[LMB] Ezar the Evil Overlord and his heir problem

agnes at charrel.net agnes at charrel.net
Mon Sep 15 20:09:04 BST 2008

> Quoting Harimad <harimad2001 at yahoo.com>:
>> My question is, why did Ezar let Serg get to that state?  Why did
>> Serg have so much power and rank, when his proclivities had been
>> known for years?

Because he was the Crown Prince in a culture that doesn't value women  
and has such a high tolerance/acceptance for the "boys will be boys,  
ah ah" meme that Ivan, with Alys as a mother and Cordelia as an aunt,  
felt fine making a "pass" (that included getting physical) to the  
virgin daughter of an old close-family retainer?

Per textevd in SoH, Ezar would have accepted his son's proclivities  
(up to and including rape and torture of the little people) if he had  
shaped up to be a strong leader for the Empire.

Quoting Eric Oppen <technomad at intergate.com>:

> And HOW did he get that far gone without the Emperor twigging to what
> was going on?  Any ruler, and I mean ANY ruler, has spies...and the
> heir to the throne is spied on, morning, noon and night.  When I
> become an Evil Overlord <snip Eric's planning, including list of  
> things he would do better than any other ruler in the history of  
> mankind, past and present>

What makes you think Serg wasn't closely spied on? Per texevd (SoH,  
discussion between Aral and Cordelia) Negri had a huge file compiling  
all of his vices, from the moderately important personal (who cares if  
a few slum dwellers get raped, tortured or killed, anyway?) to bigger  
issues (two assassination attempts on his father in the past 18  
months) and, more importantly, showing that he was getting more and  
more unstable as he letting himself being manipulated by various  
political factions through his vices.

> I'd know my heir's tastes in food, s*xual pleasure, clothing, and
> entertainment, possibly better than (s)he did...

Ezar certainly knew all of that, per the reference to Serg's super  
secret ImpSec file.

> and an heir that was
> shaping up to be Seriously Bad News (Edward II Plantagenet and
> Commodus, to take two examples from history) would have a
> regrettable---oh, how very regrettable!---accident.  If I could figure
> out a way to blame the accident on people I also needed to take out of
> the picture, that'd be gravy.

Isn't that *exactly* what Ezar did? Setting up and then using his  
son's "heroic" death to take out the whole War Party and settle any  
yearnings of the Empire toward expansion through military means for  
the next generation or so? And he did so in well nigh perfect Evil  
Overlord fashion, without any care for the deaths of thousands of  
Barrayaran and Escobaran soldiers/civilians.

Frankly Ezar gets a 100% rating on the Evil Overlord rating for this one:

1) saw one and only heir become an unstable psychopath

2) not possible to get a new heir to replace him: Ezar is not that  
young, he got seriously hit by mutagens/radiations during the  
Cetagandan invasion (which might explain some of Serg's problems,  
BTW), his own claim to the crown (Vorbarra through the male line but  
not a descendant of Dorca) was shaky and only shored up by the support  
of Prince Xav and Count Vorkosigan and the promise that *his* heir  
would be a grandson of Dorca the Just through a war time, shotgun  
marriage to an older, reclusive (have to wonder what was lurking in  
*those* genes too) sister of freshly deposed and dismembered Yuri the  
Mad. I am fairly sure that the fact that Serg was an only son wasn't  
exactly by choice (or at least not Ezar's and the male Vor's).

3) can only get a new, more stable heir *through* Serg. Kareen was  
probably chosen for her impeccable bloodlines from as stable a line as  
possible (Vorbarra connections for politics, maybe, but make them  
remote, as little Vorrutyer blood as possible...). Then Serg was let  
loose on her long enough to get her pregnant *with a son*, at which  
point Ezar "benevolently" extended his protection and took her out of  
harm's way (pure self interest there, since with his son's attraction  
to pregnant women and other vices... she might not have remained  
pregnant long enough -- wonder if Serg realized he was signing his  
death warrant by impregnating his legitimate wife).

4) spend as much time as possible (4 years) balancing the tasks of  
keeping the War Party in check, keeping the Prince distracted  
(whatever *that* took) and keeping his assassination attempts in check  
while trying to make sure Gregor was as stable as possible. There were  
probably some fairly extensive evaluations/observations there, with or  
without galactic tech.

5) finally lined up all the actors for the grand final on the scene  
(with the discovery of Sergyar probably being the one piece of luck  
involved) and got the ball rolling. Everything works as planned, Serg  
is dead, the War Party is discredited for another generation and  
"spontaneous" rioting destroys the Political ministry.

6) Aral Vorkosigan is set up as the hero who saved everything that  
could be saved, which is the last step in setting him up for the role  
of Regent in the public/Vor view.

I am fairly sure that Aral collapsing under the weight of his guilt  
and trying various suicide methods wasn't quite in the plan. Getting  
Cordelia off Beta and to Barrayar was a nice piece of luck. Or not  
(one has to wonder why Betan authorities got so very paranoid about  
her, beyond the obvious).


More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list