(urth) Severian's family tree

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Wed Aug 16 21:02:45 PDT 2006

At the root of this family tree is the transformation of an old man into an
old woman. I can see no textual justification for such a change of gender.

In any event, a review of the brief first appendix to CLAW, which deals with
social classes, puts a severe strain on some of these presumed
relationships. There we are told that the caste of exultants is a closed
group, meaning that one must be born to it. The sisters Thea and Thecla are
there specified to be exultants, which means that they must be the products
of exultant parents. There is no indication in the text that either
Catherine or the Castellan were exultants. Little Inire absolutely was *not*
an exultant; he is specified to be a cacogen. The likelihood of some
combination of these three as parents of the half-sisters is dubious.

The Citadel is the historical seat of power for the autarchs, and remains in
Severian's day largely their private bailiwick. The Castellan is the
military commander of the fortress. Appian told Severian, just before they
boarded the doomed flier, that there were none among the exultants he could
trust. An exultant would not have occupied such a position.

Valeria is specified in the appendix to be an armiger, which means that her
family were armigers. They were poor, so poor that they drank the same cheap
tea that the torturers gave to their prisoners, and their towers were in
ruins. At her first meeting with Sev she said that her family had "given
many castellans to the Citadel, but the last had died generations ago". She
goes on to say that, "No one of my blood carries a sword now against the
enemies of the Commonwealth". The Castellan who acknowledged Sev as autarch
near the end of CITADEL was an old soldier and very much alive. It is
impossible that he was Valeria's father.


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