A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 323: Dragon Keeper, Chapter 8

Read the previous entry in the series here.
Read the next entry in the series

The succeeding chapter, “Interviews,” follows another message-exchange, opening with Thymara sitting before a number of Rain Wild Traders and musing over her ill fit among them as she faces their pointed questioning. She asks pointed questions about the prospective work in return, receiving evasive answers and recognizing that the work amounts to exile for the dragons and for those who “hire on” to tend them. She agrees to the work anyway, and she is dismissed.

After signing on with the relocation effort, Thymara greets her father, who commends her to the work, and Tats, and others begin to join them. One, Rapskal, introduces himself, and Tats notes that he has also signed onto the effort. Thymara’s father offers her another chance to withdraw, which she refuses, having signed a contract. Thymara’s father affirms his support of her and takes his leave, and Thymara and Tats go to get supplied for their work. The supplies are detailed, and more introductions are made as the group being sent for the relocation effort begins to coalesce.

Elsewhere, Leftrin notes some misgivings about the Tarman, conferring with Swarge about it. The dreams they and the crew have been having are noted.

On the Rain Wild River, Sedric and Alise stand aboard the Paragon, their circumstances rehearsed. Alise notes Hest’s haste in seeing them off and setting about his own affairs, and the ongoing ill-regard for the Paragon receives comment. Alise muses on the dragons’ deaths that enabled the liveships, and Clef delivers the ship’s request for her to come forward and confer. After an exchange between Clef and Sedric, Alise accepts the request and makes her way forward, joining the figurehead in conversation that soon goes strangely and prompts Althea and Brashen to intervene and take her aside. In their cabin, they report to Alise–and Sedric, accompanying her–that the dragons she hopes to see are not, but are the hindered creatures that they are. They note, too, the changes affecting those in prolonged close contact with the dragons, including Selden, Malta, and Reyn, and they speak to the situation at Cassarick. An offer of transport back to Bingtown is made, and Sedric unexpectedly presses for the trip to Cassarick to happen, anyway, despite all the problems in place there.

O! The exploitative labor practices!

I don’t think I need to comment much on the “employment” Thymara and the others take, except perhaps to say that there is a lot of early US history at work in the depiction. Children working in coal mines comes to mind. Sweatshops do, too.

I note with more interest Paragon‘s philosophical notes about his existence as a liveship and the determination to move ahead as he is rather than lament–or attempt to avenge–what he might have been. There is no paying for the predations of the past for him–for his kind. It is something of a Stoic perspective, one not discordant with the fatalism the ship evidences in the Liveship Traders trilogy, but I cannot help but wonder if there is some parallel to be found and explicated…I’d not be surprised to find one, intentional or otherwise (and intent matters far, far less than effect, as is amply and repeatedly attested).

I’d be happy to put my talents to work for you; let me know what all you need written, and we’ll talk!

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