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Old Jan 18 2010, 07:30 AM   #1
Golden Talisath
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Question Woman Harpers

Ok, what’s the dial with this? In the Harper Hall trilogy Menolly has a problem with becoming a Harper because she’s a woman. But, Merelan was a Harper (a Master, if I remember right, of singing), and she trained a girl to become a Harper as well. So, what happened over the years?
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Old Jan 18 2010, 08:22 AM   #2
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

It's called retconning. The real world changed, so AMC decided to write the end of the 8th interval and the beginning of the 9th pass again. I suppose one could try explaining things away by saying that Yanus was even more hidebound than most of his contemporaries, and exaggerated the idea that women couldn't be Harpers.
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Old Jan 18 2010, 08:40 AM   #3
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

One could argue that Merelan wasn't a genuine Master Harper but (and she is called called this!) a Master Singer.

It is one of the things we use trying to reason away (small) nconsistencies.

Another explanation is that the fact that women can't be harpers was a misunderstanding by a majority of people in back of beyind Holds, while Granath;s remark could be another reason. Take your pick, I guess that we culd come up with a few more

Despite Merelan being a Master Singer we can also safely say that we do not encounter female harpers much or anywhere near common.
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Old Jan 18 2010, 08:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

What Hans said. Merelan is never referred to as a Harper in general, always as a singer (and the girl she taught was being trained as a singer as well). Though the fact that she was hired for a time as Benden Hold's Harper argues against her not being considered a full harper.

At any rate Merelan and Halanna? were the only women we see harpering at this time, and it's quite possible that Yanus either didn't know of them or himself was only aware of them as singers. His hidebound thinking kept him from seeing them as anything more and instisted that only men could be regular "full" harpers.
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Old Jan 18 2010, 10:06 AM   #5
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Green Re: Woman Harpers

Golden Talisath, I was wondering the same thing since I just finished reading Dragon Harper! I re-read the Harper Hall Trilogy right before starting the books for the AMC Quest 2009 months ago and I noticed the inconsistencies too. Since they were writen so many years apart I wasn't too surprised. Then I just thought maybe information was lost (like a fire) or changes were made. Glad to know I wasn't the only one thinking this. Thought I'd gone .
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Old Jan 18 2010, 04:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

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What Hans said. Merelan is never referred to as a Harper in general, always as a singer (and the girl she taught was being trained as a singer as well). Though the fact that she was hired for a time as Benden Hold's Harper argues against her not being considered a full harper.

At any rate Merelan and Halanna? were the only women we see harpering at this time, and it's quite possible that Yanus either didn't know of them or himself was only aware of them as singers. His hidebound thinking kept him from seeing them as anything more and instisted that only men could be regular "full" harpers.
Sure, but not only Yanus thought about woman being Harpers impossible: some other people at the Hall (Dunca, Morshal) though that as well.
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Old Jan 18 2010, 04:03 PM   #7
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

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Golden Talisath, I was wondering the same thing since I just finished reading Dragon Harper! I re-read the Harper Hall Trilogy right before starting the books for the AMC Quest 2009 months ago and I noticed the inconsistencies too. Since they were writen so many years apart I wasn't too surprised. Then I just thought maybe information was lost (like a fire) or changes were made. Glad to know I wasn't the only one thinking this. Thought I'd gone .
Oh, good, I thought about going a little bit crazy myself. Good to be reassured.
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Old Jan 18 2010, 11:26 PM   #8
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

Personally I think that with our times changing so did some of the ideas creep through into the books like girls being able to go onto bigger and brighter things then they were 100 years ago. After all there were always female pioneers to get things going like Madame Curie, Amelia Earhart and Valentina Tereshkova and perhaps Menolly was pioneering her way through life so that others could join in too.
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Old Jan 19 2010, 07:11 PM   #9
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

Halanna was a paid student , so was Raid's sister. I don't have the book to hand, Merelan was a Master of the Harper Hall and need there to teach. I also recall that during the stop over at the Runner Station, the Station asked about having something not in Harper Blue.
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Old Jan 20 2010, 08:06 AM   #10
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

Merelan was never called Master Harper, only Master Singer, and the only thing she helped teach was Vocals.

