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It would be too much to expect every canon Impression to follow the same pattern. Impression from the stands, while ostensibly a once in a lifetime occurrence, happens with some frequency in the first thirty Turns of the Ninth Pass. Jaxom, Keevan, Mirrim, T’lion and Tai all Impress from off the sands.

Yet at least two of these five share a common experience: both Jaxom and Keevan handled the eggs prior to Impressing. Jaxom definitely touched the egg that later Hatched out his dragon, and it is implied that Heth Hatches from the egg “marked by a large yellowish splotch in the shape of a dragon backwinging to land” (The Smallest Dragonboy, p 235) that Keevan dared to touch in secret after each visit. It is also implied that Mirrim sneaked into the Hatching cavern to touch the eggs before her Impression of Path, though she stringently denies this.

Add to this Pridith’s instant choice of Kylara, who had spent hours with the egg, under Lessa’s tutelage, and there is solid evidence to suggest that in some cases handling of the eggs can influence the unborn dragonets. Ruth and Pridith bonded with their riders instantly, without deliberating over the other candidates, while Path and Heth specifically sought out Mirrim and Keevan. In all cases it seems that the dragonets did not choose their riders so much as find them, yet this is the exception rather than the rule: we typically see uncertainty as the dragonet searches for the best possible match.

The belief that a bronze Hatching first is a good omen has solid origins. The first dragonet to Hatch has the luxury of choosing from all the available boys: the candidate he selects will be truly well suited to him. Contrast this with the dragon who Hatches last – obliged to choose from what is left over. There is no guarantee that any given group of candidates will contain the correct mixture of leader-types, lieutenant-types and follower-types to match the distribution of colours in a clutch, and when candidate numbers are limited – as with Pridith’s first clutch, or Orlith’s last – late-Hatching dragonets must make the best of what is available, or else die unImpressed. As we never see this happen, it must be concluded that dragons are willing to compromise.

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