(urth) Piteous Gate- one last rehash

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Mon May 15 08:29:44 PDT 2006

mourningsglory responds-

>I'm not sure your particular quote bolsters that idea in any fashion. 
>You're assuming, I believe, that "afterward" comes relatively soon after 
>the avern episode, whereas I believe it's referring to "after" the Saltus 
>fair, when Severian and Jonas are attacked by Hethor's notules."

I must respectfully disagree that Severian could be refering to events after 
Saltus Fair such as the man-ape cave, the notule attack, the antechamber 
slug and the salamander.  If he were, Severian's and Agia's exchange would 
read, simplified:

Agia:  I've been trying to kill you since the Saltus Fair.
Severian:  Liar, you've been trying to kill me since the Saltus Fair.

Which makes no sense.  He must be refering to an attempt or attempts before 
Saltus Fair but after the avern duel.  I think the only legitimate objection 
to my analysis would be if there was another plausible attempt on Severian's 
life in that time period.  I don't have my books here but the episodes in 
that time frame I remember are:  Severian in the recovery room, Severian 
with Agia and Agilus in his cell, the execution, walking with Dorcas, 
performing the Talos play, packing up the play properties and then walking 
to the Piteous Gate.

The only other candidates for murder attempts in this period I can think of 
are very weak:  1. In the cell, Agia attacks Severian scratching at his 
eyes, and grabbing at his sabretache.  2. Later, as they are walking toward 
the Piteous Gate, Hethor asks if he can carry Severian's sword. I don't 
think it is in Hethor's repertoire to be swinging swords.  But if Hethor 
knows an attack is coming soon, I can see why he would want to take Terminus 
Est from Severian.

Severian phrases his statements in the exchange to knock her off balance (as 
he has physically, a couple times) by calling her a liar after she has told 
the truth.  I think Wolfe's purpose is much the same, to knock his reader 
off balance so the solution to one puzzle (Piteous Gate) is masked by the 
solution to another (the source of the creatures).


More information about the Urth mailing list