*** Revised 2011 September 9 ****** Revised 2011 October 23 ***
Many people have remarked on how much like brothers Gil and Tarvek behave. But one thing struck me today: Tarvek seems like the son Klaus was hoping he would have.
Gil is still optimistic and sees the good in people; it doesn't occur to him that others might be conspiring against him. Given his position, that isn't a very healthy attitude. And he doesn't seem to particularly want
to follow his father in overseeing Europa and keeping the peace among a bunch of quarrelsome petty tyrants.
Tarvek survived in a family of psychopaths by staying ahead of their games and giving as good as he got ... if not better. He believes he's destined and deserving to rule, by virtue of being able to claim the title of Storm King. He definitely has his flaws, but he seems to have more of a conscience and sense of ethics than you'd expect from someone in his family, and he does seem to be trying to become a better person.
Right now, Tarvek has one little problem -- well, one more in addition to having a rival for Agatha's love and trying to keep alive amidst threats from Klaus, Zola, Lunevka, Othar, a psychotic Castle, and perhaps Gil. Tarvek wants to claim the Storm King throne, but by the rules of the Fifty Families, he can't
-- he has died and been revivified. And Gil knows it.
Gil can keep him from achieving his lifelong goal, just by spilling the beans that Tarvek was temporarily dead.
But there is a way to achieve a happy ending: Change the game.
Everything would work out much better if Tarvek
were Klaus's son and Gil
were the Storm King, wouldn't it? Tarvek rules Europa and keeps the Pax, while Gil the Storm King and Agatha the Heterodyne Heir fulfill the prophesy by marrying and becoming heads of state who don't interfere with the machinations of imperial government. But alas, Tarvek is the Sturmvoraus and Gil is the Wulfenbach.
However ... there's a way to make this happen: Using Lucrezia's mind transfer technology, Gil and Tarvek can swap bodies! And if Tarvek (in Gil's body) wants to marry Agatha, there's a way to make that happen, too: install a copy of Agatha's mind in Madame Olga's currently untenanted body, last seen floating in a vat in Castle Wulfenbach.*** REVISION ***
Hey! There's an easier and less-squicky way to accomplish the same end: The HMS Pinafore
Gambit. All they have to do is announce that Gil and Tarvek swapped identities while they were small children on board Castle Wulfenbach. The story doesn't need to be true! All it requires is for people to accept it.
This could work! Most of Tarvek's family is dead, with Violetta and possibly his mother (whoever
she is) as the major exceptions. Theo and Otilia might be able to refute the claim of a swap, but I think they'd play along with the ruse for the sake of everyone's happiness. Lucrezia-in-Agatha recognized Tarvek as Aaronev's son, but with luck we'll be rid of her by the end of the story.
Heh. And this would explain the foreshadowing of "And you're the gol-dang Storm King!"*** RE-REVISION ***
Strictly speaking, even the HMS Pinafore
Gambit isn't needed if Gil actually does have a valid claim to the Storm King throne
. (Go here
for speculations about Gil's and Tarvek's ancestries, and why they both might be descendants of Andronicus Valois.)
If that's the case, all that's necessary is for someone -- Gil, Agatha, von Zinzer -- to accidentally or deliberately reveal the fact that Tarvek has died and been revivified. Tarvek would be out of the running. Gil would still be a valid claimant to the throne, perhaps (if one of those speculations is correct) the only
valid claimant. Tarvek would be upset, but perhaps he would accept the title of "Grand Despot of the Pax Transylvania
" as a consolation prize, while Gil and Agatha reigned -- but not ruled -- as the Storm King and Heterodyne Princess.