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SERIES—List & Discussions > Miles Vorkosigan--THE WARRIOR'S APPRENTICE - themes

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message 1: by Stefan, Group Founder + Moderator (Retired) (new)

Stefan (sraets) | 1667 comments Mod
I've seen a few posts about themes in the other threads already, but I thought I'd devote a separate thread because, under the surface of this adventure novel, there's a lot going on. What do you see as the main themes of the book?


message 2: by Kelly (new)

Kelly (sisimka) I don't know how to translate this into 'theme', but this idea really colored the whole book: Miles is born into a society that barely tolerates his physical handicap, only because of recent cultural changes, many we have to imagine instigated by Aral during his regency. Unfortunately, those changes also mean he has to attain entrance to the military academy through physical merit, instead of trading on his Vor name...

I found references to this throughout the book as Miles examined his own situation and compared it to that of Bothari, Jesek and Elena all of who had their own battles to fight.


message 3: by Random (new)

Random (rand0m1s) | 804 comments There's also the idea of identity. So many of the characters are trying to redefine where the fit in the grand scheme of things.

There's Miles trying to figure out who he is if he isn't a military officer.

Elena is trying to discover and redefine herself from a Barrayarian maiden to something more, ending up a soldier as she wanted to be.

Jesek slowly worked his way from deserter and coward to something he could be proud of again.

Artie Mayhew floundering as a pilot without a ship.


It is ironic how in some ways things are more more difficult for Miles because of the social advances they had made.
I've always wondered, how much did Miles' physical problems molded him into the type of person he turned out to be. Would he still have the same will and drive to find solutions to impossible situations if he hadn't had to fight setbacks from birth? I've no answers myself but it is an interesting thought.

Not a theme, but think about the idea of judging someone by the company he keeps. Through this book and the rest of the series, its really interesting to take a good look at the people Miles chooses to keep around himself.


message 4: by Janny (new)

Janny (jannywurts) | 1003 comments This story had strong elements of a caper story, but Bujold turned the 'usual' on its ear - the stereotypical takes the downtrodden and pits them against the rich aristocrat - this time it is the downtrodden Aristocrat against his entire society, and also, against everyone elses.

The short man personality in spades.

And, the teen with the complex who has to achieve, given a right chip of a handicap, but having the guts to rise above it.

I just loved that even at the last moment, Miles was terrified he would get whacked down as a troublemaker.

The reverse set up, too, where Aral had to face the fact his son might be executed for treason and needing the support vote of the father he had to disappoint in the last book - added a strong flourish to the tension.


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