Bookish Rants or Raves: Do Not Meddle in the Affairs of Dragons

Filed in 1 1/2 Star , Bookish Rant or Raves , Draconismoi , Fantasy Posted on August 7, 2012 @ 11:00 am 12 comments

Warning: I devour any and all books, movies, or shows that feature dragons. I’ve exhaustively researched dragon mythology. I unintentionally convinced a guy to smuggle a short dragon sword out of the country for me. I make a living by arguing with awful people about the semantics of domestic violence.* I have opinions about dragons and writing. And I have ZERO tolerance for misuse of these magnificent creatures.

So, without further ado, I present…

The Five Dragon Books You Should NEVER read, or The Draconic UnMentionables.

Dear Authors, when you squander the brilliance of dragons, you earn my enmity until the end of time.

I am here today to warn my fellow readers. No one should suffer as I have suffered. No one should be pulled in with promises of draconic glory, only to see the glorious creatures debased and defiled.

Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory.

You expect me to believe a dragon could be defeated by any of these collection of utter tools? They spend too much time raping, being raped, committing adultery, abandoning their illegitimate children, picking pointless battles, and generally screwing around with shit they don’t understand, for me to accept any of them could kill a dragon.

Get eaten by a dragon? Yes. Kill a dragon? Hah! I call BULLSHIT.

I have no interest in Arthurian legends. Malory is the defining work, and Malory didn’t have the decency to have a dragon taken down by an actual heroic figure. Instead he portrayed the dragon as a rabid dog. Because that was the only way he could convince anyone Sir Prance-a-lot could do something other than sex-up his best friend’s wife.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling.

In this book, the purported good guys capture dragons from all over the world. Then they drug and transport the captives, along with their clutches, to England, so that a handful of sociopathic kids can torture them with magic and steal their eggs in a ridiculous sporting event.

Where is the Wizarding Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals when you need them? It was just soooo horrific when the bad guys kidnapped a handful of muggle families and used magic to torture them and steal their children for the enjoyment of the masses at a ridiculous sporting event. HOW did no one see the obvious parallels in their treatment of dragons?!

Guess who never picked up that later Harry Potter books or movies?

The Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey.

They may as well call this series the Rapingtimes of Pern. Rape and sexual assault are the norm. In the first book alone, we have our so-called heroes:

  1. Abducting young women from all over the world. (Only the prettiest ones!) As potential sex partners. Consent not required.
  2. Raping the heroine on multiple occasions. No one bothers to explain the details of dragon-mating to her. Apparently dragonriders prefer women roofied. Then, knowing she has no idea what the hell is going on, the hero violently rapes her, because he assumed she’d spent her entire childhood being raped. After discovering her lack of interest in ongoing rape, does he lay off? No. He continues raping her, confident that she’ll eventually start to consent. Or just sacrifice her independence and free will on the altar of his entitlement.
  3. Kidnapping all the wives, sisters, and daughters of those foolish men who don’t have dragons. To use as collateral. And rape. Because where else will these ladies sleep while they are being held hostage?

I want to love Pern. I really do. The dragons are exceptional. But dragons are not quite awesome enough to erase the never-ending rapeathon and creepy gender roles.**

Black Jewels by Anne Bishop.

Once upon a time there were two dragons. The lady dragon flies all over the world, shedding her scales in order to imbue various species with magical powers since her race had died out.

That’s an awesome magical origin story.

Until the remaining dragon spends the next couple hundred thousand years mutilating himself to increase the power of a bunch of sadists who slaughter, rape, and torture their way through the centuries. Um, no. When your species’s legacy is abused to this extreme, you rain fire down on their asses.

There are additional problems with the world-building. The non-magical races never manage to make any technological advances in hundreds of thousands of years? Bull and shit. Look at what human society accomplished in the last 2000. Take a page from The Legend of Korra, Ms. Bishop. Magic and technology are not mutual exclusive. Unless the magic-users are constantly working to suppress technological innovation, Lorn isn’t the only one who should be picking off these megalomaniacs.

In His Majesty’s Service by Naomi Novik.

Dragon slave labor. No. No. No. No. NO! These dragons are so much more powerful than the runty humans enslaving them. Rise up against your ridiculous imperialistic overlords! I’ll start reading again when Temeraire leads a slave rebellion, and eats all those Royal assholes. Southern BBQ style.

 

All of the above stories are epic draconic FAILS. One-and-a-half stars. Tops.

If you already read them, it’s not too late! You can purge this horrible dragon-abuse from your memory by exposing yourself to unparalleled dragon awesomeness. I’d like to refer you to my previous post on the BEST examples of literary dragons. Go there. Read those. And avoid the aforementioned abominations evermore.

 

*Most recently I’ve been debating the legal significance of synonyms. Strangling is a crime of domestic violence, but certain jackhole attorneys maintain choking does not fit that definition. There are similar debates over throwing into furniture vs shoving into furniture, and hitting vs smacking.

