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The White Dragon

(Pern #5)

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  43,382 ratings  ·  858 reviews
Jaxom, a rebellious young aristocrat, and Ruth, his white dragon, fly into another time to retrieve the queen's stolen egg, thereby averting a dragonrider war, and find their planet threatened once again by a Threadfall. ...more
Mass Market Paperback, 468 pages
Published July 1986 by Del Rey/Ballantine Books (first published June 1978)
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Community Reviews

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Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  43,382 ratings  ·  858 reviews

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Start your review of The White Dragon (Pern, #3)
Dec 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi-fantasy
OKAY. In 2013, I stated that Jaxom gets worse and worse with each passing year. I recant. I recant, I say!! Jaxom actually gets EXPONENTIALLY worse with each passing year. Rereading the Pern series in 2020 is both (1) exceptionally fun and (2) extremely surprising. The series has such imaginative sweep and narrative power, but that's paired with some of the most unlikeable characters I've ever read in fiction, along with very uncomfortable sexual politics. It took me almost two weeks to muddle t ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
No extra points in the rating for the awesome dragons and unique world this time around. The shine of Pern has worn off, and all that's left is the author's writing. In that regard, this book was pretty lackluster.

I had a lot of hope for Jaxom and Ruth after Dragonquest. I was pretty much completely disappointed. Jaxom is a whiny, bratty kid that I had absolutely no investment in. In fact, I actively want him to fail. Characters that are special and wonderful at everything just for the sake of i
Jun 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
The White Dragon wraps up the Dragonriders of Pern trilogy quite neatly; however, pretty much everyone knows that it isn't the end for Pern. Although the series got off to a slightly rough start, it actually got much better as it went on. If you're a fan of science fiction, and you've never read anything by Anne McCaffrey, what are you waiting for? Give her books a chance! ...more
Jan 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oh, my gosh. I read this over and over in sixth grade, giggling naughtily all the while. Good grief, Jaxom and that buxom farmer's sister!

I think I read this before any of the other Pern books, though I had read DRAGONSINGER. I loved Ruth, and the idea of a dragon who was just big enough to ride, but small enough to be kept at home.
Mike (the Paladin)
Oct 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
Sometimes the runt is more important than anyone thought.
Susan Kennedy
Aug 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Another great story of Pern. This one focuses on Jaxom, the Lord Holder of Ruatha and his white dragon, Ruth.

You learn a lot more of Jaxom and those he interacts with. You learn of his friendships and how he struggles with becoming Lord. His relationship with his dragon is wonderful and they make a great team. They take on some interesting endeavors that have you cheering them on. He is a great character and he interacts with other characters that I have grown to love through this series, like
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I my memory this is my favourite Pern book, closely followed by the Haperhall books. There is a lot more going on than I remembered. Or that I thought of happening in another book of the series. This is definitely a worthwhile refresher.

We finally get to read more about my favourite dragon Ruth and about a ton of fire-lizards. Plus there is adventure, a conspiracy and plenty of exploring of the Southern continent and the past. Jaxom has to come to terms with his double role of Lord Holder and Dr
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is basically a review of the three books that make up the trilogy. There actually was a book between books two and three that I'm not counting, but which do introduce several characters in this book, but I'm not counting it as one of the main books because that book was originally published as YA and it wasn't available at my local library.

I prefer to review the books as they exist, and not the book I'd wished someone had written. I also think that if a book is part of a series that is more
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
10/2014 Reread. The continuing adventure with Don to rediscover Pern.

I love Ruth. I love Jaxom.
They are pleased to see us in the air together. Ramoth and Mnementh are very happy to see you on my back at last. I am very happy. Are you happier now?
And fire lizards!

