[LMB] Character Study: Gregor - Job dissatisfaction

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Sun Sep 6 14:25:16 BST 2015

Yes, finally my meander through Gregor's development continues. 
(Sorry for the delay with this, r/l can be a nuisance sometimes.)

So, we saw Gregor as a young emperor - he let the power go to his head, fell for
flattery and manipulation, and turned on his nearest and dearest. Not terribly 

Then he had to face up to his failings.

After WA Gregor would have had to face his family, who he'd almost destroyed. Must 
have been difficult, to say the least. He probably felt very shaken, insecure, and
unsure of his ability. And there's Aral right beside him, being so perfect, setting an
apparently impossible standard. 

To add to this, Gregor has serious worries about what's in his genes, and the Vordrozda
debacle wouldn't have helped. Yuri tried to destroy his family. Gregor almost did the 
same - that has to shake him to the core when he realises how close the disaster was.

Mad Yuri, scalp on display in the museum a few rooms down from the CoC chambers. 
And Mad Yuri's sister, Gregor's grandmother, who went insane and disappeared into 
history. Plus Ezar wasn't crazy, but he didn't score all that high on empathy or loving
kindness. So Gregor has some serious reasons to stay awake at night. It's a great gene
pool he has there. 

So now we're at Vor Game. In random conversation Miles and Ivan mention Gregor
as being pretty gloomy, and they don't envy his job or position.

After Miles manages to set new standards on Kyril Island he's being held in Cockroach
Central, and Gregor comes to visit him. This is a pretty huge statement, really. I'm sure
it's a secret visit, but it definitely sends a message to everyone guarding Miles (btw I
keep seeing ImpSec headquarters as a sort of Tower of London here. I wonder how 
many important prisoners have been kept there over time.)

So we see Gregor:
'...He was thin, of middle height, with dark
hair and intense hazel eyes. A crooked smile winked in a serious young face
that lacked laugh lines....'

I'm assuming that 'middle height' on Barrayar is tall anywhere else. He's usually 
described as being tall and thin. His face lacks laugh lines - not a good sign.

Gregor says that he asked that the bugs be turned off, but Illyan probably ignored that, 
for Gregor's own good. He 'sighed wearily'. In answer to Miles's comment about how
he's supposed to be in solitary confinement, Gregor responds: "...They could scarcely keep me out. I'm getting better at insisting,
you know...."  

They commiserate on their cut-short military careers. Gregor is bitter about all the 'pretending' as he tried to be a regular officer, while he was surrounded by Security at all times. He compares it with their fathers, and grandfathers who had real military careers.

Miles muses on the real Serg, and hopes that Gregor never finds out that he was a
sexual sadist and crazy as a boot. 

Gregor talks about 

"....Too many ceremonies. Too much time
standing up—I think I could be replaced at half my functions by a life-sized
plastic model, and no one would notice. A lot of time spent ducking the broad
marital hints of my assorted counsellors...."

Gregor isn't a happy camper. He talks about running away, and wonders how far
he'd get before they dragged him back. Miles points out that losing Gregor would
leave the Empire in chaos as several claimants fought to take over. And rules 
himself out of that race.

Wine and a strategy game keep them both distracted for a while. Miles hints that
Gregor might get him out of there, and Gregor refers to both of them as prisoners 
of ImpSec, constantly limited by Aral and Illyan. In answer to Miles's frustration 
at having nothing to do: "Oh, being a mascot isn't bad work if you can get it."

So.... Gregor, three years on from the Vordrozda debacle, feels useless and
powerless; his orders are routinely ignored by Illyan and Aral, he's constantly
limited by them, he sees himself as purely a figurehead, with no real role or power,
no control over his own life, let alone the Empire. Miles, fresh out of the Academy, 
and already a career disaster, is still more focused and hopeful. 

So.... are Aral and Simon doing the right thing? Should they be giving Gregor 
more power, or is Gregor limiting himself because of his last disaster? Have they
been training him properly? Cordelia sent Gregor to see Miles - what influence 
does Cordelia have, and should she be doing more for Gregor? 

What should Gregor be doing at this point? Does anyone else have an urge to 
shake him?

More to follow.  Next step: the Nexus!



More information about the Lois-Bujold mailing list