[LMB] Bothari and Miles
shofmann at mindspring.com
01 Feb 2002 16:13:05 -0500
>>>>> "CM" == Cat Meier <fairestcat at hotmail.com> writes:
CM> "He's a chameleon. A mirror. He becomes whatever is required of him. Not
CM> a conscious process, I don't think. Piotr expects a loyal retainer, and
CM> Bothari plays the part, deadpan as you please. Vorrutyer wanted a monster,
CM> and Bothari became his torturer. And victim. I demanded a good soldier,
CM> and he became one for me. You... you are the only person I know who looks
CM> at Bothari and sees a hero. So he becomes one for you. He clings to you
CM> because you create him a greater man than he ever dreamed of being."
CM> Barrayar, pg 358 (pb 1st ed.)
CM> This is Aral talking to Cordelia, by the way. Here we have the crux of why
CM> people follow Cordelia, why she is so good with personnel, and its a trait
CM> that its very clear she passed on to her son. That last line could just as
CM> easily be written about Miles and the way he inspires and builds-up the
CM> people around him.
CM> What struck me in this reading however was how much Miles is also like
CM> Bothari. The first words, "he's a chameleon. A mirror. He becomes
CM> whatever is required of him." That could just as easily be written about
CM> Miles. Miles is focused on roles. The vor. The soldier. The Lord. The
CM> Admiral. Sometimes he falls so completely into his roles that he has
CM> difficulty coming out. Unlike Bothari, he's conscious of the roles he
CM> plays. But he seems less conscious of the way the roles shape him. His
CM> grandfather wanted a soldier, so he became one. His society and his family
CM> expected certain vorish responsibilities, and he embrassed them
CM> wholeheartedly. Miles is perhaps the most Vor character in the books, the
CM> most bound up in what it means to be vor and what the role requires of him.
CM> Admiral Naismith was created by accident, but when the circumstances
CM> required that Miles take on that role, he dived into it so completely he had
CM> trouble getting out.
CM> What do you think? Who else can clearly be seen as having a hand in the
CM> shaping of Miles as we know him. What about the other second gen characters
CM> in the books? How much of Aral and Cordelia and even Simon is in Gregor?
CM> What about Elena, the Koudelkas, Ivan...
CM> How much of Miles personality has been shaped by the roles he plays? Am I
CM> completely off base in my analysis? Is Miles personality effected by
CM> other's expectations of him only to the extent that everyone is, or is it
CM> something more?
CM> Thoughts, opinions? I'm really curious as to what the rest of you think
I think Miles' deformaties, Barrayar's attitudes towards those deformities,
Piotr's attitudes especially, certainly played a big role in his being a
soldier. I doubt that the Dendarii would exist if Miles had been physically
normal (ie an Ivan clone, so to speak). I'm sure that he wouldn't be an
Imperial Auditor if he were physically normal (although he might become one
later "at the normal age").
In this I think Miles' roles have been shaped more by his personality,
especially by his physical deformities, rather than vice versa.
Also, I think there's a lot more Aral and Cordelia in Gregor than there is
Ezar, his mother (Kareen? I'm not entirely sure of that name) or Yuri. And I
definitely see some Gregor in Miles, especially now that Miles is settling
J. Scott Hofmann http://cougar.kniggets.org
mailto:shofmann at mindspring.com