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- Any time Miles Vorkosigan meets up with his father again after one of his madcap adventures. This troper was particularly choked up by The Vor Game's reunion.
- Also in The Vor Game is the description of how big, powerful, dangerous Admiral Count Aral Vorkosigan, back when he was Lord Regent (and absolute ruler) of the Barrayaran Empire, would take a two-hour lunch every day--short of any crisis less serious than actual war--race home, spend five minutes bolting down a sandwich, then spend an hour-and-a-half down on the floor with his little crippled son who couldn't walk yet, talking and playing games and reading out loud.
- Not only Miles, though. The moment in A Civil Campaign where Aral quite casually asserts Mark's status as his son is breathtaking.
- To elaborate - Mark is a clone of Miles created by enemies of the family to kill and replace Miles in order to get at Aral. Mark rebels and at the age of 21 or so is adopted into the family, well...yeah. In this scene, just two years later, a friend of Aral's starts complaining about "your son," and Aral's first reaction is to ask "which one?" To be sure, he'd deliberately referred to Mark that way before; this was totally offhand.
- Another magnificent thing about that scene is that Miles, in the midst of his own problems, still cares enough about his brother to be pleased that Mark had the chance to hear Aral say that.
- The Vor Game is good, but for my money, The Warrior's Apprentice has the killer line. After Miles talks about wanting to make his life "an offering fit to lay at my father's feet":
Aral Vorkosigan: Clay, boy. Only clay. Not fit to receive so golden a sacrifice.
- Barrayar. Cordelia and Aral are discussing the psychopathic Sergeant Bothari, a sadistic abuse victim who, in the past book, came very, very close to raping Cordelia before he decided to rescue her instead. Cordelia wonders why Bothari seems to idolize her so much. Aral's response:
Aral Vorkosigan: "[Bothari] becomes whatever is required of him. Not a conscious process, I don't think. Piotr expects a loyal retainer, and Bothari plays the part, deadpan as you please. Vorrutyer wanted a monster, and Bothari became his torturer. And victim. I demanded a good soldier, and he became one for me. You . . ." his voice softened, "you are the only person I know who looks at Bothari and sees a hero. So he becomes one for you. He clings to you because you create him a greater man than he ever dreamed of being."
- Years later, Bothari reminds Miles that he has been promised a grave next to Cordelia's...at her feet, for he has been her faithful dog. And to Bothari, being accepted as Cordelia's dog is the greatest honor.
- Considering at least some of Bothari's issues stem from his childhood raised among prostitutes, his abuse at Vorrutyer's hands, and his work as a rapist/torturer, the fact that he eagerly devotes himself to this woman, and is even able to be a decent father to his daughter makes his entire character development arc fit this trope.
- Not to mention that his mother, who was a prostitute, "used to sell [him] to her customers".
- For this troper, it's about a page after Aral's quote above, where Cordelia first sees her newly-born (and heavily fought-for) son Miles:
Cordelia: Welcome to Barrayar, son. Here you go; have a world of wealth and poverty, wrenching change and rooted history. Have a birth; have two. Have a name. Miles means "soldier", but don't let the power of suggestion overwhelm you. Have a twisted form in a society that loathes and fears the mutations that have been its deepest agony. Have a title, wealth, power, and all the envy and hatred they will draw. Have your body ripped apart and rearranged. Inherit an array of friends and enemies you never made. Have a grandfather from hell. Endure pain, find joy, and make your own meaning, because the universe certainly isn't going to supply it. Always be a moving target. Live. Live. Live.
- Heartwarming or Awesome, it's a toss-up: In "The Mountains of Mourning," after disinterring an infant to confirm that she'd been murdered, Miles realizes he doesn't have anything with him to burn as the customary small sacrifice at a burial. He thinks: Peace to you, small lady, after our rude invasions. I will give you a better sacrifice, I swear by my word as Vorkosigan. And the smoke of that burning will rise and be seen from one end of these mountains to the other. He makes good on the promise.
- Even better is when Miles returns to the same village years later and finds that the poverty-stricken backwater has been transformed into a thriving community, and the mother of the murdered infant is now a teacher at the newly-built school.
