Elizabeth Holden azurite at rogers.com
Tue Jan 11 20:36:07 GMT 2011

--- On Tue, 1/11/11, Agnes Charrel-Berthillier <agnes at charrel.net> wrote, regarding Aral and women:

> Counterpoint: Drou and the little scene around her
> participation in the armsmen training/tournament in
> Barrayar. Not only does he not protest against her presence,
> he gets her in, encourages her, and provides the final pep
> talk that gets her to fully express her potential.

Yes. I don't think Aral has a problem with women. I think he has a problem with the old Barrayaran stereotype (which his wife fit), but with women themselves - I think he likes them very much.

> I don't think we would see this in a man who cannot imagine
> women as being competent in traditionally male fields except
> for his own exceptional and how so masculine (?) wife. 

I don't think Cordelia is so masculine. I don't think he thinks so, either. She was a soldier, and he admired that, but I don't think he loved her just because she was a soldier - he loved her because she had so many traits he admired.  Traits that transcend gender, like honesty and courage.

> Aral certainly rose above his upbringing and his culture, in this
> and many other things.

That's my belief.

> There is the knee jerk
> reaction about women in combat, yes, but a man with a Betan
> for a mother in law and a half-Betan brought up in a very
> progressive (and very privileged) household wife cannot have
> been that surprised by feminist outbursts.

Indeed.  Piotr's problem was with muties, not women.

> As for Aral... he seemed happy enough with his first wife.

I think he was, for the duration of the marriage.  That was why it hit him so hard when he discovered the truth about her - he'd thought they had a good marriage.

> what probably motivated his later
> decision not to remarry I would guess to have more to do
> with moderate fear of being betrayed again, larger fear of
> what his temper would drive him to do in that situation,
> niggling worry about what his father might have done, and
> the bitter taste left by guilt what he had felt to be his
> loss of honor when his involvement in the duels was ignored.
> Rather than a yearning for any man.

I agree with all of that.  Add to this the political struggles he was involved in, and his overuse of alcohol.


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