History Headscratchers / Temeraire

26th Jun '16 8:21:30 PM nombretomado
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** For the sake of your own mental health, never pick up ''TheDresdenFiles''. It's a good series, but, man, actually committing treason and then getting a lenient sentence for it would be a good week for Harry.

to:

** For the sake of your own mental health, never pick up ''TheDresdenFiles''.''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''. It's a good series, but, man, actually committing treason and then getting a lenient sentence for it would be a good week for Harry.
26th May '16 4:33:03 AM kainee
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* Has no one noticed how there is a huge hole in the worldbuilding in terms of an alternate timeline when it comes to China? The books essentially treat Chinese history (which is currently set during the Qing dynasty) as having happened as normal, just with dragons thrown into the mix. But if Celestials are required to legitimize an Emperor and their rule, then how does she explain the parade of different dynasties that overthrew and replaced their predecessors? The Qing dynasty has a double issue in that it was founded by the Manchu, which the Han majority population had antipathy against as barbarians due to historical trends where central China was harassed by nomadic marauders from outer China. It's why the length of the Manchu rule is pointed at as both a success and failure since the strict controls the Manchu put in place to make sure they weren't culturally assimilated into the ethnic Han culture and keep their superior social status also caused China to lose its flexibility and fall back in terms of innovation, leading to the weakening of China. At first, I thought that maybe Naomi Novik was handwaving that the dynasty ruling China was unbroken in lineage and completely different from the historical dynasties of Imperial China but she makes enough mention of Qing dynasty-specific traits like the Eight Banners.
** The reason I mention this is because Manchu culture leads to two plot holes that might or might not be nitpicks. One is that Lien's white color being seen as an ominous hue would be true. But in Han Chinese culture. That's because Han Chinese tradition associates white as the color of mourning where people wear white in specific ways to show that they had a death in the family, etc. The Manchu actually liked white as a color and didn't have the same connotations of grief or mourning with it, probably due to their roots as nomadic hunters. So they would use and wear white a lot more casually than the majority Han population would. There wouldn't nearly be so much superstition and wariness-- Lien's color might have even be appreciated by Manchu eyes!

to:

* Has no one noticed how there is a huge hole in the worldbuilding in terms of an alternate timeline when it comes to China? The books essentially treat Chinese history (which is currently set during the Qing dynasty) as having happened as normal, just with dragons thrown into the mix. But if Celestials are required to legitimize an Emperor and their rule, then how does she explain the parade of different dynasties that overthrew and replaced their predecessors? Because most, if not all, of the dynasties were founded in very bloody ways. If the preceding and succeeding dynasties both had dragons, then wouldn't dynastial overthrows essentially be civil wars amongst the dragons? The Qing dynasty has also had a double issue in that it was founded by the Manchu, which the Han majority population had antipathy against as barbarians due to historical trends where central China was harassed by nomadic marauders from outer China. It's why the length of the Manchu rule is pointed at as both a success and failure since the strict controls the Manchu put in place to make sure they weren't culturally assimilated into the ethnic Han culture and keep their superior social status also caused China to lose its flexibility and fall back in terms of innovation, leading to the weakening of China. At first, I thought that maybe Naomi Novik was handwaving that the dynasty ruling China was unbroken in lineage and completely different from the historical dynasties of Imperial China but she makes enough mention of Qing dynasty-specific traits like the Eight Banners.
Banners. So the real life historical Manchu already had issues with a Han Chinese populace that could be rebellious if they weren't careful, much less the instability of the whole situation with the Celestial dragons.
** The reason I mention this point out that the Qing dynasty is a government of an ethnic minority is because the Imperial family being of Manchu culture leads to two plot holes that might or might not be nitpicks. One is that Lien's white color being seen as an ominous hue would be true. But in Han Chinese culture. That's because Han Chinese tradition associates white as the color of mourning where people wear white in specific ways to show that they had a death in the family, etc. The Manchu actually liked white as a color and didn't have the same connotations of grief or mourning with it, probably due to their roots as nomadic hunters. So they would use and wear white a lot more casually than the majority Han population would. There wouldn't nearly be so much superstition and wariness-- Lien's color might have even be appreciated by Manchu eyes!
26th May '16 4:28:42 AM kainee
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*** as of crucible of gold it has been stated (second hand and origionaly from lien so it may be questionable) that celestials can't breed with non chinese dragon breeds if not farther limited to only celestial/imperial parings

to:

*** as of crucible of gold it has been stated (second hand and origionaly originally from lien Lien so it may be questionable) that celestials can't breed with non chinese dragon breeds if not farther limited to only celestial/imperial parings



** China isn't the only place were dragons are treated better and/or have a higher living standart than in our timeline. In Africa they are honored "elders" and drove the colonists out (the big empire isn't that different, see for example the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyo_Empire Oyu Empire]], only bigger because dragons allow faster communication), Japan is mentioned somewhere to be similiar to China, South America thwarted the conquistadores and in North America the natives control more land than normally at that point in time. France has made some progress in the right direction, too (which is also not that far fetched. While Napoleon was a power hungry and turned most parts of Europe into a war zone, he also brought some improvements with him, like the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_Napoleon Code Napoleon]]. China isn't a mary sue, Europes real advantage, technologic advancement is just somewhat negated through the use of large amounts of dragons. But as soon as cannons and rifles can reliably kill a dragon fast Europe will be able to win agains thos tactics too. If anything the book series is a TakeThat against a Europe that tried to colonize everything it could get its hands on.

to:

** China isn't the only place were where dragons are treated better and/or have a higher living standart standard than in our timeline. In Africa they are honored "elders" and drove the colonists out (the big empire isn't that different, see for example the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyo_Empire Oyu Empire]], only bigger because dragons allow faster communication), Japan is mentioned somewhere to be similiar to China, South America thwarted the conquistadores and in North America the natives control more land than normally at that point in time. France has made some progress in the right direction, too (which is also not that far fetched. While Napoleon was a power hungry and turned most parts of Europe into a war zone, he also brought some improvements with him, like the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_Napoleon Code Napoleon]]. China isn't a mary sue, Europes real advantage, technologic advancement is just somewhat negated through the use of large amounts of dragons. But as soon as cannons and rifles can reliably kill a dragon fast Europe will be able to win agains thos tactics too. If anything the book series is a TakeThat against a Europe that tried to colonize everything it could get its hands on.



** Probably an error in your assumptions; ''Victory of Eagles'' includes several mentions of dragons moving artillery and troops. While 200 is balls out emergency, Temeraire in combat rig carries 100 people, and most heavyweights can manage that or a little more, which they only do in short spurts with rests. They also can only manage a handful of cannons, but that might be due to dispersed weight versus concentrated weight. With that said, what seems to be the case with Kulingile (the best example of air sacs yet) is that dragons concentrate hydrogen in their air sacs and can control the actual amount of lift their air sacs give. When Kulingile first demonstrates this, he has difficulty staying to the ground, and Dorset briefly mentions this is common for the heaviestweights as well. In addition it seems their wing spans (uniformly pretty massive for depictions of dragons, even small dragons have large wing spans) help a lot with lift; they might act in a similar manner to that of an aerofoil.

to:

** Probably an error in your assumptions; ''Victory of Eagles'' includes several mentions of dragons moving artillery and troops. While 200 is balls out emergency, Temeraire in combat rig carries 100 people, and most heavyweights can manage that or a little more, which they only do in short spurts with rests. They also can only manage a handful of cannons, but that might be due to dispersed weight versus concentrated weight. With that said, what seems to be the case with Kulingile (the best example of air sacs yet) is that dragons concentrate hydrogen in their air sacs and can control the actual amount of lift their air sacs give. When Kulingile first demonstrates this, he has difficulty staying to the ground, and Dorset briefly mentions this is common for the heaviestweights heaviest weights as well. In addition it seems their wing spans (uniformly pretty massive for depictions of dragons, even small dragons have large wing spans) help a lot with lift; they might act in a similar manner to that of an aerofoil.