I forgot how jam-packed the Pern stories were. Ruth and Jaxom's maturation is only a small portion of what happens as the politics expand, problems inflate and then are resolved, but really the bond between the two is what drove th
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Laura Lemay
Dec 14, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2011
After Anne Mcaffrey died late 2011 I rooted around in my bookshelves for all my old pern paperbacks from the early 80's. I was utterly obsessed with these books when I was a young teenager, and they were extremely formative in my own history as a writer. The first novel I ever wrote -- longhand, in mead spiralbound notebooks -- was a thin knockoff of Dragonflight (I seem to remember it had unicorns, but I'm so embarrassed by that book I haven't managed to actually read enough of it to check).

William Richards
Oct 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The old saying goes, "You can't judge a book by its cover." I can still remember that summer day when I spotted the Michael Whelan cover on "The White Dragon" and how it caught my eye. I remember picking it up, reading the blurb on the back cover and deciding I wanted to read it. I was fourteen-years old and I liked that the protagonist was around my age. It was the last book of the Dragonriders of Pern series that introduced me to McCaffrey's world.

But it was the story inside that cover that ab
Jessie Potts
Aug 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audio
Oh Pern!!!
Apr 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
Jesus - has McCaffrey never heard of a plot? I mean, what is she waiting for, her grand finale? Forget the characterization of Jaxom that everyone's complaining about (he's barely sketched in enough to even be called a character) and this strange fetish she has for men who force themselves on women - let's just stick to the basic level of narrative, of plot mechanics, of conflict and a focused through line. The biggest problem with this book is that, for hundreds of pages, basically NOTHING HAPP ...more
I have said this before and I still think it's true, there are some books that are meant to be read at certain times. And if you miss that particular time, then they just won't do it for you the way they might have. I suspect that The White Dragon is just such a book. I have found, and it seems to be more often the case with science fiction/fantasy novels, that I seem to have missed the (space) boat with McCaffrey's novel. Back in the 80s, when I was in the midst of my science fiction binge, my ...more
Jun 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Okay this is the final book I have read in my recent Pern binge. Definetly one of the best books in the series, though it may be a bit confusing as a first read as it requires a knowledge of the personalities of the major players on Pern.

Anne McCaffrey has written some great scenes into the story. I particular love reading as Jaxom develops from a boy into a man and into his role as Lord of Ruatha.
Karen’s Library
Apr 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
I think The White Dragon is my favorite of The Dragonriders of Pern trilogy. In this story. Jaxom, Lord Holder of Ruatha, has impressed Ruth, the only white dragon in existence. Ruth is smaller than a typical dragon, but demonstrates special abilities and more intelligence than a normal dragon.

In The White Dragon, more is discovered about the original colonists of Pern. And I'm off to continue my binge re-read of the Pern books! I do this every time!
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is one of my favorites of the series. Ruth and his rider are just plain nice people. Both are disabled in their own way. Ruth is the only white dragon on the planet Pern and Jaxom was born early from a mother who died at the time of his birth, and whose father died a short time later, making him the lord of Ruatha as an infant. Both will have to prove themselves to the humans of Pern. The dragons accept them as they are.
BAM Endlessly Booked
Jun 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Summer Fantasy Fest read #25

