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Old Jan 5 2011, 04:29 AM   #1
D. M. Domini
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Red face Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

So. I've been re-reading my Harper Hall Trilogy--yes, I know, shocking! I usually pop up here and beg you lovely people to go look up canon for me!--and of course, while I'm revisiting the books, I'm paying attention to all sorts of things. One of those things is the Robinton/Menolly relationship, and its potential romantic aspects, because it's always been a little bit odd, yet I've never seen anyone put together a comprehensive post on it. So I figured--what the hey!

However, for clarification, I'm not intending this post to convince anyone about anything...I'm not looking to convert disbelievers, so to speak. It's more of a fandom-wank thing...goofing around in an analytical nerdy way to see what support the books actually have in a pairing that interests me. It is very clear and supported in the text that Menolly and Sebell is the canonical relationship Menolly is in.

So far, I have freshly (as in, the past 3 days) re-read Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, and Dragondrums. They are the new YA paperback editions, with the saturated colors and symbollic firelizard icons on front, not the old ones with the pretty Rowena art (unless you count the new covers cribbing the faulty 4-limbed firelizard design from her).

Harper Hall Trilogy, Books 1 and 2

The first two, Dragonsong and Dragonsinger are pretty unambiguous; I honestly didn't come across a single line where you could interpret the relationship between Robinton and Menolly as anything other than Master/Apprentice and Teacher/Student. In addition, the same could be said of Sebell/Menolly, only Sebell was shaded as more of a slightly-elder peer.

If you really, really wanted to stretch it, you could tag the scene in Dragonsong where Robinton physically picks Menolly up and carries her across the bowl as one using a romantic trope...strong dude carrys helpless maiden out of danger. But given Menolly is written as a child at this time (although McCaffrey HAS had a male romantic partner have contact with their future mates during the women's childhoods in both Damia and Pegasus in Flight), you could equally cast him in the much more probable role of father carrying his daughter out of danger.

So, all in all, "Nothing to see here, move on."

Harper Hall Trilogy, Book 3

Dragondrums is where things get interesting.

Most of the Robinton/Menolly subtext is actually attached to the Sebell/Menolly courtship subplot of this book. So let me touch on that, before we get into the Menolly/Robinton stuff.

There are 2 scenes where Sebell drapes his arm over Menolly's shoulders; this seems to be his way of indicating his romantic interest in Menolly.

The first scene is located fairly early in Dragondrums, where Piemur and Menolly go to meet Sebell as he returns home from Southern. Sebell gets off his boat, and when he reaches Menolly and Piemur, puts his arms over both their shoulders.

This isn't subtext for the Sebell/Menolly relationship; Piemur right out states in his POV that Sebell's making moves on Menolly and using Piemur as a distraction.

Page 39 of the US paperback of Dragondrums:

Quote:
Sebell threw an arm across Piemur's shoulders, telling him to cheer up, and draped his other arm about Menolly. Then he guided them towards the holdstables.

There was a look on Sebell's face that suggested to Piemur that the companionable arm about his shoulders had been an excuse for the one about Menolly's. The observation cheered Piemur for he knew something no other apprentice did.

Maybe not even Master Robinton. Or did he?
One thing is interesting is the, "Or did he?" As in, did Robinton know? It feels a bit like author-insertion into the POV there, cluing the reader into something. What, I'm not sure, and I may be putting too much meaning into it. Of course, reading too much meaning into things is the fun part!

Next one is page 168 of the US paperback of Dragondrums:

Quote:
"Don't fret over Piemur, Menolly," Sebell said, trying to sound more lighthearted than he felt. "He has a knack of landing on his feet." He smiled down at her, allowing himself the luxury of putting his arm lightly about her shoulders.

"Except when the steps are greased!" Menolly's voice had an angry edge, and he gripped her shoulder reassuringly.

"Look at it this way: just see how that misadventure has worked to his advantage. He's got out of the drumheights and acquired himself a queen fire lizard egg. For all we know, he may meet us at the Hold gates with it, smiling in that ingenuous fashion of his, when you and I know he's as devious as Meron!"

"I wish I could believe you, Sebell," Menolly said sighing heavily, but she leaned trustingly against him for his comfort. "If he was anywhere in the vicinity, Beauty and Rocky ought to find him."

"He's somewhere," Sebell replied firmly, and daring more than ever, he gave her a quick hug, turning abruptly from her as he caught her startled look.
Sebell's such a boy, teasing her and pretending he didn't do it in case she gets mad. ::cough::

ANYWAY.

Sebell's sexy moves: Putting his arm over your shoulder. Canon text.

Robinton's sexy moves: Putting his arm over your shoulder? Subtext?

The "arm-over-Menolly's-shoulders" is repeated by Robinton in a scene that keeps catching me with other sources of possible subtext as well.

