[LMB] BD - Barrayar's class system [was: A Civil Campaign....

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 4 04:04:44 GMT 2011

> From: Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com

> --- On Tue, 9/14/10, Philomytha <blaise_writer at hotmail.com> wrote:
> > Is arranged marriage a Vor-only thing? Kou seems to think a
> > Baba is an essential part of the deal in 'Barrayar', after
> > all.
> And Alexei thinks so too, and Ekaterin thinks he's nuts. I think Kou is being kind of old-fashioned, perhaps through overprotectiveness. And things did change a lot in his (adult) lifetime.
I don't think a Baba necessarily means it's an arranged marriage, it's
just a way of avoiding embarrassment if the girl refuses. That's what
Ekaterin's sister-in-law notes when Ekaterin turns Alexei's offer down.

I think Ekaterin feels Alexei's use of a Baba is nuts because she's still
in her mourning clothes. Also she's a widow, and so is responsible for
herself, rather than a Vor maid whose family are protecting her. And
because she hasn't realised up to that point that anyone was seriously
courting her.
There's a difference between an arranged marriage, (Nice to meet
you, I do, what was your name again?) and an offer made through
a Baba when the girl has the option of refusing. Gregor sends Alys as
his Baba to Laisa's parents, but only after Laisa has accepted him.
She's there to make the arrangements and, presumably, some sort
of pre-nup.

> Ekaterin is true Vor. She doesn't care much, but there it is: an accident of birth. Ditto her aunt and uncle, for all their academic preferences.

Yes, they take it seriously. Ekaterin spent ten years trying to be a good 
Vor wife, but she had a total dud for a husband. The Professora carries 
her Vor-femme knife.

> Yes. And in having survived a bad marriage intact, she's done a sort of hero's journey - proved herself Vor in courage and honour as well as name. Again, with the ongoing metaphor of private life as a battle experience.

Ten years with Tien and not killing him? She definitely deserves a medal.

> And with Elli, it wasn't even a matter of class - she was so far from Vor to be another genus. Not even part of the picture.
> elizabeth

Elli would never have coped on Barrayar, and she wouldn't have remained
effective outside the system in the way Cordelia did. 

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