- Any part of A Civil Campaign that's not Crowning Moment of Funny is Heartwarming. Oddly enough, this troper was most affected by Mark's stumbling towards his shot at happiness with Kareen... and making it.
- The ending of Mirror Dance, especially Cordelia's maternal smile of greed, since she and Aral had the second child she'd always wanted but could never have had because of Miles' condition; a second male would have put "mutie" Miles in danger, since plots to make his brother the heir apparent to Vorkosigan House.
The Countess attached herself to her husband's arm. "Lead on, love. Vorkosigans Victorious."
Vorkosigans Convalescent, was more like it, Miles reflected, following. But you should see what the other guys look like.
- Miles' efforts to get Elena Visconti to acknowledge and meet her daughter, who was the product of rape. Visconti first regards Miles' pleads with suspicion and disgust, but his heartfelt offers finally melt her.
"Would it be so difficult, to do a few days-even a few minutes-of acting? I'm going to have to dip some Dendarii funds anyway to pay for a dead ship, and buy a lady a new face. I could make it worth your time."
He regretted his words immediately at the loathing that flashed across her face, but the look she finally gave him was ironically thoughtful. "You really care about that girl, don't you?"
- By Memory, the relationship had improved so much that some of the inherent burden the younger Elena had felt had vanished.
- Any part of Memory with Simon learning how to live a normal life. Thirty years of playing the bland, colorless Spymaster thanks to his memory chip... he's got a lot of living to do. Lucky he's got a lot of awesome friends to help him catch up.
- The "Letter from home" in Cryoburn shows how Miles' married life has developed, bringing to mind Cordelia's "Lots of little Vorkosigans" wish from back in Barrayar.
- Ethan Urquhart of Ethan of Athos giving genetically-engineered telepath Terrence Cee the first real acceptance he's ever known, without thinking twice about it:
Terrence: What am I to you, then, if not a monster?
Ethan: We all remain children of the Father, however we may otherwise be orphaned. You are my brother, of course.
Terrence: Of course...? Damn it, I'm the ultimate weapon, the super agent. I survived it all. How can you make me weep now?
- Cordelia meets and falls in love with Aral, but they are on different sides of a war, and Aral is suppose to be a war criminal. She gets repatriated at the end of the war after being a POW. Her own people, in examining her for PTSD or adjustments find out her love of Aral. They think it's fake, and work to 'undo' the brainwashing. She does her own moment of awesome, escapes the security forces, and steals a ship to meet back with Aral.
- The ending when she comes to see Aral, and meets his father. He's so drunk and heartbroken that initially he thinks she's a vision.
- Diplomatic Immunity has not so much a Moment as a Crowning Cultural Background Noise of Heartwarming, for those who've read Falling Free. Between Graf Station, the finale of the zero-G ballet, and "Leo" being the most popular boy's name by roughly a full order of magnitude... The Quaddies really love their granddad.
- The final scene of Komarr where Miles reels off his list of exes, and Ekaterin asks if she can get in line. And his response.
- In fact this scene made me feel the start of A Civil Campaign were totally redundant and out of character. If they're flirting this hard before then why do they regress back on Barrayar?
- Because Ekatarin was coming off her adrenaline high. After sober reflection, she'd decided that the risks of romantic involvements were too high. Was she deluding herself? Probably, but that was her rationale for backing off.
- Taura and Roic at the end of '"Winterfair Gifts. After all, there is no such thing as a horizontal height differential.
- Miles' letter of apology to Ekaterin in chapter 11 A Civil Campaign. Particularly, this excerpt;
I love you. But I lust after and covet so much more than your body. I wanted to possess the power of your eyes, the way they see form and beauty that isn't even there yet and draw it up out of nothing into the solid world. I wanted to own the honor of your heart, unbowed in the vilest horrors of those bleak hours on Komarr. I wanted your courage and your will, your caution and serenity. I wanted, I suppose, your soul, and that was too much to want.
- The epilogue of Barrayar, when Count Piotr Vorkosigan, who HATED Miles' existence as a mutant and a cripple who should never have been allowed to be born (and keeps this attitude for about five years) FINALLY starts to befriend him... Miles is just that charming.