It is mentioned, I think in DragonsEye, that less and less youngsters are being sent to the halls for apprenticeships; partly because of an epidemic and partly because of holders wanting to get their childrens alottments...mostly, it seemed, younger sons were allowed to go (Cut down on how many inherited from fathers) while daughters were married off for land considerations.
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Old Jan 20 2010, 08:22 AM   #11
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2cent Re: Woman Harpers

I remember Merelan only being referred to as a Master Singer, but I always just assumed that that meant she was a Harper. and like Talisith said, she taught voice as well... It never occurred to me that she might not be a Harper...
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Old Jan 20 2010, 09:01 AM   #12
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

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I remember Merelan only being referred to as a Master Singer, but I always just assumed that that meant she was a Harper. and like Talisith said, she taught voice as well... It never occurred to me that she might not be a Harper...
Me too! And like I said, if she was accepted as part of the Harper Hall, why where other people saying that Menolly can’t be accepted as well?
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Old Jan 20 2010, 09:15 AM   #13
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

Common sense would dictate that Merelan was a Harper if you took MHoP at face value, but it also pretty much retcons Menolly's entire arc if that's true.

I've gone the route Hans mentioned and I'm pretending real hard that Merelan was "just" a Singer, and not a full-out Harper. Kind of like an opera star--someone who's dolled up for the stage, a diva, but who leaves the composing and the business side and rest of it to "the men". Whereas by contrast, Menolly is trained in everything, including a Harper's legal responsibilities, and has the full regimen of rights that a Master is afforded due to rank.

But the book (MHoP) can be massaged either way, because it's not particularly clear what exactly Merelan was rank-wise.
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Old Jan 20 2010, 09:50 AM   #14
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

Quote:
Merelan was never called Master Harper, only Master Singer, and the only thing she helped teach was Vocals.
I agree, except that she did teach the children at Benden. Just the Teaching Songs, not the fundamentals of the craft, but even that was deemed shameworthy at Half-Circle.
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Old Jan 20 2010, 10:10 AM   #15
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2cent Re: Woman Harpers

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Originally Posted by D. M. Domini View Post
Common sense would dictate that Merelan was a Harper if you took MHoP at face value, but it also pretty much retcons Menolly's entire arc if that's true.

I've gone the route Hans mentioned and I'm pretending real hard that Merelan was "just" a Singer, and not a full-out Harper. Kind of like an opera star--someone who's dolled up for the stage, a diva, but who leaves the composing and the business side and rest of it to "the men". Whereas by contrast, Menolly is trained in everything, including a Harper's legal responsibilities, and has the full regimen of rights that a Master is afforded due to rank.

But the book (MHoP) can be massaged either way, because it's not particularly clear what exactly Merelan was rank-wise.

Yes, thats true, but MHoP came after DSong & Dsinger so that would mean a reverse inconsistency.

Perhaps an exception was made for Merelan to become a Harper because she was so talented. This could explain Robinton's willingness to make an exception for Menolly. Although, Robinton did not see it as making an exception because women not being allowed to be Harpers was a practice that he intended to change.

And maybe, the title of 'Master Singer" was given to Merelan in the same as fashion that Shonagar was 'Voice Master', or Domick was 'Composition Master'. They were both teachers within their own specialities.
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Old Jan 20 2010, 11:21 AM   #16
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

But Shonagar and Domick were unquestionably Master Craftsmen as well--it wasn't just a teaching title, it was their craft rank.

MHoP works best if you use it as a doorstop and/or just don't even try to shoehorn it in. The idea of ZOMG WOMEN CRAFTMASTERS EEK WIMMEN ARE FOR BABIES AND CAN'T EVEN READ! in all the early books becomes absurd when you realize there are tons of people still alive who ought to remember not just Merelan but the FEMALE MASTERHEALER.

Don't retcon, boys and girls. It's not pretty.
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Old Jan 20 2010, 11:41 AM   #17
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That is exactly my point Anareth, it was their craft rank, not just a teaching title, which is why I always thought that 'Master Singer' was Merelan's rank as a Harper within the hall.
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Old Jan 20 2010, 02:47 PM   #18
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

Yeah, I just keep the parts that I like from MHoP. Like his romance with Kasia. That definitely happened. Him pretending to be a drudge when Fax came to Ruatha? No. Nonononono.
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Old Jan 20 2010, 04:01 PM   #19
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

