(urth) golden Severa etc.

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Mon May 15 12:39:02 PDT 2006

Well, let me open another can of worms regarding physical attributes.  
Robert Borski notes (and has published) that Severian's family may be 
identified by their golden attributes denoting the New Sun, (and also 
Severian-Savior stigmata, i.e  cheek injuries and limping). If so, should 
not red haired characters be associated with the old, dying sun in some way?

Dorcas is perhaps the most golden, with gold hair and gold flecks in her 
skin (+ cheek injury) and is, ostensibly, Sev's grandmother. Contrast this 
to Eata with similar features who is described  as tow-headed and freckled 
sans gold.

Agia and Agilus have pale gold skin and aureate faces and hair when the sun 
hits them and are suggested to be Sev's cousins. (Agia limps for a time but 
I think it is feigned).  Contrast this to Pia who is described as having 
skin the color of a brass serving tray. Like gold color but not really.

Borski addresses the issue of the missing sister, Severa.  He discards the 
often promoted candidate Merryn, and other lesser candidates such as 
Morwenna, the Mandragora and Thais.  These are seen as red herring Severas 
derived from false clues.  His candidates are Jolenta, with her red-gold 
hair (and clumsy walk) and the kaibit/prostitute Barbea who has hair like 
spun gold (though she dances nicely) with the suggestion these two are, in 
fact the same person.

But I think the text suggests these two are also false gold.  Barbea's hair 
is twice referred to as a possible wig (the next young woman's hair/wig is 
white). And Jolenta's hair has been dyed (red?) and had silk threads added 
(gold?).  It is hard to think that her original "straggling" hair was either 
of those striking colors.  Moreover, I expect Severa to be somewhat 
intelligent and philosophical and  as both Severian and Dorcas (and even 
Agia/Agilus to a degree) are.  Jolenta calls the Pellerines "Pelisses" and 
her deepest thoughts seem to be on how to procure pampering and 
contemplation of the autarch's urine as the wine of his subjects.

Now by rights, if I am to undercut someone's candidate I should propose my 
own.  Unfortunately I am still working on that as piece of a larger puzzle, 
but I will present it when ready.

In its stead I'll hint that Borski has missed a character who is decribed in 
unequivocally golden terms.  He has several pieces of gold jewelry and 
golden hair (and blue eyes).  Follow-up in my next post.


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