(urth) Hethor

Macronaut macronaut at yahoo.com
Fri May 5 08:01:41 PDT 2006

I remember that the towers of the citadel are revealed
to be ships waiting to leave Urth in the last days of
Typhon.  But I don't recall anything suggesting that
the citadel as a whole was itself one big ship.  It's
an interesting idea -- is there textual support for
that? Or am I misinterpreting?


--- b sharp <bsharporflat at hotmail.com> wrote:

> I first saw the idea of Mourning Glory's mention of
> Purn as Hethor and 
> Gunnie as his paracoita in Robert Borski's Solar
> Labyrinth.  Perhaps Mantis 
> is in agreement on this idea.  I believe the logic
> is that Hethor is a shape 
> shifter, taking the form of a half-bird, half-deer
> creature called a 
> peryton.  Severian sees the peryton/Hethor over him
> during his escape into 
> the mountains but eventually decides it is a
> constellation.
> Hethor is presumed to be in this form when Agia,
> riding a winged creature 
> with claws, later snatches Severian from the evzone
> soldiers.  So peryton 
> becomes Purn (shades of Dragonriders of Pern?). Both
> in Severian's earlier 
> dream and during the snatching the winged creature
> is noted to have a mitre 
> of bone on its head, suggesting the dinosaur-era
> pterodon.  But it also is 
> supposed to have the head of a hag which sends
> things into a mythological 
> slant I won't pursue here.
> Like Roy, I don't find the Purn-Hethor connection
> satifying.  It is all 
> based on the name Purn and that he is a sailor. 
> There is no physical 
> resemblance nor psychological resemblance to
> twisted, mysterious Hethor.  To 
> me Purn seems to represent the simple, average Urth
> resident who would 
> instinctively fight to save Urth without much care
> or thought to deeper 
> issues or personal demons.  Also, Gunnie has dark
> eyes, not violet, and is a 
> very big, strong, aggressive woman.  Hardly a good
> candidate for a poppet 
> doll with small hands who lays in a lemonwood box
> all day waiting to spend 
> the night with Hethor.   (But perhaps a childish
> version of Thecla is...)
> However, Hethor as a shape shifter is satisfying to
> me for a few reasons.  
> Even Severian wonders how Hethor is able to
> transport his larger pets 
> around.  There are some interesting early (SotT)
> statements Hethor makes to 
> identify himself.  Stammering, he says something
> like  "I the old captain, 
> the old lieutenant, the old cook, feeding the dying
> pets." I take this to be 
> a true description, though I can't tell whether
> Hethor is describing a 
> series of promotions or demotions on the ship.  But
> I think he was, at some 
> point, captain.
> In UotNS we find in Tzadkiel, another ship captain,
> an angelic, 
> shapeshifting being (as is the angel in Melito's
> story).  I think this lends 
> credence to the idea of captain Hethor also being a
> winged, shape shifting 
> creature, perhaps the obverse of Tzadkiel...a fallen
> angel?
> Hethor also describes himself as serving on the
> Quasar, and on a ship with a 
> hundreds masts and silver sails.   He also says he
> served as the captain of 
> the "limping ship".  In the time of BotNS's writing
> I think quasars were 
> theorized to be white fountains, the compliment to
> black holes.  So I think 
> the Quasar is likely (what we later learn to be)
> Tzadkiel's ship because its 
> primary literary purpose, in the first 4 books, was
> to carry the New Sun 
> back to earth.
> So what was the limping ship Hethor was the captain
> of?  Some suggest it was 
> the ship that crashed leaving the ancestors of the
> antechamber prisoners and 
> that Hethor's real name is KimLeeSoong. This could
> be the case, but then he 
> would be a normal human not a shapeshifter.
> There is another ship which looms very large in
> BotNS but seems so far to 
> have avoided attempts at explanation through all
> these years.  This is The 
> Citadel.  I take The Citadel to be a ship on a par
> with the Quasar due to 
> its large size and irregular shape (contrast to the
> Hierodule's ship which 
> is like a flying saucer).  I think the Citadel ship
> is an alternate version 
> of the Quasar, with Hethor as its captain.  This
> ship was apparently poorly 
> captained,  flew too close to Urth (to retrieve his
> stolen paracoita?) and 
> got stuck.
> bsharp
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