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Him pretending to be a drudge when Fax came to Ruatha? No. Nonononono.
Yeah, that is stretching a story too far. And him knowing F’lar and F’nor but latter acting as if they had never ever heard of each other. Of course, that can be seen, like someone said on the forum, as a plot because of the Holders, but F’lar and Robinton act as if they met each other in Benden for the first time thought the entire DF. Even when they’re alone.
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Old Jan 20 2010, 05:08 PM   #20
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2cent Re: Woman Harpers

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Yeah, I just keep the parts that I like from MHoP. Like his romance with Kasia. That definitely happened. Him pretending to be a drudge when Fax came to Ruatha? <sinp>
Its dose show a differnt point of view, also the then MasterHealer was frends with Merelan we also see then see Oldive before he beame MasterHealer as a jouneyman, also then is the then MasterHarper's spouse was a jouneywoman healer and mid-wife.
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Old Jan 20 2010, 10:20 PM   #21
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

I can only think that in Merelan's case, she learnt all aspects of the craft but her main role was as a singer. After all, look at Piemur, he was trained in all aspects until his voice broke and was sent to the drum heights. Each harper would find a niche in the hall in that they were most capable of performing those duties.

Also MHoP was written much later then the original books so any inconsistencies would naturally show up as some characters "seem to have disappeared" when the DRoP series started as an example, Merelan being mentioned in MHoP but not in the Harperhall series. One would think that if she made that much of impression with people, she would have been mentioned in latter books, even just briefly.
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Old Jan 20 2010, 11:14 PM   #22
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

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I can only think that in Merelan's case, she learnt all aspects of the craft but her main role was as a singer. After all, look at Piemur, he was trained in all aspects until his voice broke and was sent to the drum heights. Each harper would find a niche in the hall in that they were most capable of performing those duties.

Also MHoP was written much later then the original books so any inconsistencies would naturally show up as some characters "seem to have disappeared" when the DRoP series started as an example, Merelan being mentioned in MHoP but not in the Harperhall series. One would think that if she made that much of impression with people, she would have been mentioned in latter books, even just briefly.
Silvina did in Dsinger, about miss her voice and that Robintion's father moved to Half-Circle to get away from Cot Hold Keeper, and also his son as MasterHarper, Domick was his student, which he passed on to his son, Robintion.

Also here is a twig of idea, Robinton meet the two as boys as young not the adult verson till much later.
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Old Jan 21 2010, 12:16 PM   #23
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

So you TOTALLY FORGOT everyone you met as a child and treated them as a total stranger meeting as adults?

For me, the scene at Ruatha is where the book crossed into less of a book and more a Gary Stu fan fic. It's a CLASSIC fan fic move, attempting to shoehorn in characters to major scenes of earlier works to make them retroactively important. By putting Robinton into situations we already saw (without him), changing relationships established in books written earlier but set later, it makes it hard to resolve the books with each other.
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Old Jan 22 2010, 03:49 AM   #24
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

But I do get some fun out of that, Anareth.

Besides, I especially like the middle part of the book, when Robinton is a young harper, despite the inconsistencies (swimming, sailing).
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Old Jan 22 2010, 12:23 PM   #25
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

I never saw the MHoP contradicting the sailing part. Wasn't it mentioned in TWD that he only got sick in small boats? I figured that was a result of Kasia's death. Weren't he and Kasia in a relatively small boat? Especially since it could be manned by only the two of them?
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Old Jan 22 2010, 04:02 PM   #26
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I never saw the MHoP contradicting the sailing part. Wasn't it mentioned in TWD that he only got sick in small boats? I figured that was a result of Kasia's death.
Hmm… never thought about it that way. Why not? It could be that sailing brings up bad memories for him. But, did he argue about sailing in TWD? It seemed to me like he didn’t know he was sea – sick – like he found out while sailing then – FOR THE FIRST TIME, as it would seem!
And anyway, I tried not to see the inconsistencies while reading the book.
Hans, what about the swimming?
And, again, anyway, MHoP was written primary to show as Robinton’s life – the other characters just got involved.
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Old Jan 23 2010, 01:38 PM   #27
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

No, I don't think he argued about sailing. But during the set-up of getting him to Cove Hold it was mentioned. Here's a quote from when F'nor brings Jaxom the news of the Masterharper coming:

