Log in

Sun, Nov. 28th, 2010, 02:20 pm
ytak: The Class Structure in Pern

Since it has been a while since a post has been made but everyone seems to jump on one when on is made, I would like to propose a topic of discussion.

The class structure/caste system on Pern.

For example, there are the drudges.  What sort of people are they?  Are they the mentally disabled (like Camo)?  A people ever Searched from the drudges?  Are they the outcasts?  Are they people more like the Untouchables of historical India?

Dragonriders seem to be highly admired because to become one is to move from your previous class.  In that regard, there does seem to be some flexibility in what class a person might belong to.  And the crafthalls also offer a change in class based on ability (and the political winds).  But I still wonder about the social structure of the planet and how flexible it is.  There are Lord/Lady Holders, Holders (of various sized Holds), Craft Masters, Journeymen, apprentices, drudges, and dragonriders.

This was just some thoughts that have been going through my head lately (disjointed as they come out) as I reread the Pern books.  What are your thoughts?

Sun, Nov. 28th, 2010 09:55 pm (UTC)

It depends on which Pass you're referring to.

The dragon chooses, let's not forget.

Now. We all know that the drudges are the lowest on the totem pole. They are below servants. They are often, but not always the mentally deficient. Sometimes they are the previously holdless, tossed out for displeasing the Lord or Lady. Sometimes they are simply lacking in other skills. Depending on where they end up, they can be treated kindly, but often are treated as chattel.

The Traders are free. They are holdless, yet have places to stay. The most revered family are the Lilkamps, who are descended from Joe Lillienkamp. They sometimes are respected, sometimes reviled.

The servants of the hold (not Hold) are generally a short step up from the drudges. They are poor, and have very little say or rights.

The servants of the Hold, on the other hand typically have more autonomy, as they have so much more to handle. They run the day-to-day chores of the Hold. The cooking, cleaning, handling of supplies. They report to the Headwoman, who, in turn, reporst to the Lord/Lady Holder.

The servants of the Weyr have even more autonomy. Without the servants there, running the Weyr would be impossible.

Now, the Crafts of Pern are a law unto themselves. They are highly respected for the jobs and skills they provide. Short of the Weyrs, the Crafts are second to none. Most are above the Lord Holders, for their abilities. Lord Holders protect. CraftMasters Create.

The Weyr folk are, rightly, the top of the heap. The greens, blues, browns, bronzes, and golds, in that order. Without the dragons, there would be no Pern.

Of course, there have been times when the Dragonriders have been hated and feared, derided and scorned. The lesson was brought home each and every time. Pern needs its dragons and riders!