(urth) Thecla's genealogy folio

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Sat Oct 7 12:24:47 PDT 2006

Rex Lycanthrosaurus wrote:
>>Meh. As far as I'm concerned, we can not even begin to address any
possible genealogical connection between Severian and Thecla until we
riddle out at least some of the latter's bloodline. Unfortunately, as we
all know, she has only one named relative: half-sister Thea. This in
itself makes the problem somewhat more complex since we must now try to
figure out whether the parent Thecla and Thea share is their mother or
father. Since I have no idea who the father(s) might be, I will instead
attempt to pinpoint a possible candidate for mother--in my scheme the
one parent both siblings share.<<

You just ruined what I was writing! <g> I was bringing up some of the same
points, even the King Arthur bit. I agree, it would help if we knew who the
parents were of the half-sisters, but I can't even be sure which parent they
have in common, much less who that person is. I think I know where most of
the information relevant to their parents is in the text, but I can't put it
together so that it makes sense. I can think of arguments against them
sharing either parent.

>>First, some basics. Thea and Thecla are exultants; it therefore seems
likely at least one of their parents is an exultant.<<

Both sisters are specified to be exultants in that CLAW appendix. It also
states that one must be born an exultant and that one remains an exultant
for life. But there is no indication of the social status of half-breeds,
which may or may not be relevant.

>>If it's their
mother, she may be part of the autarch's seraglio of hostages--we do,
after all, learn that Thecla is a member of the powerful northern clan;
ergo, her mother's possible confinement at the Well of Orchids.<<


>>The rat biting its tail seems a castration image and may support
the notion that the penultimate autarch is Thecla's father.<<

He can't be, because Thecla's father died sometime before her arrest (and I
don't buy Borski's dodge of that fact). And the autarch wasn't an exultant.

Immediately after saying that all the books must have something to do with
Severian, Wolfe gave the example of the book with the enameled pictures, the
coming encounter with Dorcas and her family's past manufacture of cloisonne.
I don't know if that's a left-handed hint that Severian and Thecla are
related on Dorcas's side of the family, or just that he and Dorcas are
related (this was 1984), or both or neither.

Dorcas was very petite and I don't think her husband was tall. Severian
draws attention to his height (perhaps too much so) both early and late in
NEW SUN, yet he's not really particularly tall, even among people he meets.
For example, Drotte, Roche and Ouen are all about his own height. And a true
exultant male, such as Ultan, is a head and a half taller. Both Thecla and
Thea were taller than Severian.

Borski suggested that the Starost Egino might be Thecla's stepfather. Maybe.

Here are some of the "facts" that have to be accounted for:

It seems that *both* sisters are hostages, since Gurloes said that Thea had
"fled" the House Absolute to be with Vodalus. The autarch needs only one
hostage per family, so holding both sisters suggests to me that they
represent two distinct family branches, even if Thea was not also among the
"inner circle" of concubines.

Which sister is the older? Severian told Thea that Thecla had told him that,
if she were released, she would move to the country and refurnish the old
estate from which she took her title (the chateau). That seems to indicate
that the place was hers to do with as she pleased. Her father was dead, so
the estate had evidently fallen to her. I don't know if that means that her
mother was also dead, or if the mother just didn't figure in the line of
inheritance. But what is interesting is that Thea replied that that house
now belonged to her, but she couldn't claim it, presumably because she was a
fugitive. I'm not sure what that implies about Thea's relationship to
Thecla's father.

I can, offhand, think of only one time Thecla spoke of Thea when they were
both children together -- the sewing of Josepha's doll. On the other
occasions where Thecla's childhood surfaces, there is no indication that
Thea was around. If they were not together much as girls, that suggests that
they grew up in different households.

As I've said before, one of Thecla's memories is of her running naked by the
Acis, presumably as a child. The map in PE shows exultant villas on the
southwestern shore of Lake Diuturna and states flatly, "Thecla was here as a
child". The Acis is nowhere near the lake. Again, no mention of Thea at
either place. Neither does it seem that Thea was living with Thecla in the
suite at the House Absolute at the time of the Domnina incident, when Thecla
was 13. But Thecla's "mother's servitrix" was there, so presumably the
mother was alive then.

What a mess!


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