Here's the scene, from page 200 of the US paperback of Dragondrums:

Quote:
He saw the half of the great Hall door swing into darkness and wagered with himself who waited for him there in the dark.

"Master?"

He was right; it was Menolly.

"You were away so long, Master," she cried in a soft voice as she closed the door behind him and spun the wheel to lock the bolts tightly in floor and ceiling.

"Ah, but I've accomplished much. Any news from Piemur?"

"No," and her shoulders dropped noticeably. "We would've sent you word instantly."

He put an arm around her slender shoulders comfortingly.
This scene is hard for me to interpret. There's several things going on here:
  • Menolly is attached to Robinton in such a way that she will camp the Hall's front doors waiting for him, and Robinton knows this. Menolly certainly wasn't camping anything in Dragonsinger.
  • The word choice of "cried" is a trigger-word. I actually think I'm remembering love scenes from The Rowan and Damia where the female leads are reacting to their respective dudes. I also seem to remember it in The Ship Who Sang when there's temptation from Nial to crack Helva's shell. I don't have quotes for these books, but I think this is part of why the phrasing here gets my attention...Menolly, above and beyond camping out the front doors, is openly showing her affection for Robinton in a fairly strong manner, shown by the use of the word "cries" which plays a role in the romantic scenes in other series written by AMC.
  • The arm-over-shoulders could be innocent, but it echos Sebell's moves elsewhere in the books, so it might be deliberate, given that Sebell is generally thought to be something of his Master's mirror...then again, with Dragondrums and the prior two Harper Hall books alone fresh in my memory, he's actually written at least in the early books like a soft-core mix of Lars Dahl and Jeff Raven, from the Crystal Singer books and Talent books respectively, NOT a mini-Robinton. So Sebell's overall character development across the series might be dealing with some retcons that could make this assumption shaky.
  • The word choice of "slender" catches me at well. Menolly's always been tall, and mistakable for a lad in Dragonsong at least due to her size, but slender? Did she shrink somewhere between Dragonsong and Dragondrums? However, like "cries", the word choice of "slender" brings to mind descriptions of Lessa and The Rowan, both of whom are described by male POV characters as "slender" in a way that implies this is a sexy or alluring trait. Also, I seem to recall the scene in one of the later DRoP books where Lessa embraces Robinton and he gets a thrill from it makes use of the word "slender", although I don't have a quote to back me up so my memory might be faulty and I'm wrong here.
  • Menolly is also markedly displaying passivity towards Robinton when she's far from helpless. Earlier in the book she's kicking ass and taking names in Piemur's defence. Now in this scene she's waiting for Robinton to fix things, as she was earlier in the Sebell-arm-laying scenes turning towards Sebell for comfort. You could argue she's just feeling upset and helpless because Piemur's currently frolicking in some unknown area of Southern and her firelizards can't find him, but again, women leaning on their strong men is a romantic theme that McCaffrey carries accross several character pairings and series.

So while you could absolutely read the scene fairly straight with Robinton's arm truly being all about the teacher/student comfort, to me it has McCaffrey-style romance trigger-words embedded in it that speak of subtext. It's actually kind of weird, because you have to have read her works across several series many times and sort of internalized them to pick up on it, but if you HAVE done that, like me, they pop out pretty strongly in this scene. While other scenes with potential subtext can and have been read by me in a neutral manner, this one actually for years has been read by me with a more romantic twist, much like the scenes that you know are supposed to be read like that such as the ones I quoted earlier with Sebell and his fascination with Menolly's shoulders. My default interpretation is romantic here, basically.

All right, enough with Menolly camping the Hall's front door, pining for Robinton.

Let's talk about boats. Remember the mentioned-in-passing-but-never-shown boat scene where Robinton and Menolly get blown off course to Southern and discover Cove? I didn't actually recall it was mentioned in Dragondrums, but it is. Unless they've managed this unlikely feat twice.

Here's the reference, page 202:

Quote:
He turned to Menolly. "You'd best ready that boat of yours...." he had started referring to her skiff in that manner after he and Menolly had been storm-lost on his one voyage to the southern hold the previous Turn.
So this missing boat scene actually occurred one Turn BEFORE the start of Dragondrums. I hadn't recalled it being that early...although I do know this missing boat scene is referred to again in one of the other books, although I don't recall which one. Because I know that's when they discovered Cove, and I recall references to Menolly lashing Robinton to the mast to keep him upright or something, but obviously they say nothing about Cove or bondage here.

(Sorry. Had to say it. What fun is it if I can't make jokes in such a seriously fan-wankish post?)

No real subtext per se--aside from this big open gap where you wonder what conversations and scenes happened during that long period of being lost at sea and slowly sailing from literally the east end of the Southern continent to the west end, which presumably takes more than a day or two. Whatever happened during this time, happend between Robinton and Menolly a turn prior to the events of Dragondrums.

Let's move on to the firelizards-make-sexy-times boat scene with Sebell and Menolly.

