(urth) Questions about BNS

Eric Ortlund eortlund at briercrest.ca
Thu Nov 15 07:19:01 PST 2007



From: urth-bounces at lists.urth.net [mailto:urth-bounces at lists.urth.net]
On Behalf Of Adam Thornton
Sent: Wednesday, November 14, 2007 5:10 PM
To: The Urth Mailing List
Subject: Re: (urth) Questions about BNS [text][mx][spf]

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. 
That's a good point - and if there are religious/theological/otherwise
Christian overtones to Isangoma's story with regard to Christian
symbolism around the fish (not to open a can of worms here about the
"Christian" element in BNS, but Nutria's post on this from '97 on this
episode makes a lot of sense to me), then the connection between the
reading from Deuteronomy and Isangoma's counter-story would make sense. 

	- 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

	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. 
Babes always dig guys who can do the Two Apricots whenever the waiter
brings the wrong order on a date.  Works for me every time. 

	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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