[LMB] OT: Book review: "His Majesty's Dragon" by Naomi Novik

Michael R N Dolbear m.dolbear at lineone.net
Sun Apr 16 22:22:09 BST 2006


> From: Marna Nightingale <marna at marna.ca>
> Date: 16 April 2006 19:13
> 
> Just read HMD last night. Oh LORD I love that book.
> 
> Michael R N Dolbear wrote:
> 
> > Thanks. Going back to "His Majesty's Dragon"  'sapient beings rights'
seem
> > to be missing there as well 
> 
> Well, yes. No legal status as people, no right to vote, no right to own 
> property, no right to have any say in the fate of their offspring ...
>
> > since the status of dragons as rational beings
> > is being deliberately concealed.
> 
> Oh, wait, we're talking about the DRAGONS?
> 
> Right, them too.

** In fact "No legal status as people" is incorrect since in English law of
the period unmarried and widowed females had full status and even the worst
off (married females) could own real property and sue in their own names
 
> But it's ... nuanced. Things aren't as they should be, but the various 
> actors (human and draconian) are aware of it. They have ways of working 
> the system without breaking it, which I found quite fascinating.
> 
> > And for further concealment, I assume the "Aerial Corps Captains List"
has
> > "Captain C Harcourt" and "Captain J Roland" to concel gender ?
> 
> One would assume so. Seems a bit hard on them, having to pass themselves 
> off as wives (or, possibly mistresses) in public.
> 
> The dragons, in fact, have almost as many rights as Captains Roland and 
> Harcourt do, and rather more actual capacity to get their own way about 
> things. You can't, as they point out somewhere, MAKE a dragon do 
> anything, really.

** Captains R & H are unmarried so have quite considerable rights.

> That's a tricky bit, actually; I can't imagine that the female officers 
> wouldn't have tremendous problems working around their basically 
> complete lack of normal female socialization for that culture, except by 
> staying even more apart from it than the men do. Which they DO, but ... 
> I can't help but wonder, even so, how they've managed to keep that 
> particular secret...

** Hee, perhaps just as OTL male King's Officers were expected to learn to
dance and learn diplomatic & society manners so would female officers of
the Aerial Corps.

And of course Admiral Nelson (say), plus his staff and senior captains
could hardly be unaware of the gender of the senior captains of their
attached Aerial Corps formations.

Little Egret


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