This scene has a part that I really don't know how to interpret without subtext, because reading it straight doesn't make any sense to me.

Oh wait, here's Sebell being something of a bastard, page 220:

Quote:
Kimi was about to fly! And it was Menolly's bronzes who would fly her. A surge of elation swept Sebell, who could scarcely believe his good fortune.
Woot! Firelizards will let him do her without the hard stuff like starting a relationship!

In his defence, he is apparantly sorry a few sentences later that it's coerced to some extent, due to firelizards. Which is more than can be said for other pairings on Pern.

Oh, and in Dragondrums Menolly has sea-green eyes...just like Robinton's wife Kasia in MHoP. That's some hard-core Robinton/Menolly subtext for you! Page 222:

Quote:
Surprise, then memory, changed the color of her sea green eyes.
Ok, here's the quote I'm a bit baffled on, page 222 still:

Quote:
"It wasn't just Kimi's need," he said in a hurried voice, "you know that, don't you?"

"Of course, I know, dear Sebell." Her fingers lingered on his cheek, his lips. "But you always stand back and defer to our Master." She did not hide from Sebell then how much she loved Master Robinton, nor would that ever come between them since they each loved the man in their separate ways. "...but I have so wished--"
Menolly doesn't get to complete that thought.

So what the heck does this mean? That they love Robinton in separate ways? If they both just had a strong love of their teacher and mentor, it would be the "same" love, more or less, yes? How does Menolly's love differ from Sebell's?

Or is it only different in that Sebell won't get jealous that Menolly cares for Robinton? And if that's the case, that there's the possibility of him being jealous over a platonic love, why wouldn't she feel the same, in that she's not going to be jealous of HIS love for Robinton?

And what on EARTH (or Pern) does it mean to say, "Hey, I lust for you myself, not just because of Kimi" and then "You always stand back and defer to Robinton, Sebell". I mean...was, like, Sebell waiting for Robinton to make a move on Menolly or vice versa? Was there something active going on there with Robinton and Menolly that he didn't want to disrupt, or was he just not wanting to spoil any potential between Robinton and Menolly because he knew Menolly had some Unresolved Sexual Tension going on there? (Or, that he knew Robinton had some towards her?)

I honestly have a very difficult time NOT assuming Menolly's love for Robinton is a bit more than platonic, because if I try to throw that assumption out the window, I really don't know what the heck Anne McCaffrey is trying to convey to us here about these characters. In this instance, it makes more sense to me if we assume that yes, Menolly is attracted to Robinton above and beyond her love of him. There's absolutely no point in bringing up the possibility that Sebell might have issues with Menolly's love of Robinton if it's the same type of love as his is for Robinton. That doesn't make sense to me. But Menolly's love for Robinton IS brought up, so there must be something unusual about it.

And what has Menolly wished in that cut-off line of dialogue? To do what they just did before then? Or something else? I don't get it. Stupid Sebell, cutting her off.

Here's some more "I don't get what's happening" quoteage on the next page, page 223, a few sentences after the above quote, which they are referring to:

Quote:
"We need the wind, Sebell," she replied, laughing, with a spontaneous gaiety that drew a laugh from him because they had finally spoken of what had kept them apart too long.
Uh, they'd been kept apart? And they just spoke of it now? So, uh, what exactly kept Menolly from acknowledging Sebell's earlier advances? Was she afraid that her existing love for Robinton would drive Sebell away, hurt? I mean, if that's the case, bedding Sebell when he was under the influence of his flying queen Kimi is a pretty lousy way of forcing the question, because if he WAS jealous of that, it's not like the queen flying would make it magically go away, as queen flight or not, having sex with her was going to have emotional impact. It's pretty mean to try to sweep that under the rug with the excuse, "Firelizards made us do it."

Or was the thing they'd finally spoken about something else?

Here's another question...Menolly's obviously not shy about firelizard-mating-sex. So is it because she's experienced (which makes me wonder about that missing boat scene with Robinton, as he does, after all, have a bronze, and Kimi is flying one year later...I don't recall if queens and bronzes mature at the same time), or because it's Sebell and she wants him? Or is it just Menolly's character? She's a bit of an odd one in that in some scenes she's written very passively, yet in others she has boatloads of confidence. Dragonsong has her pretty assertive at Half-Circle, despite being beaten. Yet Dragonsinger has her written pretty passively the whole way through. In Dragondrums she vacillates strongly depending on the context and company, very sure of herself in some scenes, and very dependant upon Robinton and Sebell in others.

I can see her being experienced, given she has 9 firelizards (and 10 in later books) and has had to deal with Beauty rising in Turns prior. The question being, who was the lucky man? This is obviously Sebell's first time with her, and with Kimi rising since he didn't recognize the signs.

That damn missing boat scene with Robinton from "one turn prior" in the timeline will forever bug me and make me think of wild things to insert there.

