Nearly any school child could tell you that Napoleon’s army was defeated first by the Russians. While there were doubtless many factors involved, the Russian winter has never escaped being a significant factor in the French decision to back off. In a similar vein to how the seasons shift, the characters of War and Peace show off a rather impressive degree of dynamism. Perhaps the old saying that there is a season to every purpose holds true, after all. This is most clearly represented in Pierre’s journey from being married to an attractive woman without the scruples to be faithful (Helene) to finally marrying a woman who may not be the best looking, but actually tends to her family virtuously (Natasha). Although, the love lives of these characters could very well be described as a game of musical chairs.
Pierre really is an odd fellow. He takes up the spiritual principles of Freemasonry, and works toward using those teachings in the management of the estate his father left him. His much more secular friend Andrew is understandably dubious – it is typically unwise to try to reform a government (as is Andrew’s goal) with a religious bent in mind. That kind of a mind set rarely results in anything useful getting done. Natasha actually becomes attached to Andrew, desiring to marry him. But his father demands they wait a year before marrying – and Andrew takes this as a great opportunity to travel, interestingly enough. Perhaps the notion of changing a nation means Andrew is just a perpetually unsatisfied individual, in general.
Ironically enough, despite his rejection of Natasha, Andrew admits to loving her right before he dies. One might call that too little, too late, but it does make for a romantic notion. In time, Pierre grows ill for a long time, but recovers in time to realize that he actually loves Natasha. Since she feels this love in return, they marry, having a lovely family together. It bears thought whether it would have been beneficial for Pierre to have just married her in the first place.