(urth) Damn filthy Hiero-wasp-creatures

thalassocrat at nym.hush.com thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Sat Jan 5 21:18:36 PST 2008

In UOTNS, the Hirarchs and Tzadkiel lie repeatedly and harm Sev and 

other humans in ways which range from displays of petty malice to 

There is no evidence whatsoever that they are part of a holy 
hierarchy with the Increate at its apex. The only reason for 
believing in Hireodudes-as-angels is if one already has a 
conception of a universe structured in such a way, as Sev does.

Sev's perceptions are moulded by the religion which he absorbed as 
a child and youth, and by his training to obedience to authority as 

a torturer. The religion, of course, is the one for which he 
himself provided the founding myth, in Typhon's day. There is no 
connection to the Increate. In Citadel, when he prays at the 
Pelerine altar, he finds the object of his prayers to be himself.

Sev's religion is based ultimately on Sev's own claims to be a 
Conciliator and the "miracles" he performed; of course these 
"miracles" were merely phenomena of a higher technology. The 
"conciliation" is at best an unfulfilled hope, at worst a lie 
deliberately engendered by T. There is nothing anywhere to suggest 
a closer union between humans and Hiero-people or any benefit to 
humans. Sev's career as supposed "Conciliator" ends with him 
sanctioning the death of most people on Urth. 

(Perhaps you could point to the presence of Father Inire and the 
Hierodules as some kind of outcome from the "Conciliation", but it 
is ahrd to see what particualr benefits they bring, and they would 
appear to be dupes themselves. Eg: Inire believes that the coming 
of a New Sun will see the Commonwealth strengthened. Etc etc etc.)

Tzadkiel returns Sev to Typhon's time at least in part so that Sev 
will cause this religion to establish itself, molding Sev's outlook 

in the future in ways favorable to T's agenda. When Sev threatens 
to go off track during his mini-ministry (lasting perhaps a week?), 

by breaking out of his cell, T appears to him in a vision barring 
his way. 

Afterwards, by the brook Madregot, mini-Tzadkiel mendaciously 
implies that she does not know exactly how to guide Sev to return 
to his chosen time. Then she guides him precisely to a re-entry 
which puts him back on Urth when it is too late to do anything to 
help his people survive the flood, but just in time to see it wash 
away his wife and the last of those people. Her (mocking, I think) 
laughter follows him.

On Yesod, T and the Hierarchs display consistent malice and 
contempt towards humans. It starts pettily enough with the 
Hierarchs causing the lander carrying Sev and the crew 
representatives to swoop & loop in a terrifying manner, while the 
Hierachs look on with amusement. 

They promise no further tricks, but the whole "trial" is a trick. 
The humans have been tricked into believing they are there simply 
to serve as jury, in the trial of somebody whom they are tricked 
into believing to be the Autarch. In the event, they are called 
upon to defend their real lives against artificial beings conjured 
from Sev's memories. Not having being indoctrinated with the fake 
New Sun religion, they of course choose Urth over Ushas and 
genocide - except for Gundie, unanimously.

For this, they either die or have their memories taken from them. 
This is no trial, and the crewmen are not jurors. Their "verdict" 
is treated as worthless, and they are punished for delivering it.

As to why T goes through this charade - I think it's probably 
malice, and for the same kind of amusement the Hierachs enjoyed 
from the distress of the humans on the lander. And perhaps to make 
sure that Sev is committed to his role as dupe - if he consents 
still to the New Sun path after seeing it overwhelmingly rejected 
by his fellow humans then I guess nothing is going to turn him away 

from it. 

One of his functions no doubt is to take the burden of guilt for 
the coming destruction away from the Hiero-dudes. As T says in his 
parting words, Urth will be destroyed at *Sev's* command - not T's. 

Look, Increate - clean hands! And I sacrificed my own son! (But did 

he care for this son?)

The Hierogrammates are not angels of the Increate. They appear to 
me to be a species of evolved insect. The Hierachs are their 
"larvae" - they live underground, perhaps in something resembling 
an insect nest, but certainly evoking images of Morlocks. I can't 
help but think of those varieties of wasp which grow their larvae 
inside the bodies of living hosts, which eventually die from it. 

We know nothing certain of what happened to the original 
human/Hieros, but I wouldn't be surprised to find they ended up as 
hosts to the ancestors of the Hierogrammates, and were destroyed. 
Perhaps T's ultimate agenda is to develop humans to the point where 

they are once again suitable for this purpose; not co-evolution, 
but parasite and host.

One of the things not to like about this reading is that in some 
ways it turns NS into a literary trick analagous to those of the 
Hiero-dudes. The reader is duped, just like Sev. If Sev had been 
able to uncloud his mind of all the baggage of vague mysticsm he 
would have seen malicious wasp-creatures instead of angels. If the 
reader can peel back his layers of preconceptions about what kind 
of story this is, he discovers within them a rather hackneyed pulp-
SF trope.

Perhaps this points to another reason for Wolfe including the 
SilkHorn-meets-Sev scenes in SS: the (IMO) far greater work 
expunging or perhaps redeeming the lesser ...

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