(urth) the garden of sleep and a couple of other things

Cliff Judge transentient at gmail.com
Mon May 17 08:58:34 PDT 2010

When Severian is nearly drowned by the nenuphars, his description of the
events show that he was confused about which direction is up and which is
down. This is something that I have read people who are nearly drowned
describe. I believe it was something like, he felt like he was pushed up,
and then pulled down....when really what must have happened is the undine
who freed him pulled him down, to get him under the mats of nenuphar, and
then pushed him up to the surface.

In the garden of sleep he reaches down to retrieve Terminus Est and one hand
gives it to him, then another grasps his other hand and pulls him down. Then
the chapter breaks and he is being helped UP onto the path by Dorcas.

While in the boat with Hildegrinn later, he sees a manatee - an Undine -
under the water. So what I think happened is, the Undine handed him his
sword, and then Dorcas pulled him up.

Cas = Dorcas?

Also, for reasons I shall you spare you all from, I have embarked on a
do-it-yourself fence repair project in my yard. As I entered my second hour
of trying to free this lump of badly-poured concrete from the earth in my
backyard, for the twelfth time the writing on Hildegrinn's card flashed
through my head. Why, oh why, could I not call upon his services?

Moving along...did Agia really stash the Claw in Severian's sabretache when
they initially wrecked the Pelegrines' altar, and then tried to pickpocket
it in Agilus's cell? Or did she plant it on him during the encounter in the
cell? We had already established that the Claw goes where it will at that
point in the story, perhaps it compelled Agia to hand it to Severian. And we
had also established that Agia was, as some women I have known, bat-shit
insane. I think it might be interesting to see her as an unwitting tool of
divine will, instead of an independent actor or random element.

Another thing I find interesting about Agilus and Agia's plot to kill Sev
was that it was apparently motivated by a lust for his sword? On the surface
level, sure, that's basically a complex form of banditry - they run this
shop, when they see people with nice things they pretend to be a Septention
and issue a challenge to a duel with Averns, which most people who don't
live in those quarters will, no doubt, be quite unprofficient with. But on a
deeper level, you've got two lower-class people who are willing to kill for
Severian's sword, which is his symbol of office, an emblem of his station in
the ancient power structure of the world.

Also...I was at this exhibition of sword-related martial arts the other week
(Swordfest 2010) and saw a demo by a guy who is trying to reconstruct
Bolognese dueling techniques from some old manuscripts. There was some
interesting explanations of what Bolognese dueling was about in the 1600s.
Apparently if the courts were unable to come to a verdict in a suit between
gentlemen, they'd order them to duel, to basically leave the matter up to
God and whoever had greater skill. The DEFENDANT was the one who chose the
weapons used - anything from a small rapier to a halberd to a gigantic
greatsword called a "spidoon". And the plaintiff had to make the initial
attack - which generally speaking puts him at a disadvantage. At any rate,
allowing the challenger to choose weapons seems to be an unfair type of
judicial dueling.

Severian was distracted by the sight of the two Avern leaves engaging in a
mid-flight duel, and Agilus put another leaf in his chest. Then, as he was
coming back to life, he describes a reassuring presence pressing on his
back, spine-to-spine. Now that I've read the whole three series once, that's
got to be the presence of God he feels. Any thoughts as to why he feels God
is back-to-back with him?
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