(urth) Severians Later Appearance (Spoilers)

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Tue Jan 12 11:44:30 PST 2010

First, apologies for posting the entire digest last time!

I too had some trouble with that episode. But I'd respond with 2 comments:

(1) Why would Silk/Horn be part of Severian's story of his rise to the throne/ascent to godhood? That is after all the rhetorical thrust of his narrative. Random meetings with gods and ghosts that he may not even understand would not necessarily belong in it. And if he already believes in such beings, why would he even comment?

(2) Wolfe plainly wrote Urth to fill in gaps and make Book more accessible---he states this somewhere. With Merryn, I'd guess he wanted to tie up another loose end as well as clarify that Short Sun is in the same cycle as New Sun. Pretty mundane but important motives.


Message: 6
Date: Tue, 12 Jan 2010 18:47:17 +0000
From: Tom Hopkins <topkins at hotmail.co.uk>
To: <urth at lists.urth.net>
Subject: Re: (urth) Severians Later Appearance (Spoilers)
Message-ID: <COL121-W21C82D8C3C08B5E41FE5DBE66C0 at phx.gbl>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="windows-1252"

I think in some ways it could create some interesting
possibilities. If it really is the Severian from New Sun he meets, then could
it not possible mean everything from Silks initial enlightment to his gaining
the power of astral projection were simply given to him so he could influence
Severian into bringing the New Sun? We already know that the Severian we know
has multiple people who meddle in his timeline to help him bring the New Sun,
what's one more? 

But the main problem I have is that he doesn't mention meeting SilkHorn in New
Sun, which I'm certain he would do. For someone who claims to never forget to
not record something that important to his life, something that inspired the
recording of his life?s work would surely feature heavily in his musing. As we
so often see Severian contemplate a range of ideas, I feel there can be no way
he would leave it out, as seeing an image of a seeming holy man who can shift
the world around him would surely play into his deepening consideration of the

Basically it is my view that the Severian included in Short Sun cannot be the
same Severian in New Sun, or rather the same iteration of him; even if it does
heavily hint that it is. I'm sure some could argue that it could be related to
Severian saying in New Sun about how he thought he might be insane, but because
multiple people saw SilkHorn and surely the consequences of his actions would
have been widespread, It seems unlikely that Severian could attribute his
appearance to his sanity. 

The whole meeting between SilkHorn and Severian seems off to me; lots of little
things which are not the way they should be. The fact of Severian and Merryn
which I mentioned earlier, and that she even says, "He is my
brother," and does then go onto clarify that she meant about the relationship
between the torturers and the witches. But after all these years of theories
concerning who Severians sister is, and so little hints,  would Gene Wolfe who is renowned for his
tricksy writing say something as crass as that? For me that seems far too
obvious, so therefore must be misdirection, but to what purpose I'm unsure.

More information about the Urth mailing list