(urth) Severian and Merryn

Ian S greenbook5 at yahoo.com
Sat Jul 14 02:34:18 PDT 2007

Hi Jessica,

Quite an interesting question. Well, the answer to
your query may be be quite simple. Merryn and the
Cumean probably 'walk the corridors of time,' to
borrow a Wolfensian phrase. That's why Merryn seems to
be the same age when Severian met her at the tomb of
Apu Punchau ( who is actually Severian from the
future-past or the past-future ) as when he met her in
the Witches Tower when he was a small boy, if indeed
this Merryn is one in the same person. Merryn could
have gone into the future, met Severian atop the tomb
of Apu Punchau, than gone back to her own relative
present day where she could have met the boy Severian
at the Wiches Tower the next morning. I'm not saying
this is what happened for certain, but it would be the
sort of thing that Wolfe might write about. 

Through what means she may have carried this out ( or
more significantly, why ) is debateable and we'll
probably never find out, but I suspect it may have
been done through devices similar to the one used by
Rudesind to get to the House Absolute, though this
device moved him through space, rather than through
time. Please note the conversation between Severian
and Rudesind in 'The Claw of the Conciliator' in
Chapter 20, entitled 'Pictures:'

" While ago you come looking for Ultan. Didn't you
find him? "

" Yes, I found him," I said. " But it wasn't a short
time ago."

He seemd to grow angry at that. " I didn't mean today!
But it wasn't long...."

I'm not too sure about the courtesan at the House
Azure, though. For those interested, please refer to
The Shadow of the Torturer, Chapter 9, for Severian's
impressions that the Chatelaine Barbea and the
Chatelaine Gracia might be the same person. Though
ducking into a space/time device to change appearences
and then zipping back to the moment you left is a bit

If you're a fan of 'Lost,' this may also explain why
Richard Alpert does not seem to age either.


--- Maclean Jessica <Jessica.Maclean at nzpost.co.nz>

> Hi all
> Having also just re-read the The Claw of the
> Conciliator, I respectfully
> request some clarification on the Severian and
> Merryn twin-thing. I'm at
> work so don't have the book with me, but I just
> finished it last night
> so it's pretty fresh in my mind :-) 
> Near the end of the book, it clearly states that
> Severian was a small
> boy (small enough to have to jump to reach the
> knocker) when he went to
> the Witches Tower, whereas Merryn looks "old" (to a
> small boy) and is
> really about 20 years of age.
> 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... 
> On a maybe-not-related note, I can't help but wonder
> if Mr Wolfe
> deliberately left things vague in his own mind, in
> order to preserve
> some mystery for us readers? I always thought that
> the best way to keep
> things secret is not to know yourself, so you can't
> give it away... 
> Jessica 
> ________________________________________ 
> Jessica Maclean 
> Customer Liaison 
> New Zealand Post 
> ________________________________________ 
> Tel: 0800 100 318 Fax: 0800 100 319
> e-mail: jessica.maclean at nzpost.co.nz 
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