Their characteristics are well-known. They're beautiful - when they're not astoundingly ugly. They're both goddesses for men to worship, and demons for them to flee. They adore children, sometimes to the point of unhealthy obsession. They have a strong association with nature, from which they're often assumed to draw magical power. Their anger is a terrible thing to behold, and all the more fearsome because anything can spark it; the rules by which these creatures operate are not those of rational men. They are creatures of fanciful whim, and they never, ever, can be understood. I'm talking, of course, about women.
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Your people understand the forest: how the animals behave, where to find them, and so on. I want something similar-but instead of the forest as a whole, I want to understand dragons. They are not only here, you know; there are dragons in the savannah-' Mekeesawa nodded. 'Well, there are more than that, all over the world. They live in the mountains and on the plains and maybe even in the ocean. I want to know them as you know the creatures of this forest.' 'But why?' Mekeesawa asked. His eyes were still merry with laughter, but his question was serious. 'You don't live in all those places.' With the amount of time I have spent traveling in my life, one might make the argument that I do live in all those places, if only temporarily. But Mekeesawa's point was a good one, and not easily dismissed. The Moulish understood the creatures of the Green Hell because their survival depended on it; my survival did not depend on my traveling the globe to find dragons. (Indeed, it has on more than one occasion nearly been detrimental to my life expectancy.) How could I answer him? Thinking back on the matter now, it is possible my only true answer to that question is now in its second volume, with more to come. These memoirs are not only an accounting of my life; they are an accounting for it.
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Utopias bore me. I'm interested in constructing messy, complicated societies that are full of flaws and then saying, ooh, this is interesting, let's see what happens if I poke it here. And concurrently with this and the previous point, I'm interested in making up cultures that are different
At one point in the 'Onyx Court' series, I think during 'In Ashes Lie', I suggested that Lune might come to love someone else eventually. Which was me pushing back against the narrative trope that people only get one True Love in their entire lives - an idea I think is kind of pernicious - but in retrospect, I wish I hadn't done it there.
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I read a lot of the 'Pern books' growing up - basically up through 'All the Weyrs of Pern,' maybe a couple after that. As far as formative dragon influences are concerned, she's probably one of the top ones; I know I read other fantasy novels that had them, but none particularly stick in mind.