The Harper Hall Trilogy

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The Harper Hall of Pern
First edition
AuthorAnne McCaffrey
Cover artistVictoria Poyser[1]
CountryUnited States
SeriesDragonriders of Pern
GenreScience fiction and young adult fiction omnibus
PublisherDoubleday SFBC
Publication date
July 1984
Media typePrint (hardcover)
Pages500 pp (first)
ISBN1-56865-017-5 (1997 second edition)

The Harper Hall trilogy is a series of three science fiction novels by the American-Irish author Anne McCaffrey.[2] They are part of the Dragonriders of Pern series as it is known today, 24 books by Anne or her son Todd McCaffrey as of summer 2011.[n 1][3] They were published by Atheneum Books in 1976, 1977, and 1979, alongside the Dragonriders of Pern series. Omnibus editions of the two trilogies were published by the Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club in 1978 and 1984, titled The Dragonriders of Pern and The Harper Hall of Pern respectively.[4]

Harper Hall's target was young adults[5] in contrast to the general audience for fantasy and science fiction. Indeed, editor Jean E. Karl, who had established the children's and science fiction imprints at Atheneum Books,[6] hoped to attract more female readers to science fiction and solicited "a story for young women in a different part of Pern". McCaffrey delivered Dragonsong and they contracted for a sequel before it was out.[7]


The three books were subtitled "Volume One of The Harper Hall Trilogy", "Volume Two ...", and "Volume Three ..." on the front covers of the first Bantam Spectra edition, early 1986.[8]


Dragonsong and Dragonsinger feature 15-year-old Menolly, a girl with great musical talent raised in an isolated sea-hold (akin to a fishing village) where composition is no part of a girl's future. Dragonsong ends with her invitation to the main craft-hall of the harpers. Dragonsinger covers her brief apprenticeship there, ending with her promotion to journeyman.

Dragondrums focuses on Piemur, a secondary character in Dragonsinger as a boy soprano, and one apprentice who made Menolly feel welcome. His voice changes and he needs a new occupation, perhaps at the communication drums.


Seven Pern books including the Harper Hall trilogy were published before The Atlas of Pern (1984), a companion book produced by Karen Wynn Fonstad in consultation with McCaffrey. Their geographical settings from peninsulas to stables are illustrated by maps and other drawings and their chronologies are explicitly presented in the Atlas.


The American Library Association in 1999 cited the two early Pern trilogies (Dragonriders and Harper Hall), along with The Ship Who Sang, when McCaffrey received the annual Margaret A. Edwards Award for her "lifetime contribution in writing for teens".[9]


  1. ^ The 24 books are distinct: they exclude omnibus editions and the separate publication as books of the longest works later collected or incorporated.


  1. ^ The Harper Hall of Pern title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database lists Victoria Poyser alone as cover artist for any omnibus edition of the Harper Hall trilogy, merely 1984 and 1997 editions by the Doubleday Science Fiction Book Club.
    • The Pern Museum observes that the cover painting is one of the most popular depictions of Pern, easy to find in signed and unsigned versions online — including the intermediary Artists UK but no personal website. Victoria Poyser. Official Pern Art. Hans van der Boom (c) 2008. Retrieved 2011-10-19.
  2. ^ McCaffrey has lived in the vicinity of Dublin, Ireland since September 1970, when she emigrated from greater New York City at age 44, with the second Pern book (Dragonquest) nearing completion and a contract for the third.
    Todd McCaffrey (1999). Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey by her son. New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-42217-1. Pages 54–55, 68–71, 74.
  3. ^ Dragonriders of Pern series listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database (ISFDB).
    • Select a title to see its linked publication history. Select an edition for information at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents.
  4. ^ The Dragonriders of Pern title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database.
    The Harper Hall of Pern title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-10-19.
  5. ^ The back cover of the 1986 Bantam Spectra Dragonsong advises "GL 6, IL 12 and up": Reading Grade Level 6, Interest Level 12 years and older.
  6. ^ Jean E. Karl; Children's Book Editor and Author (obituary). Los Angeles Times 2000-04-04. Retrieved 2011-10-19.
  7. ^ Todd McCaffrey (1999). Dragonholder: The Life and Dreams (So Far) of Anne McCaffrey by her son. New York: Ballantine. ISBN 0-345-42217-1. Pages 103–04.
    • With the arrangement in writing, she was able to shop for a mortgage and buy a home, which she named Dragonhold for the dragons who bought it. Pages 104–05.
  8. ^ Dragonsong March 1986 contents; Dragonsinger April 1986 contents; Dragondrums May 1986 publication contents at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database. Retrieved 2011-11-14.
  9. ^ "1999 Margaret A. Edwards Award Winners". Retrieved 2007-07-06.[permanent dead link]

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