[LMB] BiA: Chapter 10 - Your name is Mark!

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Thu May 7 06:07:43 BST 2015

> From: "Beatrice Otter" <beatrice_otter at haugensgalleri.com>

> On Wed, May 6, 2015 3:45 am, Gwynne Powell wrote:
> > Miles gives Mark his name. Thank goodness for the Vor
> > naming rules - Mark gets his own name at last, and starts to build an
> > identity. He's also got parents - Cordelia, especially, won't worry about
> > his origins.

> Er, he already *had* an identity, thank-you-very-much.  He most definitely
> DID NOT think he was Miles, and DID NOT want to be subsumed/consumed by
> him. 

He was very clear about what and who he didn't want to be. He had no
idea about what he wanted - this comes through in the conversation 
with Miles in this chapter, and much more strongly at the end of the book.
Miles, however, by giving Mark his name, turned his thoughts to what he
DID want, and the idea that he didn't have to follow the path Galen had
set out for him. Miles asked him what he'd like to do, and ran through 
some examples - he's probably the first person who asked Mark what he
wanted to do with his life, or offered any alternatives at all.

> He's paranoid about brain transfers and WHAT PEOPLE DO TO CLONES
> (because he's only got a Jacksonian perspective on it. 

You don't have to be Jacksonian to hate the brain transplant industry.

> He didn't have a
> name of his own, but I've always wondered if he *wanted* one--and
> definitely if he would have accepted Miles' name for him if he hadn't
> ended up on Barrayar. 

He chose to end up on Barrayar. He chose to hijack the fleet because
he wanted to arrive on Barrayar as a hero, to impress them all. He could
easily have lived somewhere else, but he wanted to use the name and
be on Barrayar.  

 > You say it like "oh, now Miles has named him, he's
> got his own identity!" But another way to look at it is, "Miles tried to
> deny him the name he already had/identified with to replace it with the
> identity *Miles*wanted*him*to*have*." 

Miles was fighting for his life in that conversation, so it was fairly intense.
But what he said to Mark, in several ways, was that he had choices. He
pointed out that Mark had relatives on Barrayar, but also on Beta, and
the Betans wouldn't have any problems at all with his clone status. Or he
could live anywhere else on the Nexus he chose. Miles also  asked Mark
what occupation he'd like, and ran through some possibles. Rather than
forcing Mark in one direction, he was deliberately opening the range of
options up for him, in contrast to Galen setting the course of Mark's life.
Miles wasn't trying to lock Mark into anything, he was trying to show him
that he had far more freedom of choice than he'd ever realised. Giving 
him his name was just a small part of it, but it recognised Mark as an
individual; something Galen hadn't done because he'd been trying so 
hard to make a pseudo-Miles. 

 > I am named after relatives, and I
> have my own identity separate from them, thank you very much.  Sharing a
> name does *not* imply a shared identity, so Miles renaming him isn't
> necessarily a blow for identity as much as trying to force him into the
> identity (brother, not-Galen's-pawn), that Miles wants for him.

Your issues aren't Mark's. Sorry you have problems but they're yours
to solve, they're not relevant here, because the shared name WAS 
part of Galen's training to grind away Mark's personality and make him
an effective fake Miles. It is, hopefully, a totally different situation to yours.

> > We also get a delightful glimpse of Piotr (is this Miles trumping
> > Mark? 'Hey, you think Galen is bad, I had PIOTR!')
> That would be like Miles ... think of that scene with Ekaterin in the
> attic of ACC.

Yes, that's what I thought, too. But it does emphasise the similarities,
as well as differences, between them.  And that Miles didn't get it as
easy as Mark imagines.


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