(urth) Questions about BNS

Adam Thornton adam at io.com
Wed Nov 14 15:09:42 PST 2007

On Nov 14, 2007, at 1:26 PM, Eric Ortlund wrote:
> 2) When Severian and Agia are in the Jungle Garden, the apparently  
> travel in time and space (the story about Father Inire's mirrors  
> apparently prepares the reader for this) to a missionary couple in  
> the jungle.  Can someone please explain to me what on earth the  
> native is talking about on pg. 131?  The woman in the couple reads  
> from Deuteronomy 34 - about Moses looking into the promised land  
> but not being able to enter it
This would be Severian and the Urth of the New Sun, is my reading.   
In addition to being a Christ figure he's a Mosaic figure--he brings  
his world to salvation but does not himself get to enter the New World.
> - and then the native tells a story about a fish who apparently is  
> a woman.  I'm totally at a loss here; what is the connection?  What  
> is the naked man talking about?  How does this contribute to the  
> story?
Undines?  Dunno.
> 3) What about the vision Dorcas and Severian see when they're  
> leaving Nessus of the huge palace (pg 181)?  What is it of?  I  
> vaguely remember that the conversation which Severian has with the  
> woman who gives him tea at the fair in Saltus might hint that it is  
> somehow identified with the tent of the Pelerines.  Is that on the  
> right track?
As I recall, the tent of the Pelerines rising like a hot air balloon  
as it burns.  But I might be misremembering, because that doesn't  
sound plausible.
> 4) At the end of Shadow of the Torturer, there's a disturbance at  
> the huge gate of Nessus; we only learn in Severian's dream in the  
> next book about the five soldiers turning people aside.  Severian  
> seems so circumspect in describing this that I'm suspicious he  
> knows something which he isn't telling us.  Is this incident in the  
> book significant?  Or is it just that Severian doesn't know why the  
> soldiers are there?
This has been discussed before, but I don't think anyone knows  
definitively what's going on.  I myself love the idea that Severian  
thinks he can impress chicks with impromptu excruciations.
> 5) One more and I'll stop - when Severian nearly drowns in the  
> Gyoll near the beginning of Shadow, he sees a woman's face; later,  
> during his dream while he's sleeping next to Baldanders, the brides  
> of Abia hint that they came to see him at the Gyoll - so that's who  
> he sees.  Two questions: who is the woman crying that he hears -  
> Thecla?  Also, when his friends pull him out, he says that he saw  
> the dead Malrubius - and a boatman asks if Malrubius is a woman.  I  
> know this is really small, but, like I said, no detail is  
> insignificant; why would the boatman say this?  Is there anything  
> here?
The boatman may have seen an undine.  Or maybe not.  There's  
something there all right.  What, though...

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