A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 334: Dragon Haven, Chapter 1

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

After more of the ongoing exchange among the bird-keepers of Bingtown and the Rain Wilds, the first chapter of Dragon Haven, “Poisoned,” begins with Alise watching Leftrin and conferring mentally with Sintara. Alise asks after the copper dragon, Relpda, and is informed by Mercor that she is beset by parasites and suffering; he maintains watch to ensure the integrity of dragons’ dealings. Alise allows herself to be led aside by Leftrin, considering her husband as she does, and the two confer briefly about their situation.

It’s an obvious connection…
Penny-Dragon’s Maulkin and Mercor on DeviantArt, used for commentary.

Sedric considers his own situation as he confers with Carson, the latter commenting on the former’s seeming illness and moving to offer some aid. Sedric suffers aftereffects of having drunk dragon blood, and Carson quietly broaches the topic of same-sex liaisons with him, and Sedric finds himself unsettled and anxious about the hunter.

Thymara and Sylvie confer about their situation, Sylvie remarking on Greft’s willingness to set aside a number of the conventions under which the Rain Wilders had lived. Thymara finds herself considering the dragons, and Sintara approaches her with demands for care and attention. Thymara addresses the atrophy of her wings, provoking annoyance, and a parasite is discovered on the dragon. The discovery prompts examination of the other dragons, and more such parasites are found–and the wound inflicted on Relpda is also laid bare, along with several of the parasites. Efforts to purge Relpda of the beasts begin in earnest.

Thymara finds her regard for Alise shifting amid the work they do together, and she recalls her own work to rid Sintara of parasites. Sintara sends her after Greft and Jerd. As Thymara works to obey her dragon, she considers the compulsion to do so that has been laid upon her. She becomes aware of another presence in her mind and persuades it to leave her, after which she comes upon Greft and Jerd amid an assignation and a conversation about selling off parts of Relpda’s carcass to fund the foundation of their own society. Thymara considers the implications of what she sees and hears, and she flees when she is seen by the rutting pair.

Aboard the Tarman, Sedric continues to suffer from having tasted dragon blood.

Something comes to mind as I reread the chapter for this write-up: Dungeons & Dragons. That the primary example of RPGs would come up isn’t a surprise, especially given some of my recent posts (here and here), but what brings Dungeons & Dragons to mind, specifically, is the association of specific dragons’ behaviors to their phenotype. The gold dragon, Mercor, is presented as particularly wise and unusually considerate of humans, for example, while the sapphire Sintara is dismissive. Such depictions seem to line up with information about dragons presented in core rulebooks of various editions of Dungeons & Dragons. (That contemporaneous to the novel’s presumed composition would be either 3.5 or 4.)

The extent to which Hobb is or was familiar with Dungeons & Dragons is not known to me as of this writing; I’ve not done the work to look into it as yet, and it’s not certain I ever will. It may be that she was heavily involved in the game at various times; so much would account for the parallels. But even if she was not, given the amount of overlap between fantasy readership and the Dungeons & Dragons playerbase, the parallels suggest that the game has informed popular understandings. And that might well inform an interesting project to pursue.

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

2 thoughts on “A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 334: Dragon Haven, Chapter 1

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