Many stories start with a betrayal. Even Genesis featured Adam and Eve betraying God's trust by dining on the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. The story of Hyperion doesn't start with the Prologue, even though that's where you start reading it. It starts with betrayals. Even though it's not readily apparent, you're entering the story in medias res, or into the middle of things. (Kind of like when your DVR doesn't record the first ten minutes of your favorite show.) Before Meina Gladstone sends the Consul on the Shrike pilgrimage, both of them have committed unspeakable acts of betrayal, not just against each other, but against humanity, with consequences that will affect us all. You know, just like when our DVR betrays us.
Questions About Betrayal
Is the Consul's betrayal forgivable? Are any betrayals forgivable?
Why does Meina Gladstone tell the pilgrims that one of them is a spy? And why doesn't she reveal him right away?
How did Meina Gladstone betray the Hegemony?
Have any of the other pilgrims committed acts of betrayal? Does anyone feel personal consequences for betrayal?
Chew on This
The Consul's act of betrayal is a justified act of revenge.
Meina Gladstone's betrayal shows the corruption of the Hegemony and their willingness to do whatever it takes to gain power.