[LMB] Stray thought

Richard Molpus rgmolpus at flash.net
Fri Aug 23 16:01:07 BST 2019

 Lets name the people who raised Gregor:
Kareen Vorbarra- for the first five years Gregor lived with Kareen in the Residence, quietly protected from Serg by Ezar. Much of the protection was Serg being on military duty, away at a base or onboard ship. 

She seems a doting, caring mother; who loved him and kept him close. 

Ludmilla Drousnakovi Koudelka - Gregor's nanny for most of his life. We don't know if Drou came into Kareen's life before or after Gregor's birth, but Drop was there when it was time for diapers. She was Gregor's surrogate mom; as important to him as Kareen; perhaps more. I suspect that she put him to bed most nights, and fed him breakfast in the morning.
[Unknown serving staff at the Residence] - Parlor maids, an official nanny or two, various footmen who attended to Kareen on a daily basis. Some of them would have been in their late teens or early twenties; able to privatly play with Gregor when more serious adults weren't around.
Cordelia Naismith Vorkosigan- She came into Gregor's life late; mainly when she and Aral moved into the Residence after Mile's birth. She became the replacement for Kareen; a mother but somewhat remote (she had Miles to take her time).
Lady Alys Vorpatril  - she'd have been at the Residence almost every day; and would have brought Ivan with her. She became the other surrogate mother to Gregor; a bit remote, but someone female for Gregor to go to for emotional support. 

Lord Ivan Vorpatril - six years younger than Gregor, but his first real playmate equal . Gregor may have had a playfriend from the children of the Residence staff; by age seven he was becoming aware of his imperial self, making it hard to be friends with the other residence children. 

Ivan was his (near) social equal, and helping care for him (diaper service, perhaps?) would have been seen by Cordelia and Alys both as good training in personal responsibility. 

Regent Admiral Lord Aral Vorkosigan - Aral was the stern father figure Gregor needed; The mountain who cared. He split his time between Gregor and Miles; and gave hugs and played games with Gregor when possible.
General Count Piotr Pierre Vorkosigan - Count Vorkosigan became the Granduncle that Gregor needed; the older wise man who treated Gregor as a man, not a child. Once the split between Piotr and Aral had healed, Gregor spent many a weekend and many summer and winter months at the Long Lake; all under Piotr's eye. Gregor learned to ride under Piotr's tutelage; helped in the barn and stable (the first time Gregor got handed a shovel and rake, with a stern order to "Clean the stalls!", was a shock to Gregor's rising sense of Imperial Privilege. Piotr had had a hand in raising Ezar, and I expect that he had private orders from Ezar to knock the silliness out of him - something that Serg never had happen.
 (This was one thing Aral, Cordilia, and Piotr all agreed on - part of Serg's madness came from his excessive self worth - he'd always been a spoiled kid, and they were determined that Gregor would never be that.)

Esterhazy (and an unknown mountain Family) - the months that Gregor spent in hiding in the Mountains under Esterhazy's eye happened at a critical age for Gregor. For a few months he wasn't emperor-to-be, he was a Mountain kid who lived in a wooden cabin, far from anyone. He ran around barefoot, fed the chickens and hogs; carried firewood; milked goats and cows; his face was always dirty. Esterhazy rocked him to sleep on many nights, as Gregor's fear and anxiety bubbled up in nightmares.

The local kids didn't know him as Emperor Gregor; he was 'Greg', a orphan from the city; who had to be taught how to live and have fun in the hills and hollows. For the first time in his life he was a kid; nothing else (and he got his bottom smacked many times for being slack in his chores, like every other boy and girl around him).
Boy, were they surprised when Gregor came back at sixteen, to attend a girl's 15th birthday!
Lord Miles Naismith Vorkosigan - Miles was a special case; Gregor knew that Miles was to fragile to play the usual roughhouse games that he could play with Ivan and the Residence kids; so he had to be a bit remote from him. Miles was a special duty for Gregor; full of energy and life, but had to be protected and kept safe. Mile's fragility wasn't just physical, it was emotional, and Miles saw all the things Ivan could do - but were forbidden to him, to protect his bones. Gregor learned how to gently hug and hold Miles early; to give him the personal contact he needed; this forms the core of the deep affection and love they have for each other. Gregor has held a crying, in pain, Miles for more hours than he can count; he had to be strong for both of them under Bothari's eye.
Armsman Sergeant Konstantin Bothari - his influence on Gregor is not recognized; as Mile's bodyguard, he'd have been present at all hours in the Residence, and would have been one of the main male influences on Gregor. He was the perfect soldier, Tall, honest, Dutiful; a standard for Gregor to match himself against. In private (with Aral's approval) Gregor would have begun to learn hand to hand combat from Bothari, Boxing, Judo, Tai-bo; Savate - everything any crewman from the Good Ship Vorkraft would have known. 

Major Clement Koudelka - As Aral's Secretary, Kou would have been available for Gregor almost every day. It's possible that Kou and Drou had apartments (Grace and Favor) in the Residence; so he was a constant companion for Gregor. If Bothari was the (friendly) Monster, Kou was the friendly Adult; someone who showed Gregor how to be a professional soldier - and a private friend. If Gregor has anyone to credit for being ready for the Imperial Service Academy, it's Kou and Drou, who tutored him incessantly for the entrance exams. (Kou was probably the man Gregor went to for stage two of his sexual education - stage one happened when Piotr had him help with the delivery of a foal; he got an earful from Piotr about the birds and the bees that night!)

Captain Simon Illyan - the remote icicle. For many years Simon would have been isolated from Gregor at his own choice; the better to protect and guard him. He was 'Uncle Illyan'; but not someone Gregor saw daily, or had much private time with. Simon became more involved with Gregor when he became a teenager; as a political tutor, and as a confidant.  
Prime Minister Racosy, and the other High ministers and important Counts. They, and their families, saw Gregor frequently, but in controlled social settings. Everyone stayed a bit remote, as they weren't about to cross sword with the combined intents of Cordelia and Lady Alys. Some (such as the Vorhalas's, provided their kids as regular playmates for Gregor; he went to their birthday parties, they came to his; they all gathered for Winterfair parties; so they knew him and he knew them - and their mothers! [Gregor was 'Count Vorbarra' for most of his childhood, to let him live in a level social field; it was Count Vorbarra who got a facefull of cream cake from Lord Evon; not Emperor Gregor - avoiding a sticky problem of possible treason!]
Or so I see it....

    On Friday, August 23, 2019, 3:27:12 AM CDT, Gwynne Powell <gwynnepowell at hotmail.com> wrote:  

Was wandering through some rereading and a thought struck me...

One of the best things to happen to Gregor was that Miles was born so
fragile and with so many medical problems.

Serg was an only child, and the focus of everyone; hope of the Empire,
next in line for the camp stool, the continuation of the dynasty.
And look how well he turned out. Never heard the word 'no', had
everything he wanted, people fawning over him...

Gregor, of course, had a rough beginning. And even after he settled down
with Aral and Cordelia, they had to split their time between him and Miles.
Gregor wasn't the only one, he sometimes had to wait his turn, he knew
what it was to worry about someone else, and to care about someone who
needed so much support.

In fact, having Miles as a foster-brother gave Gregor a totally different
perspective on life to Serg's. Add in Aral's influence, and the massive input
from Cordelia.... Gregor was never going to be Serg.
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