[LMB] A Civil Campaign

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Tue Jan 18 08:59:02 GMT 2011

> From: "Judy R. Johnson" jrj at fidalgo.net

> And well, with regard to Ivan, nobody has succeeded in extinguishing my
> belief that "that Idiot Ivan" as a Vorkosigan Homeric epithet coming from a
> polite and considerate family was a hoax, meant to somewhat protect Ivan
> from being a plot magnet. Mind you, many have stomped on that belief pretty
> hard. 

Look at what they call Miles - Miles the monomaniacal, Mutie, Hyperactive 
little git, dwarf.... and so much more. They say the words you can't say until
there's no sting to it. For Ivan, I still think the 'Idiot' tag is part of the protective
colouring they give him - if you call him idiot often and loudly enough, people
write him off a bit, or at least seriously under-estimate him.

> That said, it's true that many worthy people don't try very hard when faced
> with overwhelming competition, such as THALG. Ivan does seem to be shrewd
> when he's paying attention but lazy most of the time. If you grew up with
> THALG, you wouldn't WANT to be dragged into each and every one of his fits
> and starts. You'd try to become an immovable object. You wouldn't ask
> questions because all you'd have to do is wait and guess who would ask it
> anyway. You wouldn't seriously court any woman because you might be signing
> her kidnap warrant. If you've built up this elaborate evasive lifestyle,
> you don't go toe to toe with anybody if you can help it, let alone your
> mother.

True, all so true!!! (Side note on the not-needing-to-ask-the-questions thing: I
know a large, very large, family that culminated in twins. Nobody noticed till the
twins got to school that one of them was an elective mute. She could talk, she 
just never needed to, with a twin and so many other siblings. If one child asked 
for a drink everyone was given one, and so on. Sometimes it's easier to step 
aside from the competition than try to join in.)

> But, occasionally, in an emergency, Ivan comes out of hiding. Miles, in
> ACC, indicated that he wanted Ivan to repurpose himself to be purposeful.
> Can Ivan break his habitual evasiveness? Hope we shall see.
> Entwife Judy

And, tellingly, Ivan is the one who CAN make Miles do things, when he has to.
Look at Ivan in Memory - he knows just what to do. And when he asks why Mark
knew and not himself, Miles says that he can make Mark do what he wants, Ivan
will only do what he knows is right. And in Cetaganda he's so good at looking after
Miles when he's hurt, he brings the cavalry to the rescue at the right moment (and, 
gloriously, is immune to the Haut women).  ACC - the attack on Dono. He even 
stands up to Gregor - when he brings Mark for his first talk with Gregor, it takes 
three dismissals before he'll leave. And NOBODY disobeys Gregor. 
Ok, ok, stop me before I start drooling.
But... NOT an idiot. Just highly selective about how he interacts with the world. 
And VERY good at getting things the way he wants them, until he hits a wall with
the courtship thing. (Mind you, so did Miles, come to that.)
Gwynne (Who really loves discussing Ivan. Not that anyone would have noticed.) 		 	   		  

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