(urth) AEG: More Theology

James B. Jordan jbjordan4 at cox.net
Tue Oct 28 20:54:07 PDT 2008

Theological allegory part II.

         Wolfe's novels are always polyphonic. I'll leave the noir 
and Lovecraft threads to others, and try and do my duty by pointing 
to the theological/Biblical ones. Or at least contributing to that aspect.

I. From the book of Revelation:
         In Revelation 12, the woman is attacked by the Dragon. 
Cassie plays missionary daughter Mariah (Mary). Reis is out to poison 
dragons throughout the world with poison gold.
         With the Dragon's initial defeat, he goes after the new form 
of the woman, who is given wings of a great eagle and taken to a 
wilderness (12:14). I assume it is clear how this happens to Cassie 
at the end of the novel. Also, while a good interpretation of 
Revelation sees the Dragon cast out of heaven with the ascension of 
Jesus Christ, traditional misunderstanding (a la Milton) sees this as 
the Dragon cast down to earth at the time of the initial rebellion of 
Lucifer. Wolfe may be using this motif in connection with the 
"arrival" on earth "before the Flood" of Satan/Squiddie.
         The Sky Dragon, fallen to humanity, manifests himself 
through Sea Beast, Land Beast, and Beast Image (Rev. 13). All this 
seems to be in AEG. Read the chapter and see how Wolfe puts a 
SF/Fantasy spin on it all. Squiddie is located in the water now, but 
he has powers on the land (the ATF, etc.). People worship the Sea 
Beast/Squiddie. It enlists people to make war on the "saints" all 
over the earth. The Sea Beast's servant, the Land Beast, seeks to 
control the economy (gold) (13:17).
         The Dragon, as Sea Beast, also manifests as an evil city, 
Babylon, a city seeking to control the economy (ch. 17-18). This city 
is thrown into the sea in 18:21.
         Revelation 22:20 ends, "Come, Lord Jesus." This is exactly 
how AEG ends.
         Of course, Lovecraft uses Revelation's evils also, and is 
concerned with society as Wolfe is. How much of Wolfe's read if 
Revelation is here influence by HPL I'll leave to those with more 
Lovecraftian experties to say.

II. Foot would and head wound.
         In Genesis 3, the deliverer will suffer a foot wound while 
crushing the head of the Ur-Serpent. So, it might seem that Gideon 
Chase is the deliverer and Reis the serpent. Yet, Christ is head of 
the Church, the Bride, and so the bashing in of Reis's head, in 
context, is a crucifixion.
         So, who is Gideon Chase who is also Gilbert Corby?
         First, he would seem to be the offspring of the sons of God 
(angels / Wolder men) and the daughters of men. Such men became 
nephilim, strong ones, men of renown (Gen. 6). [Note: though this is 
a common read of Genesis 6, it does not hold water in the text. 
Anyway...] The Wolder men try to seduce human women. ("Aliens want 
our women!!") Woldercan is a dangerous and possibly evil place. Fish 
talk and try to mess you up (agents of Squiddie?). The forests are 
evil, period. Women's periods, the "distress of women," sometimes 
called "the curse" by women, seems to be a multiplied factor on Woldercan.
         As an offspring of "angels/demons," it's no surprise that 
Chase has a black heavenly chariot. Voices inside the chariot tempt 
Cassie. She's not bright enough to perceive that, but Chase feared 
it, which is why he did not want her to drive it. Cassie is not real 
bright, but she's pretty innocent, and in her exalted semi-angelic 
status is even more so.

         Second, Gil-Bert means "bright pledge/hostage," with the Gil 
part as "hostage."
         Corby, in English/Scandavian means "Dweller in Cor's Land," 
but in French it's a diminutive of "crow." This is Wolfe. I vote for Crow.
         Gideon, of course, was a warrior messiah of the book of 
Judges. He fought the followers of Baal, beginning by tearing down an 
image of Baal. Judges 6ff.
         Chase means "Dweller of the Wood/Huntingground."

         So: Gideon of the Forest = A Hostage Crow
         I'm not getting a BFO or AHA moment here. Given the evil 
forests of Woldercan, Gideon of the Forest might indicate a mixture 
of good and evil in him. Gil Corby is more mysterious, if I've 
translated aright, and I'm not sure of that.

         Third, however, at the moment (and I've only read the book 
once), Gideon Chase seems like an Old Testament leader who initially 
is enlisted by the ruling powers to oppose Reis (think of "The 
Detective of Dreams") but eventually comes to support him, and 
eventually to turn over the Bride to him. At one point Cassie, 
speaking of his being pursued, calls him Gideon Chased, but is that 
not also Gideon Chaste? The footwound of Gideon (so common and so 
multivalent in Wolfe) could be that of Jacob, something that both 
humbles him and also enables him to enter a new and more saintly life.

III. Transformations:
         It's been pointed out that Reis seems mainly a power seeker 
initially, but then becomes messianic and sacrificial. I think also 
that Chase has a mixed past, but becomes a new man. Reis dies for 
Cassie, but in a way Chase has already done so, by letting her go.
         Big guess, and I have no way to know, but I think that, 
inspired by Reis, Chase returns to Woldercan to begin some 
housecleaning. Cassie, who desired to "be somebody and do something" 
goes to help him.



James B. Jordan
Director, Biblical Horizons
Box 1096
Niceville, FL 32588
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