"'Master Idarolan has put his fastest, largest vessel at the Masterharper's disposal. Menolly and Brekke are accompanying him. On a sea voyage there is nothing that can disturb or worry the Harper'
'He gets seasick' remarked Jaxom.
'Only in small boats' F'nor looked at them with a very solemn expression." (pg. 300, The White Dragon, American edition)
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Old Jan 24 2010, 07:54 AM   #28
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No, I don't think he argued about sailing. But during the set-up of getting him to Cove Hold it was mentioned. Here's a quote from when F'nor brings Jaxom the news of the Masterharper coming:

"'Master Idarolan has put his fastest, largest vessel at the Masterharper's disposal. Menolly and Brekke are accompanying him. On a sea voyage there is nothing that can disturb or worry the Harper'
'He gets seasick' remarked Jaxom.
'Only in small boats' F'nor looked at them with a very solemn expression." (pg. 300, The White Dragon, American edition)
My mistake.
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Old Jan 24 2010, 01:53 PM   #29
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

Times change and so do customs. There have been times in our own history when married women didn't work outside the home (unless their husbands were factory workers or farmers and a second income was needed). It was partly a perception that a man should be able to support his family on his own income, and having a wife who worked diminished his status. My aunt was a school-teacher in the 20s and 30s, and she had to resign when she got married. She got called back in World War 2 because of the shortage of male teachers and continued teaching till she reached retiring age.

Harpers at larger holds often had to travel to teach at smaller holds dependent on the main one, and there may have been resistance to the idea of women harpers taking the risk of traveling alone.

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Old Jan 24 2010, 02:07 PM   #30
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Times change and so do customs. There have been times in our own history when married women didn't work outside the home (unless their husbands were factory workers or farmers and a second income was needed). It was partly a perception that a man should be able to support his family on his own income, and having a wife who worked diminished his status.
How true! And unfair.

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Originally Posted by Eriflor View Post
Harpers at larger holds often had to travel to teach at smaller holds dependent on the main one, and there may have been resistance to the idea of women harpers taking the risk of traveling alone.

Eriflor.
Could be. But it also could be that some Holders, like Yanus, disliked seeing a women teach and do things which were consider to be mans work, as said before.
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Old Jan 24 2010, 03:02 PM   #31
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

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Originally Posted by Golden Talisath View Post
How true! And unfair.



Could be. But it also could be that some Holders, like Yanus, disliked seeing a women teach and do things which were consider to be mans work, as said before.
Yes, kinda hide bound but a good Sea Craft Master and Sea Holder.
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Old Jan 24 2010, 03:13 PM   #32
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2cent Re: Woman Harpers

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Originally Posted by Blue Rider 16 View Post
No, I don't think he argued about sailing. But during the set-up of getting him to Cove Hold it was mentioned. Here's a quote from when F'nor brings Jaxom the news of the Masterharper coming:

"'Master Idarolan has put his fastest, largest vessel at the Masterharper's disposal. Menolly and Brekke are accompanying him. On a sea voyage there is nothing that can disturb or worry the Harper'
'He gets seasick' remarked Jaxom.
'Only in small boats' F'nor looked at them with a very solemn expression." (pg. 300, The White Dragon, American edition)
Here is my take on the time in the small boat in MHoP first he was helping Kasia, they were in the eye or a calm of that storm, he was so busy and they where not in that storm for long till they found that rocky cove to harbor in.

After the storm, and resting and see her sick, he salled in calmer waters, till pick up by then Master Fisher man Master Idarolan of the Wave Eater
later on they become the Mastercraftman(woman) of their Crafts.

The storm, was more active in WD than in the on in MHoP, with more action with waves and such, so he would maybe get sick if he has not been at sea for a long time.
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Old Jan 24 2010, 06:00 PM   #33
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Default Re: Woman Harpers

Well, there was also the fact that over the majority of human history, many, many jobs were labor-intensive and males had an advantage because they are, as a statistical rule, stronger than females. It wasn't really until the twentieth century that a major sector of the job market opened up where physical strength wasn't as important (and it still took farther into the middle of the century for heavy factory labor to be mechanized to the point raw strength wasn't as important.) On Pern, which is preindustrial, there are lots of jobs where physical strength is going to be an advantage. That's easy to spill over into the general society, especially where there really aren't any jobs that are intellectual in the Earth postindustrial sense. (Healers are probably closest, then Harpers except for the traveling part, where males again get a strength and biology advantage in a preindustrial society.)
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