Full Version: A few questions about elderlings, dragons, magic etc. [general spoilers]
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I don't expect people to know the answers but maybe someone has an idea or theory of some sort. If you know anything from short stories I'm not apposed to spoilers.

1. Eldering interaction with dragons

1.1 dragons traveling
What happens to elderlings when their dragons travel. Do they get left behind?

1.2 interaction with other dragons
How do elderlings interact with other dragons. For example when the "water" is being lifted by the elderling, wouldnt she have her own dragon to care for?

2. elderling technology
What is the source of the technology? Memory stone? Liquid "skill"? Using skill to change the properties of different materials?

3. Magic

3.1 similarities to the skill
How similar is the elderings abilities to the skill. The dragons make no mention of healing or similar abilities and the elderlings get an automatic booste to their lifespans. And they don't seem to have a connection to the skill river.

3.2 source of the skill
How did the skill come about? Its very specifically stated pureblood
outilsanders and purblood mainlanders don't have acess to the skill. Though it probably came from icefyre how did it come about.

4. society
How did the elderlings society work. A council of elders. A queen [which I doub due to how dragn soiety works]?

5. dragons abilities
What abilities do the dragons have. We know tintigalia has skill dreaming but why dont the rain wild cripples show similar abilities? And didnt a ship heal the sociopathic pirate king [kennit].

6. tintiagalias elderlings
we know that at least one of them has access to a form of skill. But are they true elderlings. I remember [I might be wrong] that tintigalia said tht they would live to about eighty but also that their desendents would also be elderlings and live much longer. But the rainwild chronicles disproves this. Why did tintigalia lie? Did the author decide to change the plotline? Dis she have a goal?
Before answering any questions, 'thul would like to ask you one thing.

How far have you read?
Have you read "Dragon Haven" yet? (the book after "Dragon Keeper")

Some of the answers are quite likely to involve information from that book.
Yes I've read all the books set in the realm. [though not the short stories, but I don't mind spoilers]

  1. .1 That, 'thul thinks, depends on the situation and upon the dragon. Some dragons might bring the elderling along, others will not. Tintaglia left her elderlings behind (malta, selden, reyn), while dragons like heeby would take their elderlings with them. The bigger and more interesting question here is: would Sintara bring Thamyra along?
    1.2 That is also situation-based and dragon-based. Some dragons (and elderlings) are very restrictive on how they interact with other dragons, while others are loose. Remember the way Sintara reacted when Thamyra helped treat one of the injured dragons. She did not like it.
  2. Most likely it is the dragons and the skill stone. The interaction and relationship between the species is in essence the skill.
  3. .1 the skill is a watered-down version of the elderling abilities. The "magical" aspect is obviously harder to get rid of than the physical differences are, genetically speaking.
    3.2 It came from the relationship between dragons and humans, forming the elderlings, who then reproduced with humans, passing on their altered genes. most likely the presence of the skill in the six duchies royal family came from them descending from two distinct bloodlines descended from elderlings. Icefyre might have had some effect on the humans on the out islands, perhaps increasing the strength of the elderling bloodlines out there, but that is hard to verify.
  4. still a bit uncertain. Too little is known. However, as far as 'thul knows, the elderlings did not have a single queen. All female elderlings were queens, just as all female dragons are queens. Indications are that elderling cities also had significant human populations, so all the lower echelons of society were probably held by humans.
  5. Dragons have at least all skill abilities present in humans and elderlings, and probably a lot of others. They also spit acid, and fly. (can arrogance be considered an ability?) The ability to heal others is closely related to the dragons higher understanding of biology, they understand their bodies, and those of humans, because they have better perceptions, and can therefore heal humans easily, since they see what is wrong. It is also related to the fact that dragons grow their entire lives. They repair themselves easily, so why should they not repair humans easily?
  6. This, 'thul suspects, is due to Robin Hobb expanding the elderling mythos. As Mercor mentioned, Malta, Selden and Reyn are not fully formed. They are a bit over half-way towards becoming elderlings, since Tintaglia abandoned them. If some dragon completes them. they will live very long. It is also quite possible that elderlings born elderling live longer, since they are exposed to dragons from birth. These beings suspect that the elderling life cycle is a certain % longer than the human life cycle, and thus, if the change starts earlier, the life will be longer.
    If a natural elderling life is say, 2x that of a human lifespan of say, 80 years, it is 160 years at birth. But if the change is at say, 40 years of age, the lifespan will then be 40 + 40x2 which is 120 years. The calculation is probably much more complex, but that gives the idea.

Have 'thul answered thine questions?

Off-Topic: is your name missspelled intentionally? (hired killer, is spelled "assassin" as far as 'thul knows...
6. now that I think about it I dont think its becuase they were abandoned. I am rereading dragon haven and I read that changes often occured to those who tended the cocoons. There is never any mention of them being given blood or scales.

7. I wonder what would happen if the duke of chalced got hold of dragons blood. I'm guessing that the dragon would get so pissed off tat mutations along the lines of greft would occur. Probably the dragon would increase the speed enough that it would hurt a lot. Even if the dragon did nothing the chances are the duke would still die. Quite ironic to think that he would live for centuries with a willing one.
I think many of these things are supposed to be ambiguous. If Hobb revealed everything about the Elderlings, they would lose their mystery, making them less interesting. Of course, it's always fun to speculate.

(Oct-02-2010, 05:44 AM (UTC))assasin Wrote: [ -> ]2. elderling technology
What is the source of the technology? Memory stone? Liquid "skill"? Using skill to change the properties of different materials?

Somewhere in the Tawney Man trilogy, a document is quoted about how various kinds of magic, like Skill, Wit and Hedge Magic fit together. I think a lot of knowledge of magic was lost with Elderling civilization. There might have been magics that the modern inhabitants of the world have never seen.
that sounds logical, Rex...

Even the simplest feats of magic are extraordinary in the "modern" society of the realm, while they were so commonplace that they were barely even spoken of in the ancient days of the realm... most likely there were many, many other elements of the magics that were just as commonplace back then...

Dragons blood is not enough to facilitate a changing. It is merely an catalyst. A dragon could probably choose to actively kill the duke through changing him wrongly, but why bother? The act of focusing a change is an long-term effort. The act of breathing battle acid upon him, takes but a moment.
But would a dragon bother to fly all the way t chalced just to acid. I assume it would be a skill bond that controls the changes. And since there is no range limit for skill it can be done comfortably from the heated square in kelsingra.

8. Why arhnt the dargons teaching the elderlings the skill. It would be useful to the dragons for purposes such as healing.
as 'thul said, there is probably a proximity issue for changing someone... A lot of attention has to be paid to a human while changing him (or her)... If the duke of Chalced is as despicable as indications say, no dragon would want to pay that much attention to him...
The act of killing (and eating) an obnoxious human is possibly enough of an incentive for a dragon to go to chalced.

Perhaps they will, eventually? Perhaps they havent asked? Perhaps there is a certain time delay from changing till the ability develops?
I guess it would depend on the dragon. But one of the more agressive ones might just decide to do it ouit f spite.
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