(urth) Severians Later Appearance (Spoilers)

Dave Tallman davetallman at msn.com
Fri Jan 15 16:16:52 PST 2010

James Wynn wrote:

> Chenille says Hy came to work for a commissioner to keep his kids
> ("eight or nine sprats I guess").
The "eight or nine sprats" are actually Hyacinth's brothers and sisters.
Here is the context. The commissioner said he wanted a maid, not a nanny.
The interjection about sprats suggests why her father could spare her, and
his desperation to have a better-paying job. It looks like a sale to me. And
if this is the Rajan, what is his relationship to all these sprats?

"...One of the commissioners saw [Hyacinth] when she was maybe fourteen, and
said, 'Listen, I need a maid. Send her up and she can live at my
house'--they had eight or nine sprats, I guess--'and she can make a little
money, too, and *you'll get a nice promotion.*' Hy's father was just a
*regular* clerk then, probably."

It's interesting that the name Hyacinth has triple ambiguity in the
Viron naming system.
1) A type of plant (female)
2) A name for yellow zircon (chem)
3) A species of pigeon (male)

I go for transgendered male to female, for all the usual reasons (body
looks like a boy, except for artificial breasts, tougher fighter than
she looks) and also:
1) The mural in her room that alludes to several other greek males in
relationships like Hyacynthus, without specifically naming him
(emphasis of a clue by omission).
2) The gay Blood would find it amusing to tempt the city officials
with a sex-changed boy.
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