(urth) Katharine maid redux

b sharp bsharporflat at hotmail.com
Thu Nov 2 10:31:36 PST 2006

Dan'l posts:

>If Sev's mother (as I think most of us agree) was handed over to the
>torturers for excruciation and (eventual) death, then the Maid who
>plays Katherine _isn't_ Sev's mother, putting an end to, at least,
>that line of speculation.

I thought the Katharine maid thread of last month developed  a pretty good 
theory on this which you might have missed?.  Roy suggested Catherine was an 
exultant and the maid her kaibit.  Someone else (DD Jones?) proposed a 
series of kaibits, accounting for her unchanging looks.

Someone suggested the maid's head really is cut off each year, but the stage 
sword is "no more than a wooden batten provided with an old hilt and 
brightened with tinsel" and the head is identified to be wax many times, 
plus the maid emerges with her head attached soon after the faux chop.

I am convinced the woman Severian sees on the Path of Air is Catherine.  
Severian can't understand why he seems to recognize her but is more confused 
about how she seems to recognize him.  His resemblance to Ouen could explain 
it.  This woman's oval face suggests the Pelerines, her "raven" hair and 
dark complexion is just like the maid's.  Her dark hair and pale gown are 
mirrored in the woman Severian sees in the coffin (again, Severian doesn't 
recognize someone out of context).

In Talos' distorted play, I think Contessa Carina is a distortion of 
Chatelaine Catherine, making the woman an exultant.  Allowing the maid to be 
a kaibit explains her lesser stature.  There are suggestions that Catherine, 
the woman on the Path of Air, Contessa Carina, the maid and the woman in the 
coffin all have been sentenced to (real or fictional) torture.  I still like 
the idea of younger Palaemon helping Catherine escape to the Path of Air, 
explaining his exile and his attachment to Severian.

I seem to be alone in these sorts of perceptions, but perhaps that is more 
reason for me to be so annoyingly redundant.  To me this a similar case to 
that of Father Inire.  Usually we think of solving mystery identities by 
deducing, X= A.  I think in these two cases unseen characters Catherine and 
Inire can only be identified by deducing X= A+B+C+D.  Leaving out any 
element results in an incomplete equation but together they add up (for me 
anyway).  Some doubts are assuaged by the transparent multiple identities of 
the old Autarch.  Wolfe seems to be thinking along these lines.

"Someday they'll want us"  ;-)


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