(urth) mystery of the guild

Son of Witz sonofwitz at butcherbaker.org
Wed Feb 11 09:49:25 PST 2009

Regarding that post from the archives, I'll quote the relevant section:

Date: Sat, 5 Apr 2003 03:26:43 -0800 (PST)
From: Matt DeLuca <archdragon at wotmania.com>
Subject: (urth) FW: Severian as New Sun(Brandon Mason)

7)What is the mystery of the guild?
	EXCELLENT QUESION...and one that I think we can only speculate to be 
able to find an answer to.  After reading Urth of the Sun, (in which 
Severian meets Ymar at the guild) I have always had an idea (and I am 
sure most will agree that it is not a good one) that it has something to
 do with the bringing up of Autarchs.  Not Typhon, mind you, who is a 
monarch, but the new generation of Autarchs that began with Ymar and 
ended with Severian.  Also, I have always thought that Severian himself 
might have had something to do with the formation of the guild of 
torturers (even though there is not a lot of textual evidence to support
 it.)  I just thought it was interesting that when he became Apu Punchau
 in urth of the New Sun his people strangled him.  Also, his mother is 
named Catherine correct?  And the Holy Patron Saint for Order of Seekers
 of Truth and Penitence is Katharine.  Other than that, the only secret 
that I can remember within the text that Severian reveals is that, "torturers

I'll second that about Severian having at least an influence on the formation of the Guild. It's clear that his interaction with Ymar must be profound. Ymar set up the Phoenix Throne, after all, and tried to bring the New Sun himself, perhaps he thought that's what Severian was implying with his comments about Ymar.  But, even more importantly, Severian brought about the end of Women Torturers, which must have subsequently reshaped the torturers under Ymar. I assume it must have then become the guild as we know it.  And further, Severian as Conciliator, while he was wandering the countryside performing "miracles" was wearing a Fuligin cloak (indeed, described like Maitz's Shadow painting) which must have been adopted by the guild.


>-----Original Message-----
>From: David Stockhoff [mailto:dstockhoff at verizon.net]
>Sent: Wednesday, February 11, 2009 08:18 AM
>To: urth at lists.urth.net
>Subject: (urth)  mystery of the guild
>I am skeptical that something as vast as the RCC could ever "become" >something as tiny and obscure as the Guild, but there are certainly >correspondences and connections. The Guild could be a fragment of the >Church, perhaps descended from some actual monastic order. But which one? .They all seem pretty benevolent to me.

I don't find that hard to swallow. This society is like the last vestiges of human culture. It's so decayed and amnesiac that it barely even knows it's history. In a time where people "knew" the sun was dying out and there was essentially no future, except some prophetic hope, people might lose interest in just about everything other than mere survival and simple hope.

There must be a connection between the Order for Seekers of Truth and Penitence and The Pellerines. I read the Pelerines as the church, and the guild as the Inquisition.  Two branches of the same thing, that have evolved, as has everything else, with a sort of forgetfulness of their roots.

That a monial might have been sent to the torturers for hiding (or punishment, it's not clear, I'd guess hiding) could imply the connection.
I'm fairly convinced of the idea that Catherine is the Katherine actress of the Feast. The key symbolic thing that seals the deal for me is the moment where he has to symbolically behead her. If we read that as his mother, in light of what we know he has to do to Mother Earth, (and human mothers) it ties the two together perfectly.  


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