Ivan, you idiot
- common phrase
Ivan Vorpatril was the son of Lord Padma Xav Vorpatril and Lady Alys Vorpatril. A Vor lord, he was born on Barrayar during Vordarian's Pretendership. He chose a military career and entered the Barrayaran Imperial Service at eighteen. At the age of twenty-nine he was promoted to captain. Ivan was the second cousin of Miles Naismith Vorkosigan
Lord Ivan Vorpatril was born in an abandoned house in Vorbarr Sultana shortly after his father was killed by forces loyal to Vidal Vordarian. His mother, Lady Alys Vorpatril, took refuge in a brothel the first few days of his life, and then was smuggled out of the war-torn capital by Lieutenant Koudelka.
He was raised by his widowed mother until he reached the age at which he could join the Barrayaran Imperial Service.
Ivan probably understands Miles better than any other person his age, except possibly for Emperor Gregor. He provides muscle and speed that Miles lacks, and is frequently the go-between for other characters who deal with Miles. He often complains that he is Miles's "donkey," but follows where Miles leads; this is equal parts knowing that Miles is right, and acceptance of his family responsibility. In return, Miles trusts Ivan more than he trusts almost anyone else: when Ivan first called himself Miles's donkey, Miles answered "I don't know what I'll be asking you to carry, but it could be high explosives ... I need a donkey I can trust."
Ivan's association with Miles Vorkosigan has on occasion proven hazardous to his well-being and even to his life. During a posting to Earth, he was captured and held hostage by Komarran terrorist Ser Galen and Miles's clone Mark in order to draw Miles into a trap.
In the months leading up the the Imperial Wedding of Gregor Vorbarra and Laisa Toscane, Ivan was drawn into the conflict between Lady Donna Vorrutyer (who has had Betan gender-change surgery to become Lord Dono, in order to inherit her brother's estate) and her less-than-savory cousin Richars (who would otherwise inherit). Rudely surprised by Donna's transformation, Ivan finds himself enmeshed in the plans to have Dono affirmed by the Council of Counts. This culminates in his assisting in the thwarting of a direct attempt to reverse the Betan surgery with far more crude field surgery. In the event, Ivan manages to finally get one up on Miles by turning his usual "Ivan, you idiot!" back on itself and proving himself to have significantly aided Dono's case as well as Miles' related one.
In this and other books, Ivan shows himself to be physically competent and possessed of a keen sense of judgment about people. However, despite his apparent showiness, he is perennially modest about such useful talents, which often leads people to underestimate him.
As he ages into his thirties, Ivan discovers two new senses: a sense of responsibility and a sense of loss. His mantras throughout life have been "It's not my fault" and "I want nothing to do with it." Despite the trials his cousin Miles has inflicted on him over the years, he finds himself shocked and dismayed when Miles, in trouble over his relationship with Ekaterin Vorsoisson, repeatedly refuses his help. Later Ivan's reaction to an attack on Dono is revulsion at the nature of the attack, even though he was blindsided by Dono's sex change. As he says, "I don't agree with what you did, but what they tried was just ... wrong." Having helped abort the attack he uses his political connections to bring Dono's cousin to justice. His reward for this is a nod and a rare smile from Emperor Gregor, and the sudden realization that, in Miles' words, the reward for a job well done is usually a harder job.
Ivan also realizes that he is losing the attraction he once held for young vivacious Vorbarr Sultana debutantes. While recovering from having been strung along by one, just to get her boyfriend to pay more attention to her, he is hit hard by Lady Donna's sex change, especially since he was thinking about renewing their old relationship. Having already been turned down by two of the Koudelka girls, and facing a shortage of eligible partners due to Vor parents' selecting for male children in his generation, he realizes that the life of a carefree bachelor may become that of a lonely bachelor.
Personality and traitsEdit
For most of his early life Ivan was known colloquially as "That Idiot Ivan" or "Ivan, You Idiot". He was tall, handsome, popular with women, and the despair of his mother.
- Barrayar (infant)
- The Warrior's Apprentice
- The Vor Game
- Brothers in Arms
- Mirror Dance
- A Civil Campaign
- "Winterfair Gifts"
- Captain Vorpatril's Alliance (main character)
Notes and referencesEdit
- Ivan Vorpatril on Wikipedia