[LMB] Bothari and Miles

Scott Hofmann 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