History Headscratchers / Temeraire

27th Feb '17 4:04:46 PM freyalorelei
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* Okay, I get the whole InSpiteOfANail aspect but... how on ''Earth'' is the whole Woman DragonRider bit still a state secret? Liz Tudor figured out the Longwing problem over two centuries earlier, and despite the whole subculture aspect there has to be at least a few in the Dragon Corps who communicate with thier families on the outside even presuming no leaks in the Court/Government/Admirality for all this time. I can see it still being an embarassing scandal not spoken of in polite company and subject to ribald jokes in rude company, but the utter shock and ignorance the Rolands and Captain Harcourt's very existence are met with surprises me.

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* Okay, I get the whole InSpiteOfANail aspect but... how on ''Earth'' is the whole Woman DragonRider bit still a state secret? Liz Tudor figured out the Longwing problem over two centuries earlier, and despite the whole subculture aspect there has to be at least a few in the Dragon Corps who communicate with thier their families on the outside even presuming no leaks in the Court/Government/Admirality for all this time. I can see it still being an embarassing embarrassing scandal not spoken of in polite company and subject to ribald jokes in rude company, but the utter shock and ignorance the Rolands and Captain Harcourt's very existence are met with surprises me.



*** All of this is well taken but... no letters to family? No loose tounged parlimentarians? No casualties picked up by Army or Navy personnel? For over two centuries with a couple of civil wars and multiple coups? Kinda stretches things a little.
*** In the current series there are about 300 dragons in England's Air Corp and that's mentioned to be the largest it has ever been. It's fairly likely that there haven't been much more than a few hundred female captains period. In ''Victory of Eagles'' one of the oldest dragons actually still remembers when female captains finally became a thing. Add in the fact that up until [[spoiler: Jane]], none of them had ever had any extreme level of rank in the Corp, and the natural inclinations of society to just refuse to gossip about these things, and it's entirely plausible.
** It's not really a matter of "no one's ever seen a female captain." Because, clearly, every so often somebody does, as is repeatedly shown and referred to in the books. The difference is, people are generally not told that this is a (relatively) commonplace, necessary practice. As long as the individual sightings are kept few and far between, it's easy for them to be handwaved away, in in-universe terms. I.e., if someone tells the story, his listeners assume he's just telling tall tales; or the captain is assumed to be an exceptional, Joan of Arc type person; or they just think it's someone's mistress dressed up in uniform, or whatever else. Parliament doesn't know. The Admiralty probably didn't know until 'recently' (they certainly have a lot of trouble with Jane Roland reporting to them as an admiral). And all this is a time period where something could actually be an "open secret," in that it was simply improper to talk about in polite company. You know what you saw, and I know what you saw, but we can never actually discuss what we saw...
** Also, as of the fourth book there's only three harnessed Longwings in all of Britain. That's three female captains in the entire corps, which doesn't interact much with society at all.
*** Not quite. It's mentioned that there are a few other species that will only accept a female captains it's just that Longwings are the most important. The other species are presumably light/medium-weights that don't come up much.

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*** All of this is well taken but... no letters to family? No loose tounged loose-tongued parlimentarians? No casualties picked up by Army or Navy personnel? For over two centuries with a couple of civil wars and multiple coups? Kinda stretches things a little.
*** In the current series there are about 300 dragons in England's Air Corp and that's mentioned to be the largest it has ever been. It's fairly likely that there haven't been much more than a few hundred female captains captains, period. In ''Victory of Eagles'' one of the oldest dragons actually still remembers when female captains finally became a thing. Add in the fact that up until [[spoiler: Jane]], none of them had ever had any extreme level of rank in the Corp, and the natural inclinations of society to just refuse to gossip about these things, and it's entirely plausible.
** It's not really a matter of "no one's ever seen a female captain." Because, clearly, every so often somebody does, as is repeatedly shown and referred to in the books. The difference is, people are generally not told that this is a (relatively) commonplace, necessary practice. As long as the individual sightings are kept few and far between, it's easy for them to be handwaved away, in in-universe terms. I.e., if someone tells the story, his listeners assume he's just telling tall tales; or the captain is assumed to be an exceptional, Joan of Arc type person; or they just think it's someone's mistress dressed up in uniform, or whatever else. Parliament doesn't know. The Admiralty probably didn't know until 'recently' (they certainly have a lot of trouble with Jane Roland reporting to them as an admiral). And all this is a time period where something could actually be an "open secret," in that it was simply improper to talk about in polite company. You know what you saw, and I know what you saw, but we can never actually discuss what we saw...
saw....
** Also, as of the fourth book there's there are only three harnessed Longwings in all of Britain. That's three female captains in the entire corps, which doesn't interact much with society at all.
*** Not quite. It's mentioned that there are a few other species that will only accept a female captains captains; it's just that Longwings are the most important. The other species are presumably light/medium-weights that don't come up much.



