(urth) Hethor

mournings glory mourningsglory at hotmail.com
Fri May 5 08:35:54 PDT 2006

>From: "b sharp"

>Hethor is presumed to be [shape-shifted] when Agia, riding a winged 
>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.

Pterodon does yield the letters to form the homologous snippet, p-e-r-n. But 
perhaps even more interesting the word "purn" itself means "bone, skull" in 
proto-Dravidian. I'd been looking for a Korean or Chinese linguistic 
connection, and never mentioned the proto-Dravidian "purn" before because I 
couldn't connect it with Hethor/Purn until you brought up the "mitre of 
bone" angle. My thanks.

>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.

>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

I'm not crazy about the evidence for shape-shifting (such creatures populate 
Wolfe's universe like ants), but if it is so beguiling to you, you should 
have little trouble accepting the fact that one could appear as either small 
and gray-haired (Hethor) or more solidly-built and blond-haired (Purn).

In regards to Mr. Lackey's earlier disastisfaction with the Purn=Hethor 
theory, I find it sound and well-reasoned. However, the fact that Wolfe 
brings up the beast-summoning mirrors in front of Purn and implies he is 
somewhat jealous when Gunnie bestows a kiss upon Severian suggests he wants 
us to at least consider the parallels between him and Hethor. Perhaps the 
nameless, but mysterious, little gray-haired man also noted to be aboard the 
Quasar simply overhears Sev talking about the mirrors, as well as sees 
Burgundafora kissing him, and it's he who's actually Hethor.

>Some suggest... that Hethor's real name is KimLeeSoong.

Never quite understood the tenuous connection here -- mostly because I don't 
understand how, in the concatenation of names, one arrives at "Hethor" from 

>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 believe the Quasar could easily contain the Citadel in one of its smaller 
bays, but now that you mention it once wondered if the Wall around Nessus 
might not have been an ancient spaceship cradle -- perhaps built to hold the 
early stages of Typhon's Whorl?


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