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Old Jun 10 2009, 01:11 AM   #1
Weyrlady
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Dragon mental abilities

Are dragons capable of "listening" to people other than their riders? I mean, can they get inside someone else's head, and find out what going on with them?A lot of people, myself included, "say" things mentally that would be inappropriate or silly to say out loud. Like giving a smart answer to a customer. Seriously bad PR.

Search dragons listen to potential Candidates, don't they? I would think that they'd have to in order to figure out who's strong-minded, and who's not.

The first situation where I thought this "listening" ability might be useful (and this is actually shown in canon lit) is healing. In Moreta Orlith listens to all sorts, from runnerbeast to other dragons, andc helps her rider be a better healer that way by "being on the inside". You how people sometimes are unable to, or don't want to, mention how much pain they're really in? They want to be tough. "Well, tough cookies, dude, I've got a dragon that can get inside your head."

Couldn't this ability be useful other places, too? Say at a Conclave, and a Lord Holder disagrees with a Weyrleader. Could his dragon "listen" and discover the Lord Holder's true motivations?

Can only queen dragons do this? If Orlith can, why not Ramoth or others of the golden persuasion? What about brown dragons? What about green dragons?
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Old Jun 10 2009, 09:06 AM   #2
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

Mnementh listened for F'lar during the conclave in DQ. But his replies were limited to his understanding. Mnementh quite an intelligent dragon but even he was struggling with what was being discussed, so I doubt a blue or green would be able to help much.
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Old Jun 10 2009, 09:17 AM   #3
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

A dragonic polygraph? No thanks
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Old Jun 10 2009, 10:34 AM   #4
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

You'd have to use a dragon-egg rather than a goose-egg.
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Old Jun 10 2009, 10:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

I think that dragons could definitely sense emotions in people And they could probably sense strong thoughts coming from people. But Dragons (except for Ruth) have problems imagining complex situations that are not in their realm. I would think that they would have to understand something in order to relay that message to their rider.

As for Moretta and her dragon helping others that were injured, I think my wing hurts in that spot, etc would be a pretty strong thought/emotion that is very simple for the dragon to understand.

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Old Jun 11 2009, 03:06 PM   #6
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

It seems apparent that dragons can "hear" others than their riders but I think the majority don't bother to listen and those that do seldom respond to the non rider (Robinton being an exception). Perhaps some of this is due to the lack of memory in the dragons as opposed to the dragonets (although I always thought that was backward in DLG) If memory serves the dragons have less longterm memory (to alleviate stress of facing 50 years of daily thread battles) although the sight of thread causes an instinctual action to fight it.
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Old Jun 12 2009, 03:46 AM   #7
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

My theory is that dragons can't get inside the minds of people other than their rider, but if someone is projecting they may pick up on it. How strongly the person has to be thinking something for the thought to be picked up on varies based on how sensitive to dragons (how empathic?) the person is, from an HAD whose mind is pretty much open to them (as Giron comments in The Girl Who Heard Dragons, "If she can hear dragons, they can hear her") to someone who's pretty much dragon-deaf. And, of course, dragons rarely bother to listen or respond to people they don't know well (which also seems to vary somewhat based on someone's empathy level; I think I've seen several times where dragons bothering to talk to someone is taken as a sign they'd make a good Candidate, and they tend to find HADs fascinating).

(The text in DLG is consistent with what's seen in the books, but there's one table that flat-out contradicts both; it looks like the key just accidentally switched the "memory" and "empathy" labels.)
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Old Jun 14 2009, 07:57 PM   #8
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

From Dragonseye (Red Star Rising), Morath communicated with Iantine. This was, I believe, simply due to the fact that her rider, Debra, was in love with him and visa versa. Most non-rider conversations usually were with people garnered with great respect, from their riders. I don't think this practice was because of limited abilities of the dragons but because of what they picked up from each other as to whom was desevring or because of critical need. Such as Ruth letting another dragon know Jaxom was seriously ill and a healer was needed. Need also made him converse with Sharra and later, because she was Jaxom's mate, because he wanted to. Just my 2c's worth.
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Old Jun 14 2009, 10:08 PM   #9
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

There is, though, the point that Anne added into the books where "a dragon can talk to whoever s/he wants to". So, if Ruth can talk to Sharra, or Moranth can talk to Iantine, then wouldn't they also be able to listen? If they were interested?

However, maybe what normal humans think of day to day really isn't interesting to the dragons.
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Old Jun 15 2009, 01:18 AM   #10
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Hippie View Post
From Dragonseye (Red Star Rising), Morath communicated with Iantine. This was, I believe, simply due to the fact that her rider, Debra, was in love with him and visa versa. Most non-rider conversations usually were with people garnered with great respect, from their riders. I don't think this practice was because of limited abilities of the dragons but because of what they picked up from each other as to whom was desevring or because of critical need. Such as Ruth letting another dragon know Jaxom was seriously ill and a healer was needed. Need also made him converse with Sharra and later, because she was Jaxom's mate, because he wanted to. Just my 2c's worth.
Wow, Old Hippie- great minds think alike. Actually, I just remembered Morath and Debera myself, and how she could hear Iantine thinking, because "he thinks very loudly around you."

