(urth) Abaia and the Claw
jeff.lefstin at stanfordalumni.org
Mon Apr 18 20:22:41 PDT 2005
The recent discussion of what role Abaia plays in the new Urth prompts
me to note the interest Abaia seems to show in the Claw.
Recall that in the beginning of CotC, Severian revisits the dream he
had when he shared Baldanders's bed, and says: "Then very suddenly, I
who had been blind before understood why it was that Abaia had sent me
this dream, and had sought to enlist me in the great and final war of
Well thanks a lot Sev; care to enlighten the rest of us? Here's my
Severian's recounting of the dream differs from his original
description, inter alia, in the use of the words AZURE, SAND-GARDEN,
and TALON. Anyone familiar with BotNS would immediately think of the
Claw if given just those three words. Perhaps Abaia seeks to enlist
Severian because, in addition to foreseeing that Severian will become
Autarch, Abaia foresees that Severian will wield the Claw; Severian
only realizes this after he learns that he possesses the Claw.
A connection is directly referenced when, at the end of CotA, Severian
muses on where the Claw might draw its power from. He there speculates
that the power of the Claw comes from Abaia & Co., who, having seen
Severian's destiny, "found me again, and thereafter my course was
twisted by the Claw."
In UotNS, the power of the Claw is shown to come from Sev himself. But
Abaia's interest in the Claw remains. Idas, Abaia's minion, ransacks
Severian's cabin looking for "something so small it might have been
concealed in the collar of a shirt." While Severian is ready to
torture Idas in order to get Idas to tell him what it was, I think it's
a no-brainer for us that Idas was trying to find the thorn that will
become the Claw - what else is there?
Maybe then Idas is trying to prevent the Claw from coming into
existence; though the thorn got a drop of Severian's blood when he
first found it, I read Apheta's explanation ("It was saturated with
your blood") to mean that the thorn did not become the Claw until
Severian jammed it good into his finger.
That takes place, of course, when Severian tries to use it to revive
the steward. Whom Idas has killed trying to find the thorn. So Idas,
in trying to prevent the Claw from coming into existence, is actually
the reason it comes to be....
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