*** Mass and Weight calculations don't work like that. An F-22 that weighs 21 tons on the ground, doesn't weigh less in the air just because it's being kept aloft by air pressure. The same goes for balloons and zeppelins. We can use math, not conjecture, to answer the question. Hydrogen can lift approx 13.39 times it's own weight in pounds. So to carry 40,000lbs of men, Temeraire would need to use at least 2987lbs of hydrogen. Of course, he himself weighs 40,000lbs, so double that to 5975lbs of hydrogen. And that's not counting the weight of his own crew and harness. This is COMPLETELY unfeasible. To put this in perspective, the Hindenburg itself was only able to transport 21,076lbs. So... magic?

to:

*** Mass and Weight calculations don't work like that. An F-22 that weighs 21 tons on the ground, doesn't weigh less in the air just because it's being kept aloft by air pressure. The same goes for balloons and zeppelins. We can use math, not conjecture, to answer the question. Hydrogen can lift approx 13.39 times it's own weight in pounds. So to carry 40,000lbs of men, Temeraire would need to use at least 2987lbs 2987 lbs of hydrogen. Of course, he himself weighs 40,000lbs, so double that to 5975lbs 5975 lbs of hydrogen. And that's not counting the weight of his own crew and harness. This is COMPLETELY unfeasible. To put this in perspective, the Hindenburg itself was only able to transport 21,076lbs. So... magic?



*** I imagine it would be like the advent of tank and electronic warfare; you start making a counter as soon as possible, and perfecting it as much as you can. The second the enemy starts using dragons offensively, is the same second you start coming up with ways to defeat it. Particularly in England, where their air forces have been out numbered for years. They could use high elevation mortars with fuse lit grenades lined with heavy ball bearings (both historically used) as makeshift flak. Flechette canisters could be used to increase range and piercing power. Specialized infantry units could carry separate pieces of light, team-operated field guns (similar to infantry mortar systems) to defend against close passes. It's all feasable; the possibilities are endless.
** I believe the usual countermeasure was to acquire dragon eggs and breed some dragons of your own. Better ones.

to:

