[LMB] Ekaterin at Last

Gwynne Powell gwynnepowell at hotmail.com
Mon Feb 26 04:00:29 GMT 2018

Sorry for the massive delays in this, but due to a sort of literary OCD
I just have to finish it off. I'll do the last part quickly now.

So, Ekaterin.

Ekaterin in Diplomatic Immunity is a very different woman from the
rigidly controlled, desperately miserable woman we met at the

Her control is still there, but now it's confidence and dignity. She's able

to cope with situations that would boggle an ordinary Barrayaran - such
as meeting the quaddies.

There's the perfect comparison between Miles and Tien - Tien's idea of

protecting his wife was to gradually cut her off from most outside contact,
and limit her life as much as possible.

Miles's idea of protecting his wife is to send her on a zero-G course so that
she'll cope if they have some kind of disaster in space.

And Ekaterin blossoms with that extra trust, and his assumption that she
can deal with anything.

One of the threads of the book is the expansion of Ekaterin's reach - she
deals with the quaddies and Bel Thorne. Then she deals with attacks on
Miles. And on serious threats to quaddiespace. And to dealing with
Admirals as if they're her staff (a certain someone's attitude is contagious).
Then to her husband's almost terminal illness, interNexial diplomacy,
and finally to juggling two empires and stopping a catastrophic war.

And for a few days, her voice is the only thing holding off the war, changing
history, standing at the centre of it all. Miles offered her a planet, he gave
her the whole Nexus.

In GJ&RQ Ekaterin is serene. She's also flat-out busy, but this is a woman
totally at peace with herself. She has an abundance of children. She has
a thriving business. She's a successful political hostess, she's wildly
popular in the District and is the first Vorkosigan in generations to really
put in some serious time and effort there. And her husband worships her,
values her, adore her, and is delighted with everything she does.

One theme in Lois's books - people are happier when they're busy, and
achieving something.

Ekaterin goes on a longer emotional journey than most of the other
characters. But it's not all about Miles saving her, she gives as much as
she gets. When he's trying to gasp out a farewell to her as he's dying
from an alien bioweapon she snaps out an order to stop faffing about
and sort things out. She's the ultimate hard-core Vor dragon, with all
of that tradition marshalled around her. An updated, modern version
for the new Barrayar, but with all her values intact.

Ok, finally done!

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