* Dragons eat far too much to maintain a sustainable food supply for any country that doesn't have magical cloning powers. It's the only part of the series that truly, truly bugs me. A dragon needs a cow's worth of meat at least every 2 days. That's 182 cows worth of meat each year PER dragon, of which there are a sizable population.

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* Dragons eat far too much to maintain a sustainable food supply for any country that doesn't have magical cloning powers. It's the only part of the series that truly, truly bugs me. A dragon needs a cow's worth of meat at least every 2 two days. That's 182 cows worth of meat each year PER dragon, of which there are a sizable population.



*** Its also stated in the in universe essay at the end of Tongue of Serpents that China in part owes its larger dragon population to its ability to feed its dragons.

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*** Its also stated in the in universe essay at the end of Tongue ''Tongue of Serpents Serpents'' that China in part owes its larger dragon population to its ability to feed its dragons.



** 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 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.

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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 It's what is proper in their land and their captains and Dragons dragons are nothing but extremely adaptative. The same reason why Chinese dragons are the quintessential Nobles, Polish dragons mock Temeraire Temeraire's "soft preferences" preferences," and why Tswana dragons act as the reincarnation of deceased warriors, down to the point that Mokhachane declared a World war War to liberate her "subdites". Dragons 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 Take, for example example, the ferals to see how a "natural" dragon would act and is a far cry from even the English dragons. Also remember Temeraire Temeraire's POV with the eggs, before and after they hatched.



** Or you can take it another way; humans are social animals, but dragons are largely solitary creatures in the wild, living in small clans with an Alpha male or alone. It makes a measure of sense that Dragons aren't quite as intuitive at social situations, but they grasp complex math immediately and are expert tacticians. Not too much of a stretch to say Dragons just stick with the society that they grew up with because it's all they understand without getting confused (Temeraire's confusion with property and then difficulty explaining it later are good examples).

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** Or you can take it another way; humans are social animals, but dragons are largely solitary creatures in the wild, living in small clans with an Alpha alpha male or alone. It makes a measure of sense that Dragons aren't quite as intuitive at social situations, but they grasp complex math immediately and are expert tacticians. Not too much of a stretch to say Dragons just stick with the society that they grew up with because it's all they understand without getting confused (Temeraire's confusion with property and then difficulty explaining it later are good examples).



*** That may be, but if he is it's not typical of Celestials. The old one from Throne of Jade is mentioned as having sired all the others, and Qian produced Temeraire.

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*** That may be, but if he is it's not typical of Celestials. The old one from Throne ''Throne of Jade Jade'' is mentioned as having sired all the others, and Qian produced Temeraire.



*** as of crucible of gold it has been stated (second hand and originally 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

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*** as As of crucible ''Crucible of gold Gold'' it has been stated (second hand (secondhand and originally from Lien so it may be questionable) that celestials Celestials can't breed with non chinese non-Chinese dragon breeds breeds, if not farther further limited to only celestial/imperial Celestial/Imperial parings



* Okay, am I the only one who thinks that China in the books is a Mary Sue? I'm not sure what the standard of living was like in our world's China in the early 19th Century, but the fact that it's the ONLY nation stated to not treat its dragons like crap, and have a relatively high standard of living just seems a little off. Not to mention Temeraire constantly reminding us in the later books about how much better everything is in China. It seems to me like they could easily beat any of the European powers in an instant if it came to actual warfare. Seriously, [[spoiler: Prince Yongxing is the only Chinese character I can remember who is portrayed negatively in the entire series.]] This is probably why Throne of Jade is my least favourite book out of all of them.
** China isn't the only place where dragons are treated better and/or have a higher living 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.
** 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?

