(urth) Necromancy, and Severian on trial

Adam Stephanides adamsteph at earthlink.net
Sun Mar 27 11:48:37 PST 2005

on 3/25/05 1:37 AM, Chris at rasputin_ at hotmail.com wrote:

> In subsequent conversation since your post it has been cited that Severian
> doesn't appear to even recognize the consequences of what he's going to do
> until he gets to the trial. This is interesting, but I think that he is
> either being evasive with us on this point and pretending ignorance, or else
> he kept himself *willfully* ignorant up to that point. Severian is perfectly
> aware that natives of Urth - perhaps even *most* natives of Urth - do not
> like what he is planning on doing, would stop him if they could, and may
> even try to kill him. How does he know this without having some clue as to
> why they're so dead set against his project? And doesn't it seem odd that he
> would not ask this question, even as they did try to kill him?

My recollection of the five books is spotty, but here's what I found looking
through UotNS. First Idas tries to kill Sev, but he assumes it's because
she's working for Abaia (51). When Purn tries to kill him, he first thinks
it's out of rivalry for Gunnie. When Purn tells him that "Everybody knew ...
that you meant to bring back the New Sun if you could, turn Urth upside down
and kill everybody," Sev is "stunned ... not just by what he said but by his
very evident sincerity" (84-85). Later when Apheta tells him, immediately
before the trial, that if he succeeds "your Urth will be destroyed," he
responds "Purn was right, then. He wanted to kill me, and I should have let
him." (148) So unless Sev is lying outright, it would seem that the idea
that the New Sun would mean Urth's destruction was new to him, and that he
was incredulous that anybody could believe it. (Though he did learn the
truth slightly earlier than I'd thought.)


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