[LMB] Miles: Ivan

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Tue, 25 Nov 2003 22:15:00 -0500


-- Paula Lieberman
----- Original Message ----- 
From: <CFR621 at aol.com>


> Mary <CatMtn at aol.com> wrote:
>
> Someone said earlier that he (Miles) diminished Ivan.  I think Ivan did
that
> himself as a sort of passive-aggressive response to his mother.  Miles was
> envious of Ivan physically, but wouldn't have traded his own "forward
momentum"
> for
> Ivan's "negative momentum."
>
> Miles was envious of Ivan's physique that he could have had if not for the
> soltoxin, but I'd agree that Miles does not diminish Ivan. Miles does say
"Ivan
> you idiot" but so do other characters, largely because Ivan chooses to
coast
> although he is bright enough to do far more. As Cordelia remarked in
Mirror
> Dance, how brightly dare Ivan shine when he is close to the throne and has
no
> interest in politics, or even avoiding politics? Add his coasting to the
passive
> aggressive war he has fought with his mother from the get go (Barrayar:
baby
> Ivan's fussiness was iatrogenic, engendered by Alys' fussing over him
IIRC) and
> of course he behaves like an idiot, infuriating to those around him who
know
> he has more potential.
>
> However, we get a glimpse of Ivan in Memory when his mother's attention is
> removed because she is now focused on her affair with Illyan ("drinks with
fruit
> on sticks" still makes me laugh), and we see more of Ivan in ACC. I love
the
> part where Ivan is preparing to feign to resist Miles' arm-twisting, while
> waiting curiously to see what new tactic his twisty little cousin can
dream up,
> and is highly offended when Miles doesn't try to coerce him. "No need? Who
does
> he think he is?" And then of course there are the scenes with Dono, with
the
> wonderful denouement where Ivan realizes that he has captured the
Emperor's
> attention, and almost bolts but can't resist watching the outcome of what
he
> himself brought to be.

I wonder.... have we ever gotten to see Ivan from Gregor's point of view?
We see him from Cordelia, we see him from Miles, definitely from Miles, we
seen him interacting with people.... but how does Gregor regard his
3rd-then-fourth-closest-in-line-for-the-throne relative?

Ivan always -had- the Emperor's attention--Ivan was also fatherless, though
not motherless, and part of the same familial grouping with Aral as
father-figure.  Aral and Padma had been close, and Alys and Cordelia were
relatively close.  And Ivan was 4th in line after Aral and Mark, for the
Imperial throne, neglecting Ivan who could be used by the disaffected who
might prefer Aral, his foster son Gregor whose father had been a horrendous
monster, and that "mutant" Miles out of the way would be a bad idea indeed.
So anyway, Gregor grew up not just with Miles, but with Ivan present, too.
And Ivan's path in life was closer in some ways to Gregor's, in that Ivan
went to stand Vor training, and didn't have to go through the surgeries that
Miles went through, could have a relatively "normal" childhood of roughhouse
play and schooling without undue concern for physical damage to fragile
mal-formed bones, didn't get looked at as "mutie," etc.

Gregor's always known his cousin Ivan from the time he and Ivan were old
enough for Ivan to register on him. Perhaps he took Ivan for granted, or
maybe not--Gregor was trained to be perceptive and notice things and to be
an Emperor, and get the best use out of his subordinates.  Ivan's one of his
subjects, one closer in blood and in inheritance rights, but Ivan is a
subordinate and subject of Gregor.  Gregor's been using Miles for years,
since childhood games in which Miles was the loyal subject to the Emperor
and Gregor was famous emperors... where was Ivan in those games? He -was-
around, and involved with both his cousins, but what role did he have in
those playactions?!