Which puts kind of a fresh dimension on the whole 'crush' scenario- where you Notice someone, but haven't actually taken any Action yet.

Peersonallly, and this is also just my $2, but somehow I always figyred that any dragon can talk to anyone, like Shalyn said. So Iantine and Sharra should be able to listen to Ruth and Morath. It helps, I think, if the rider cares about the specific person, or if a specific person is really needed at the time.
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Old Jun 15 2009, 07:48 PM   #11
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

I get the impression (no pun intended) that dragons are quite strong in their mental abilities, but the fact that they have poor memories, poor motivation for things not involving their rider, and poor logic skills hinders them badly. So it's largely a lack of knowledge that hinders them. They do what their riders tell them what to do, but if the rider doesn't know, and doesn't know how to ask the right questions, nothing gets done.

I think the following:

- Dragons *can* speak (and hear) anyone if they have motivation to
- It is considerably *easier* for a dragon to speak to and hear someone with empathic/telepathic talents (dragon has to do less work)
- Dragons might not distinguish between individual humans other than other dragonriders and closely-involved non-riders...perhaps humans "all look the same to them". Therefore, they don't have the motivation to speak to individual humans, and moreover, most humans are *hard* to speak to, so that gives them even less motivation to try. (And if they don't even try, the few people they can speak to more easily are skipped over.)

Operating on these assumptions, this (as far as I can recall) explains the interaction of dragons with most non-riders that we've seen.

IE, Aramina and Brekke are HAD which makes them easier to talk to, and probably "louder" to hear, so the dragons are more prone to being chatty with them.

For situations where dragons speak with the spouses/loved ones of a rider, or other humans when the rider is distressed, the dragon is either motivated by their rider being in danger, or their interest is finally perked because their rider won't shut up about this other human. So it's still harder to speak with these humans than it is to speak with riders or HADs, but they finally have a motivation to try it.

Robinton is a bit of an outlier...to me, he shows signs of being HAD, but people insist he isn't and there are no canon examples of a male being HAD. The other explanation for late-age Robinton having dragons talk to him is that he has become so popular that dragons pick up about him from human consciousness as a whole; his face 'stands out' because so many people, dragonriders and non-riders alike, think of him. They finally get curious because *everyone* is thinking about him.

That doesn't entirely explain why early-age Robinton was talked to by dragons though; I've explained that away with the idea that Robinton is probably somewhat empathic, and probably was good dragonrider material, but due to the era he was born into (one weyr on the exact opposite coast of where he grew up--and of course, the fact that MHoP was written *after* the others) nobody ever Searched at the Harper Hall during the appropriate Turns. He *does* have a symbolic bronze dragon in Zair. (When I was 12, I was upset that he didn't get the gold and Sebell did. It wasn't until I was older that I realized Zair was a symbolic bronze!) And him having a few scraps of psionic-type empathy would account for a lot of his charisma and people-savvy. (Here's a conjecture...perhaps Robinton was always a bit empathic, but it never got kicked into gear until he met Lessa who's going around leaning on random people. F'lar could pick the leaning up...perhaps it made Robinton's empathy develop a bit. This would also help explain why his popularity exploded rather later in his lifetime.)

Moving onto telekinesis and going between times--dragons, other than the instinctive use of telepathy, don't seem to have any innate knowledge in their own abilities, nor any particular curiosity in exploring them (although some individual dragons are more curious than others). They have to learn how to use them, and unless the dragonriders know of the abilities, the dragons don't get trained to do everything they actually CAN do.

So, short answer...I suspect dragons are roughly equivalent to T-5 Tower Talents from AMC's Talent series (with queens/bronzes perhaps being T-3s or T-2s, but NOT Primes). However since the Weyrs' knowledge and training of dragons in their psychic abilities is incomplete and riddled with poor information, they aren't attaining anything close to what they're actually capable of.
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Old Jun 19 2009, 04:32 AM   #12
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

Dragons could hear who they wanted to, Anne definitely had them listening in on Robinton when he had his heart attack. Ruth mentioned at seperate times that he could hear Corana and Sharra. I guess Ruth having longer memory and initiative made him a bit more prone to contact a few other people at will.
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Old Sep 14 2009, 06:32 PM   #13
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

I didn't remember Ruth being able to hear Corana.

Quote:
Here's a conjecture...perhaps Robinton was always a bit empathic, but it never got kicked into gear until he met Lessa who's going around leaning on random people. F'lar could pick the leaning up...perhaps it made Robinton's empathy develop a bit. This would also help explain why his popularity exploded rather later in his lifetime.
That's an interesting idea, but I thing a big reason for his popularity boost was that Lessa's Ride and the Return of Thread basically redeemed the entire Harper craft - and with the support of the Weyrs, the Harper Hall was able to get more overtly involved in Pernese politics.
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Old Sep 14 2009, 08:20 PM   #14
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

He was able to hear Corana, but only during the heights of passion. Other times, Ruth said he couldn't (or, more likely he wouldn't?) hear her.

