(urth) Babbie, a Destrier?

Tom Hopkins topkins at hotmail.co.uk
Mon Jan 11 07:52:37 PST 2010

My problem with this is that in Appendix of Shadow of the
Claw, Wolfe is acting as the translator rather than the writer himself. He only
knows the facts provided by Severian, and if Destriers were to have 8 legs it
may be something he were to take for granted, as for him it would be
commonplace and known by nearly all; and therefore fail to mention. With
animals throughout the books he rarely describes them in depth, merely by name
as he assumes we would know what they are. I feel this could be another such
case, or maybe merely something Gene Wolfe decided to elaborate on later in
another series as nothing contradicts it in the original text. 

The main problem I have is just how similar they are, unless its just Wolfe
playing tricks I feel there must be a reason behind it. I also found the Shear
Bear mentioned in the Long Sun omnibus to be very reminiscent of the Alzabo in
New Sun; this however is more of a guess and has much less evidence to support
a link between the two. The only real inclination I got of this was merely in
the text where the Shear Bear is mentioned it does sound similar to the
attributes of an Alzabo.

Another point I feel worth mentioning which relates to all 3 is that the Hus,
Destriers and Alzabo are all described as having red eyes. Whilst this could
well be nothing, it seems curious to me as all 3 (If we are counting Hus and
Destriers as separate) are of alien origin, with at least the Destrier being in
some way a construct of man. Does this hint a connection between them all, in that
they are possibly from the same planet or eco system?

I'd be very interested to hear thoughts on the matter, thanks.

Date: Mon, 11 Jan 2010 04:56:25 -0800
From: jsmith2627 at att.net
To: urth at lists.urth.net
Subject: Re: (urth) Babbie, a Destrier?

You're right about the resemblances, but I don't think they're the same.   In the Appendix to Shadow, Wolfe says, "I have scrupled to call these creatures horses, since I am certain the word is not strictly correct.     The 'Destriers' of   The Book of the New Sun are unquestionably swifter and more enduring than the animals we know, and the speed of those used for military purposes seems to permit the delivering of cavalry charges against enemies supported by high-energy armament."
This passage suggests that destriers are closely related to our horses--probably genetically modified--and not as different as the eight-legged hus.

Best wishes,


--- On Sun, 1/10/10, Tom Hopkins <topkins at hotmail.co.uk> wrote:

From: Tom Hopkins <topkins at hotmail.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) Babbie, a Destrier?
To: urth at urth.net
Date: Sunday, January 10, 2010, 5:52 PM


Hello I'm new to the group so please forgive me if this has
already been asked. I also apologise If I have submitted this to the wrong

After reading recently through the Long and Short Sun books, it seems to me
that Babbie is hinted to be what Severian comes to know as a Destrier, or they
are related in some way.

Several features seem to be common to both: the tusks or long teeth, the red
eyes and the claws which are often called hooves. Whilst Babbie starts off
small, he grows to be around the same size as I imagine a Destrier does. The
main problem I see against this theory is the fact a Hus is described as having
8 legs, whilst I can't remember Destriers being described as such, I also
however cannot remember them being described as having only 4 limbs either; and
as for much of my first reading I simply assumed Destriers to be horses, I can
imagine myself merely assuming they have four limbs also. 

The main issue that confuses me is that even if they aren't the same creature,
why are they so similar. Especially the part when Babbie first emerges and horn

"It advanced, the thick, short claws some people call hooves loud on the
stone floor,". As well as all the other details, they seem too similar for
it to be merely accidental even if they are a completely different species.

After searching through the archives I couldn't find this topic yet
discussed,  I apologise if it has been and I simply missed it. I am just
curious to hear your thoughts on the matter, even If I am completely wrong, so
any replies would be much appreciated.

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