Post-holiday geek-out

Emerging from the entrenchment in family holiday merrymaking last Saturday wasn’t easy. I finally had a day to myself and I had no idea what to do with it. So I let myself have a little guilty pleasure. Now you know my secret. I heart sci-fi/fantasy.

I started the day off with Eragon.

If the tweens in need of Ritalan and the smelly woman weren’t enough to ruin my movie-going experience than the film itself certainly was. I can’t agree enough with Mike Russell’s assessment that it was a total epic adventure rip-off. But he forgot a key element.

Sidenote 1: You may be beginning to ask, what does this have to do with gayness? Well, nothing really, except, perhaps the blatant bare chest shot of 17 year old Eragon that prompted my partner to call him and his brunette friend "Jacob and Joshua: Dragon rising." This might not be as hilarious to you as it was to me while I tried to contain my laughter in this very serious scene in the theater, but since we watch the real, ridiculous "Jacob and Joshua: Nemesis Rising" reality show on Logo with the same fervor that straight people watch the cheesetastic celebreality on VH1, it nearly had me doubled over.

This brings me to my second holiday nerdfest, and finally to my gay gay point as well. Eragon stole heavily not only from Star Wars and Lord of the Rings but one of my personal favorite series about dragonriders from Pern. (I was so into it at one point that my roommate became scared that he would come home to find the dogs dressed up like dragons).The author, Anne McCaffrey has resisted the film adaptation of her books, but Pern has a pretty hearty following nonetheless. It has to have something after being around for over 30 years…

Eragon stole nearly every aspect of the Pern rider/dragon relationship: their telepathic ability, the dragon’s death when his/her rider dies, but there was one important thing Eragon did not mirror.

Sidenote 2: Let me make it clear, McCaffrey never intended to make the fictional world of Pern a gay one. But when she found the inconsistency she created in her initial stories she ran with the unavaoidable queerness of her plot, emphasizing it in later books. And I really respect inadvertant gayness and a subsequent embrace.

Here’s how it happened.

Dragons and their human riders have a very intense bond. Whatever the dragon experiences, so does their rider. Dragons are also intrinsically hierarchical. The two top dragons are the bronze males and the golden females. They act as king and queen, therefore their riders are also king and queen. The king is chosen by a special draconian mating ritual wherein the bronze able to catch the golden queen in heat becomes the ruler. Nothing gay here. Unfortunately for the lesser riders, their dragons must mate as well, although they produce no offspring. Of the remaining 3 colors of dragon browns and blues are male and greens are female. However, because these are fighting dragons, their riders are all male. Hence, in mating season brings with it all kinds of gay debauchery (Don’t worry, that link is work safe).

This could have easily been merely a footnote in the Pern existance, considering the main characters would certainly be the leaders but instead of shying away from this mishap, McCaffrey takes this opportunity to explore the relationships of blue dragon riders and their receptive green dragonrider partners, and help explain some of the tensions between the townspeople and the sexually extravagant, gay, and not always monogamous dragonfolk. (For some reason, brown dragonriders, though their dragons are never big enough to actually catch a gold female are usually portrayed as straight, though they too must occasionally give in to their dragons’ desires and have relations with green riders. I guess they’re just the bisexual players of the dragon world…)

I apologize if this post is long and rambling, I’ve already started the New Years Even revelry and there are consequences to that…like thinking it’s a great idea to come out of the closet as a fantasy dork to your entire readership…You should hear me talk about the gay themes in Star Trek..or maybe you’d rather be banging your hung over head with a frying pan and puking into the sink of whoever took you home last night. The choice is yours.

Hope your hangover is treating you as well as mine is sure to be…

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