(urth) Severian and Merryn

Roy C. Lackey rclackey at stic.net
Thu Jul 5 23:46:32 PDT 2007

Jessica Maclean wrote:
>>I accept that GW himself has stated that Merryn is probably Severian's
sister (not sure if I have the probably bit right- please advise! :-) ),
I'm just wondering how that works out... is it magic that Merryn appears
the same age regardless of her actual age? Cos when Sev, Dorcas and
Jolenta meet the Cumean, Merryn and Hildegrin atop Apu Punchau's
building, the Cumean and Merryn look exactly the same as they did when
little Sev delivered that letter, so long ago... <<

A number of people have commented on the apparent age discrepancy. The text
gives no objective reason to account for the discrepancy, if Merryn is in
fact supposed to be Severian's twin sister. Her cameo in _Short Sun_ does
little to illuminate the subject. In fact, I have always suspected that her
appearance there was a gesture, polite or otherwise, to the many queries
Wolfe has received on the topic. There was no real need for her to be in
that scene, and that may be the best proof we will ever get that she and Sev
were siblings -- if they were.

I doubt that Wolfe had _Short Sun_ mapped out when he wrote _New Sun_, so
it's hard to say what he originally had in mind when he created the mystery.
But if Merryn is indeed Sev's long-lost sister, it makes the solution to the
mystery rather anticlimactic, don't you think?

And it hangs the mandragora out to dry.


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