Bonus: Robinton/Silvina

Robinton/Silvina as a pairing caught me by surprise when The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern mentioned it. But it's canon, even prior to MHoP; there is a scene in Dragondrums where Robinton caresses Silvina's cheek. Yes, she's his Headwoman, but I have a hard time picturing, say, F'lar, doing the same to Manora!

Page 112 of Dragondrums:

Quote:
Robinton laughed then, rubbing his fingers gently on her cheek before he came around the table and poured wine...
The "she" is Silvina.
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Old Jan 5 2011, 04:30 AM   #2
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

So. That's the subtext I spotted in Dragondrums.

Next up? The White Dragon. I think that's the one where the Robinton/Menolly subtext gets louder, because Robinton gets jealous Jaxom is flying off to Southern where he will be alone with Menolly.
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Old Jan 5 2011, 09:28 AM   #3
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Maybe the bit about deferring to Master Robinton means that although Sebell wanted to take his relationship with Menolly to the next step, he thought Master Robinton wouldn't approve for some reason? That it might be unprofessional? I had more to this thought but now it's gone...
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Old Jan 5 2011, 09:53 AM   #4
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Quote:
Originally Posted by D. M. Domini View Post
So. That's the subtext I spotted in Dragondrums.

Next up? The White Dragon. I think that's the one where the Robinton/Menolly subtext gets louder, because Robinton gets jealous Jaxom is flying off to Southern where he will be alone with Menolly.
Not to mention that when Menolly was on the ship with Robinton as he was being transported to Cove Hold, he actually thinks to himself that if he was younger.... And they share a brief kiss, IIRC.

And part of the reason why Sebell might have been deferring to Robinton, might have been because they were both his apprentice. And starting a relationship with someone that you're going to have to see everyday is a little risky if things go sour.

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Old Jan 5 2011, 01:38 PM   #5
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

The way I've read it is that Menolly absolutely adores Robinton in every way possible, but that he's always (or HAS he...?) maintained the professional and paternal form of their relationship above other possibilities. I'm sure he fancies the pants off her, but sees himself as a little of a seedy old man who'd be power-tripping if he ever indulged himself on that score - he knows how much she loves him, but perhaps feels that the sexual side of things is driven more by a crush coupled with the rest of their relationship dynamics than by a genuine attachment that could blossom into a long-lasting relationship. Besides, he knows that Sebell likes her too. I can SEE Anne writing their relationship with this in mind, because it keeps the alpha-male in the driving seat, as usual, with or without any actual sex taking place. *sigh*

Another factor is the changes Robinton is trying to bring to Pern, and the teacher-pupil relationship. What Menolly's position does for emancipating other women on Pern is hugely useful to him - but if he breaks the teacher-pupil relationship taboo, she's less than she was before, just a Master's bit of fluff in some eyes, and not a good example for allowing women into Serious Crafting. This, I think, is one of the major intervening factors preventing a relationship - they both have to keep their respective professionalisms whiter than white.
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Old Jan 5 2011, 09:41 PM   #6
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

There are many forms and degrees of love. Robinton was Menolly's hero. He rescued her and provided her with a life she had dreamed of but never expected to achieve. Of course she loved him. Robinton loved Menolly because of her youthful exuberance and her dedication to the things he also loved.

I don't see much point in assigning any great significance to the incident at sea. There were a lot of different pressures on both of them at that time. I honestly always believed he saw her as the child he should have had if things had gone differently for him. As for Sebell's deference, I think most everyone considered her Robinton's special protege and naturally would have to be respected in much the same way as some Lords sought to talk to Lytol regarding Jaxom's possible matching with their own offspring. Traditionally on Pern, parents (or Guardians or Masters) are always deferred to in such situations.

So, I guess you'll have to count me as a non-convert.
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Old Jan 6 2011, 01:13 AM   #7
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Quote:
That damn missing boat scene with Robinton from "one turn prior" in the timeline will forever bug me and make me think of wild things to insert there.
White Dragon: Pg 120 Towards the end, D'ram holding her hand, as his Weyrwoman (Wyermate) pass away. ( just got done listen to a audio copy of it.) Robinton. White Dragon Page 124 The image that D'ram used to get there.


White Dragon: Page 150 When they get back to the Harper Hall to report. Menolly as Jouneywoman and Sebell as Master Harper,
http://books.google.com/books?id=xgK...Sebell&f=false

Also The stress put on him as the Masterharper, the heart problems, not ready to give over the administration, or ready to retired to less active. He being so weak, after what happen at Ista Weyr.

