[LMB] Ivan/Miles/Ekaterin

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Tue, 25 Nov 2003 23:17:29 -0500

-- Paula Lieberman
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Mitch Miller" <mitchmiller at entertainmenttax.com>

> Why is everybody picking on Ivan?  He has a successful
> career -- he actually ranks Miles -- but without the stress
> of ambition.

Perhaps Julius Caesar types are more attractive???

["Lock up your wives, Caesar is coming to town!" was one of the things that
his troops marched to.... "A man for every woman, a woman for every man" was
a saying about him.  Source I got that information from -- Judith Tarr back
in the days of GEnie, when she had a round table there.   She's a classical
scholar, and wrote a fantasy novel about Anthony and Cleopatra.]

>  He gets laid pretty much whenever he wants.  What more
> could a guy want?
> Oh, a home, a family, something more meaningful than a series
>  of go-nowhere affairs?  Something in his life to come home to?
>You mean, dare I say it?  A wife?

He's got Vor sensibilities that it's obligatory upon him to marry and beget
heirs. So far he's not done so, meaning that he's failed Barrayaran Vor
Responsibilities 101.  Note that Miles went around angsting about that
or  -books- asking almost every woman he had a crush or or got involved
with, to marry him, or thinking about it.  Note also Miles anxiousness for
Gregor to marry and beget heirs, and how relieved Piotr was when Aral
finally found a new daughter-in-law, even though she was an offworlder with
nasty offensive offworld ideas....

> From: CatMtn at aol.com:
> <snip>
> Someone said earlier that he diminished Ivan.  I think Ivan did that
> as a sort of passive-aggressive response to his mother.  Miles was envious
> Ivan physically, but wouldn't have traded his own "forward momentum" for
> Ivan's "negative momentum."
> <snip>
> From: "Paula Lieberman" <paal at gis.net>
> <snip>
> I just find that whole view of things, Really Offensive.... that the role
> woman is to Improve the Husband?! That is it -her- responsibility-?!!
> Euuuwww!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
> <snip>
> I didn't say it's her responsibility, or role if she doesn't want it.
>  Nor did I say she's invisible without a husband.  You're reading
> in things that are not there.

Note that I started off with an Offensiveness Warning.  The reader bring the
reader's -own- experience to bear on the work the reader is reading, and
interprets through that perspective of familiarity and experience.... the
hammer came down on Jewish girls of  "Who must know the way to make a proper
home, a quiet home, a kosher home? Who must raise the family and run the
home, so Papa's free to read the Holy Book?"  ["Tradition," from _Fiddler on
the Roof.]

The reality was even WORSE than that in the shtetls, the women also ran much
of the business, in  addition to getting stuck with the domestic affairs.
There are primary and secondary sources around which discuss this.   The
memoir of Gluckel of Hameln doesn't go into that so much I think [I've been
reading it off and on], but there are sources which explicitly discuss it
[I'm mostly blanking on them at the moment, and mentioned the book I've been
looking at most recently].

> <snip>
> Ekaterin doesn't particularly appeal to me for a number of reasons--she'd
> allowed the marriage to Tien and she'd stayed in it, she's not of the

> <snip>
> That's why they make chocolate and vanilla.

No, it's why there is a whole wide range of flavors. Black and white are
extremes.... which harken back to the bad old days when the token female in
the story was a trophy to award as wife to the hero, in science fiction and
fantasy before the 1970s.

> <snip>
> His quest for Lady Vorkosigan is both personal and social - he is
> looking for Lady Vorkosigan, someone who will fulfilly the
> role of future Count's social partner in Barrayar society, mother of the
> heirs to the district Miles is heir to, a woman to be part of Emperor's
> social set and confidant of the Empress, and a loving/cherishing /to be
> loving/cherishing partner of Miles, able to deal with a hyperactive
> highly-placed highly powerful influential voice and close relative of the
> Emperor on Barrayar.
> <snip>
> I think we're in agreement about Ekaterin, we just use different words,
and I like her and you don't.

I didn;'t say I disliked her, I said I found other characters a lot more
interesting to me to spend my reading time on.  There are characters, for
example, who are rotten slime but interested to read about, and nice
characters who are a dead bore to read about.