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[personal profile] extrapenguin
Funnier than I remembered!


  • At the start, the reason for forsaking the "Vor-" at the start of the names is to make the castes equal in the Emperor's service now, stated to be part of Aral's reforms.

  • What were the 2nd and 3rd Cetagandan wars? #3 happened during the Regency and #2 before, but do we know anything else?

  • Betans "clip their children's tubes" at age 12

  • oh, poor Miles, getting pitied and apologised to, wanting to fix that

  • Mental Health Board: rather nefarious

  • Oh, Miles, the whole General Fleet Inspection bit was so hilarious (as were a lot of the other Miles-as-Naismith bits)

  • "Vorthalia the Bold demanding a whole-life policy from his Emperor at sword's point"

  • Lead-lined rubber hoses? What else do the Barrayaran Regs hide within?

  • Such an intriguing pile of ragtag recruits from on-planet. Interesting. I wonder how they all got there?

  • Oof, Elena, having everything hid from her for her whole life only to have it all come crashing down.

  • "personal hygiene and absence of head-lice" is an intriguing glimpse into the role of the Barrayaran Baba



Next up, "Mountains of Mourning", discussion on the 9th of July.
flourish: A sharp-faced, black-haired young man of about 18 drawn in cartoonish style, with a strange mixed expression. (Vorkosigan miles)
[personal profile] flourish
A day late and a dollar short, again, on this readthrough - and I didn't remind anyone beforehand, so it's likely that I'm the only one who's made it through. Ah well. Some thoughts to start our discussion off:
  • Having just re-read Cordelia's Honor, I was startled to find myself seeing a completely new bit of Bothari. That is, Bothari seems to have genuinely grown and changed in the intervening time, and it's not just because Miles' perspective is radically different from Cordelia's.
  • Similarly, I think that the perspective shift was more pronounced reading Barrayar and then immediately The Warrior's Apprentice. Miles as a boy is much more Vor than Cordelia will ever become, and he has so little contact with his mother in this book that it's almost as if he and she live in different Barrayars. Which, I suppose, is true, in a way.
  • Elena's marriage to Baz struck me this time as a much more cold-blooded compromise than I had ever seen it before. I had thought of Elena as someone who successfully escaped Barrayar's constrained gender system, but in this read-through, I was able to see how Elena was constrained by it herself (and not just in that she was more than a little bitter by the end). This read-through, I seemed to recognize for the first time that on one level, Elena was not able to conceive of staying away from Barrayar without marrying away from it.
  • I had forgotten what a manic little crazy person Miles really was in this book - and what a screaming ride it is. ("Créme de meth" was a great crack, and very accurate...) It put me in mind of some of Cordelia's observations in later books where she points out that Miles practically creates a split personality for himself - Vorkosigan, who is restrained, versus Naismith, who is utterly unbridled. Yet the Vorkosigan pre-Naismith doesn't seem particularly restrained to me - he's very focused on one path to greatness, but he isn't a goody-goody, isn't the same sort of stiff-necked character that Miles fears Vorkosigan is in later books. This casts into sharp relief the fact that Miles's "split" (if it can be called that) arose not out of some innate need of Miles', but rather due to the limitations Vor society placed on him. I wonder how he would have been if he had had no galactic escape?
  • At the end of this book, Gregor seems quite estranged from Miles. I wonder whether that's due to the way that Bujold wrote the books out of order, so at the time The Warrior's Apprentice was written she hadn't quite worked out their status with each other? That somehow doesn't ring true to me... Simple drifting apart as Gregor hit teenager-hood and Miles was still a child, then Gregor became emperor and didn't have time? There's some good fanfic about this, I know...
Next up, on July 1: "The Mountains of Mourning."

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