"Grandfather", Celestials, and the Ming/Qing dynasties
There could be an entire generation/branch of Celestials missing if some of them went with the "Southern Ming Dynasty". Heck, for all we know, "Grandfather" was bonded to the Chongzhen Emperor (1611-1644) and stayed with him in Beijing while the other Ming princes fled with all of the other living Celestials and their eggs, leaving behind only the Celestial eggs carried but not yet laid by Imperial females.
Chongzhen killed all of his daughters except one, and all of Chongzhen's sons seem to've died/disappeared. This leaves plenty of questions about what might've happened to their dragons, if any. The first Southern Ming claimant, the "Hongguang Emperor", was Chongzhen's nephew; it looks like the subsequent Southern Ming claimants were more distant relatives, but still collaterally related to the Ming imperial family.
...there might also be some issues about whether the Jiaqing Emperor would've been properly referred to as such during his life. In modern Japanese usage, at least, the reign name is only used to refer to previous emperors; during the reign, the emperor is simply referred to with a title that means "the current emperor". On the other hand, as with the Wade-Giles/pinyin issue, it's possible to handwave a lot of slips as being filtered through Laurence's imperfect understanding of Chinese customs/language. (This gets more difficult for sections narrated from Temeraire's POV, but hey.) --Wombat1138 11:54, 18 August 2010 (PDT)
I tend to agree with you. But we're just running around in circles in speculation. It's too bad we can't ask NN a bunch of questions just for the wiki. (Can we?) The Celestial family three would definitely be one I'd ask. -- Strangerface 18:29, 18 August 2010 (PDT)
- I think the entire Ming Dynasty of Celestials fled, and Grandfather was the first Celestial of the Qing Dynasty (not only is he the father of the entire present generation, but he was also hatched from two Imperials, which would have been the only choice if the previous Dynasty had fled.) Almaron 20:13, 18 August 2010 (PDT)
- NN sometimes answers questions that were posted as comments to her blog. I'm not sure how long the current book promos will keep her busy, though. --Wombat1138 20:33, 18 August 2010 (PDT)
Ming/Qing Celestials redux
An alternate take that's occurred to me is that in Temeraire's world, if Celestial companionship is partially seen as a manifestation of the Mandate of Heaven, maybe Grandfather's double-Imperial parentage was related to the fall of the Ming dynasty.
Hypothesis: the endogamous sterility of Celestials is a relatively recent phenomenon; previously, it was possible for them for two Celestials to produce eggs. Other dragons were sometimes allowed the privilege of mating with Celestials, although hybrid offspring without the full Celestial phenotype were not retained within the imperial family. However, even if some hybrid offspring did have the Celestial phenotype, they were considered less prestigious than dragons of double-Celestial parentage, who were preferentially retained within the imperial family.
(Random thought-- this could be another reason for delaying Chinese dragonets' choice of companions until a Celestial's ruff/whiskers would've developed, if until then it was indistinguishable from Imperials.)
Meanwhile, Imperial dragons (and the occasional odd sport Celestial like Lien) were sent outside China from time to time, presumably in an analogue of the Han princesses who were sent to marry Xiongnu rulers. Some of these were of partial Celestial parentage.
Perhaps toward the end of the Ming dynasty, the fertility of their Celestials gradually failed because of intensive inbreeding; this was seen as a failure of the Mandate of Heaven. The Aisin Goro clan's hereditary clan of dragons had been periodically infused with part-Celestial hybrids; Grandfather's birth from two of their Imperials was conversely seen as transferring the Mandate of Heaven to them.
So the Ming Celestials may not've fled to the south with the "Souther Ming" claimants after all-- maybe by the time the Qing dynasty took over, there were no Ming Celestials left. --Wombat1138 10:32, 10 September 2010 (PDT)