|Submitted by Ryan Hedgcorth |
(Sep 05, 2004)
"Dragonsong" is the first of Anne McCaffrey's Harper Hall of Pern trilogy which focuses on my favorite Pern character, Menolly. In this first story, Menolly is the youngest child and daughter of Yanus, Sea Holder at Half-Circle Sea Hold in Benden Hold. Although she displays astounding musical talents, Menolly's father will have none of it. After the death of Petiron, the old Harper, Menolly is allowed to sign only to give the children their teaching songs. But when Elgion, the new Harper, arrives at Half-Circle Sea Hold, Menolly is forbidden to play ever again. Literally adding injury to insult, Menolly sustains a grevious wound to her hand while cleaning fish. But just as it ooks at if life could not get any worse for Menolly, a wonderful thing happens. She impresses a clutch of nine fire lizards. In her miniature queen Beauty and the rest of the clutch, Menolly has a chorus of fire lizards who harmonize with her in a most amazing way. Meanwhile, Harper Elgion is having a problem, because he has been ordered by Master Harper Robinton to discover the prodigal talent Petrion has discovered. In his last message the Old Harper had sent two of the loveliest melodies Robinton had ever heard. But clearly none of the young lads at Half-Circle Sea Hold has a whit of musical talent and Yanus makes up some story about a foundling sent back to his own hold. Will some one come to solve the mystery of the missing musical talent?
The mixture of science fiction and fantasy works well...Pern exists in the unimaginably far future when we have managed to colonize remote planets, but a medieval style society has been set up on the planet Pern, without much of the current technology we take for granted. I hope an enchanting young girl, as Menolly will overcome her difficulties. The similarity is certainly palatable, what with a young woman who is told to deny her talents because she is but a girl. But Menolly has a gift and it is impossible for her not to use it, even if it must be in secret, and what makes her so endearing is that she really has no idea how talented she is, a trait that becomes even more precocious in "Dragonsinger" and "Dragondrums".