(urth) The Tomb of the Unknown Severian

gwern0 at gmail.com gwern0 at gmail.com
Mon Jan 7 18:22:49 PST 2008

On 2007.12.24 04:30:29 -0600, Todd <heliumhead at charter.net> scribbled 3.5K characters:
> I think that in one sense,  there is only one Severian and this is his
> way of describing the paradoxes involved in passing into his own past.
> On the other hand,  it is an apt metaphor for the two divergent
> histories of Urth which are set up,  where everyone experiences the
> alterations made by Sev1,  thus everyone lives alternative existences.
> If I may be excused for quoting a popular British Science Fiction
> program,  "it is a big ball of wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey,"  in the sense
> that neither the future nor the past are set in stone.
> When considering the world of Sev1,  in his journey to the Phoenix
> Throne and eventual judgment,  it would have been a world where the
> Conciliator never existed and he himself would have possessed no special
> abilities.  If we remove both of these from his history  (and other
> instances of Sev1 in the past),  that should give us an idea as to his
> adventures.  It should be obvious that he would never have rescued
> Triskele,  found Dorcas,  or acquired the Claw.  On the other hand,
> short of giving up Terminus Est and fleeing,  I do not see how he would
> have survived his duel with Agillus...  To make a long story short,
> when he was eventually judged favorably,  and acquires access to the
> power of the white fountain for the entire term of his life including
> retroactively.  He then goes on to wander the corridors of time to be
> various important people such as Apu-Punchau,  the Conciliator and,  no
> doubt others who have not been named.

Perhaps that was exactly it? Suppose he gave Agilus Terminus Est. He could hardly go to Thrax bereft of one of his tools, or perhaps without it, he was waylaid or otherwise delayed. The Guild would see this as betrayal of the deal, and would do its best to set the civil authorities against him. He would know this, and seek to elude them - which could lead him into the army as someone suggested and thence to the meeting with the Autarch, the brain-eating, etc.

> Sev2,  whose story we are familiar with,  thus lives in the world
> created to some degree by Sev1 including the power to occasionally
> access the power of the white fountain.  Though,  clearly the future is
> still not written and he can fail when his time comes to be judged.
> (This is evident by his meeting men from two disparate futures.)
> As to why does Sev2 need to be judged when Sev1 was successful,  perhaps
> it is to determine whether the initial judgment was correct,  or as a
> fail-safe against Sev1 abusing such power as he was given.
> Todd

5926 Belknap VIA rail DSNET3 FSB erco imagery William BOP
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