(urth) Abaia and the Claw

Jeffrey Lefstin 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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