This theory is a bit raw, but I’m on my third re-read right now, and I’m having difficulties understanding some things here. Why are dragons so protective of their hatchlings? Basically, there are a lot of contradictions in the book when it comes to feathertails, and I’m sure there is a reason for it, so what are we missing?
What are feathertails?
Feathertails are young dragons that have yet to enter the Dreamless Sleep. Not quite hatchlings but still baby dragons. They are golden, have no power to breathe fire, and no claws but paws. Their tails are not weapons but are essentially adorned with cute feather endings.
They do possess a special gift, though. Every feathertail has some sort of magic that can be accidentally passed on to their riders.
Fourth Wing: “Feathertails shouldn’t bond because they can accidentally gift their powers to humans,” Andarna continues. “Dragons can’t channel—not really—until we’re big, but we’re all born with something special.”
But feathertails are not allowed to bond
Alright, that’s awesome. But as far as I’m concerned, mature dragons do not let hatchlings bond. There is the Right of Benefaction, but we know this could be objected. Sgaeyl herself said she would have objected harder to the Right of Benefaction had she known Andarna will actually bond.
We do know that in Andarna’s case, there was no choice but to allow her to bond, simply because she is the eldest of her clan, thus she has her own rights.
But that’s not the case with the rest of the dragons. Every other dragon breed has its own elder. So why are dragons so afraid that humans could bond their hatchling and steal their gifts?
This doesn’t really make sense to me. In Iron Flame, Violet is vehement about keeping Andarna a secret or they would put all hatchlings in danger. It’s confusing because then, Tairn makes a huge point of stating that Dragons don’t take orders from humans.
Therefore, if humans were to know more about feathertails, why would that put them in danger?
Page 124 in Iron Flame:
“You’ll do no such thing, or you risk every feathertail in the Vale,” I remind her. “Do you want someone who takes joy in the pain of others like Varrish bonding a hatchling?”
Again, surely humans would simply not be allowed to bond hatchlings, as mature dragons would just…roast them for even trying.
What are dragons hiding?
I believe dragons know that there are venin amongst them, even within the wards. And I believe some dragons know that some are being corrupted and influenced by their venin riders. Which is a main reason why they are keeping their hatchlings away.
However, even with this logic, I’ve got to say, I’m a little confused. I believe feathertails and their gifts might be a key to fighting venin. We learn about it in Fourth Wing: “I remember your father doing a bit of research about the second Krovlan uprising, and he mentioned something about feathertails, but we can’t seem to find that tome.”
So why exactly is Varrish so desperate to see Andarna? Why are dragons keeping hatchlings away from humans, because I don’t think it’s just the fear of bonding? Maybe you can help shed some light on this one.
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