I think many of the ya audience would find the Ruth the white dragon dynamic fitting. He's just not into it. And that's ok. He's absolutely lovely.
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was my favorite of the first three Pern books. I loved Jaxom and Ruth, and the scene where the dragons keep Robinton from leaving always has me in tears. It was a fun way to spend the day.
Sotiris Karaiskos
As in the previous book (in chronological order) of this series - Dragondrums - this book supposed to be the last of a trilogy but is actually more a stand-alone novel. Also like the previous book the protagonist is an angry teen thirsty for adult admission and hungry for sex, as most teenagers I think. Of course, this teen is not an ordinary one as he is having many important responsibilities, to which he adds even more as he tends to get involved where he does not have to. With his ally the wh ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dragons, ebook, fantasy
Fantasy. More dragonriding with some archeology thrown in for color and the first appearance by a female green dragonrider. Except the text calls her a "dragon girl" and she doesn't get the honorific apostrophe like the men do and also no one likes her very much because she's bitchy. We also get our first female crafter, a harper, but she's the appropriate combination of bossy and nurturing and everybody loves her. If, on Pern, you are female and only bossy or only nurturing, then you're out of ...more
Hm, I don't remember Jaxom being so irritating before (haha). He whines and groans and talks a lot about how unfair things are, and yes, he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, but it doesn't stop me from wanting to smack him upside the head a few times. It also doesn't help that his romantic attachments bore me to death, and that there is no rhyme or reason for Sharra. (view spoiler) ...more
As much of an Anne McCaffrey fan as I am, it's sad that I bought this over 5 years ago and just got around to listening to it. But, as good a job as Dick Hill did in narrating the book, I can't say that it made the book any better than it was during my years'-long love of reading and re-reading this, the 3rd of the Pern books. Maybe it's just that the story can't get any better than it is, whether read or heard.

Fans of Pern and her dragons and dragonriders waited 7 long years from book #2,Drago
Jul 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
Sometimes, you read a book when you're thirteen, and you're all, "Yeah, Jaxom! No one understands what it's like to be stuck in between so many things except you and me! I get this! I want a dragon!" Then you read that same book again when you're 32, and you're all, "Jaxom, you are an arrogant little snot."

Anne McCaffrey took the Dragonriders series down the coming-of-age trope storyline with the third installment. She really does a marvelous job building that sense of self-conscious egocentris
Nov 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
With this book, I have completed the original 3-book "Dragon Riders of Pern" series. This was definitely not what I thought is was going to be. I will go on and read other series someday, but what I will say is, if you like stories about dragons this is the series for you. ...more
Phillip Murrell
Jul 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Jaxom and Ruth are the most interesting characters in this book (along with Brekke and Robiton), but they couldn't create any new interest in the story than the previous two books did. The adventure is bland in a fascinating and dynamic world. I gave the series a good chance, but I'll leave it now to find bigger and better. I'm sure the legions of fans already make it okay with the McCaffrey family. ...more
David Sarkies
Aug 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sci-fi
So Much Potential, So Little Direction
5 August 2019

A part of me was thinking that maybe I am getting a little too old to be able to focus on books, or that maybe the fact that I have a lot of other things to do meant that I really couldn’t get into this book as I could other books. Well, maybe it is the case that I probably shouldn’t be actually blaming myself because the book is, well, boring. I guess I probably should stick to that last bit because I know that if I like a book then I really g
May 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Fantasy Buddy Reads: The White Dragon [Nov 15, 2019] 1 5 Jul 24, 2019 10:31PM  
A Million More Pages: 3 - The White Dragon (Pern): Aug 1 5 12 Oct 05, 2015 05:58AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: #110 - The White Dragon 1 3 Jul 02, 2015 12:29PM  
Good Book, but... 10 151 Feb 24, 2014 05:32PM  

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Anne McCaffrey was born on April 1st, 1926, in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Her parents were George Herbert McCaffrey, BA, MA PhD (Harvard), Colonel USA Army (retired), and Anne Dorothy McElroy McCaffrey, estate agent. She had two brothers: Hugh McCaffrey (deceased 1988), Major US Army, and Kevin Richard McCaffrey, still living.

Anne was educated at Stuart Hall in Staunton Virginia, Montclair High Scho

Other books in the series

Pern (1 - 10 of 25 books)
  • Dragonflight (Dragonriders of Pern, #1)
  • Dragonquest (Pern, #2)
  • Dragonsong (Harper Hall, #1)
  • Dragonsinger (Harper Hall, #2)
  • Dragondrums (Harper Hall, #3)
  • Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern (Pern, #7)
  • Nerilka's Story (Pern, #8)
  • Dragonsdawn (Pern, #9)
  • The Renegades of Pern (Pern, #10)
  • All the Weyrs of Pern (Pern, #11)

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