[LMB] Who Is Ivan, was Ivan Needs a Title

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Tue Oct 18 17:42:34 BST 2011

The issue I have with both of those titles is that he's not a 
reluctant -hero- or accidental one, it's not being -heroic- that he minds, 
it's having people -notice- him and make him take public responsibility and 
attention... his focus was on exploiting the privileges of his position and 
accident of birth and enjoying the privilieges and leading a "typical" Vor 
life--not as extravangantly as a Town Clown, but comfortably while also 
fulfilling the minimally requires social roles of his class--he did 
not -have- to go into the military, for example.  Going into the military 
was the social expectation of a minimally responsible Vor male who was more 
socially responsible than a Town Clown.  Ivan -could- have taken the Town 
Clown option, especially if he truly wanted to spite his mother... but he 
didn't.   Mile's aspiration of being the general serving as the arm of the 
Emperor was abundantly clear, but the drivers and childhood dreams of Ivan 
weren;t so clear--Miles -wanted- that position of top commander and 
general/admiral at the top of the military Vor hierarchy... Ivan apparently 
wanted a middling command level, one in which he had a degree of authority 
and self-determination, but NOT the ultimate command responsibility that 
Miles had the mania for--and via the Dendarii, for a while had something 
approximating it.   Ivan didn;t want to have to be held responsible for 
others--coming to rescue them and bailing them out, and helping, yes, but in 
a position of day to day direct command authority, no, apparently....

The definition of "hero" and the definition of "military commander" are NOT 
the same thing--there are lots of heroes who are NOT commanders, there are 
lots of commanders who are not heroic.  The hero is someone who comes to the 
rescue, or holds the position, someone dependable to stay and hold, come 
when ordered and go above and beyond the call of duty--Ivan's selfishness 
does not extend to preserving his own skin at the expense of his Emperor and 
his cousin Miles etc.  But Ivan does NOT and has assiduously avoided 
elevation to public leadership position--that is, he can and has been 
heoric, but it's neither accidental nor unsought--what's unsought is command 
position.  Ivan's not Aral or Cordelia or Miles, who sought out and attained 
command position/responsibility as sole and final authority as ship 
commanders in the case of Aral and Cordelia and as a military commander in 
the case of Miles, but rather, Ivan's taken the promotions that came his way 
to the middle grades and didn't want to rise above the level of just another 
officer of his cohort being a cog in the Empire.  He wants a live of social 
comfort, including the wife.  Being the cousin of Miles and Emperor Gregor, 
makes that difficult to hide as middling....  heroic actions, don;t 
necessarily get one forced into a promotion, especially not if the heroic 
actions are not the sorts of things which make for one being a 
good -commander- of a organization day in, day out...

Ivan doesn't want -command- responsibility.  And again, heroism is a 
different issue.
-----Original Message----- or
From: Becca
Sent: Tuesday, October 18, 2011 9:40 AM
To: Discussion of the works of Lois McMaster Bujold.
Subject: Re: [LMB] Ivan Needs a Title

>_The Reluctant Hero_ comes to mind.  Or _The Accidental Hero._

I like both of these.


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