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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Jaxom has the 'privilege' of being both a Lord Holder and a Dragonrider in the land of Pern. In his mind, this means he can do neither fully - he must live in the hold, so he cannot do all the activities Dragonriders are allowed to do .. and yet because of his dragon he cannot fully participate in training to become Lord Holder of Ruatha. This book is about his coming of age .. learning to trust himself, to take care of those he loves, to provide solutions to tricky problems (even though he might have helped to cause the problem :), to know what he wants and how to get it. Jaxom is a character who truly cares about others, which makes him very enjoyable to read about and follow.

Ruth is one of the best characters in the book! He is a dragon .. white, which is unusual .. and also much smaller than any other dragon. Some tease Jaxom that Ruth is an overgrown fire-lizard instead of a real dragon. But Ruth has all the capabilities of a dragon and is more sensitive to other things as well. In part because of his size, fire-lizards always congregate around him, so he hears more stories and sees more pictures than most dragons. And actually pays attention to them! This turns out to make it possible for Jaxom and Ruth to save Pern in regards to a stolen egg. Also .. because Ruth is so small, he is fast and accurate and highly capable when it comes to fighting thread (sorta like rain, except it's longer and burns anything it touches). Ruth seems to be humble in the best sense .. knows what he can do and admits it without making little of others, and if he can help those he loves he jumps at the chance. A sweet character .. too bad it's not quite possible to go for a ride with him! One theme which runs throughout is that of discovery. Jaxom is discovering who he is and what he values and how he wants to live. Robinton, the Masterharper, is discovering that he must take care of himself and his heart, even though he longs to participate in adventures. Wansor, the Starsmith, is in the process of discovering how to tell time based on stars and their patterns (and thus discovering that the three dawn sisters are not normal stars..). The southern continent is being discovered to be much, much larger than they imagined. Through the memories of fire-lizards, they are able to discover the place their ancestors lived and even find important pieces of their history (can you say spacecraft?!). Exciting to be along on the journey, discovering with the characters and wondering along with them.

Title:The White Dragon
Author: Anne McCaffrey
Date published:1978
Genre: Fantasy
Series: Dragonriders of Pern
Number of pages: 445
Notes: repeat reading


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