The Dragoness Revisited

Before I get to theorising, I would like to dedicate this essay to the recently-resurrected Female Dragon thread at wheeloftime.com, which (as of this writing) has reached a record 441 posts and is still going strong.

I'd also like to continue the tradition started in my last essay, The Dragoness Reborn, by talking about phoenixes for a while. Why phoenixes? Well, in that essay I complained about the title 'Dragoness' which is vaguely ridiculous, and mentioned that someone had suggested 'Phoenix' as the title for a female equivalent of the Dragon. I then pointed out that gender is irrelevant to a creature that is born out of its own ashes. Since then, I wondered if it is or not. You see, there are many animal species, including some vertebrates, that reproduce exclusively by asexual means, and they are generally considered female. On the other hand, the biological definition of female is the egg-producing gender, and the whole point of the phoenix life cycle is that it doesn't include an egg. (Well, in the typical myth, anyway: Terry Pratchett in Carpe Jugulum [translate it for yourself] suggests that phoenixes do lay eggs, the process of development and hatching just takes place really fast.)

You get problems when you try classifying mythical creatures in biology. I mean, is a mermaid a mammal or a fish? And how on earth would you classify a chimera?

Back to the subject - what was it again? Oh yes. A female Dragon.

This is the essay that I said in The Dragoness Reborn might be written sometime; the one arguing that in another Age or another turning of the Wheel, a female soul could take on the role of champion of the Light. I.e. in this essay I'm not discussing the alternative Female Dragon theory, that of one soul being born male or female depending on circumstances. If you want to know about that theory you can read the first one. Actually, if you're reading this you've probably read the first one already. In fact, chances are pretty high that if you're reading this you're from wheeloftime.com and you already know far more than you ever wanted to know about both theories. So don't read it, dummy! Everyone else, stick around, I'm about to get to the topic.

The question is: Is there a female soul who is regularly spun out into the world to act as champion for the Light, in the same way as the soul of Lews Therin Telamon/Rand al'Thor is?

My answer is yes, both because of the male/female balance discussed in The Dragoness Reborn, and because of an intriguing answer Jordan gave recently when asked the Female Dragon question. An audience member reports:

Let's try and clear some of this up... I can't remember the exact question, but from what I read in this thread, it doesn't matter (I haven't read the Female Dragon thread). RJ said that, no, it is not possible to have a female dragon. If the wheel needs a female dragon, then it would weave in *insert female dragon name here*. Probably because of the blank faces he was getting he then added, you can find her in the scene where Mat blows the horn...

At first glance this statement seems to contradict itself. A female Dragon is not possible, but if the wheel needs one it will weave one in. I interpret this to mean that the LTT/Rand soul cannot be female, but that another female soul can play the role of Dragon. Furthermore, that woman has a name, which suggests that the soul is always the same.

Now in my opinion, that is a very clear statement that a woman can be the champion of the Light (to clear things up, that is my definition of Dragon: there was quite an argument on the thread recently caused by the fact that we were all defining the term differently).

What I would like to know, though, is what was the name that Jordan gave? I presume, by saying she could be found in the scene where Mat blows the Horn, he was referring to one of the Heroes. But there are only two named female Heroes. One is Birgitte, and I'm sure no one would have failed to recognise her name if Jordan had given it. The other is Calian, who doesn't appear in the scene in TGH but in Mat's flashback of it in ACOS. So is Calian the female Dragon? The strange thing about this is that like Birgitte and Gaidal, Calian is mentioned as one of a pair, the other being her brother Shivan. If a female Dragon was paired with anyone, I'd expect it to be the male Dragon! Ah well - if I ever get to meet Jordan, I'll ask him for myself.

In The Dragoness Reborn I listed all the objections that people had offered to the idea of LTT's soul being born as female, and then proceeded to counter them. This wouldn't be a very long essay if I structured it that way, since there really seems to be only one serious objection to the idea of a separate female Dragon.

Argument: The Dragon is always the same soul.
Counterargument: Prove it!

There you go. Earlier on the thread there was a lot of argument, not directly about the possibility or otherwise of a female Dragon but about the differences it would cause from the current Age. The biggest argument was whether, should saidar be tainted and women rather than men go mad, they would be capable of causing a Breaking comparable to the one the men caused. I say yes. Obviously. My opponents, equally obviously, say no. My dear brother Shadar decided to go the backhanded compliment route by saying that women certainly are capable of causing havoc - just look at their driving! I could make a few comments about his driving if I wanted to, but I'm too nice a person. *grins* After all, he is on the right side.

Eventually that particular argument got to a point where it was one person's opinion versus another's, and fizzled out. In fact the whole thread fizzled out, but was recently brought back to the top of the list, which is why I referred to it earlier as 'recently-resurrected.'

A great deal of posts on the subject were, as someone said, either misogynistic or feministic. One particular person, who shall remain nameless, claimed that a Dragon could not be female because women weren't intelligent enough or otherwise capable of doing the job! Unsurprisingly, his argument has been almost totally ignored. But it may seem to some people that by insisting on a female Dragon even despite the original theory being disproved by Jordan, I'm arguing for what I, being a woman, want to be true rather than for what fits into Jordan's universe.

That's not so. It's true that unless Jordan denies the whole idea, I'll argue for the possibility - nay, the probability - of a female Dragon whichever way I can get the theory to work. Why? For the same reasons I was arguing it in the first place. Balance. A key element of the Wheel of Time universe is the balance, of Light and Dark, saidar and saidin - male and female. All male advantages are balanced by female advantages, and vice versa. It simply does not make sense that while everything else is in balance, including the Creator and Dark One - both of whom are sexless - the key soul that the Pattern revolves around is always male. It doesn't fit.

Now there may be another essay on this topic someday, and if so I promise to ramble about phoenixes and other mythological beasties for at least a paragraph before getting to the point. You can always skip that part if you're in a hurry, and be pleasantly surprised that the essay wasn't as long as you thought. But until then, goodbye. May you sleep well and dream of a female Dragon.

Raina's Hold / Raina's Library / Raina's Library - Essays
 

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