The Plot

(Critical Survey of Science Fiction and Fantasy)

Although Dragonsbane refers to Lord John Aversin of Alyn Hold, the only living man to have slain a dragon, the story centers on Jenny Waynest and the dilemma she faces in being both a human being and a mage. This dilemma first arose ten years before the time of the plot, when Jenny met and fell in love with John, and reaches its climax after Prince Gareth comes to the Winterlands, a province of King Urien’s realm, to recruit the aid of the Dragonsbane in ridding the Deep of Ylferdun of the black dragon. Reluctantly, Jenny and John, the north country scholar with a deep brogue and a love of old wives’ tales, accompany Gareth to the land of Belmarie to slay the dragon.

They soon realize that the dragon is merely a symptom of the realm’s problems. The king’s mistress, Zyerne, a beautiful but utterly ruthless young sorceress who places no limitations on her powers, is the disease. Jenny learns from a gnome mage, Lady Mab, that as a child Zyerne was apprenticed to the gnomes and learned their magic. While with them, Zyerne stole her way to the Stone in the heart of the Deep, the spot from which unlimited powers emanate. Zyerne’s every move since has been calculated to gain her permanent access to the Stone. For that purpose, she summoned Morkeleb, the black dragon, to rid the Deep of the gnomes and now is unable to banish the greedy dragon from the gold hordes. That is where Dragonsbane comes in. Zyerne wants John to kill Morkeleb so that she can take over the Deep. She did not count on the small witch, Jenny Waynest, getting in her way.

In contrast to Zyerne’s single-minded...

(The entire section is 659 words.)