*** I imagine it would be like the advent of tank and electronic warfare; you start making a counter as soon as possible, and perfecting it as much as you can. The second the enemy starts using dragons offensively, is the same second you start coming up with ways to defeat it. Particularly in England, where their air forces have been out numbered for years. They could use high elevation mortars with fuse lit grenades lined with heavy ball bearings (both historically used) as makeshift flak. Flechette canisters could be used to increase range and piercing power. Specialized infantry units could carry separate pieces of light, team-operated field guns (similar to infantry mortar systems) to defend against close passes. It's all feasable; feasible; the possibilities are endless.
** I believe the usual countermeasure was to acquire dragon eggs and breed some dragons of your own. Better ones.ones.
* Has no one noticed how there is a huge hole in the worldbuilding in terms of an alternate timeline when it comes to China? The books essentially treat Chinese history (which is currently set during the Qing dynasty) as having happened as normal, just with dragons thrown into the mix. But if Celestials are required to legitimize an Emperor and their rule, then how does she explain the parade of different dynasties that overthrew and replaced their predecessors? The Qing dynasty has a double issue in that it was founded by the Manchu, which the Han majority population had antipathy against as barbarians due to historical trends where central China was harassed by nomadic marauders from outer China. It's why the length of the Manchu rule is pointed at as both a success and failure since the strict controls the Manchu put in place to make sure they weren't culturally assimilated into the ethnic Han culture and keep their superior social status also caused China to lose its flexibility and fall back in terms of innovation, leading to the weakening of China. At first, I thought that maybe Naomi Novik was handwaving that the dynasty ruling China was unbroken in lineage and completely different from the historical dynasties of Imperial China but she makes enough mention of Qing dynasty-specific traits like the Eight Banners.
** The reason I mention this is because Manchu culture leads to two plot holes that might or might not be nitpicks. One is that Lien's white color being seen as an ominous hue would be true. But in Han Chinese culture. That's because Han Chinese tradition associates white as the color of mourning where people wear white in specific ways to show that they had a death in the family, etc. The Manchu actually liked white as a color and didn't have the same connotations of grief or mourning with it, probably due to their roots as nomadic hunters. So they would use and wear white a lot more casually than the majority Han population would. There wouldn't nearly be so much superstition and wariness-- Lien's color might have even be appreciated by Manchu eyes!
** Two, though Han characters and Mandarin was used for official communications, the Manchu and especially the Imperial family spoke and wrote Manchu. This is why the signboards of the various pavilions in the Forbidden City used both Han characters and Manchu script. The Manchu script is alphabet-based and would bear a similar learning process to other alphabet-based languages like Arabic or Latin versus the ideograph-based system of Han characters. But the book only mentioned Temeraire learning the different characters and brush strokes for Han characters.
14th Jan '16 2:26:06 AM Bezy
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** And even them are more preoccupied by how their "royal blood" is used and property than Temeraire itself. And why they allow to be treated as animals... simply, culture. Its what is proper in their land and their captains and Dragons are nothing but extremely adaptative. The same reason why Chinese dragons are the quintessential Noblesm, Polish dragons mock Temeraire "soft preferences" and why Tswana dragons act as the reincarnation of deceased warriors, down to the point that Mokhachane declared a World war to liberate her "subdites". Dragons for all their intelligence and deadliness, are defined by the very humans they bond and is the only way they improve and change. Take for example the ferals to see how a "natural" dragon would act and is a far cry from even the English dragons. Also remember Temeraire POV with the eggs, before and after they hatched.

to:

** And even them are more preoccupied by how their "royal blood" is used and property than Temeraire itself. And why they allow to be treated as animals... simply, culture. Its what is proper in their land and their captains and Dragons are nothing but extremely adaptative. The same reason why Chinese dragons are the quintessential Noblesm, Nobles, Polish dragons mock Temeraire "soft preferences" and why Tswana dragons act as the reincarnation of deceased warriors, down to the point that Mokhachane declared a World war to liberate her "subdites". Dragons for all their intelligence and deadliness, are defined by the very humans they bond and is the only way they improve and change. Take for example the ferals to see how a "natural" dragon would act and is a far cry from even the English dragons. Also remember Temeraire POV with the eggs, before and after they hatched.



** China isn't the only place were dragons are treated better and/or have a higher living standart than in our timeline. In Africa they are honored "elders" and drove the colonists out (the big empire isn't that different, see for example the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyo_Empire Oyu Empire]], only bigger because dragons allow faster communication), Japan is mentioned somewhere to be similiar to China, South America thwarted the conquistadores and in North America the natives control more land than normally at that point in time. France has made some progress in the right direction, too (which is also not that far fetched. While Napoleon was a power hungry and turned most parts of Europe into a war zone, he also brought some improvements with him, like the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_Napoleon Code Napoleon]]. China isn't a mary sue, Europes real advantage, technologic advancement is just somewhat negated through the use of large amounts of dragons. But as soon as cannons and rifles can reliably kill a dragon fast Europe will be able to win agains thos tactics too. If anything the book series is a TakeThat against a Europe that tried to colonice everything it could get its hands on.

to:

