[LMB] So, where did Ezar go wrong with Serg?

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Wed Jun 22 13:14:17 BST 2011

I have a massive problem with the "blame the mother/women in someone's life 
for whatever badness they turn out to have."  Serg grew up as the sole child 
of Ezar who became Emperor.   Even the medieval and Renassance practice of 
the "whipping boy" as constraint to try to socialized otherwise spoiled brat 
self-gratifying would-be monster children royal and noble children, seems to 
be absent on Barrayar.  (The idea of the whipping boy is that the hide of 
the noble/royal sprat is inviolate, however, the whipping boy and the sprat 
form a bond and the sprat is averse to seeing the whipping boy punished, 
particularly, punished for an offense committed by the sprat.  With a Serg, 
the Serg probably would ENJOY seeing the whipping boy punished, though, 
unless it was made clear to Serg that Serg would suffer social ostracism for 

Serg probably was much more in the company of males than women--he was the 
Prince, the heir to the throne, and probably indulged all 
around--particularly  because Barrayar had been in such dire circumstances. 
Consider all the indulgences given to Baby Boomer children after WWII.. 
however, most people aren't sociopathic and inclined towards it in any large 
fashion.   Barrayaran -male- Vor responsibility inculcation seems to be 
mostly a -male- social construct set.  Yes, there are women who are "true 
Vor" but they're not voting citizens in the matter, they're somwhat less 
unempowered than ancient Athenian wives in classical Athens, but not by 
much, and they're not the ones whose society boys get trained to participate 
in.... the Barrayaran Vor ideals involve the company of men, and much 
male-only activity (the military, the Council of Counts, etc.)

-----Original Message----- 
From: Casimira Walker-Smith
Sent: Wednesday, June 22, 2011 6:57 AM
To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold.
Subject: Re: [LMB] So, where did Ezar go wrong with Serg?

On 21 June 2011 22:27, Claire Nollet <cnollet at gmail.com> wrote:

> 2011/6/21 Casimira Walker-Smith <aellairene at googlemail.com>
> >  > I always end up wondering: what about Serg's mother? I remember
> reading
> > somewhere that she 'went mad', and she was half-Vorrutyer, Mad Yuri's
> full
> > sister. <<
> >
> Brrr.  We might have had Mommy Dearest whispering in little Serg's ear his
> whole childhood, "Daddy killed your uncle.  Poor Yuri.  One day, we must
> get
> our revenge.  My little Serg is the most handsome, smartest boy who ever
> lived, and one day, he can have whatever he wants!"  Cue the mad cackling.
> That, combined with what Kevin said, about maybe Ezar showed up once a 
> week
> to "inspect" Serg and bark at him ... that explains part of it, I suppose.
>  -
And, well, she went mad. She wouldn't even need to be pouring poison in his
ear for that to have an affect ("Your Mama's having...problems" turning into
"Your Mama went away" turning into "...we should watch him, just in case.
After all, his mother--") And knowing that he was Yuri's nephew, and
probably looking like him as well...

(I really dislike defining the Late Empress by her relationships to the men
in her life. This is a very problematic part of Her Ladyship's refusal to
name names, and it shows more and more with the women)

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