[LMB] Gregor: The beginning

Ursula uleubner at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 29 22:41:22 GMT 2016

As for Kareen... I don't get it. Yes she was there when Kareen died. I
guess one could argue that her mission to get Miles in his replicator
caused the confrontation in which Kareen was killed -- but honestly, Kareen
was doomed at that point whether Cordelia was involved or not. (Note: I
count being forced to marry Vordarian and have s*x with him -- I count this
as marital rape -- until she produced a new heir as "doomed." Especially if
Gregor hadn't shown up alive until after she had the new baby.)

Kareen is, for me, a clearer case. If Cordelia hadn't gone into the Residence
to get Miles, then Kareen wouldn't have died as she did - she turned on
Vordarian when she saw the shoe that Cordelia gave her, and realised that
Gregor was still alive.

By that time the war had turned. Aral had already won, he was just allowing
the conflict to go on as he tried to extract as many of Vordarian's supporters
as possible, to reduce the necessary executions afterwards. (Actually
Vordarian lost in the first few moments, when he failed to get hold of Gregor.)

Vordarian might have killed her when he realised he'd failed - more likely
he'd have used her to bargain his way out.

But the way she died, when she died, was part of a set of events caused by
Cordelia. Of course, if Cordelia hadn't run the rescue mission, then Miles
wouldn't have survived. Did Gregor ever look at Miles and realise that Kareen
was dead because Miles survived?

I don't think Kareen was doomed when Vordarian forced her into marriage -
he needed her to add legitimacy to his reign (Ezar did the same, or similar.
More consensually.) If she'd have produced a child she'd have been safer.
Gregor turning up alive put her at greater risk - once Vordarian knew he
was losing he'd be more dangerous. And he wouldn't need her to help his
claim. Although, as I said, he would have used her as a bargaining chip.

Kareen may well have been doomed to be executed as a traitor, if Aral had won and she survived.  She was one of the highest ranking collaborators with Vordarian.  And she had been cultivating him to usurp Serg, before Ezar arranged Serg's death and Aral's regency.  She had been planning to work with Vordarian to supplant the legitimate ruler - perhaps not a bad thing when it would have been Serg, but such plots are not easily stopped once in motion - once there was proof she'd been involved at some stage of planning, clearing her name later, when she hadn't done anything to expose the plot to Aral, would be difficult. 
We have only Cordelia's POV, and Cordelia, at this stage of her life, does not understand Barrayan politics.  She doesn't see Kareen as a high placed political player.  Kareen is not the ally Cordelia was hoping for - after all, Cordelia, as the Regent's wife, is Kareen's main female rival for power.  
Kareen is someone who has to be very politically aware.  Kareen knew Serg's problems, and was arranging her own solution with Vordarian.  Having instead a Regent who didn't see her as a political partner had to be frustrating. She may have been hoping to be co-Regent, with Vordarian after getting rid of Serg, or, once Serg was dead, with whomever Ezar chose as regent.  Instead, she was being pushed aside, having no political control over her son's future.
When Negri's men came, Kareen fought to stay with Vordarian's men, and keep Gregor with her - she didn't fight to get away with Negri to Aral, with Gregor.  How confused was Kareen as to which soldiers were fighting for whom, and what did she actually want?  How did her priorities change when she believed Vordarian's plot got Gregor killed, rather than protecting them as she'd hoped when they started plotting?  And how betrayed did she feel when she discovered that Vordarian, whom she'd thought a potential ally against Serg, lied to her about Gregor being alive and with Vorkosigan, making her a pawn rather than a partner?
Kareen also arranged to have Drou, who was personally loyal to her, to be placed in an intimate position in the Regent's household, as Cordelia's servant. Someone who could observe on Kareen's behalf, (reporting back during Gregor's judo lessons?) and to advocate for Kareen through Cordelia.  (Although Drou was likely not a knowing agent, more of an ally to be called on as needed.)  
Being able to present Kareen as an unwitting tool of Vordarian, killed resisting him, had to be an ideal outcome for Aral.  It avoided all sorts of problems that her survival would have entailed.  No need for a full investigation into her possible role in the the coup, and no more conflict between her as Gregor's parent versus Aral as his regent.  And no more worry about what might happen when and/or if Gregor had to choose between his mother and his regent. 

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