(urth) Close Reading: Torturer Chapter II: Severian

Dan'l Danehy-Oakes danldo at gmail.com
Mon Sep 11 13:34:35 PDT 2006

A very few additional comments.

A rose is traditionally (among other things) a symbol of the
Trinity; Dante's vision of God at the end of the _Commedia_
is an eternally-unfolding Rose.

Para7: "In our Matachin Tower, a certain bar of iron thrusts
from a bulkhead at the height of a man's groin." Am I the
only person who has had some rather grisly thoughts about
what this bar was _for_?

Also Para7, on time scale: "...the days of Ymar...are now
by many hundreds of years forgotten."

Para13: What is "high-toss-cockle?" I don't actually suppose
it's important, just curious...

General on Gyoll: They're swimming in the sewage of
everyone upriver.

Para16: Someone asked about Potter's Field. It's a pretty
common term for the place where paupers are buried; it's
used ironically in the film _It's A Wonderful Life_ -- the evil
banker is named "Potter," and in the allohistorical world
where George Bailey never lived, Bedford Falls becomes
a city of the dead, a Potter's Field.

Para20: "I have chosen to describe all this now because I
never went again after the day on which I saved Vodalus."
Not to mention that this is the earliest part of his life he's
narrating at all, so it makes sense to give some detail...
Severian is often defensive about his narrative choices.

Para25ff: Apparition of Malrubius:  Sev's first encounter
with the giantess is accompanied by his first encounter
with an aquastor, suggesting strongly that his near-drowning
is part of the **plan** by which the Hiero*s are manipulating
him to his fate.

Para26: Note that the giantess throws him up by flinging him

Para27: "I was enveloped in eyes as one is enveloped in
the repetitious patterns of a kaleidoscope..." this is pretty
close to one of the descriptions of an angel (I think a
cherub?) in the Old Testament. I don't think it's Eata's eyes,
or those of the crowd, he's seeing here.

Para33ff: the old boatman seekign a woman. I don't think
he's asking about the Brides; I think he's looking for Dorcas.

Dan'l Danehy-Oakes, writer, trainer, bon vivant
I've got a piece of braaaaain lodge in me heeead!!!

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