(Legend of the Galactic Heroes spoilers.)
Wolfgang Mittermeyer seems middle-class. Upper-middle, but still middle, with his moderate house, and his normal marriage to his sweetheart. His closest friend within Reinhard’s comitatus, Reuenthal, is all Gothic aristocrat: heterochromia, candlelit mansions, Norio Wakamoto, the bizarre and unpleasant relationship with Elfriede.
It’s telling that, when he hears about Elfriede, Mittermeyer suggests a nastily detached approach (give her money, kick her out). Reuenthal sometimes behaves monstrously, but he doesn’t have that professional’s detachment from harm to others. A detachment which I recognise because, with a job and a bit more wealth than I had a year or two back, I’m learning to deploy it myself.
I kind of imagine that Mittermeyer represents a new breed of officer in the Empire, a reformist breed from commoner families with something Young Turk-ish about them.
Against that, though, I should set Oberstein’s analysis of Mittermeyer’s desire to defeat Reuenthal after the latter’s rebellion. Mittermeyer, Oberstein guesses, did it to avoid a revenge paradox. He would have to take revenge on anyone who killed his friend Reuenthal, but at the same time Reuenthal was his enemy, because he’d betrayed their mutual lord. By doing the job in person, Mittermeyer created a situation where his only target for revenge was himself. If this is right (and when is Oberstein wrong?), then Mittermeyer still has a foot in the feuding, warrior-aristocrat’s thoughtworld evoked by the name of his flagship, the Beowulf.
(Many thanks to emperorj, whose full set of episode summaries for the Legend are a neat resource for figuring out which bits of which episodes need to be rewatched. Also to Schneider, as this post is a delayed-gestation expansion on a comment I once made on his blog.)