The Rengades of Pern, and the Robinton, comming south, to see what Toric wanted.
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Old Jan 7 2011, 09:40 PM   #8
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

I think there was something else in The White Dragon that happened on the boat. I just can't remember what exactly it was. Some thing about a longing that would never be. Some thing to that extent. I wish I knew where my copy of the book was.
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Old Jan 8 2011, 03:58 PM   #9
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Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

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Originally Posted by mawra View Post
I think there was something else in The White Dragon that happened on the boat. I just can't remember what exactly it was. Some thing about a longing that would never be. Some thing to that extent. I wish I knew where my copy of the book was.
Perhaps a longing by the Masterhaper and Harper Hall to know were they came from?
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but found it to go North to Shield!
?

Finding restfulness in that Cove, to find out what the "Dawn Sisters" are?
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Old Jan 9 2011, 10:42 AM   #10
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

I always thought of this topic as silly, as I never looked at their relationship that way. I always thought that Menolly viewed Robinton as a fatherly figure, because of everything he had done to her - to her, he was a lovingly father who respected her wishes and, more importantly, supported her with her dreams - something she never had before. It's only natural, I think, that she had such strong emotions towards him, a feeling of love (father - daughter love, mind you), respect, gratitude, and, I think, she was ready and willing to do and go through everything for him. I always thought that Robinton could understand what Menolly went through with her father, as his relationship with Petiron wasn't good either. Ok, Petiron didn't strike him when he would compose, but, like Yanus, never respected Robinton's talent and talked to him about it.
So he could probably understand that Menolly needed someone she can truly trust and rely on, who would understand her and respect her dreams and help her best he could to make them come true.
For the scene where Sebell throws his arms over Piemur's and Menolly's shoulders, and Piemur thinking if Robinton knew what he knows... maybe he meant, if Robinton knew about Sebell's feelings towards Menolly and if she shares those feelings, because he's so close to both of them and knows them pretty well, and if they had perhaps told him something...
The later scene where Sebell repeats his move, and Robinton does so later as well could just be translated as a friendly gesture, something someone who cares about you and your feelings would do if he felt you need a friendly hug because you were down on your luck or your worried or something. And the leaning thing... again, maybe it's just a thing you would do with a friend or a person you view as a fatherly figure when you're worried.
''Slender''? If she's described as a boy, I would expect her figure to be small and skinny, and if her shoulders are slender (for it's her shoulder that are described as slender) I would expect no less from a girl who looks very much like a boy.
About the boat scene between Sebell and Menolly... like I said before, Menolly has very strong feelings for Robinton (they don't need to be romantic, mind you), and maybe she was always trying to find a way to pay him back for everything he did for her and thought that everything she did wasn't enough. And she probably knew (people talk, so must have picked thing up in the Hold) about his past and maybe felt sorry for him and thought that she needed to do something for him to make it easier - she maybe saw it as her duty.
As for Sebell - he probably knew, and must have saw it, how much Menolly means to Robinton, and he to her, and maybe felt that he has no right to come in between them, to ruin that, to push himself in... The mating flight was a good chance for them to finally say how they feel about each other. And maybe that was her first time, but she wanted Sebell and wasn't afraid of it. It wasn't forced (well, sort of).
And at the end, the Robinton/Silvina scene? You can't deny that Robinton and Silvina were together years before, and they have a son. Is it hard to imagine that Robinton still has feelings for Silvina, or that they're just like those old couples that have been together for so long and just show their feelings that way? They're not married, that's true, and maybe his feelings for her aren't strong as they were for Kasia, but they loved each other, and they remained friend years after it, support each other and the likes.
To conclude, I don't think there is sexual love between them. Robinton might view Menolly sometimes as a pretty, young girl, but that doesn't mean he wants to bed her.
Of course, like you said, you might need to read all of McCaffrey's works to notice it, as I didn't, but I never view that this way, although I see through fan fiction that many people do.
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Old Jan 9 2011, 03:04 PM   #11
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Quote:
The mating flight was a good chance for them to finally say how they feel about each other. And maybe that was her first time, but she wanted Sebell and wasn't afraid of it. It wasn't forced (well, sort of).
I never saw it as forced. It could have been, but since they both wanted each other already, it merely enhanced the experience.
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Old Jan 9 2011, 03:49 PM   #12
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

I never understood why anyone saw any subtext at all. So I guess I agree this topic is silly. If there's any wording that might be taken as indicative of romance because it was used that way elsewhere, coudln't that just be because McCaffrey also wrrote romance and used those phrases or actions out of habit?
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Old Jan 14 2011, 05:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

I don't think there's any subtext in the series. There is of course, the scene in The White Dragon where they share the kiss on the trip to Cove Hold after the heart attack and that was definitely filled with romantic tension in my opinion but that seems to be the only time after Menolly had grown up that they both let their guard down in that manner. Before then Menolly was too young, and after that Menolly and Robinton accepted that Menolly and Sebell were a match made in heaven so to speak.
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Old Jan 15 2011, 11:26 AM   #14
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

When I read the Harper Trilogy, many, many turns ago, I remember feeling a bit surprised when Menolly paired with Sebell. Not that I thought Robinton and Menolly would ever have a serious, long-term sexual relationship, but because Sebell had seemed so . . . not right? Somehow?

