(urth) The Piteous Gate

James Wynn thewynns at earthlink.net
Thu Feb 23 19:06:25 PST 2006

Well, I'm torn. I find the "Uhlan" explanaition attractive since it is
mundane and doesn't require the invention of an entire narrative that is not
refererence elsewhere.

On the otherhand, I understand why a more elaborate theory is sought. If the
explanation is so mundane, why cover it up? Why not mention it? Severian and
Jonas must have gotten some idea of what it was about by the time they
passed the gate. But they didn't know at the end of SOTT. I reached the end
of the fourth book convinced that there would be conversation that explained
it. To no avail. I read UOTNS still hoping for a clue. Nope.

If they're looking for Severian, they didn't seem to find him because he and
Jonas go through all right. If they're looking for Hethor...well, I don't
see any evidence that he is on the run.Why wouldn't the possibility that
they are looking for Jonas be just as reasonable? After all, he's an
expensive piece of equipment. Or Baldanders! He and his butler seem to be on
the run. There are a heck of a lot of miscreants on that road. But they
could have gotten any of them better by waiting for to reach the end of the

It was one of Hethor's pets? Come on. Nothing in the text says that; not
that I know of. And why release one in the middle of the gate. To release
one in that setting would be as dangerous for Hethor as anybody else. He
could release them almost anywhere else without as much danger. One
explanation, I guess, is that the authorities were on to Hethor and were
about to catch him so he released the pet to cause the confusion and get
away. But typically when you're tracking someone (as Hethor is tracking
Severian), you follow BEHIND him so you can keep your eye on him. Up ahead
is the wrong place for him.

Nothing so far satisfies me. I'm tempted to suggest that there is no Lupine
"explanation". That it is just an awful traffic jam whose only narrative
purpose is to split Sev and Jonas from the rest of their group. But Dorcas
*says* that they are turning around because they are frightened.


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