(urth) Thecla's genealogy folio

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Tue Oct 3 23:56:41 PDT 2006

I had not read Wolfe's essay "Books in _The Book of the New Sun_" before a
few weeks ago, when I obtained a copy of PLAN[E]T ENGINEERING. Wolfe said
something else in the essay about Thecla's four books that has caused me no
end of annoyance. <g> He said, "[t]hey all must have something to do with

Thecla did not, of course, know anything about Severian when she requested
the books. She just wanted help from her relatives and/or the Conciliator.
Three of the books, as I outlined in my previous post, concern the
Conciliator to a greater or lesser degree, so they necessarily have
something to do with Severian. It's the folio with the genealogical charts
that bugs me. I suppose I could fall back to the position that, since
Severian comes to possess Thecla's memories and personality, anything that
was important to her had something to do with him, but that's too easy and I
can't make myself believe that's all there is to it. No, I think that Wolfe
is suggesting that Severian and Thecla are blood relatives.

All of the attempts to link the two that I am aware of have speculated that
they share a common parent, one that appears on stage in NEW SUN or is at
least mentioned, however obliquely; that or they are related by someone only
a generation or two removed from them. Maybe so, but I have yet to be

An alternative relationship might be suggested by the antiquity of at least
two of the other three books and their connection to the Conciliator. The
brown book dates back at least three or four centuries and Canog's book to
the time of Ymar. Might it be that Thecla is related not so much to the
apprentice Severian as to the Conciliator? Even if the connection is not
recognizable or known to her?

Several times in the Urth Cycle it is implied that Severian makes (will
make) trips into the past that are not related in the text. The Conciliator
might have entered Thecla's family tree anywhen from Typhon's time onward.

It must be remembered that Severian made a big deal about how much his
education was enhanced by the reading and studying of those four books. And
even if he had not studied the genealogical charts, Thecla did and he had
her memories. He might have gone into the past for the express purpose of
making *come* true what he knew *had been* true. After all, someone also
built that mausoleum and someone tinkered with the body count from time to


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