated to Merelan, as was shown several times in the novel Masterharper, but his relationships with others, most especially his son, Robinton, showed some of his flaws.
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Old Oct 27 2011, 06:51 AM   #5
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I don't know about arperger's but Camo suffered from a lack of oxegen by his birth.
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Old Oct 27 2011, 09:19 PM   #6
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He also came from Telgar Hold on of the largest, and outside of having a problem with some of the traning 'book isn't to hand, his time at the Harper Hall, was a continue, of his life, till the time, when he was in Southern Boll, teaching when he was traveling, he used a local product, 'it worked some of scores, where blotchy for writing down his scores and trusted his memory to fix them when he got back to the hall, and learned to put more than one bit on a hide,
I've been following this, and its been hard to translate into writing what I have in mind.
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Old Oct 27 2011, 10:22 PM   #7
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Default Re: Petiron

I'm skeptical of the ability to make Harper if suffering from Asperger's Syndrome. I know some people with Asperger's and I know that the biggest thing that is affected is social skills. Almost any ranking person on Pern needs to have good social skills, and a Harper definitely so. Petiron's specialty may be composition but to earn the rank of Master, especially at the Harper Hall itself, it seems to me that he'd need to have good social skills so Asperger's is unlikely.
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Old Oct 28 2011, 05:00 AM   #8
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Default Re: Petiron

Yes: Camo had stage one cerebral palsy, Petiron? Not sure. As somebody with Aspergers I'm not sure I recognise him having the full blown version, but there are a range of effects (for instance: I can't read body language and I've no idea what my body language is transmitting, but it's not always the same as my words)
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Old Oct 28 2011, 05:41 PM   #9
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Default Re: Petiron

Honestly, there are huge variations in personality types without putting it down to Aspergers or Autism. There's a reason someone chooses to teach kindergarten rather than high school.
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Old Oct 29 2011, 03:46 AM   #10
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Default Re: Petiron

I have Asperger's syndrome, but I had a heckuva lotta empathy and tolerance as a kid. There are always variances. (shrug)
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Old Nov 1 2011, 03:57 PM   #11
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Default Re: Petiron

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brenda View Post
Honestly, there are huge variations in personality types without putting it down to Aspergers or Autism. There's a reason someone chooses to teach kindergarten rather than high school.
No kidding. (And fwiw, Aspergers CANNOT be diagnosed by taking an online quiz or reading a list of symptoms. Only a trained professional doing an exam can make a legitimate diagnosis--you haven't seen one and don't have on, you don't have any sort of autism spectrum disorder for all practical purposes.)
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Old Nov 7 2011, 08:07 PM   #12
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Default Re: Petiron

Quote:
Originally Posted by Anareth View Post
No kidding. (And fwiw, Aspergers CANNOT be diagnosed by taking an online quiz or reading a list of symptoms. Only a trained professional doing an exam can make a legitimate diagnosis--you haven't seen one and don't have on, you don't have any sort of autism spectrum disorder for all practical purposes.)
Well here in Oregon where I live you can have the educational label for autism without having seen a doctor at all. I know because my youngest is autistic and she got the educational label at three and a half I think. We didn't take her in to get tested for another six months due to time constraints and whatnot. Should have done it sooner of course... sigh

But getting back to Petiron. I always thought he was a nice person since Menolly loved him so much. Then I read Master Harper and was shocked. He changed a lot I think mostly due to his wife's death. I don't think he was autistic so much as just a pompous jerk.

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Old Nov 7 2011, 11:43 PM   #13
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Yah, Masterharper is definitely known for its inconsistencies with the other books. Does anyone know, Did Anne intend him to... have so many social difficulties when she wrote him in Dragonsong? (that was written before MHoP, right?)
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Old Nov 8 2011, 01:51 PM   #14
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Default Re: Petiron

I mostly pretent MHoP doesn't exist. There are specific bits I like - such as his romance with Kasia - but the whole overarching theme of "Robinton was there!" at all the significant events is just irritating to me.

Sorry I can't be more specific but it's been a while since I read it.
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Old Nov 8 2011, 02:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: Petiron

Most of what I took away from MHoP had to do with understanding the political situation in the time immediately prior to Dragonflight - a stronger grasp of what was happening throughout Pern during that period, which put some events in perspective for me.

I tend to think of Petiron as someone who had it all, didn't value what he had, and had a bit of a wake up call when he started losing things - his wife, his son, and finally, the respect and support of his fellow crafters. So in the period between his last appearance in MHoP and Menolly's recollections of him in Dragonsong - which takes place something like twelve years after Lessa Impresses Ramoth, I believe - he gets his act together, mellows out a bit, and finally tries to make amends the only way he can: by treating Menolly better than he treated Robinton, and trying to set her up to get the education and attention she needed/deserved.
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Old Nov 8 2011, 11:19 PM   #16
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Can you imagine Petiron, his pride forcing him to leave the Harper Hall, resigned to teaching little children in an isolated Hold, and then to discover a talent like Menolly? I don't feel qualified to write that fanfic, but I would love to see some of those earlier years of her apprenticeship with him.
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Old Nov 10 2011, 06:06 AM   #17
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Default Re: Petiron

you would need to be a very good musician to make it plausible.
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Old Nov 13 2011, 05:46 PM   #18
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I don't think he was forced out. He choose to leave. I think it was the only selfless thing he ever did. He wanted to make it easier for his son. The only time he ever thought of him.
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Old Nov 13 2011, 09:47 PM   #19
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I didn't mean he was literally forced out. I said his pride forced him out - he felt he shouldn't stay in the Hall with his son there as Masterharper. For both their sakes. I think it was pride as much as anything.
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