Galen's Dragon Colors

Gray | Blue | Green | Scarlet | White | Mutant
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It is debatable whether the male gray dragons are mutations, since blue dragons are known to take on grayish hue when fatigued or very old. However, it is a rare thing to see a dragon with gray color in his prime, so they are assumed to be a result of the virus. The grays grow from twenty-five to thirty-two meters in length and may fly copper females, but usually chase the scarlets and greens. In a fighting Wing, grays help fill the ranks along with blues, greens, and scarlets. They Impress male candidates regardless of sexual preference. Grays are smart enough in their own way. Their capacity to think ahead, however, is limited at best. They tend to be quieter, more serious and less emotion-driven than others of the "lesser" colors--the introspecitve dragons. They know themselves well and their riders better. You can't fool a gray.

The blue males are the "workhorses" of the species. They are stout and hardy, having higher endurance than their smaller sisters, and ranging between twenty-five to thirty meters. Blues generally Impress homosexual males, but often choose straight males, too, and occasionally girls when boys are in short supply. They may fly a small copper female, but mainly greens or scarlets. They form the ranks of the fighting Wings. What they lack in size and stamina, blues make up for in personality. Blue make the best Searchdragons--it takes a good character to know one. Blues are steadfast and loyal. If you must trust a dragonpair, trust a blue first. They don't betray and will stop at nothing to do what is right. One wonderful example of a blue-pair is C'gan and Tagath.

The most numerous of all dragon colors are the green females, who number the same as all the other colors put together. They are the best Threadfighters as well, being extremely dextrous and maneuverable in the air. Unfotunately, they haven't the endurance of their larger siblings and so have to alternate with other greens and scarlets. Otherwise, they make up the majority of the Wings. They may Impress female or male humans of any sexual preference, but females are preferred and encouraged, as they have a better time coping with the greens' drives. The greens are able to clutch, but are prevented from doing so by chewing firestone. If they were allowed to clutch, the Weyrs would be up to their eyeballs in little green females before one could blink. They are flown by any male who cares to chase them, but generally they mate with blues. They make good Searchdragons, but not as good as blues. Greens are unpredictable and volatile, especially when near to rising. They think with their feelings and passions, displaying a 'point A to point B' thought process. Their emotions, however, run deep. If they like someone, they REALLY like that someone. If they dislike someone, let him beware. Greens make everyone's life more interesting.

The scarlets, also direct products of the virus, are small, dainty females. They grow slightly smaller than greens: between twenty and twenty-four meters. Like the greens, they are able Threadfighters because of their size, but they have even less stamina. They could perhaps even be called frail. Also like greens, the scarlets are made to chew firestone for the good of the Weyr, for they produce small, weak clutches. They rise to mate with the same alacrity of greens and are pursued by any who care to follow, though it is usually a gray who is the chosen one. Unlike greens, scarlets only Impress girls. Scarlets fly the middle ranks of a fighting pattern. If possible, scarlets are even more changeable than greens. A scarlet might like you one day and despise you the next, with the same intensity of greens. The kind-hearted ones are extremely sweet, the mischievous ones are terrors on wings. Scarlets are the spice of Weyr life.

White dragons are a very rare fluke: a throw-back to the original dragons genetically engineered by Kitty Ping. They may grow, like Ruth, to twenty meters, but others are smaller. Thier riders need to take special care not to overwork them. Rather than lacking pigmentation, whites are more of a translucent pastel blend of all the dragon colors together. Whether considered male or female, they are asexual and do not rise to mate. One could Impress either a male or female candidate, and generally a white will act as Wingleader to a weyrling Wing. White dragons are unique in one big way: They possess foresight and memory. They can think ahead and plan, and they remember much of things past. A white dragon is about the most human creature you're likely to encounter on Pern, and that says it all.

-dragon image not available; see here for examples of cutaneous mosaicism in humans-

In addition to the above, all of which are now regarded as normal colors, there are two basic types of mutation. The first, which seems most simple but is least common, is a dragon whose color is not normal for his or her sex, e.g. a female brown or male silver. In cases like this, the affected dragon tends to have the traits associated with his or her nearest size equivalent: the female brown would tend to Impress girls and lay like a silver; the male silver would tend to Impress boys and chase other silvers.

By far the more common mutation is a mosaic. Mosaicism occurs when two distinct cell lines occur in a developing embryo. A cell divides, and one daughter cell mutates. Most often the mutation is fatal and the embryo is reabsorbed, but if the difference occurs in the hide, either variations of one color or two distinct colors develop. For example, a blue/blue mosaic would be a male dragon with a pattern of light and dark blue hide and all the traits of a normal blue. A gold/silver mosaic would be a female with a pattern of gold and silver and the traits of gold and/or silver.

Occasionally a mosaic will also have a bisexual mutation, as with a blue/silver. That dragon will have the pattern of blue and silver hide, but its sex depends upon the cell line which comprises the gonads. If "blue," the dragon will be male. If "silver," female. If both occur, the dragon will be a hermaphrodite and infertile. Any bisexual mosaic may have traits of male and female lines--a female the size of a blue or a male who prefers girl candidates.

This is by no means the full extent of the possibilities, but to discuss them all would take a proper essay. Any mutation may earn rank according to size and ability and all are valued for their individual strengths and weaknesses.

All text and artwork on this page copyright © Eleanor R. (Neshomeh); referencing The Dragonlover's Guide to Pern, Second Edition.

All references to worlds and characters based on Anne McCaffrey's fiction are copyright ©
Anne McCaffrey 1967, 2001, all rights reserved, and used by permission of the author.
This page last updated 8.06.06 by Nerissa.