Robinton struck me as a bit conflicted in regards to Menolly. He loved her like a couldabeen daughter, but I wouldn’t have been surprised if Anne had mentioned a few, brief, occasional fantasies of something more. Doesn’t a pretty, feisty, adoring, young girl make an older, experienced, heart-sore man feel younger than he is? Wouldn’t she, especially if she reminded him of Kasia in any way, inadvertently reawaken those younger desires? I took it as a sign of immense strength that Robinton didn’t act on any private fantasies he might have had; he was, after all, a pragmatist, always looking at the long range effects of any course of action.

And Menolly loved Robinton as should have been able to love her father. But, he wasn’t her father, and I wonder if she might have had a few fantasies about such a loving, caring older man.

As far as Sebell ‘deferring’ to Robinton: He too was a pragmatist, and certainly didn’t want to harm his mentoring relationship with Robinton by courting Robinton’s almost daughter without permission.

About the ‘missing boat scene’: Hmm, is there any fanfic on that topic out there? I should think it could either be very sweet and touching, or very gross and demented. My own opinion is that if the fire lizards caused need in either or both Robinton or Menolly, any encounter would have been loving, kind, and probably chaste! It is possible to scratch an itch quite satisfactorily without removing one’s clothing, ya know? And I think they would both have realized the impracticality of such a relationship. Hmm, I feel a fanfic forming. Gotta change the subject, quick!

On F’lar and Manora: why not? If Manora were closer to F’lar’s age or younger, and if Lessa didn’t exist, and if his father hadn’t bedded her already, maybe Manora would have been Weyrwoman of Benden Weyr! She has the perfect personality for strong, respectable leadership, and she is loving and kind and organized and realistic. Though, I don’t think the story would have been near as interesting as with Lessa.

Oh, gotta find those books! Robinton and Menolly’s relationship would be a wonderful fanfic (after I finish the current one).
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Old Jan 15 2011, 12:29 PM   #15
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Oh PLEASE, not F'lar and Manora! She was F'lar's foster-mother practically from his birth, and the only mother he remembered. Oedipus complex anyone?

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Old Jan 16 2011, 02:14 PM   #16
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

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Oh PLEASE, not F'lar and Manora! She was F'lar's foster-mother practically from his birth, and the only mother he remembered. Oedipus complex anyone?

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P.S. Thanks for the birthday greetings.
She also the mother of F'lar half brother, F'nor. too.
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Old Jan 16 2011, 04:47 PM   #17
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Robinton and Silvina had a relationship, which resulted in the birth of Camo. but for some reason, he blames himself for the birth accident that resulted in the baby's disability...


"Bonus: Robinton/Silvina

Robinton/Silvina as a pairing caught me by surprise when The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern mentioned it. But it's canon, even prior to MHoP; there is a scene in Dragondrums where Robinton caresses Silvina's cheek. Yes, she's his Headwoman, but I have a hard time picturing, say, F'lar, doing the same to Manora!

Page 112 of Dragondrums:

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Robinton laughed then, rubbing his fingers gently on her cheek before he came around the table and poured wine...
The "she" is Silvina."


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Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

So
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Old Jan 16 2011, 10:43 PM   #18
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Robinton and Silvina had a relationship, which resulted in the birth of Camo. but for some reason, he blames himself for the birth accident that resulted in the baby's disability...
I don't see any mention that he felt guilty about the birth accident (which, after all, he couldn't have done anything about), but he was very disappointed that his son would never be a harper, and probably felt guilty about being disappointed.

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Old Jan 16 2011, 11:40 PM   #19
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

I think it may be in People of Pern. I remember reading somewhere that Camo's disability was the reason he never had any more children - he was afraid the same thing would happen.
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Old Jan 17 2011, 01:18 PM   #20
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Wasn't that in the Master Harper?
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Old Jan 17 2011, 06:18 PM   #21
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

I couldn't find anything in MHoP, but in Dragonlover's Guide it says, speaking of Robinton and Silvina, "They produced one son, Camo, who turned out to be retarded. Robinton could not bring himself to father any more children, lest they all turn out to be like the first." Of course, DG predated MHoP.
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Old Jan 17 2011, 08:06 PM   #22
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

I don't think MHoP has any explicit reference but it definitely has a section involving Robinton struggling over the issue of Camo having a bad birth (umbilical cord was around his neck I believe, cutting off oxygen to the brain leading to his mentally deficient state) and his subsequent issues with fatherhood--wishing Camo to be more proficient, but with Silvina's advice coming to view the apprentices of the Harper Hall as his children and accepting Camo for who he was rather than endlessly wishing for him to be someone he was not.
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Old Jan 17 2011, 10:05 PM   #23
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Old Jan 18 2011, 07:48 AM   #24
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

