Oberon, Lord of Amber, stood before me in his green and his gold. High, wide, and thick, his beard black and shot with silver, his hair the same. Green rings in gold settings and a blade of golden color. It had once seemed to me that nothing could ever displace the immortal liege of Amber from his throne. What had happened? I still didn't know. But he was gone. How had my father met with his end? -- Nine Princes in Amber
... I do not really know what Dad was. He never encouraged intimacy, though he was not an unkind father. Whenever he took note of us, he was quite lavish with gifts and diversions. But he left our upbringing to various members of his court. He tolerated us, I feel, as occasionally inevitable consequences of passion. Actually, I am quite surprised that the family is not much larger. The thirteen of us, plus two brothers and a sister I knew who were now dead, represent close to fifteen hundred years of parental production. There had been a few others also, of whom I had heard, long before us, who had not survived. Not a tremendous batting average for so lusty a liege, but then none of us had proved excessively fertile either. -- The Guns of Avalon
Oberon, it is said, was born of Dworkin and The Unicorn. Detractors remark that it was not a virgin birth. Reckless comedians suggest a step-stool was involved. Regardless of the circumstances and auspiciousness or lack thereof of his birth into House Barimen of the Courts of Chaos, few could argue that Oberon didn't grow into a charismatic and devious man.
Oberon had only two loves in life: Women, and Amber. Given the choice, he would much rather die for Amber than for a woman.
While the True Pattern, and all of the myriad shadows that it casts as it mixes with Chaos are Dworkin's creation, the Eternal City was shaped by Oberon. The city itself, upon a mountain which rises from forest and sea, topped with a castle, and possessed of simple fundamental laws is exactly as Oberon would have it. Whether this is a consequence of a conscious or unconscious decision by Dworkin Barimen, a man who clearly knew his son even in that day, or a result of the creator's son bending the realest of shadows to his will with his formidable command of the Pattern, is unclear. What is clear is that Dworkin wished to create a perfect abstraction of Order, the Pattern, and Oberon wished to rule the closest approximation to the perfect city that he could. Where Dworkin dealt in higher ideas, Oberon dealt in real people and buildings. His city was as much a reaction to the Courts of Chaos and the Serpent Church as Dworkin's Pattern was to the Logrus, but Oberon was a pragmatist where Dworkin was the idealist.
Oberon's marital habits created a great deal of confusion where his succession was concerned. This was at least partially to prevent a clear heir from trying to usurp him, and partially a consequence of his twisted love life. Since, at least as Corwin told the story, Oberon could bend reality even within Amber, the second might well follow the first directly. It is known that the Pattern responds to both conscious and unconscious desires, and if Oberon desired a muddled succession, it might well find the right women to lead his life down those sorts of twists and turns.
While still in Chaos, Oberon married Cymnea only to later declare the marriage retroactively to have never happened so that he could marry Faiella, with whom he had already had a fourth son. Faiella died in childbirth, after which he married Clarissa, who was said to hail from the 'far south.' As the existence of the Courts of Chaos was not well known amongst Oberon's royal children at this time, and was almost totally unknown to the nobles of Amber, it is likely that this referred to the Courts of Chaos. Still, many worlds have a South, and Clarissa may have instead hailed from such a place. During his marriage with Clarissa, Oberon had an affair with Moins in Rebma and legitimized Llewella, while still leaving Eric's legitimacy unclear. This may have figured into his later divorce from Clarissa, as she was certainly not pleased at this turn of events. After a brief and explosive marriage with Dybele, he left her for Rilga. Rilga eventually left Amber, and her ship was reported lost at sea. He later fathered two children by Paulette, but never married her. During all of these relationships, Oberon had a succession of mistresses, girlfriends, and one night stands in both Shadow and Amber. As most of these relationships were quite short, it is unlikely that any one particular mistress fathered a child by him, but it -is- likely that Oberon has more bastards in the wider universe than have taken the Pattern. Without an education in an atmosphere like Amber, it is unlikely that many of these distant scions would amount to much, but many have likely become local heroes. (A chart of Oberon's family is below. One needs a score card to keep up.)
Oberon took a 'unique' approach to raising his large family. Many noted scholars on child-rearing across Shadow suggest that one should never play favorites amongst children. Oberon took exactly the opposite approach. He believed, justifiably, that the greatest threat to his rule was his own children. He clearly favored his male children over the women, who he largely ignored. He would lavish generous gifts onto a child, only to ignore him for years. Random once opined to Corwin that Oberon considered his children to be unavoidable consequences of passion, but portions of Corwin's own account of Patternfall suggest a more complex picture. If Corwin is to be believed, Oberon and Dworkin understood that threats to the Eternal Realm would one day strike, and he must have spent time considering how to best prepare for that eventuality. The advantage provided by the competitive atmosphere within the family can easily be seen when Oberon's children interact in Shadow. The most Machiavellian politician in Shadow is a naive child against the likes of Flora or Random, to say nothing of Eric or Bleys. Also, Oberon successfully fostered an atmosphere where the family would put aside its differences to face an external threat, at least as long as he lived.
Oberon's administration of Amber City is often seen to be as Machiavellian as his child-rearing. His court pitted one noble against another in a constant effort to win and retain favor with the King. Oberon could make or destroy a nobleman's fortune on a whim, so their attentiveness to his attitude with respect to each of them was no idle concern. Oberon directed these rivalries towards the betterment of Amber. One courtier might win favor by efficiently administrating tax collection in a particular neighborhood, while another might usurp him by showing the first nobleman was skimming from the till. This brutal, biased favoritism resulted in a surprising degree of loyalty and efficiency while still providing some glaring exceptions.
The Clarissan Cabal was able to lure Oberon out of Amber and to imprison him near Chaos, although it is unclear if Oberon was playing a deeper game. He certainly led the family to believe that the only reason he was imprisoned was because he willed it so... but then again, that is exactly what he would have said had this not been the case.
Based on Corwin's account of his escape from Amber's dungeons, it seems likely that Oberon persuaded Dworkin to assist in his escape. Dworkin, however, may have acted on his own initiative in accords with a preexisting plan. That Dworkin and Oberon had some kind of a plan subsequent to Brand spilling Martin's blood is quite likely, but the precise nature of their grand strategy is unclear. In the guise of Ganelon , Oberon first tested Corwin and later guided him in a particular direction. Although he later claimed that Corwin had been his intended heir the whole time, and this was a part of a long standing plan between himself and Dworkin, it is possible he was playing it by ear and hiding out in Corwin's company to remain in touch with events in Amber without exposing his identity.
After giving private instructions to each of his children that resulted in the campaign against Chaos for most, Oberon set forth to repair the Pattern with the Jewel of Judgment. He did not survive the process, but sent the Jewel to Corwin to aid in the battle at the Courts of Chaos. Following that battle, he was buried in the Abyss. Shortly thereafter, everything started to go wrong for Amber.
Oberon's Many Wives: