Catherine arrives in Russia full of “expectancy” for how wonderful it will be, how forward it will become beneath her influence, and with a terrific passion for “the sharing of ideas,” which she propagates all over court. The common lawn games, over-emphasis on fashion, sexuality, and menial topics “bores her,” she much prefers the library! Where she can read, think great thoughts, and gather, what else, splendid notions from all across the world! A wildly enthusiastic girl at first, she refuses to let much get her down, even though none of it measures up to what she expects it will be (her first sexual encounter is not all she hoped it might be, for example). She tends to invent schemes on the fly, and accredit them to her husband to stroke his ego, insisting that he said all that in his sleep the night before. Catherine often frustrates her friend and fellow coup-conspirator Orlo because she changes her mind at the last minute and takes advantage of opportunities (such as when she intrudes on the archbishop’s “vision” and plants one of her own ideas). She has a strong set of morals, decidedly different from everyone else at court. Her husband’s bloodthirsty nature appalls her. The idea of burning peasants with the pox angers and frustrates her. She becomes so disgusted seeing people dying on battlefields that she resolves to end the dispute peacefully. Many of the ladies at court hate her, because she turns up her nose at them – though later she makes inroads into getting them to like her better, with her husband’s aunt’s help. Catherine also finds it almost impossible to “fake” things – she shows no pleasure if she feels none, and this leads her husband to plan her death in a carriage accident; only faced with her own survival does she develop more of a capacity to be “fake.” She also refuses to make hard choices – though she needs to murder a child for her coup, she refuses to do so and is appalled when someone else does it for her. At first, all she wants is love and affection in addition to advancing Russia. Then, that turns into more pragmatic, Te-driven decisions in resolving the differences between them and Sweden through arranging a mutually beneficial ceasefire (each claims one province, ignores their loss in the other one, and goes home happy, huzzah!). She has very little interest in keeping things the same (awful as they are) and is not very grounded, nor does she know how to draw upon previous coups to stage her own. She is quite embarrassed in front of a panel of men, when asked what she knows about the war, the Russian provinces, etc., to admit, shame-faced, that “it’s on my list.” Details are not her strong suit.

Enneagram: 3w2 so/sx

Catherine has total and complete confidence in herself as being a woman of ambition, influence, and culture. She intends to show others how to take an interest in these things and has magnificent goals for Russia. She arrives optimistic, idealistic, and full of grand ideas… and when she cannot see them through, she contemplates suicide and becomes passive and unengaged (falling into 9). Catherine is quite aware of how things look to other people, so once she decides to play along and manipulate her husband, she does it quite well; at other times, she seeks outward approval. Early on, she admits that all she wants is for “my husband to love me.” She also tries to buy her way into the hearts of the ladies at court (often without success).