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I don't think MHoP has any explicit reference but it definitely has a section involving Robinton struggling over the issue of Camo having a bad birth (umbilical cord was around his neck I believe, cutting off oxygen to the brain leading to his mentally deficient state) and his subsequent issues with fatherhood--wishing Camo to be more proficient, but with Silvina's advice coming to view the apprentices of the Harper Hall as his children and accepting Camo for who he was rather than endlessly wishing for him to be someone he was not.
That was actually what I meant, but I have a feeling I read somewhere that Robinton had a problem with fathering more children (and I definitely didn't read DLG!)
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Old Jan 18 2011, 08:10 AM   #25
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That was actually what I meant, but I have a feeling I read somewhere that Robinton had a problem with fathering more children (and I definitely didn't read DLG!)
He clearly has father-figure *issues* - but given that the Holders don't have effective contraception, has he spent the last twenty years post-Camo being a eunuch? Wearing ultra-tight Harper-blue y-fronts? Drowning his sorrows in a song?

Or can we explain his subsequent childlessness as a Benden-wine induced case of Brewer's Droop...?



Oh my. The drunken plotbunnies. Harper Hall's best kept secret...
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Old Jan 18 2011, 01:44 PM   #26
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

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He clearly has father-figure *issues* - but given that the Holders don't have effective contraception, has he spent the last twenty years post-Camo being a eunuch?
When Petiron and Merelan went to Pierie Hold for that 6-month posting (MHoP Chapter 1), Merelan used some kind of contraceptive 'potion' (mentioned on last page of chapter).

The holders tended to want large families to help work the land so that they didn't have to hire outsiders, and also to claim more land. Since presumably the contraceptive potion was something they'd have to buy, they probably use it to space out the births rather than prevent them altogether. That's assuming it was a widely-known remedy --- Petiron was apparently abstaining from 'what he might not have' before they went to Pierie. Maybe it was made from a rare herb and cost too much for most people.
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Old Jan 18 2011, 02:08 PM   #27
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When Petiron and Merelan went to Pierie Hold for that 6-month posting (MHoP Chapter 1), Merelan used some kind of contraceptive 'potion' (mentioned on last page of chapter).
Aha! That's worth checking, I guess - though I do see that rather as Anne catering to the expectations of a modern audience than a genuinely plausible bit of canon, for reasons below.

Quote:
The holders tended to want large families to help work the land so that they didn't have to hire outsiders, and also to claim more land. Since presumably the contraceptive potion was something they'd have to buy, they probably use it to space out the births rather than prevent them altogether. That's assuming it was a widely-known remedy --- Petiron was apparently abstaining from 'what he might not have' before they went to Pierie. Maybe it was made from a rare herb and cost too much for most people.
Although, as a society they DON'T need a functional contracpetive - infant mortality, maternal mortality and no alternative to breastfeeding will all space out living over-fives in the average family very well. Sucks to be a woman in that scenario, but hey, at least there'll be enough warm bodies to till the fields...

Plus, with between being readily available for the powerful sections of society, there's no drive to develop any alternative contraception/abortifacients.
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Old Jan 19 2011, 07:56 AM   #28
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Plus, with between being readily available for the powerful sections of society, there's no drive to develop any alternative contraception/abortifacients.
I thought only dragonriders used between for that. But, come to think of it, I see no reason anyone else wound't use it as well.
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Old Jan 19 2011, 11:47 AM   #29
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I thought only dragonriders used between for that. But, come to think of it, I see no reason anyone else wound't use it as well.
I'm sure certain holders knew enough to get their daughters conveniently fostered to other holds via dragonback if and when the need arose, depending on whether the hold was more in need of bastards-of-the-blood or unsullied, marriageable assets at the time... though it would appear to have drifted out of plausible fashion by later Passes.
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Old Apr 11 2011, 07:00 PM   #30
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

In my opinion, and that is only recently formed (from like the 20th time I re read the series)...i dont think that there is anything other than a deep and abiding "brotherly love" between Robinton and Menolly; but here's the thing, isnt it odd that she is SO very hated by her father Yanus,is it ONLY the disparity between what a woman should be and what Menollly is and can achieve? and ahd doesnt really physically resemble her siblings,does she?(think I remember remember reading that in Dragonsong, her being so tall and lanky, and isnt robinton himself discribed that way over and over?) and Petrion sure is devotedly kind to her, could it be....that Petrion is Menolly's Father? and that would make Robinton her half brother, Of course that would make it akward for her being Married to Sebell then wouldnt it? because isnt he some sort of half cousin twice removed or somthing to Robinton on Robinton's mother's side? (refeance MHoP) if I am off base and reading something into this that isnt there, please-redirect my thinking into a different tract, although, like I said I dont think there was anything other that platonic love and deep friendship between Robinton and Menolly.
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Old Apr 19 2011, 01:23 AM   #31
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

