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Literature / Dragonvarld

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The Dragonvarld trilogy is a series of Fantasy novels by Margaret Weis, released between 2003 and 2005. Dragonvarld was the first fantasy world (although not the first solo project overall) Weis created without her frequent collaborator Tracy Hickman.

The three books are:

  • Mistress of Dragons
  • The Dragon's Son
  • Master of Dragons

The books are set in a world shared by humans and dragons. Dragons mostly keep to themselves, and have a law which prevents them from killing or meddling with humanity. However, one dragon, Maristara, broke that law, and set herself up as the ultimate power in a mountainous kingdom called Seth. The series deals with the consequences of that interference.


This series provides examples of:

  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: Dragons have laws which prevent them from having much to do with humanity. A breach of these laws before the start of the books — specifically, the conquest of a human kingdom by a dragon — sets up the main plot.
  • Amazon Brigade: The Sisterhood is protected by an all-female guard, since it's deemed inappropriate for the Sisters to be surrounded by men. The idea is startling to people who come from other kingdoms.
  • Baby Factory: Members of the Sisterhood are typically supposed to be virgins (well, at least with regard to men), but that would lead to eventual extinction, so a group of them are designated as breeders. The process is controlled, and they do not have lasting contact with the fathers or with their specific offspring. Later in the first book, Melisande is subject to two different plans to produce children; neither party obtains her free consent, and she dies in childbirth.
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  • Death by Childbirth: The fate of Melisande in the first book.
  • Decoy Protagonist: It initially looks like Melisande might be the main character of the trilogy — she's introduced first, she's tough enough to defy a dragon in Chapter 2, she's got a developed love interest, and she's in line to assume the position that the first book is named after (Mistress of Dragons). But then she spends the rest of the first book needing to be rescued and protected by other characters, being sexually violated (twice), and then dying while giving birth to characters who'll be important in the next books.
  • Double Standard: Rape, Sci-Fi: In the first book, two different factions want Melisande to have a child, and neither bothers with getting her consent. One side physically attacks her, which is properly treated as villainous and horrific. However, the other side overrode her ability to choose just as effectively by drugging her, and that's treated as mere distasteful meddling. Granted, she did actually show signs of attraction to the (unwitting and also drugged) third party she was left with, but there was no indication she'd have acted on it without the potion.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Draconas is the designated user of this on behalf of the Parliament of Dragons. He's a dragon inside, and can use their magic, but generally looks like a normal human, so can be sent among humans without fuss.
  • Gilded Cage: The Parliament of Dragons plans this for Melisande. They're not willing to have her wander around free with her magic, and they want her to give birth to a similarly-empowered son whom they can train "properly", but insist that she'll be "given the best of everything".
  • A God Am I: The Mistress of Dragons, effective ruler of the kingdom of Seth, is worshipped as a goddess, and has a cult of priestesses to serve her. Her divinity is supposed to be passed on to successors, since she still has human form and physical bodies don't last forever. It's actually a case of Grand Theft Me, and moreover, the scheme is being run by a dragon, the very being the Mistress of Dragons is supposed to have ascended to divinity by defeating.
  • Grand Theft Me: This is the practice of the Mistress of Dragons, who never actually dies, instead living on in the form of a carefully chosen successor. The real person is still alive, but wishes that they weren't.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Vengeance, son of Melisande after she was raped by Grald, is roughly human-shaped, but has scaled legs and clawed feet like a dragon.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: Edward, King of Idlyswylde, is inspired by stories about these, and wants to fill this role himself. There's a dragon to drive off and the fair Melisande to rescue. He doesn't really succeed (since the dragon was play-acting and Melisande ends up raped and dead), though that's not really his fault.
  • Love Potion: The Parliament of Dragons want Melisande to have a son, because that son will inherit powerful magic which the dragons can point at the Big Bad Maristara (more easily than they can point Melisande herself). They therefore give Melisande and Edward a potion which makes them want each other (and also guarantees successful conception).
  • Meaningful Name: Draconas, who is a dragon despite looking human.
  • The Mole: Someone in the Parliament of Dragons is working with Maristara, the rogue dragon who conquered Seth, and has been eliminating dragons who get too close to the truth.
  • Monster Protection Racket: Draconas gets close to King Edward by presenting himself as an expert dragon-hunter after arranging for his ally, the dragon Braun, to stage attacks (actually non-fatal, though rumour naturally talks them up).
  • Our Dragons Are Different: Dragons in Dragonvarld, have the typical western design, but they can take human form too.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If Bellona had been willing to talk to her lover Melisande rather than sticking to her conclusion of infidelity and treason, the plot of the first book might have been rather different. They later reunite and talk it out, but by that stage, Melisande is on track to die in childbirth after being raped, while Bellona is on track to have to fight her own estranged troops.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: When Vengeance is born as an obvious Half-Human Hybrid, the midwife raises an angry mob to kill him, considering him to be the work of evil.
  • Unwitting Pawn: The Sisterhood of Seth play this role. They think that their efforts are keeping Seth free of dragons, but they're actually only repelling all dragons except the one they unknowingly serve and whose predations the "attacking" dragons are trying to end.
  • Vow of Celibacy: Generally speaking, members of the Sisterhood aren't supposed to have relationships with men, although exceptions are made for a breeding program, and they're all quite able to have relationships with women. Melisande, the high priestess, and Bellona, the captain of the all-female guard, are lovers. When it appears that Melisande has run off with a man, it's a big scandal.