(urth) Damn filthy Hiero-wasp-creatures

thalassocrat at nym.hush.com thalassocrat at nym.hush.com
Tue Jan 8 05:08:13 PST 2008

On Tue, 08 Jan 2008 17:37:27 +1100 "Roy C. Lackey" 
<rclackey at stic.net> wrote:
>>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.
>Sev's abilities to heal and to raise the dead to life again are 
>not the
>products of alien high-tech. Even mighty Tzadkiel could not heal 
>arm or raise Zama to life the way Sev did, as Barbatus explained 
>when Sev
>complained of being brought back to life as a mere high-tech 
>eidolon. (URTH,

A couple of things. First, I think the Hierodules are dupes. They 
probably believe all this hogwash. (I think Father Inire is a dupe 
also, whether or not he's actually a Hierodule.)

Second, I concede that maybe not everything Sev does faux-miracle-
wise has a Tzadkiel-tech basis. Another annoying but evident 
possibility is that Sev somehow or other has Magic Blood which lets 
him draw & focus energy from external sources in time-twisting 

Even if this is the case, it doesn't imply any kind of divine 
origin for this power & it remains the case that it was Sev's own 
miracles which boosted the establishment of the New Sun religion, 
which was my original point.

Sev may be the Hierogrammate's chosen one just because this Magic 
Blood is a necessary attribute of what they want from the Hieros, 
possibly the original source of their own time-twisting powers. At 
least this would provide some better motivation for the question of 
why Sev. Perhaps he's supposed to mate with every female on Ushas 
or something.

>>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 
>>parting words, Urth will be destroyed at *Sev's* command - not 
>And just before saying that, Tzadkiel said, "The death agonies of 
>the world
>you know will be offered to the Increate. [. . .] Much that is 
>will perish, and with it most of your race; but your home will be 
>(153) And that seems to be the point of it all. Bad-ol'-Man needed 

>to be
>slapped down -- again. That's how the god-game works. Sacrifice in 

>attempt to placate a wrathful god, a conciliation made by a 
>Only Sev isn't the one who had to pay the price, no matter how bad 

>he said
>he felt about it all after the fact. After all, torturers are 
>famous for
>their sympathetic qualities.

Of course, as you say, it comes down to whether or not you think 
Tzadkiel actually has any idea of what the Increate might want. I 
think it fits better to assume that Wolfe's Increate is not in fact 
a wrathful Jehovah figure, and Tzadkiel is bullshitting himself 
and/or Sev. 

>In any event, BF&O thought of themselves as holy slaves, but they 
>were not
>Tzadkiel's slaves, even though they had been fashioned by the
>Hierogrammates. As Famulimus said, " How could Hierodules be holy, 

>did we
>not serve the Increate? Our master is he, and he only." (36) My 
>point here
>is that both the Hierogrammates and their helpers seem to believe 
>that they
>were serving the Increate when they did what they did, to, for and 

>about the
>people of Urth.

But obviously, belieiving it doesn't make it true. 

>>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 ...
>Silkhorn continued to make sacrificial offerings to the Outsider, 
>even after
>he was on Blue and gave up on being just a reader of entrails. You 

>seem to
>think Silkhorn a fine, upstanding dude and the Outsider the True 
>Silkhorn did the same thing Severian-the-Conciliator did, only on 
>a smaller
>scale; a matter of degree, not kind. If Wolfe's work is any 
>indicator of his
>religious leanings, he seems to regard the concept of religious 
>sacrifice in
>a favorable light.

Really, I think Wolfe would indeed see a qualitative difference 
between sacrificing animals and killing off most of a planet full 
of humans, as I imagine most people would. Maybe that's actually a 
bad distinction,  but I don't think Wolfe would aagree. I certainly 
don't think SilkHorn is perfect, and in fact I think sacrifice is 
an area where he's a bit of dunce. He never seems to get the point 
of Oreb squawking "No cut!" all the time. 

But I think Olivine's little communion is supposed to show that 
Silk did decide that sacrifices weren't pleasing to the Outsider, 
the only god. SilkHorn doesn't explicitly remember this decision, 
but think of his "sacrifice" of bread and wine to the Outsider 
after the Battle of Blanko. Also think of his digust at the hordes 
of animals slaughtered in the sacrifice in the Grand Manteion in 

I wouldn't be surprise to find that SilkHorn would still 
participate in animal sacrifices even if he did remember the 
decision, if necessary. He'd just think of them as rather 
meaningless and distasteful.

And, obviously, I do indeed think that Wolfe intends SilkHorn to be 
a very fine upstanding dude, and the Outsider to be the really-
truly God. (Obviously, that doesn't mean that I necessarily agree 
that SilkHorn is my idea of an exemplar or that I actually believe 
in any kind of god.)

One final thing: Wikipedia says Tzadkiel is supposed by some to be 
the angel who stopped Abraham from killing Isaac. I vaguely recall 
that this is supposed to be the definitive point at which Yahweh 
made it clear that human sacrifice is a Bad Thing. It seems that 
even T's name is a lie. 

But I don't think he always lies. Eg: Mini-T says to Sev beside 
Madregot: "I've many times been called a liar". 

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