(urth) Piaton; apocalypse

Andrew Bollen abollen at internode.on.net
Sun Sep 26 19:06:44 PDT 2004

Jeffrey's excellent "Valeria = Urth" post somehow made clear to me the symbolic aspect of Sev's destruction of Typhon by killing Piaton. Piaton surely represents the old Urth, innocent in itself but hopelessly infected with the old evils, which it will continue to breed and suffer from, until it is put out of its misery. Kind of a "doh" moment for not having seen it that way previously.

But there is a fundamental question about Sev's apocalypse which remains very unclear to me. How do Abaia and the others fit into this? Very simply, a global inundation isn't something which is going to cause them much grief; and indeed we see the undines leaping from the waves (or something like that) to greet the New Sun. Abaia etc definitely have a place in the post-apocalyptic world - just as The Mother has a place on Blue ("respect but do not worship", as Silk's final injunction to the community in New Viron puts it). 

It my be that this was not Wolfe's intention in the first four books, but at least by the time he wrote UOTNS, these beings occupy a completely different space in the taxonomy of evil than creatures such as Typhon and the governess of the proto-Torturers' Tower. They survive, Typhon and the governess don't. 

But why? Is a race of enslaved Ascians a better cosmic outcome than a race enslaved by Typhon? And to the extent that Abaia wants to enslave humans, won't this be much easier to accomplish with humanity reduced to a scattering of souls & returned to its primitive beginnings? 

And you see something of the same puzzle in the different tretment of Typhon and Baldanders. To me it is clear enough that they are the "alpha" and "omega" of the same type - Sev first kills the original tyrant, and then comes down the mountain & deals with the new wannabe tyrant. But Baldanders doesn't perish, then or in the Flood (presumably).

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