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Gregor had an older brother who died before the start of Shards of Honor.

If he were Prince Serg's oldest child, standard Barrayaran naming conventions would imply that he should be named "Ezar". He could be a second son — Bujold hasn't written anything about Princess Kareen's family, so "Gregor" could easily be her father's middle name...

  • Possible, but I think it would have been mentioned. As a parallel to Aral's second-son-ship, at the least. Perhaps the naming after grandfathers is the custom among the nobility but not royalty, or custom in rural districts like the Dendarii mountains, or some such. It's unlikely to be a universal custom for the entire planet, at least.
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  • Besides, according to the same custom, everyone has two names, not one. For all we know, Gregor is actually Ezar Gregor, or Ezar was actually Gregor Ezar, but this is never mentioned - after all, somehow no-one managed to notice the correlation between Admiral Miles Naismith and Miles Naismith Vorkosigan (just how bad is information access between planets? in the modern internet, finding out Naismith's identity would be as simple as googling "Miles Naismith" and looking for portraits - he is a pretty prominent figure in Barrayaran politics since birth due to inheritance).
  • It is not impossible that the Imperials have their own traditions in such matters differing from the other Vor.
  • It is also not impossible that sometimes people do not follow all traditions slavishly.note  Note, as a non-random example, that the main protagonist of the series is not named Piotr Miles.
    • On the other hand, the person who refused to give Miles his name does have the absurd name of Piotr Pierre.
  • This custom is discussed mainly in Barrayar, where it is ultimately broken...and in Brothers in Arms, where Miles has every reason to try to make "Your name is Mark!" sound like a statement that is objectively true.

Ivan's going to marry a Galactic

He's about due another stint of embassy duty, and he's pretty much run through all of his prospects at home. Plus now that both Gregor and Miles have produced heirs, he's out of the crossfire, and being physically normal he's under less pressure to be conventional about such things.

  • The Amazon description of the next book heavily supports this, especially since it's about Ivan, and features him rescuing a female Galactic.
    • Confirmed. Tej is half-Jacksonian, half-Cetagandan, and is a granddaughter of the last Cetagandan military governor of Barrayar to boot.

Part of the reason that Simon went along with the plan to break into the vault beneath ImpSec HQ was because he was hoping they'd damage it somehow in the process

He'd hated that building for his entire career, and had been trying on and off to get the funding to replace it for thirty years before his efforts were ended by his retirement. If there was a chance he could finally get rid of that eyesore once and for all, then he was going to take it.


Kou's Wedding budget woes were solved by Lady Alys insisting on holding the weddings at Vorkosigan House, Vorbretten House, or the Imperial Residence

Gregor is likely to be a wedding guest after all, so the location has to be secure. And Lady Alys is the Emperor's social secretary and still owes a debt to Drou and Kou

The Imperial family is part Cetagandan

When the vault is breached, it's mentioned that the contents of the letters contain information that is to be marked confidential and could badly shake things up in the current system. My theory is that it includes proof that the Cetagandans tinkered with the imperial bloodline, either through interbreeding or more subtle methods. It would help to explain Gregor's hyper-competence (and possibly Serg's bloodthirsty insanity).

  • I have to disagree on the explanation: The Vorbarra dynasty's been portrayed as hypercompetent all on its own ever since Dorca Vorbarra in the Times of Isolation, and bloodthirsty insanity seems to be a design feature in other Barrayaran families as well, rather than a flaw

  • Also "Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen" says that the information that was marked confidential has to do with Cetagandan bioweapons that weren't used during the war.

The Dendarii Mercenaries are going to found an empire

In Real Life when a mercenary organization gets tired of fighting other people's wars they often simply find themselves a nice cushy kingdom to take over and declare themselves kings. Why should not the Dendarii do the same? They probably have more experience and firepower then many small nations, and many would rather be ruled by Queen Eli Quinn then by King Whoever They Had Before. Besides many employers of mercenaries tend to default on their contracts. And what do mercenaries do when that happens? They foreclose! Forcibly.

Either or both of the Kosti brothers have or will become Vorkosigan Armsman

Because Miles just inspires that sort of loyalty in people.

  • Ma Kosti will be come a Vorkosigan Arms(wo)man, in order to keep various high-ranking relatives from stealing her away from Miles. Besides, "Vorkosigan does it backwards" - instead of having armsmen who are "cooks" like Count Vorloupulous, Count Vorkosigan will have a cook who's an "armsman."

Commander Jole and the Red Queen will be about...

  • ...Cordelia entering a relationship with Jole and eventually getting the daughter she always wanted. Miles will be... displeased at her disloyalty to his late father
    • The first is confirmed, the second is jossed. Miles comes to terms with his mother's love life fairly quickly.
    • Although subverted in that Cordelia's daughters (and Oliver's sons) have Aral as a biological father. Cordelia and Oliver also have an open relationship, and live in separate houses. It's all very Betan.

The civil war that claimed Mad Yuri's life was masterminded by Ezar.

  • Ezar Vorbarra was the only one that gained from the whole mess. There is no mention of him losing any children or a wife.
    • Except Ezar didn't have a family at the time; Yuri really was paranoid, to the point he publicly threw the Privy Council out the window; and Ezar did end up losing both his wife and son - to insanity inherited from Yuri's side of the family.
    • Really, signing on to a morally and strategically unjustified war, to kill one's own son and his sycophants/manipulators, is bad enough.
      • Ah but here's the rub, it was arguably much better to kill off said son and said sycophants/manipulators that way rather then let them ascend to absolute power after Ezar's death. Hundreds or thousands probably died as a result of that military misadventure; but plausibly more, by one or two orders of magnitude, would have been killed in the first few of years (if not the within just the first) of Emperor Serg's reign. That almost certainly would have included non-Barayarans as well, as Serg was already expansionist if for no other reason than to serve his own ego and that would not have changed. Furthermore, if anything was going to eventually stoke a wide-scale rebellion by Komarr, being subject to the whims of an egomanical, depraved, sadist with absolute power probably would be it. Emperor Ezar was in no way a conventionally good man, but he of all people recognized what a disaster his son succeeding him would be for the Vorbarra line, Barrayar, as well as Kormarr and the neighboring systems (although Ezar probably didn't worry that much about the latter).

The Komarran Massacre was secretly engineered by Emperor Ezar to smear Aral Vorkosigan.

  • Ezar knew that it would make Komarr more restive, not less, but he was more worried about Aral. Ezar was afraid that Aral's policies would produce a planetary Because You Were Nice to Me, giving Aral a political power base on Komarr.
    • Except Ezar explicitly made Aral regent because Aral had absolutely no desire to rule, and Ezar knew him since Aral was a child. It's more likely that Ezar had Negri cover up Aral's duels.
    • Discussed (and possibly Jossed?) in-series, in Komarr. After being needled about his father secretly planning the massacre by a Komarran conspiracy theorist, and giving that notion a resounding rebuttal, said theorist backpedals onto Ezar as a possible plotter; Miles agrees that Ezar was quite likely ruthless enough, but counters that even laying aside all moral considerations, the Massacre was supremely wasteful, something no-one has ever accused Ezar of being. Of course, this is Miles' opinion rather than fact.

Why is there no media on Barrayar?

  • No, seriously. No reporters are ever mentioned, nobody seems to be watching some equivalent of television on a down night. Imagine A Civil Campaign where tabloids were blasting that Miles killed Tien to woo Ekaterin—how is this not happening on Barrayar?

  • My best guess: blame it on Mad Emperor Yuri? Maybe he banned media?
    • Although I very much doubt there is anything like a constitutionally protected free press on Barrayar; I'm sure there was some form of news media by the time of Aral's regency and it continued into Gregor's reign. However, there was almost certainly a significant amount of influence the central Barayarran government could put at least the primary news outlets, and allowing such lurid speculation to run rampant would not serve Emperor Gregor politically nor sit well with his personal affection for Miles (and that's setting aside the fact that in this case Gregor would know the truth that Miles had nothing to do with Tien's death other than being a helpless witness, even though the whole thing is a state secret).
    • It is a near-absolute monarchy, not a democracy. Also, the Time of Isolation was not all that many generations ago and the Barrayarans would not have had a cultural tradition of news media or free press. One should not imagine it to be a huge stretch that the emperors and the counts have not supported establishment of such media either locally or on a planetary scale. Plus, it is likely that any would-be reporters are too scared of ImpSec knocking on (or down) their doors to post anything that negatively reflects on the High Vor, government officials, the military or ImpSec itself.

  • Barrayar does have a news media. Ivan spots news aircars hovering around the excavated bunker in Captain Vorpatril's Alliance. And Vicereine Vorkosigan has a press officer, Blaise Gatti, in Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. Cordelia notes, though, she has to remind Blaise his job is to make news go away.

Ethan of Athos has an unreliable narrator

As described, Athos has a bank of cultured ovarian tissue that produces egg cells containing 23 chromosomes—and everyone on Athos who has a baby just uses 23 of their own chromosomes plus the 23 chromosomes in the egg, rather than, say, discarding the egg's DNA and putting in 23 chromosomes each from two fathers. This means in particular that after a few generations, almost all of the Athosians' DNA is from the egg banks and almost none is from the Founding Fathers. This description is wrong—lots of Athosian couples do go for two-father babies, it's just a few people who keep up the one-father babies as a tradition. Ethan of Athos is written by Quinn, or an Impsec analyst, based on Quinn's interactions with Ethan and a few of his letters to her after his return home. Ethan concealed the prevalence of two-father babies from Quinn (1) because he was emphasizing the hundred sons who would both come from her eggs and carry her DNA, rather than the thousand who would not, and (2) because Terrence Cee's plan still works. The telepathy gene is in the mitochondrial DNA, rather than the autosomal DNA, they're going to have a planet completely full of telepaths in one generation rather than a planet half full of telepaths in two, and they want to get there before Quinn's employer (or Cetaganda) expect.

Miles dies of natural causes, not long after the events in Gentleman Jole.

Apart from his early injuries, he's been shot, cryo-revived, and exposed to a horrific bio-weapon that left him with low stamina and increased chance of strokes and heart failure. He has regular seizures and uses a cane, especially when he's tired. He's shown as physically weaker in the later books, especially Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen. Cordelia, in her own thoughts, has no faith that Miles will make it to even a Barrayaran old age. Miles privately agrees. Neither of them says so aloud.

  • Depends on the definition of "not long". 20 years would bring Miles to 60. It would be 20 years before his father died, but much long after than the book.


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