**Pern earns minor redemption for a homonormative society. All the blue and green dragon riders are gay, the brown dragon riders are bi, and the gold/bronze dragon riders are heterosexual. We even meet an asexual dragon. Go Ruth! Most queer-identified nerds have at least dabbled in Pern, leading to many hilarious quips about color-coding for convenince. I was once in on a “what color is your dragon” t-shirt campaign (I didn’t participate mostly on the principle that I would get stuck wearing white. Bo-ring). But welcoming queer people into your ruling class doesn’t stop all the roofies and rape. Sorry Dragons, Pern still fails.

About Draconismoi


Draconismoi is a Legal Aid Attorney out on the frozen tundra. After two weeks of -30F, she started telling people she moved to Alaska because she loves the indoors. Right now you'll find her curled up under all the blankets she owns, surrounded by a pile of books. Every so often she emerges from her cave (when there is food) and wonders how she'll justify prolonging this behavior once the temperature rises and the sun returns.

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12 Comments

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  • Susan August 7, 2012 at 7:09 pm

    Not sure I can quit laughing long enough to type!

    I own the Bishop and Novik books but haven’t yet gotten around to reading them. I still plan to try, but will go forward with your warnings ringing in my ears.

    Everything you say about the Pern books is true. But. . . I still like most of them. At least the older ones–haven’t read any of the later ones w/ Todd. My faves are Menolly’s trilogy (they’re actually the ones I started with), The White Dragon, and The Dolphins of Pern (I think nobody else likes this one). I never really thought about it, but those are some of the less rapey of the books.

    • Draconismoi August 7, 2012 at 11:06 pm

      Oh don’t get my wrong, I’ve READ all the Pern books. Well, all of them set in the 1st, 6th, and 9th Passes. Which is why I can say, love the dragons, hate Pern. Pern is a terrible stream of never-ending rape stories.

      If you think I was harsh on Bishop, you need to check out what acrackedmoon has to say about them. I just focused on draconic issues….she really lays into the Black Jewels books for being so very very problematic. http://requireshate.wordpress.com/2011/05/11/anne-bishops-rape-jewels-trilogy/

      • Susan August 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm

        You know I bookmarked acrackedmoon’s blog after reading that, right?

        Well, I guess I won’t be in a rush to start Bishop’s series. It can go to the back of the (incredibly long) line. I’s odd because I’ve read things from other people saying it’s their absolute favorite sff series evah! So I kept thinking I was surely missing out on something fabulous. Maybe even life-changing. But we don’t all have to like the same things. There’s something for everyone–no matter how deluded they are.

    • aurian August 15, 2012 at 7:30 am

      The Dolphins of Pern is my favourite of the lot, and I reread it often. And yes Menolly’s trilogy is sooo good. The Todd books are bad, they lack the humor and feelings his mother was so good in writing about.

      • Draconismoi August 15, 2012 at 11:09 am

        I started reading Anne McCaffery in the 3rd grade. By the time I got to the Dolphins of Pern, I’d reached a point where talking dolphins weren’t overly interesting to me.

        Actually, by that time I was old enough to recognize all the rape as, you know, rape, instead of *giggle-how-scandalous-books-have-s-e-x-in-them*.

  • J. Lawrence August 7, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    I love dragons too! I did like where McCaffery was going with her dragons. The connection between rider and dragon was awesome. But I definitely do agree about the abuse. Could’ve done without that coming from the protagonist. Also, I agree with the other post too. Dragons can never be easy to kill.

  • Melissa (My World...in words and pages) August 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm

    Hm, cool post. I’ve not thought about it this way. And the Novik dragons have not called to my attention, so I’ve not picked up the books.

    • Draconismoi August 7, 2012 at 11:09 pm

      Once upon a time, I was like you. Not overly intrigued by a Novik book, because they do give off an aura of overwhelming ‘meh’. But my friends are evil and/or enjoy my rants. So I was gifted the first couple books….

      Friends Don’t Recommend Terrible Books To Friends!

  • Aliyah August 8, 2012 at 4:07 am

    Okay, I see your logic with most of these books, but, I have to say that as a child I loved the Harry Potter books (and I still do as a guilty pleasure). So I have to argue that although there is abuse of dragons in this one and in the seventh book, the storytelling is great (there is no rape unlike the other books) and I advise people to read this book.

    • Draconismoi August 8, 2012 at 11:47 am

      What what WHAT?! MORE dragon-abuse?! It wasn’t enough the first time around?

  • aurian August 15, 2012 at 7:32 am

    I do agree with you on the rape subjects, but I still absolutely adore those books. And well, no dragons were raped, just the humans. And the dragons in the Anne McCaffrey books are not dead you know.

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