(urth) Countess Carina

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Mon May 29 12:01:25 PDT 2006

When Severian appears in Dr. Talos' play, it is interupted by a tableau 
which Talos uses to squeeze the audience for money.  He calls special 
attention to certain scenes, telling the audience, "Remember that you have 
never as yet learned the identity of the mysterious figure seen by the 
Contessa through the curtained windows".  We later learn in UotNS that the 
mysterious figure is Severian.  But the Contessa Carina remains mysterious.

Using Rules of Names 1 and 2a. can provide some clues.

Rule 1. There does not appear to be a Saint Carina in the lists.  However 
Carina is a constellation and the name of the ship Argo's keel.  This might 
suggest her character is a non-human.  Both she and the she-demon Jahi are 
played by Jolenta.  Jahi's lip is split by Meschianne.  The Contessa is 
smacked by Meschia.   Later the Contessa is escorted along the Road Of Air 
to recover from some minor injury.  Both Jahi and the Contessa are trying to 
become impregnated by Meschia on the last day of Urth.

In the similar scene in UotNS there are some suggestions that the crying 
woman Severian escorted on the Path of Air is his mother Catherine.  Since 
the Path of Air might be a time travelling path back to the time of 
Severian's youth this could make sense.  But Rule 2a. suggests that the name 
Carina (instead of being a Scandinavian alternate of Catherine) might denote 
a kaibit of Catherine.

Much of the speculation that time stands still in the Atrium of Time 
(despite the changing of seasons there) is connected to the idea that 
Catherine's appearance never seems to change for roughly 15 years.  But if 
she has a kaibit, an alternate explanation for her eternal youth is 
presented which meshes better with the rest of the characters in the book 
who retain youth.


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