Orbiting Dicta

Category Archives: Harps & Dragons

Harps and Dragons

Since I was very young, I have been fascinated by harps and dragons. That may be because three of my great grandmothers were Welsh. (My ethnic ancestry is almost all Irish, however. My maternal grandmother was born in a village in County West Meath called Tyrrellspass, and all my other forebears were also from Ireland.) The Celtic harp is the national instrument of both Wales and Ireland, and the national emblem of Ireland. The dragon is the national emblem of Wales.

When my friend Richard Hutt and I began making folk harps in the mid-seventies, we decided to call our partnership Pendragon Harps , which seemed natural enough. Pendragon was an ancient British (i.e., Welsh) title given to military leaders who organized the Christian kingdoms against invasions by Irish pirates and land-hungry Saxons and Angles who had succeeded in occupying the southeastern coast. The most famous of the legendary Pendragons were Uther and his son Arthur, who lived in the fifth and sixth centuries. (For a fascinating account of the role played by horses and horseshoes in Arthur’s campaigns against the Saxons, see Anne McCaffrey’s prize-winning novel, Black Horses for the King, published by Harcourt Brace. Anne and I also collaborated on A Diversity of Dragons , which was published by HarperPrism in 1997.)

The Brian Boru

Religion on Pern? My Tribute to Anne McCaffrey

Smartpop Books has just published Dragonwriter, a collection of tributes to the late Anne McCaffrey edited by her son Todd McCaffrey.  I contributed a chapter about the place of religion in the McCaffrey universe, the product of many years of spirited dialog with one of Science Fiction’s most beloved writers.  Winner of the Hugo and Nebula awards and recognized by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America as a Grand Master,  Anne was the first S-F writer to break into the New York Times best seller list.  For more information about the book, click here Dragonwriter.