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In my opinion, and that is only recently formed (from like the 20th time I re read the series)...i dont think that there is anything other than a deep and abiding "brotherly love" between Robinton and Menolly; but here's the thing, isnt it odd that she is SO very hated by her father Yanus,is it ONLY the disparity between what a woman should be and what Menolly is and can achieve?
In my book, she would be tall for a girl, and 'her love for both sea and music, Petrion, was hoping she could go on to the Harper Hall, his is a Master and she was his apprentice, and send two well written songs, but after he died and she was 'to do a man' job teaching the Hold's children, no more 'songmaking' she didn't play in front of folks, but she joite them down hiding them in the 'Small Hall' where only the new harper would find them, who did and send them on to the Harper Hall.

She more like the boys in her family then the girls, doesn't really physically resemble her siblings,does she? (think I remember reading that in Dragonsong, her being so tall and lanky, <snip>for a girl<snip> She is the youngest of Yanus childern, she has six brothers and an older sister.
Petrion is Robinton father, Dragonsinger, for he request a minor hold to stay out his own son's way when he became MasterHaper.

Sebell then wouldnt it? because isnt he some sort of half cousin twice removed or somthing to Robinton on Robinton's mother's side? (refeance MHoP), his is the grandson of the small hold that Petrion and his young family harper for six months, and related some to Robinton's mother family.

if I am off base and reading something into this that isnt there, please-redirect my thinking into a different tract, although, like I said I dont think there was anything other that platonic love and deep friendship between Robinton and Menolly.
Also Robinton seeing what happen to Camo after his birth cord around his neck, he didn't want to 'father' any more kids, so his 'children' in way became the apprentices in the hall.
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Old Apr 19 2011, 04:20 AM   #32
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

He was also afraid something like what happened to Camo would happen again.
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Old Apr 19 2011, 02:49 PM   #33
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

The theory awmotb just posted was that PETIRON, not Robinton, was Menolly's father. So Robinton's feelings on having more children are beside the point.

However, I don't think the maths add up for it to work.

It wouldn't make any relation to Sebell that awkward as he and Robinton aren't closely related. Just about the ONLY universal incest taboo is parent/offspring, with even certain sibling pairings being permissible (though not common.) The idea that first cousins are too close for marriage is fairly recent and not always even backed up by genetics. I don't think the Pernese worry too much about cousin crosses.
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Old Apr 20 2011, 10:47 PM   #34
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

The books read to me as The Writer isn't sure which way she is going to go with Menolly, and until the entire story played it's self out in her mind, and thru the different books to us, the readers. She had her showing concern, caring, and feelings, for all three of the majof influences in her "new" life.
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Old Apr 21 2011, 08:12 AM   #35
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Something to keep in mind: before Pern, Anne was a romance writer, so something of the subtext that Domini pointed out is going to be there. What's remarkable is the fact Anne DIDN'T subcom to temptation & turn the Harper Hall trilogy & that 'Lost' incident mentioned in TWD into another typical Harlequin romance! Kudos to Anne for some real maturity there!

OTOH, sometimes Anne really sucks where it comes to physics--that storm that blew them east to Cove....tropical storms blow west, which would mean that that storm would've had to put them 3/4 around the planet!

fortunately, someone was there to help out on that
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Old Apr 21 2011, 10:14 AM   #36
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

on Earth it dos, but Pern is an totaly different matter it could blow vertical for all we know, we can not check it.
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Old Apr 21 2011, 11:19 AM   #37
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Don't tropical storms follow pressure fronts and wind currents? If the winds over the appropriate region blow west-to-east, wouldn't the tropical storm also flow west-to-east as a result?
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Old Apr 21 2011, 11:31 AM   #38
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

Well, there's always BASS (Because Anne Says So)--but let's remember, Anne said that Pern is supposed to be Science Fiction, not Fantasy. And she even drafted a few scientist friends to do beta reads for her

Of course, it could be that TWD was put out before she got to know some of those scientist friends...
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Old Apr 21 2011, 11:42 AM   #39
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

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Don't tropical storms follow pressure fronts and wind currents? If the winds over the appropriate region blow west-to-east, wouldn't the tropical storm also flow west-to-east as a result?
Normal convection of a planet's atmospher heated by a sun has ground winds flowing from the poles toward the equator. But when a planet rotates, we get a series of convection bands that generally blow west-to-east for middle latitudes (where most of us on Earth live ), but in the tropics, they generally flow east-to-west.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_circulation
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Old Apr 21 2011, 01:58 PM   #40
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Default Re: Exploring the Subtextual - Robinton/Menolly in the DRoP series

And we know Pern has the same rotational direction as Earth because of the time zone indications, so logically, Pern would then have the same general make up of air currents. Am I understanding that correctly?
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