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* Okay, am I the only one who thinks that China in the books is a Mary Sue? MarySue? I'm not sure what the standard of living was like in our world's China in the early 19th Century, but the fact that it's the ONLY nation stated to not treat its dragons like crap, and have a relatively high standard of living just seems a little off. Not to mention Temeraire constantly reminding us in the later books about how much better everything is in China. It seems to me like they could easily beat any of the European powers in an instant if it came to actual warfare. Seriously, [[spoiler: Prince Yongxing is the only Chinese character I can remember who is portrayed negatively in the entire series.]] This is probably why Throne ''Throne of Jade Jade'' is my least favourite book out of all of them.
** China isn't the only place where dragons are treated better and/or have a higher living 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 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. 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 Mary Sue, Europe's real advantage, technologic advancement is just somewhat negated through the use of large amounts numbers of dragons. But as soon as cannons and rifles can reliably kill a dragon fast fast, Europe will be able to win agains thos tactics against those tactics, too. If anything the book series is a TakeThat against a Europe that tried to colonize everything it could get its hands on.
** 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 dragons 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?



** As a dragon, requiring a fair sized crew and a captain, is quiet akin to a ship, it makes sense that the Corps uses naval ranks. A naval-type organisation would probably be much more efficient than an army-type one.
** Precisely, it's a case of where the forces came from. In real life the Royal Air Force was heavily influenced by the army since it was formed in WW1 to support their trench warfare. Conversely the US Air Force didn't really become a separate service until WW2 where it was more heavily influenced by the navy since it was heavily involved in the Pacific Theater. Now in Temeraire the Air Corps is being formed much earlier at a time when the Royal Navy is very much the premier service for England and at a time when its primary mission is to support the Navy by guarding the channel. So combine that with the fact that a Naval organization makes a lot more sense for Dragons anyway and it makes sense that the Royal Navy would be the force that had the most influence on the development of the Air Corps.
* 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 [[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?

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** As a dragon, dragon requiring a fair sized fair-sized crew and a captain, captain is quiet quite akin to a ship, it makes sense that the Corps uses naval ranks. A naval-type organisation would probably be much more efficient than an army-type one.
** Precisely, it's a case of where the forces came from. In real life the Royal Air Force was heavily influenced by the army since it was formed in WW1 to support their trench warfare. Conversely the US Air Force didn't really become a separate service until WW2 where it was more heavily influenced by the navy since it was heavily involved in the Pacific Theater. Now in the Temeraire series the Air Corps is being formed much earlier at a time when the Royal Navy is very much the premier service for England and at a time when its primary mission is to support the Navy by guarding the channel. So combine that with the fact that a Naval organization makes a lot more sense for Dragons anyway and it makes sense that the Royal Navy would be the force that had the most influence on the development of the Air Corps.
* 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 [[Literature/DragonridersOfPern telekinesis:]] 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?



*** 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 2987 lbs of hydrogen. Of course, he himself weighs 40,000lbs, so double that to 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?
* Why are Longwings called Longwings, and not... I dunno... Acid-Spitters-Of-Death? I get that their wings are the longest, but their acid is what really sets them apart from other species. And it's not even like the acid is a secret.

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*** Mass and Weight 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 2987 lbs of hydrogen. Of course, he himself weighs 40,000lbs, so double that to 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?
* Why are Longwings called Longwings, and not... I dunno... dunno...Acid-Spitters-Of-Death? I get that their wings are the longest, but their acid is what really sets them apart from other species. And it's not even like the acid is a secret.
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.

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** 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.

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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; 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?
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