davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon

(I made a bunch of notes while up in Durham last month that I'm finally recycling into posts).

That moment when the hidden joke in a book you thought you knew well leaps out and clubs you in the head. Or in this case a series. Lois McMaster Bujold has always said the Barrayaran Vor in the Miles Vorkosigan books started out as tax collectors, jumped up government thugs, before becoming nobility. One of the characters in my novel-in-progress is the boss of the Seattle Vory v Zakone, the ‘Thieves in Law’, aka the Russian mob. Mostly I call him by name, but this time I wanted to call him by what he is, and the singular of Vory is Vor. As soon as I wrote that down the connection hit home and my jaw dropped. Bujold’s Vor have turned ‘thief’ into a title of nobility – and arguably one that’s all too applicable for tax collectors! Technically I think Miles just predates the rise of the modern Vory post Perestroika and the break-up of the Soviet Union, but the old Vory were about for most of the 20thC.

(It's possible Bujold has said this explicitly somewhere, but if she has I've missed it).

Date: 2017-05-13 08:29 pm (UTC)
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita
I'm pretty sure that Duv Galeni has the line "Vor means thief" after Gregor gets engaged to Laisa, so I'm going to guess yes.

Date: 2017-05-13 11:08 pm (UTC)
shehasathree: (see what happens)
From: [personal profile] shehasathree
Yeah, it's when he's (thankfully briefly) being an entitled douche regarding his failed (hypothetical future) romantic relationship with Laisa (in Memory). Considering there seems to be something of a Russian-speaking(/reading? Is "russophone" a word?) Vorkosigan fandom, the implications for how to translate the names and the concept of Vor is rather fascinating.

I seem to vaguely remember a brief in-text description from one of the characters speculating on the linguistic origins of the term Vor (although maybe I'm confusing it with a throw-away line by Miles about the etymology of Count being via "accountant", as you mention.

Somewhat annoyingly, bc I have mostly engaged w the Vorkosiverse texts via audiobook, I tend to mentally hear everything I *can* specifically remember (or even vaguely recall) in Grover bloody Gardner's voice/accent, which means that I can very clearly hear Duv's exclamation above in my mind's ear, but can't remember whether the other relevant bits I want are said by Miles or Ivan or some other character entirely. I find this rather irritating (if fascinating), and like to think it wouldn't have happened if I'd been left to form my own impressions of each character's literal voice, although admittedly, I have no proof of this. I suspect that, actually, all the characters except Cordelia and Laisa and any others clearly linguistically "marked" with difference in the text (eg "Greekies") would sound neutral-to-me in my mind's ear (which I am always surprised to remember means "Australian" /o\), tending towards a higher-class English accent. Cordelia at least would have an American(esque) accent, as would, of course, Admiral Naismith (which would then form an obvious contrast against his Miles-accented voice). My point is: it bothers me that I can't distinguish very well between my mental Miles-voice and Ivan!!!


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
David Gillon

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