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BS: Books: Talking Dragons

keberoxu 02 Jul 16 - 08:26 PM
Rapparee 02 Jul 16 - 11:10 PM
keberoxu 03 Jul 16 - 03:46 PM
Rapparee 03 Jul 16 - 08:51 PM
keberoxu 04 Jul 16 - 04:52 PM
EBarnacle 04 Jul 16 - 11:24 PM
vectis 05 Jul 16 - 12:19 AM
robomatic 07 Jul 16 - 01:05 AM
keberoxu 09 Jul 16 - 06:11 PM
EBarnacle 10 Jul 16 - 01:04 AM
robomatic 10 Jul 16 - 02:22 PM
keberoxu 10 Jul 16 - 05:46 PM
EBarnacle 11 Jul 16 - 12:03 PM
keberoxu 11 Jul 16 - 07:26 PM
robomatic 11 Jul 16 - 10:53 PM
keberoxu 25 Jul 16 - 06:53 PM
keberoxu 27 Jul 16 - 07:01 PM
keberoxu 13 Aug 16 - 03:54 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Aug 16 - 09:54 AM
keberoxu 14 Aug 16 - 05:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 14 Aug 16 - 05:36 PM
keberoxu 31 May 17 - 05:08 PM
EBarnacle 01 Jun 17 - 01:17 PM
keberoxu 01 Jun 17 - 01:32 PM
EBarnacle 02 Jun 17 - 10:40 AM
keberoxu 02 Jun 17 - 03:23 PM
Anne Lister 03 Jun 17 - 11:43 AM
EBarnacle 13 Jun 17 - 02:32 PM
Iains 13 Jun 17 - 03:13 PM
keberoxu 13 Jun 17 - 04:17 PM
EBarnacle 15 Jun 17 - 11:56 PM
keberoxu 16 Jun 17 - 02:25 PM
EBarnacle 18 Jun 17 - 10:59 PM
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Subject: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 02 Jul 16 - 08:26 PM

Just bought it in a Barnes and Noble, off the shelf. It is "League of Dragons," the grand finale in a historical-fantasy series by author Naomi Novik, of whom I could find no mention when I searched the Mudcat Forum. Surely some other Mudcat member besides me has been reading Naomi Novik's series? Libraries love them, they sell well enough to go mass-market paperback.

The setting is the Napoleonic wars. When the book begins, England still has -- oh shoot -- cannot for the life of me recall the name of the King. He's the one who was gently put away and the Regency began.

In the course of the books -- I forget how many: seven? Nine? -- the wars are played out. The difference is that Earth has dragons. The ones who seem to know dragons best are the Chinese, but every continent has dragons. They talk, rather loudly. They hatch from eggs. Humans have been breeding and cultivating them for centuries. They have their place in the history of civilization.

It makes me squeal with laughter when the English and their dragons converse with each other, and it is all Regency-novel speech. Picture a many-times-larger-than-human dragon exclaiming huffily, "That is the outside of enough!"

Naomi Novik, like Robin Hobb, is a world-builder, and her fantasy civilizations are in fact built on the kind of historical research that makes my head hurt just to think about it, in mind-numbing detail. That is one reason her books are so long.

I have already skimmed through this final book. Napoleon does indeed get packed off to that island. In this alternative history, though, his downfall is an ambitious woman....no, NOT Josephine.

Any other Mudcatters know of these books?


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: Rapparee
Date: 02 Jul 16 - 11:10 PM

No, but I've found talking dragons in several novels. Naturally none of of the title come immediately to mind.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 03 Jul 16 - 03:46 PM

Naomi Novik's dragons do something even more necessary than talking: they fly, of course. This means that, with hostilities, battles, and campaigns going on, even though there are no aeroplanes, the Napoleonic Wars have got aviators, on the backs of the flying dragons. Novik goes into pretty unflinching detail, by the way, describing battle after battle, and imagining how it would have been for Lord Nelson, for instance, if he had not only the Royal Navy out on the water but aviators on dragonback in the air.

