(urth) Severian's sex Life

Nathan Spears spearofsolomon at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 8 00:14:33 PDT 2007

I'm glad someone asked this question.  I've enjoyed reading all the responses because I've often tried to understand why Wolfe has Severian act this way.

The way Severian treats the women around him made me alternately despise and admire him, which I now believe was Wolfe's intention.  As someone mentioned, Severian is a very young man, and more to the point, he's human and succumbs to temptation - in contrast to Christ.  Many of Severian's characteristics come into focus for me when I think about the fact that he was fully human (in fact the epitome of humanity) and THEN divine, rather than the other way around like Christ.  He even has sex with an angel or whoever right before he's about to go to trial for humanity, so it wasn't on his mind to be faithful to his wife even then.

I also have to remember that Wolfe is having Severian tells us about each woman that he has sex with - Severian has some reason for portraying himself like an ass.  Why does he tell us about each time he betrays someone?  For that matter, why did he tell us he had sex with his own grandmother?  I think it's in part because he wants us to know that he came to love each woman to some degree.  He knows that he was wrong, and he knows that if it comes up again he will give in again.  So he's confessing to us a little and looking for some forgiveness by telling us that he came to care for each of the women.  Not that that would buy him a lot at a feminist rally, but apparently it's good enough for the Heirodules . . .

----- Original Message ----
From: Macronaut <macronaut at yahoo.com>
To: The Urth Mailing List <urth at lists.urth.net>
Sent: Saturday, April 7, 2007 3:39:56 PM
Subject: Re: (urth) Severian's sex Life

I think Severian's many loves are not an aside but are instead a very purposeful and central part of the books.  Each of these women helps Severian to discover an important part of himself, or represents some crucial decision or period in his life: Thecla engages his intellect and is the (perverse) beginning of his start down the road toward mercy; Dorcas teaches him to protect the innocent and care for others; Agia challenges his budding committment to mercy, and is the foil for his evolution from a callous person who in the past would have casually dispatched  a dangerous enemy to one who spares life and protects it where he can.  Et cetera.


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