Book II, Chapter 21
The legal status of dragons has nearly always been that of a minor child legally beholden to and dependent on an adult human. While the fact that dragons are fully sentient and sapient individuals was very quickly apparent, even to the early dragon-riders, the fact also remains that, outside of a few exceptional individual dragons, a typical dragon's abstract reasoning skills and higher order thinking processes range around those of a five- or six-year-old human child. While dragons have their own language capable of communicating abstract concepts, much like those of corvids, prior to their integration with human society it was still extremely primitive, with even the most complex regional dialects only consisting of perhaps a thousand words. Simply put, dragons aren't quite intelligent enough to be humanity's full intellectual partners. Hence their legal status.
At present, dragon-riders essentially adopt the dragon in a civil bond away from the legal trusts of the Brooderies, who corporately act as the dragons' legal guardians until and unless they are bonded to a rider. With the bond between rider and dragon holding a legal status similar to that of a marriage or child adoption, dragon-riders are, presently, entirely responsible for the behavior of their dragon, and have obligations to the dragon in kind (food, housing, medical care, etc.).
Ideally, it is a partnership between near-equals, where the human gives their hands and brains, and the dragon gives their wings.
— The Dragon Law: A Primer On Dragons And Jurisprudence, 1744, London
Tropes That Appear In This Chapter:
- Dirty Old Monk: Apparently an old pastime of Delilah's was seducing and corrupting priests.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: Alvin surprisingly enough genuinely cares for his wife Delilah. When Ímar showed that he had captured her Alvin showed genuine concern for her well-being.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good:
- Ímar seems to think that Hiccup wasn't really interested in peace if the below quote is anything to go by.Ímar: Since the Hero has already come sniffing around, looking for more vassals...
- Delilah seems to think that the kindness that the Hooligans are showing the citizens of Vedrarfjord is a way of buying their loyalty, not because that's just how they treat any member of their tribe.
- Ímar seems to think that Hiccup wasn't really interested in peace if the below quote is anything to go by.
- Jerkass Has a Point: While the law Bladewit and Clogdall propose when it comes to having dragons has its own long-term problems waiting to happen, they are right in that simply allowing anyone to have a dragon and knowledge how to tame them when the original founding clans of Berk are slowly being outnumbered by its newest citizens and vassal cities has its own set of problems, as well and that keeping it in the families could reduce the risk of their secrets getting into enemy hands. Not only that, but there is a Grandfather Clause for those who do not fit the parameters of ownership but have dragons of their own before the law was passed.
- The Magnificent: Some people at Vedrarfjord have started calling Hákon "Hákon the Wise" or "Hákon the Good."
- Morton's Fork: Jorn and Kristoffer seem to think that Sigurd had backed himself into a corner; Sigurd will continue to train more dragons until a suitable replacement is made, and if Sigurd does not die in a future mission, the Emperor will have him arrested or worse for questioning his judgement.
- Moving the Goalposts: Gunvor makes the valid argument that with Vedrarfjord growing more and more dependent on dragons, in-time not having a dragon will become the same as being a thrall, or at least having one will be treated as a sign of exclusivity that will cause the public to resent those who have them.
- Tempting Fate: Gunvor argues that owning dragons will become a symbol of status in the future status quo, with whether one has one or not becoming the basis of a new hierarchy based on inequality. Sure enough, Bladewit and Clogdall are back on Berk proposing a law that only "allied clans" (this being the original clans on Berk before the Green Death was killed) and those who marry into them will be allowed ownership, meaning that the many newly-freed thralls on Berk and the entirety of Vedrarfjord will be left out.