Anne McCaffrey, the science fiction author whose dragons in Pern were closely modeled on her beloved horses, was still alive when Novik's first book came out, and she gave Novik her blessing before she died.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: Rapparee
Date: 03 Jul 16 - 08:51 PM

Pern is two or three Interstate exits from my house. I've been there but didn't see any dragons.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 04 Jul 16 - 04:52 PM

Here's a recent article about the books at the website for National Public Radio.

http://www.npr.org/2016/06/14/481391755/temeraire-and-laurence-at-peace-at-last-in-league-of-dragons


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: EBarnacle
Date: 04 Jul 16 - 11:24 PM

A friend let me know a couple of weeks ago that League had been released. Glad Novik lives up to expectations. For those who have not read this series, it pays to start at the beginning of the series. By the way, the African, Japanese and South American dragons are no slouches, either.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: vectis
Date: 05 Jul 16 - 12:19 AM

I must get League soonest. I have the whole series on my Kindle.
Good books and an interesting way of paralleling history.

I also have most of the Pern series.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: robomatic
Date: 07 Jul 16 - 01:05 AM

How are the dragons illustrated? One thing I appreciate about the Game of Thrones dragons is they are four legged with the wings attached bat like to the front legs, none of this four legs plus two wings on the back nonsense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 09 Jul 16 - 06:11 PM

The dragons in Naomi Novik's Temeraire series are illustrated, though not in every volume of the series.
They have three pairs of extremities:
forelegs, hindlegs, and wings on the back.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: EBarnacle
Date: 10 Jul 16 - 01:04 AM

Just finished League. Even though Novik says this is the final Temeraire she seems to be setting the stage for a new book or series, possibly in the muddy, bloody trenches of Parliament.

I love the way Robespierre is such a slimy worm in both universes [ours and theirs]. We will likely meet him again. As a Celestial don't be surprised when Temeraire and co. get turned into a diplomatic team yoked with Hammond.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: robomatic
Date: 10 Jul 16 - 02:22 PM

keberoxu: Thank you for the information. I don't have much to contribute to this thread unless it's okay to talk Game O'Thrones, and even there the books had not gotten terribly deeply into the dragons, and the now separate television series has had some wonderful visuals but not much intellectual depth, i.e. the dragons don't talk. They simply make me wonder how many legions of goats / horses/ cattle/ slow peasants go down their gullets to get them to grow so large and provide the raw power required for flight. I mean, nature shows predatory birds bringing one mammal per nestling per day to enable their growth and fledging. Dragons must require a similar upscaled diet, and here I veer to castigate once again the movie of a couple of years ago "Avatar" which showed way more carnivores than herbivores, though I think the flying serpents qualified as a kind of off-world dragon of the non-fire breathing type.
One of the nice little details of GoTs notes that dragons breathe fire because they only eat their food cooked.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 10 Jul 16 - 05:46 PM

EBarnacle, do you mean Talleyrand? I don't see the name Robespierre in the Temeraire saga, and he was dead by then anyway, no?


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: EBarnacle
Date: 11 Jul 16 - 12:03 PM

My error. Yes, I meant Talleyrand.

Bear in mind that they have only resigned from the corps, not the world.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 11 Jul 16 - 07:26 PM

Regarding other works with talking dragons, besides authors Naomi Novik and Anne McCaffrey of happy memory:

Is Ursula K. LeGuin still alive? If so, she must be ancient, God be good to her. Her series about Earthsea, with wizards and a school of magic, includes dragons, and although they talk, they are anything but domesticated.

The Wars of Light and Shadow, a series by Janny Wurts, has a fantasy universe with dragons who also communicate to humans. But only the sorcerers dare approach the dragons.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: robomatic
Date: 11 Jul 16 - 10:53 PM

This thread reminded me of the "My Father's Dragon" series by Ruth Stiles Gannett. Recommended for intelligent young post-toddlers


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 25 Jul 16 - 06:53 PM

Yes, Ursula K. LeGuin is still alive, and she certainly is a senior citizen now. A vocal one as well, for all that she states that she is too old and, how to say, spent to write yet another full-length novel. She has her own online blog now. And she waxes wroth indeed about publishing these days, with all the piracy and cheap copies about.