And Ruth did call for her when Jaxom was strongly affected by the green's mating flight (shortly before he came down with firehead).

As for Robinton, it's not unreasonable that he might have had some marginal level of telepathy. Mentasynth had been introduced into the colony's population early in their history, and after some 2500Turns, it'd be really hard to find someone whose ancesstory going back to the begining didn't include a telepath at some point--the only question would be, at what concentration?

There's no doubt some populations will have substantial concentrations, some that will have almost nil, and the vast majority with varying levels that could provide them marginal esper ratings at best.
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Old Sep 15 2009, 01:19 AM   #15
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2cent Re: Dragon mental abilities

What about Aramina though? She eventually lost her ability to hear and speak to Dragons... Would this mean that Heth could no longer hear her? And as for dragons and what they're capable of understanding.... the 1st time Heth responded to Aramina and went to her rescue, he just took off without K'van's permission or anything. He heard a call for help and answered it without asking for approval from his rider. So this indicates to me that dragons are capable of understanding (at least some things) that their riders arent even aware of. I think dragons can talk to whoever they want to, they just mostly choose not to.

By the way, what does "HAD" stand for?
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Old Sep 15 2009, 02:05 AM   #16
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

The trauma from her adventures caused Aramina to actively block her telepathic abilities. Her own talent was perhaps on par with Lessa, if not exceeding the Weyrwoman's--but without the necessary experiences to toughen her psyche like Lessa had. She felt that if she had never heard dragons, she'd never have suffered the attacks from Thella, and so she refused to "hear" the dragons any longer.

This somewhat parallels how MZB treated telepathy and other psi powers in her Darkover series (Anne & MZB were close friends when they were writing their stories up until MZB died). Subconcious repressions can form overwhelming blocks that can completely prevent a person with strong psi powers from functioning at all.

Lessa is shown in DF of having the ability to directly affect people, from her influencing Fax's lackies and even other dragonriders, until F'lar put an end to her manipulations prior to Ramoth's first flight. Nothing much more is mentioned about Lessa's power until Skies, where she's brought in to help interrogate the thugs who kidnapped Robinton--F'lar mentions that with her power, it's like she's a dragon in her own right.

HAD is "Hears All Dragons", a short way of descibing Lessa & Aramina's power.
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Old Sep 15 2009, 02:05 AM   #17
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By the way, what does "HAD" stand for?
'Hears All Dragons'


HTH, HAND!

[Hope that helps, have a nice day]
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Old Sep 15 2009, 03:39 AM   #18
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Aha! should have guessed! Thanks guys!
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Old Sep 16 2009, 09:43 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samsara View Post
What about Aramina though? She eventually lost her ability to hear and speak to Dragons... Would this mean that Heth could no longer hear her? And as for dragons and what they're capable of understanding.... the 1st time Heth responded to Aramina and went to her rescue, he just took off without K'van's permission or anything. He heard a call for help and answered it without asking for approval from his rider. So this indicates to me that dragons are capable of understanding (at least some things) that their riders arent even aware of. I think dragons can talk to whoever they want to, they just mostly choose not to.
I have to agree here! Ruth seems to be the one we see taking the most initiative andx not just doing as he's told, but who's to say that other dragons can't do the same thing? Heth does, as Samsara pointed out, and one of the later stories, SoP possibly, Canth transfers between without being told.He also says things or hums/growls to F'nor when F'nor is upset to comfort him.

BTW, another male 'almost HAD but then not quite" is N'ton. In DF, F'lar says "that he can make Canth understand him." One wonders if that ability went away when he Impressed??
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Old Sep 17 2009, 01:04 AM   #20
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Default Re: Dragon mental abilities

I think if people are hurt or are feeling a strong emotion dragons can hear them. The golds more so the the others. They NEED to be able to hear when a rider or dragon is keeping something, like an injury, from them. Golds can also influence what other dragons do.
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Old Sep 17 2009, 02:18 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by GHarris View Post
I think that dragons could definitely sense emotions in people And they could probably sense strong thoughts coming from people. But Dragons (except for Ruth) have problems imagining complex situations that are not in their realm. I would think that they would have to understand something in order to relay that message to their rider.

As for Moretta and her dragon helping others that were injured, I think my wing hurts in that spot, etc would be a pretty strong thought/emotion that is very simple for the dragon to understand.

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Just my two cent worth. Moreta used her background in living/working with her father a runner-beast crafter, combind with her working with her queen.
Her empathy combined with Orlith helped her to become a dragon surgeon which increased her ablity to treat dragons She learned from the Weyr Healer Ind at Ista, and passed on her knowledge how to do something to a healer who didn't have the background to do it to save the Senior Weyrwoman queen, both her wing and something she forgot to check, bleeding from the score on her neck, and being dehydraded too. Her treament did save them.
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