** China isn't the only place were dragons are treated better and/or have a higher living standart than in our timeline. In Africa they are honored "elders" and drove the colonists out (the big empire isn't that different, see for example the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oyo_Empire Oyu Empire]], only bigger because dragons allow faster communication), Japan is mentioned somewhere to be similiar to China, South America thwarted the conquistadores and in North America the natives control more land than normally at that point in time. France has made some progress in the right direction, too (which is also not that far fetched. While Napoleon was a power hungry and turned most parts of Europe into a war zone, he also brought some improvements with him, like the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Code_Napoleon Code Napoleon]]. China isn't a mary sue, Europes real advantage, technologic advancement is just somewhat negated through the use of large amounts of dragons. But as soon as cannons and rifles can reliably kill a dragon fast Europe will be able to win agains thos tactics too. If anything the book series is a TakeThat against a Europe that tried to colonice colonize everything it could get its hands on.
13th Jan '16 11:39:04 PM LBHills
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*** I imagine it would be like the advent of tank and electronic warfare; you start making a counter as soon as possible, and perfecting it as much as you can. The second the enemy starts using dragons offensively, is the same second you start coming up with ways to defeat it. Particularly in England, where their air forces have been out numbered for years. They could use high elevation mortars with fuse lit grenades lined with heavy ball bearings (both historically used) as makeshift flak. Flechette canisters could be used to increase range and piercing power. Specialized infantry units could carry separate pieces of light, team-operated field guns (similar to infantry mortar systems) to defend against close passes. It's all feasable; the possibilities are endless.

to:

*** I imagine it would be like the advent of tank and electronic warfare; you start making a counter as soon as possible, and perfecting it as much as you can. The second the enemy starts using dragons offensively, is the same second you start coming up with ways to defeat it. Particularly in England, where their air forces have been out numbered for years. They could use high elevation mortars with fuse lit grenades lined with heavy ball bearings (both historically used) as makeshift flak. Flechette canisters could be used to increase range and piercing power. Specialized infantry units could carry separate pieces of light, team-operated field guns (similar to infantry mortar systems) to defend against close passes. It's all feasable; the possibilities are endless.endless.
** I believe the usual countermeasure was to acquire dragon eggs and breed some dragons of your own. Better ones.
19th Jun '15 8:19:54 PM TeraChimera
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Added DiffLines:

*** To be more precise, they mated towards the end of chapter 13 of ''Crucible of Gold''. It's coached in Regency-era euphemisms, but easy to see once you notice it. Iskierka and Temeraire briefly discuss that the only reason Temeraire hasn't had an egg yet is because he hasn't tried it with the right sort of dragon, and then Iskierka mentions she'd like a snack first. One scene change later, it's mentioned that she had lit a fire so the llamas they caught could cook while they "finished their business" (narration's words, not mine). Iskierka even points out a private, out-of-the-way valley.
19th May '15 5:34:45 PM RTDice
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** Effective countermeasures such as what? Given that this is early 1800's, the state of firearms and artillery is still black-powder single-shot firearms and cannons. The Gatling gun won't be invented for another five decades at least; the machine gun for another seven to eight (the Hiram machine gun, in 1884). Additionally, when the obvious way to fight dragons is ''with'' dragons, exactly how much valuable treasury funding would any government provide to anti-aircraft research?

to:

** Effective countermeasures such as what? Given that this is early 1800's, the state of firearms and artillery is still black-powder single-shot firearms and cannons. The Gatling gun won't be invented for another five decades at least; the machine gun for another seven to eight (the Hiram machine gun, in 1884). Additionally, when the obvious way to fight dragons is ''with'' dragons, exactly how much valuable treasury funding would any government provide to anti-aircraft research?research?

***I imagine it would be like the advent of tank and electronic warfare; you start making a counter as soon as possible, and perfecting it as much as you can. The second the enemy starts using dragons offensively, is the same second you start coming up with ways to defeat it. Particularly in England, where their air forces have been out numbered for years. They could use high elevation mortars with fuse lit grenades lined with heavy ball bearings (both historically used) as makeshift flak. Flechette canisters could be used to increase range and piercing power. Specialized infantry units could carry separate pieces of light, team-operated field guns (similar to infantry mortar systems) to defend against close passes. It's all feasable; the possibilities are endless.
9th Apr '15 5:55:04 AM TFLatte
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Added DiffLines:

** Also, while Temeraire considers China to be superior to anywhere else, that's likely because it was the first place they went to where dragons were treated like people and not war beasts that couldn't be permitted to mingle with society. It's not a perfect place, either - Laurence specifically notes that there are dragons who aren't very well off at all. Temeraire doesn't see the poor dragon and Laurence doesn't bring it up, so Temeraire just views China as a place where dragons can be independent and make their own lives. It's also likely he's being taken to well-off areas to begin with, being a Celestial that the Chinese want to convince to stay in China. Why would they take him anywhere they couldn't be reasonably certain he'd see only the best they have to offer?
6th Apr '15 10:29:31 AM nombretomado
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* I don't mean to get into [[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail lift-to-mass ratios]] too much, but Novik's dragons don't have the usual draconic answers of [[AWizardDidIt blatant magic]] or [[DragonridersOfPern telekinesis:]] they seem to operate under conventional physical laws. Their torsos contain chambers of lighter-than-air gas in the style of the dragons from 'The Book Of Dragons' - possibly hydrogen, which might explain [[FridgeLogic why firebreathers are relatively rare...]] However, their lifting capacities seem staggeringly high for any 'natural' gas. Temeraire, who masses roughly 20 tons and is in the middle range of heavyweights, is said to have a maximum capacity of 200 people or thereabouts. That's 200 soldiers, who are presumably travelling with full field kit. They're unlikely to weigh less than 200 pounds apiece - that's well over twenty tons before we start adding the weight of harness and luggage. In other words, these dragons can stay airborne while carrying slightly over 100% of their own body weight. Anyone care to speculate how?

to:

* I don't mean to get into [[Film/MontyPythonAndTheHolyGrail lift-to-mass ratios]] too much, but Novik's dragons don't have the usual draconic answers of [[AWizardDidIt blatant magic]] or [[DragonridersOfPern [[Literature/DragonridersOfPern telekinesis:]] they seem to operate under conventional physical laws. Their torsos contain chambers of lighter-than-air gas in the style of the dragons from 'The Book Of Dragons' - possibly hydrogen, which might explain [[FridgeLogic why firebreathers are relatively rare...]] However, their lifting capacities seem staggeringly high for any 'natural' gas. Temeraire, who masses roughly 20 tons and is in the middle range of heavyweights, is said to have a maximum capacity of 200 people or thereabouts. That's 200 soldiers, who are presumably travelling with full field kit. They're unlikely to weigh less than 200 pounds apiece - that's well over twenty tons before we start adding the weight of harness and luggage. In other words, these dragons can stay airborne while carrying slightly over 100% of their own body weight. Anyone care to speculate how?
31st Mar '15 7:19:21 AM rockgecko
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* Why aren't infantry and naval units more adapted to combat dragons? I mean real weapons, not those laughably ineffective pepper guns. I understand that the series takes place in the middle of the Industrial Era, but there is no way that any respectable army, after centuries of having to contend with massive flying beasts that travel at 35mph at their fastest, wouldn't have some kind of effective countermeasure. For perspective, the English developed their coastal AAA defenses BEFORE the outbreak of WWI, when aircraft truly became a direct threat. Seems like an awful oversight to me.

to:

* Why aren't infantry and naval units more adapted to combat dragons? I mean real weapons, not those laughably ineffective pepper guns. I understand that the series takes place in the middle of the Industrial Era, but there is no way that any respectable army, after centuries of having to contend with massive flying beasts that travel at 35mph at their fastest, wouldn't have some kind of effective countermeasure. For perspective, the English developed their coastal AAA defenses BEFORE the outbreak of WWI, when aircraft truly became a direct threat. Seems like an awful oversight to me.me.
** Effective countermeasures such as what? Given that this is early 1800's, the state of firearms and artillery is still black-powder single-shot firearms and cannons. The Gatling gun won't be invented for another five decades at least; the machine gun for another seven to eight (the Hiram machine gun, in 1884). Additionally, when the obvious way to fight dragons is ''with'' dragons, exactly how much valuable treasury funding would any government provide to anti-aircraft research?
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