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Great Posts and Interesting Discussions

Dragondreams by Albert Chiou

original post 10/16/98; reformatted version 10/22/98

Dragons.  The whole concept of dragons have changed rather radically these past few decades from the evil, scaly, beasts of the skies that would flame fields and crops and torture mankind (although the opinion is not altogether gone).  Now when we hear dragons, there is a very large crowd that regards them as companions—loyal, friendly, intelligent, and, in fact, humane. There have been more humanlike qualities exhibited in dragons in the works of many authors, including Anne McCaffrey.  Through McCaffrey’s superb characterization, she brings these legendary beasts into a new role in society: the unconditional companion.

  Through dragons, the friendship that many of us can only dream of can be obtained.   No more lonely Saturday nights, eating cold pizza and lazily flipping through the stations.  Now we have solace in the fact that there will always be someone—some dragon—there for us.  In times of need we merely whip out McCaffrey’s latest novel or lie back and dream up our own Pernese fantasy. Whatever the method, we are taken 200 light years away to the distant star Rukbat in the constellation Sagittarius—away to the third planet with its wandering satellite, the ominous Red Star.

  Over the years, dragons have become more civilized, intelligent, friendly, and, particularly, humane.  Just half a century or more ago, we would be watching the latest medieval fantasy—the knight saves the maiden from the captivity of the evil dragon.  Our opinion of these beasts have changed to take on a lighter, sunnier view.  Perhaps after rediscovering them in the so-called "Draconic Renaissance" of the past few decades, we realize that there is much more under that tough hide (or scales).  We think to ourselves, perhaps there is good in a beast like that, and optimistically, we add, why it could practically be my friend.  Our optimism, having gone decades without war, has increased and manifests itself in the new generation of children—dragonriders, our dragonriders.

  For a long time, the philosophy has been: the author creates the basics, and the reader imagines the rest.  That philosophy still holds today. After reading McCaffrey’s books about dragons, say All the Weyrs of Pern, we think: wow.  Then we close our eyes and see ourselves take every step with Jaxom and Ruth, sing the songs of Menolly and Sebell, and even struggle to keep up with the efficient work of Fandarel.  It does not stop there.  Soon we see ourselves going about Pern on our various adventures: flaming thread, harpering, charting the coasts, or just enjoying the two Pernese moons on a wonderful starlit evening.  In the end, we find that every one of us has become a true Pernese at heart.

  So, as our future weyrlings prepare to meet their manhood to become the next generation of dragonriders, we sit and watch, smiling all the while to ourselves—and our dragons.  For it can be said that for every person out there, there’s a dragon waiting in its shell—waiting for the right moment.  And when it hatches, our adventures on the distant world of Pern begin. From the time we close our eyes, lying in our beds, we are transported across the vast depths of space to the rugged mountains of Benden or the lush jungles of the Southern Continent—across space, and time, to the world of Pern.

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All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey’s fiction are copyright © Anne McCaffrey 1967-2007,
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