How could I overlook Robin Hobb's talking dragons! Her Five Duchies/FitzChivalry books are actually a multi-series phenomenon now, partly because she writes in such copious detail and fills out book after book, and series after series, with minutely observed world-building. In her books, the dragons are a nearly extinct vestige of a lost era of civilization. Their life cycle is especially involved. When an egg hatches, what comes out is not a dragon with legs, but a sea serpent -- a sentient, talking sea serpent. Eggs are intended to hatch together, so that the baby serpents can take to the ocean in a group and protect each other from predators. In order to proceed to the next developmental phase, the sea serpents must cross the seas to a land mass in search of a river delta. They proceed upriver, and it is in fresh water, for reasons I can't remember, that they face the next challenge. They spin for themselves a chrysalis or cocoon, sealing themselves inside; as the sea serpents are not small, these objects are large ones. It is in the privacy of the sealed chrysalis that a sea serpent metamorphoses, and emerges a dragon, who must then learn to survive as a predator. Yes, they certainly do talk, as well.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 27 Jul 16 - 07:01 PM

It may not get off the presses THIS year, but sooner or later Robin Hobb's next book is due, which brings to a climax the whole FitzChivalry / Five Duchies epic saga. Here is what we know:

the title will be Assassin's Fate.

The cover art has been shown at Hobb's website, and behind FitzChivalry, who stands in the foreground of the artwork, an enormous dragon takes flight, with twirly tail, spread wings, and gaping toothy jaws.

There could be a short list of talking dragons we have already met. The ones who stand out to me are Tintaglia, whom we saw hatching out of her cocoon; and the ancient Icefyre, rescued from his prison during the Tawny Man finale. We last saw Tintaglia and Icefyre flying off to mate, and presumably to work at producing some of those eggs from which sea serpents hatch; they were planning locate the faraway island out to sea about which few mortals know. This might be the "island of bones" which the baddies have taken over....the bones are of giant creatures, perhaps dragons?

Then there are the Rain Wild dragons who, as a group of sea serpents, made contact with Tintaglia the dragon; we were introduced to the group of serpents, as I recall, traversing the seas in the Magic Ship series. Humans make these ships out of sea-serpent cocoon matter, calling them liveships. Not so nice for the pupating dragon inside.

But we saw these serpents come to the river delta, and when they hatched, there were fugitive humans about, with whom they bonded, in the Rain Wild Chronicles.

The last published book, Fool's Quest, introduced FitzChivalry to the Rain Wild dragons and their keepers, and the fun was just getting started!


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 13 Aug 16 - 03:54 PM

Touching to note, on MOAB, a fiction post with a dragon hatchling, talking to humans.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 09:54 AM

The first time a talking dragon cropped up, I'm pretty sure was in Kenneth Grahame's The Reluctant Dragon, published in 1898. Till then they'd been pretty taciturn. No backchat with Beowulf or St George before the fighting started.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 05:07 PM

Well there is the Ring of the Nibelungs. One of those nasty giants, Fafner I think it was, turned himself into a dragon to guard the Rhinegold, or what was left of it after the Ring was forged. Maybe Fafner couldn't speak? Can't recall for sure. I think he turns up in "Siegfried," Richard Wagner's third installment. Doesn't live long though.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 14 Aug 16 - 05:36 PM

I think Fafnir is normally seen as a dwarf rather than a giant. After Sigurd or Siegfried has mortally wounded him he speaks, but I think he'd have gone back to his normal form by then, so would that count as talking as a dragon?

I'd sooner rely on the Norse version rather than Wagner.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 31 May 17 - 05:08 PM

Robin Hobb has published "Assassin's Fate" at last, it is in the bookstores, including the brick-and-mortar shops.

This is Hobb's sixteenth book in this series.

And yes, indeed, there are talking dragons. Some of them refuse to shut up.

Not for the squeamish, this one, and not because of the dragons.
The conclusion, which is a long agonizing time coming, is really satisfying for a reader familiar with the entire saga.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: EBarnacle
Date: 01 Jun 17 - 01:17 PM

I am about 1/4 of the way through and what the Fool does to a live ship--OI! I won't tell any spoilers but this book is really great so far.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 01 Jun 17 - 01:32 PM

Cheers, EBarnacle. I know EXACTLY what you mean.

