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The dragon decides, the rider complies

Sexuality, then, is not as crucial to a dragonet’s choice as Anne insists. It is difficult to accept that a newborn dragonet selects his rider based on a sexual preference that the pre-pubescent candidate may not even be old enough to have, and the logic of blue dragons choosing gay riders does not hold up. Yet the apparent preponderance of gay blue and green riders in the later Passes implies that sexuality does have a bearing on the choice of any given colour.

Perhaps, then, the issue of sexual preference is not so important to the dragonet as it is to the candidate. By an early stage in the development of the Weyr, no candidate would have been ignorant of the roles taken by the various colours in mating flights, and as female green riders became scarce and males dominated on the smallest dragons, blue dragons became more attractive to gay men and less attractive to straight. One young man, knowing himself to be heterosexual by preference, might have small interest in riding a blue or green dragon, while another, perhaps persecuted at home for showing signs of attraction to other boys, might covet a green over any other colour. A lad completely fixated on Impressing a bronze would not be immediately attractive to any other colour, in the same way that queen candidates, focusing totally on the golden egg, do not generally draw green dragonets. In this way, perhaps, do the candidates themselves determine in part the colours they Impress, by being open only to the dragonets who meet their own requirements.

Yet the dragonet’s will to survive can override a candidate’s desires, and in such a situation a blue or green might choose a rider with conflicting needs. By the end of a Hatching, the candidate fixated on a bronze might have lowered his own aims, becoming open to Impressing another colour, or else chosen anyway as the last remaining candidate with the required empathic potential. Perhaps Mirrim’s father was one such – heterosexual by preference, but chosen nonetheless by a blue dragon.

One factor that is seldom considered in the study of Impression is that by tradition many Hatching ceremonies are attended solely by Weyrbred candidates. In Dragonquest, T’ron declares, “‘Weyrbred is best for dragonkind. Particularly for greens'” (Dragonquest, p 39). As with Kylara, it would be facile to dismiss T’ron’s opinion on the basis of his role as the antagonist: it is also interesting to note that D’ram agrees, explaining that Ista Weyr’s lower caverns have sufficient likely boys for the next Hatching. With greens making up fifty percent of all dragons, and blues another twenty or twenty-five percent, the statistical likelihood of there being enough homosexual boys in the lower caverns of a suitable age with the correct empathy and personality to Impress so many dragonets is very low.

The acceptance of the Weyrbred of the needs of dragons and the sexual flexibility of their riders should not be underestimated. Weyrbred candidates, brought up around dragonriders, would likely attach little importance to the implications of Impressing greens – while the bronzes carry the most prestige, Impressing any dragon is better than Impressing none. Growing up in the Weyr environment, the concept of having flight sex with partners not of their choosing, or of their preferred gender, would be quite normal to Weyrbred boys, and in most cases no bar to Impression. In mating flights, as we are so frequently reminded, the dragon decides and the rider complies; preference is not part of the equation.

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