(urth) The Tomb of the Unknown Severian

Jeff Wilson jwilson at io.com
Mon Jan 7 18:51:28 PST 2008

gwern0 at gmail.com wrote:
> On 2007.12.20 00:57:12 -0600, Jeff Wilson <jwilson at io.com> scribbled 1.9K characters:
>> Roy C. Lackey wrote:
>>> Any other candidates?
>> Given that Sev1 succeeded in becoming Autarch but failed in Yesod, a
>> pro-New Sun agent may have arranged for a change in history to drown
>> him, clearing the way for another candidate to become Autarch and win
>> Yesod.  Then Juturna has a justifiable reason to save Sev2, hoping to
>> restore the timeline and serve Abaia by preventing the New Sun.
>> Would that've been necessary? The New Sun was en route for an awful
> long time. Plenty long enough for many many Autarchs to have been
> tested. What made one particular failed non-time-travelling Autarch
> (Sev1) so crucial, so make-or-break that important players would've
> expended effort on him? 

It may not be Sev1 so much as the lack of time remaining. With the White 
Fountain scheduled to arrive in 40-50 years, there may only be time for 
one or two more Autarchs, depending on how overt the various time 
traveling factions dare to be. Once Tzadkiel gets a "winner", she drops 
him off just in time to bring the New Sun by uniting the Old Sun and the 
White Fountain. If there is no winner, the Fountain just keeps going, 
and the New Sun never comes.

>If he failed the test, I don't see how Sev1
> would've been very important at all. Sev2 was important because of the
Claw, his future/past paths and so on. Sev1? Not so much.

I'm not sure Sev2's Claw ultimately makes a difference, since it is 
ultimately just an old thorn.

> And what chance could the pro-New Sun agent have relied on that whoever was next would have been any better?

We don't know what selection process there is for choosing Autarchs, 
only that there appears to be one. The
three who appear are all drawn from government service workers, some 
exceptional people to be sure but
not necessarily unique.

Jeff Wilson - jwilson at io.com
< http://www.io.com/~jwilson >

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