[LMB] Re: Miles/Elli

Paula Lieberman paal at gis.net
Fri, 28 Nov 2003 04:29:59 -0500


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


> Debbie writes:
>> I've long thought that if Miles spent more than a few months a year with
>> her he would have been bored stiff.  I suspected he was getting bored
>> anyway as early as _MD_ but felt too loyal to her to admit it to
>> himself.  Note in Memory how little time he spends missing Elli herself
as
>> opposed to missing Elli-and-the-Dendari and his relief after he finally
>> says goodbye.
>
>> I'd love to spend a long afternoon with Elli talking shop and listening
to
>> her war stories.  But once you've heard all her stories, would she have
>> anything else to say?  Would she be able to create some new idea on the
>> spot, or help you create one?  I don't think so.

> M replies:

> I've just had BiA tapes on in my car while I was doing an errand, and
that's
> exactly the point made--pillow talk with Elli was shop talk, according to
> Miles, even at the beginning of their relationship when most couples are
more into
> discovering things about one another.  I think he genuinely liked her as a
> person, and was infatuated with her physically, but I agree that he had
gone a
> little past their relationship by the time the end finally came.  The fact
that
> he had known from the beginning that it wasn't ever going anywhere
permanent
> didn't help, either.  I think Elli would have more originality than you
gave
> her credit for, but it was all focused on her career and not on building
the
> kind of family life Miles wanted.  Just another case of people growing in

Miles is a Barrayaran, Elli's from Kline Station.  If she'd wanted what
Miles wanted in Lady Vorkosigan, she'd not have chosen/stayed in the
career/lifestyle direction she'd gone and stayed in.   It's a matter of
focus, orientation, choices, talents, preferences, growth directions,
culture, cultural directives, etc.

> different directions.  Miles came from a happy marriage, grew up taking
for granted
> a lot of things Elli wasn't even interested in, and understandably he
wanted

It's much more I'd expect the two different cultures they were from.  Kline
Station was a lot more malleable and mutable in roles for men, women, and
hermaphrodites (though most of them chose staying on Beta) that stultified
Barrayar.   The military on Barrayar didn't have any women in it.  The
Council of Counts had not women.   Time Miles spent on Beta must have made
him aware that the rest of the Nexus didn't have the same biology-is-destiny
views that were taken for granted on Barrayar, but spending time in a
culture seeing that, is a different thing that growing up immersed in a
culture based on biology-is-destiny.  Cordelia's guerrilla war was having
some effects, but there were still Piotr there looming over Miles, and the
rest of the Barrayar Establisment and culture, trying to mold Mines into
Barraryan models of How Life Ought To Be.  Miles was -taught- to want the be
Count Vorkosigan with Lady Vorkosigan as his spouse and mother of his
children.   Uterine Replicators were acceptable technology to use, along
with other galatic-origin medical technologies and techniques.  But
emotionally, Mile's mother is one person among many.  His father's an
influence, but against the pair of them are set all those Counts, Barrayaran
tradition, Bothari and his obsession with traditional Barrayar roles
(consider his upbringing of Elena and his focus on all the proper
traditional Barrayararn forms and dowy and such because he wants his
daughter properly taking a proper place as a Barrayaran respectable
traditional wife and mother....).

> something like he had seen in his own parents for a permanent
relationship.
> It's funny--Miles, with all his physical problems, still almost had to
marry a
> Barrayaran woman because nobody else would have understood his love for
> Barrayar.

They might understand it, but they're not likely to -share- it, not having
grown up with ideas drastically different about roles than Miles has been
inculcated with.   The traditions of Barrayar have a way of being repellant
or at least disconcerting to off-worlders -- consider Mile's confrontations
with and confounding of Elli's biological mother.

Miles is -male-, and male on Barrayar have roles which are much closer to
the freedoms expected by galactic women.   What requires physical
transformation for  a person born and raised female, to take power on
Barrayar reflecting greater ability to run the family holding and prevent
disaster for the family, into male to be legally allowed and acceptable to
inherit and takeover over, requires no such trauma among galactics, other
territories (Athos excluding), being female does not preclude rising to
positions of ultimate authority.   Being -stripped- of one's legal rights
that one would have elsewhere than on Barrayar, is not something that
self-responsible women used to self-determination are likely to
appreciate/want to be subjected to.  Miles, literally, is a member of the
ruling class, and exercises his authority in his own name.  No woman on
Barrayar has that as right or privilege (other than the limited authorities
granted to Cordelia ad Co-Regent for Gregor during his minority -- but it
was tied into a co-regency with Aral, who was first in line to the throne
after Gregor, and a planetary hero.  Plus, after Cordelia's return from her
"shopping" expedition, no sane person on the planet considered her truly
"female" in the sense that proper Barrayaran females were thought female.
Coming home with the head of Vordarian escalated her into a special,
"Barrayarans beware!" category.  And even before then, the rumors about her
killing Vorrutyer were circulating around, and for a female to be the killer
of -that- vicious dangerous fellow, meant she was someone to be -very- leery
of, female or not.