And don't say you weren't warned.
The not-for-the-squeamish part is yet to come.... and it is vile. But if you stop there,
you will miss the really brilliant part of the ending.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: EBarnacle
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 10:40 AM

Also, Patricia Wrede's dragon series is a good way to start younger readers of dragon fantasies.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 02 Jun 17 - 03:23 PM

Amazon dot com is taking pre-orders for the next book by Janny Wurts in her Wars of Light and Shadow series.
It will be Wurts's tenth book about the half-brothers Arithon and Lysaer.

Their planet, Athera, had dragons before it had anything else.
The dragons are ginormous, stupefyingly large.
And so potently magical are the dragons that their dreams
are capable of manifesting creation on the physical plane.

Yes, the dragons do talk, but humans for the most part are beneath them, to the dragons' way of thinking.
The dragons limit their communications largely to sorcerers, where humans are concerned. Not to mention those Paravians (not human).

The book is titled Destiny's Conflict.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: Anne Lister
Date: 03 Jun 17 - 11:43 AM

*small apologetic cough* I also have a novel available (from Amazon) in which there are a couple of talking dragons. There's also my take on a Welsh afanc. The novel is called "Slipping through the Cracks" and it's a print-to-order paperback as well as an ebook.
Just saying.
My own favourite dragons, as created by someone else, are Ursula le Guin's Earthsea dragons, and they inspired one of my songs, but I was sufficiently intrigued by Smaug in my teens to take his name as my bardic nom-de-plume in the school Eisteddfod. I do have a song in which St George's dragon speaks, by the way. He thinks he's had a pretty poor deal.
Growing up in Wales has a lot to answer for.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: EBarnacle
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 02:32 PM

Keb, I was crying at the end. Or is it the end of the collection? This trilogy ends but it would be quite possible to pick up with the remaining characters, including the Fitz/Fool/Nighteyes dragon. Bee has already shown herself to be no slouch and is quite likely to carry on her fathers' tradition. She is a wildcard, a White and a destroyer, as well as having a bit of wolf in her..


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: Iains
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 03:13 PM

Smaug was a fire drake of the Third Age, considered to be the last "great" dragon to exist in Middle-earth. In the Hobbit he had a conversation with Bilbo Baggins.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 13 Jun 17 - 04:17 PM

Re: Assassin's Fate, by Robin Hobb, just released for publication.

Yes, EBarnacle, the world of talking dragons built by Robin Hobb looks like it could support more installments.
What FitzChivalry made, though, was a stone WOLF not a dragon !


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: EBarnacle
Date: 15 Jun 17 - 11:56 PM

In the strictest sense, yes, he made a wolf. However, the wolf was made by the same process as the dragons and could generically be considered a wolf shaped dragon, just as some of the other dragons are shaped as other animals. Of course, the question is whether all dragons have to fly and whether, at need, this dragon/wolf will surprise everyone by flying.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: keberoxu
Date: 16 Jun 17 - 02:25 PM

Dear fellow reader EBarnacle, we may have to agree to disagree.

Dragons start out as eggs, from which hatch the sea-serpents, who swim in a tangle as they grow;
they head for the river delta near the liquid silver, and while ingesting all the silver they can,
they spin their chrysalis/cocoon and do their hibernating.
By the time they wake up and eat their way out of the cocoon / eat the cocoon,
they have metamorphosed from sea-serpent to dragon.

THAT's a dragon.   

Stone, with "Skill"/"Silver"/dragonblood and the carver's intent, can become what one wants the stone to be.
Verity wanted a stone dragon, that flew, and he got one.
FitzChivalry wanted a stone wolf, in which he and NightEyes could reunite, and he got one.

So beasts are beasts, man is man, and stone is stone.
And silver is magic. End of lecture.


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Subject: RE: BS: Books: Talking Dragons
From: EBarnacle
Date: 18 Jun 17 - 10:59 PM

Silver is assuredly the magic which keeps the system running.


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