A Robin Hobb Rereading Series: Entry 344: Dragon Haven, Chapter 12

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

After a sad entry in the ongoing correspondence among bird-keepers, “The Locket” begins with Relpda exulting in having eaten Jess as she returns to the other dragons. She also notes that Sedric has drunk her blood, which occasions upset among the others. Amid the tumult, Sintara questions Relpda about events, and Mercor notes one means through which the dragons formerly created Elderlings. His comments occasion more agitated discussion among the dragons, and Sintara considers the tattered memories she holds, that all of them have. Relpda asserts herself, which comes as some surprise to the other dragons, and Mercor presses Sintara for details that are only begrudgingly given.

Of such sort are more memories than dragons’, stained and tattered and perhaps pretentious
Photo by Poppy Thomas Hill on Pexels.com

Sedric, returned to the Tarman, delights in restoring some semblance of civility to himself and his situation, and he reflects on his recent experiences. The distance between him and Alise receives attention, and he notices the locket he had had from Hest as he dresses. Taking it up, he considers his relationship with the man whose image graces the locket, and his thoughts turn warmly toward Carson. Sedric also considers that Leftrin might have been in league with Jess, which gives him some concern.

Alise’s return disturbs Sedric’s reverie, and the two confer together about their respective situations, carefully avoiding some topics but lunging headlong into Hest. She voices her doubts of her husband, and Sedric affirms that Hest does not love her. She is about to press Sedric about Hest further but is distracted by the recognition that he is beginning to take on the features common to the Rain Wilds, which he denies. As Alise presses about the locket, however, he relents and admits his relationship with her husband, expecting scorn and finding only compassion from her. Alise departs, and Sedric ruminates further on what he had with Hest, and the touch of Relpda’s mind on his offers some strange comfort.

Elsewhere, Carson and Leftrin confer closely about events, the former confronting the latter about the notion of harvesting dragon parts. Leftrin admits his involvement and lays out the situation, and Carson accepts Leftrin’s remarks that he is done with such dealings.

The present chapter is surprisingly illuminating about the Elderlings and their origins, as well as about the Others–some fairly deep links back into the Elderlings corpus, such things as I tend to appreciate amid sprawling narratives. (I like things to follow the rules they set out. It’s a preference that gets me into trouble in real life, where exceptions are the norm–and I lie outside it.) I am minded of the adage that “You are what you eat,” and I note that Hobb has long established that so much is true for the dragons–they take on memories from what they consume. It is of some interest that the reverse appears also to be true, that by eating of dragons people take on something of the draconic–and that there is some peril in it for both humans and dragons.

I note, too, that Sedric begins to come out in the present chapter, although only privately and only partially. What queer theory has to say about the narrative, I do not know, not being versed in it as I perhaps ought to be. I do know that the work done on Hobb’s writing in that line has focused not on Sedric, but upon Fitz and the Fool, and I cannot help but wonder at why (except that Fitz has been out in the readers’ world longer and more abundantly). Admittedly, Sedric seems more in line with stereotypes than Fitz and the Fool, which makes for less interesting scholarship–although there may be something to gain from contrasting Hobb’s handling of the characters…

Ah, to have the time to pursue ideas about books again!

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