(urth) Hierodules and time

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Fri May 26 05:50:58 PDT 2006

Thalassocrat I think it is simpler than all that.  F, B and O move only 
backward in time, virtually without exception (which marks them as pawns, in 
Tzadkiel's chess analogy).

Their first meeting with Severian is on Tzadkiel's ship.  They go back in 
time to meet him as Autarch a number of times, they go back to meet him in 
Baldander's castle, then go back to watch him in Eschatology and Genesis, 
then go back to find him as Apu Punchau.  They (F and B anyway) know the 
least on Tzadkiel's ship and they know the most in Apu Punchau's time.

Severian knows the least about them during Eschatology and Genesis and a lot 
on Ship Tzadkiel.  They all know the most in Apu Punchau's time because 
Severian, also a pawn, has reached the end of his time/chessboard and has 
been plunked back to the beginning as a more powerful player with more 
flexible moves (as the rules of chess allow).

Now it is true that when they meet Severian for short periods of time they 
are moving forward in time.  Roy (and Gene?) explains that allowing for that 
is Ossipago's function.  If this is hard to swallow, I'll refer you to a 
quote from Gene Wolfe about the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Gene is 
explaining why the universes of the New Sun and the Short Sun had a 

>Because the books would have been lame if they had not.  There's a 
>wonderful bit in the Roger >Rabbit movie nobody seems to get. Roger goes 
>around with handcuffs on his wrists for half an >hour. Then he pulls one 
>hand out of the cuffs and does something with it, and sticks it back in.  
> >Bob (Hoskins, the hard boiled private detective) says, "You mean to tell 
>me you could get out of >those whenever you wanted to?" And Roger says, 
>"No, only when it's funny." That is a profound >expression of the law that 
>governs all writers and performers. The audience doesn't have to think 
> >about that, but writers are bound by it. If there's a gun on the wall in 
>Act I, it must be fired >before the end of the play. Etc.

I take this to mean, in our current context,  that if Wolfe didn't use a 
"deus ex machina" storyteller's trick (Ossipago's role) then he would have 
had to leave out the "backwards in time" nature of Hierodules.  And the 
story would have been worse. And he is, first and foremost, a storyteller.

There is a reference to using "deus ex machina" (he only alludes to this 
phrase) tricks in the text of BotNS.  Something like:  "only the worst 
playwrights use them, but it is better to use them than have the play end 
badly".  I've been looking for it but for the life of me I can't find it 
again.  Help somebody! Roy? Anybody!!!!


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