(urth) Wind god

Sonofwitz at butcherbaker.org Sonofwitz at butcherbaker.org
Mon Nov 8 09:17:27 PST 2010

On Nov 8, 2010, at 8:47 AM, Lee Berman <severiansola at hotmail.com> wrote:

>> Jeff Wilson: This may be the substance behind Lee's observations of time-traveling 
>> architecture; it's not sequentially bound with up and down, but polarized: the jungle
>> hut is Ushas-y, while Valeria's court is Ragnorok-y.
> My suggestion was that time travel structures in BotNS consist of a labyrinthine entrance
> path coupled with a vertical structure. I'd focused on the fact that Ragnarok is only 
> visible from the upper stories of Last House in positing that verticality is the key to
> the time travel. Very helpful discussion this year pointed out to me that the text also 
> suggests the pathway itself is involved in time travel. So perhaps both are involved. Or
> perhaps their functioning is left deliberately ambiguous and unknowable. I dunno.
> But I do like the focus on the theme of a bifurcating path and choices of warm golden green
> vs. cold, wintry black and white. As Severian travels upon Brook Madregot it seems he has a
> single channel to follow as he moves to the past. But as he moves to the future (even futures 
> he has already lived through) he is presented with branchings and choices.
> In combination with this, I think the Master Ash episode is one of the best bits of evidence 
> for Ryan's adjunct discussion of Severian being watched (and his watchers also being watched).
> What urthly purpose could possibly be served by the Pelerines sending Severian to "save" or 
> kidnap Master Ash? The provided reason was obviously bogus. Master Ash was obviously much safer
> where he was than if he had been brought to the lazaret.  Whomever initated the order clearly 
> had some arcane knowledge available to be able to provide the correct pathway on the map to the 
> Last House.
> Capturing Master Ash seems clearly to be a test by these not-quite omniscient observers as to
> whether Severian is on the right path to bring the future they desire.  A question I have is 
> whether those who gave the order to the Pelerines wished for Master Ash to be present with
> Severian, thus assuring the Ragnarok Path, or for his absence, assuring the Aureate Path 
> (though this is a Long Sun term I think it is applicable here). 
> Perhaps (almost assuredly) there is more than one level of observation and manipulation at work.
> Surely those who oppose the New Sun have been put to work against their own goals by a higher
> power. Superficially the Pelerines appear aligned with the Concilliator and the New Sun but I 
> detect hints that they are associated with some of the darker powers of the story. Moreover, I 
> note that they have encased the Claw in cold, hard, blue corundum and keep it hidden from sight. 
> Also their costumes are red (not yellow or gold) which may symbolize their true loyalties.  		 	   		  

It's certainly hard to see the first meaning, but the third is clear.
By the end of Sword, when the acumulated myth of the conicilaitor, aka, the blue corundum enclosure, is shattered and Severian holds the naked claw, he is truly on the right path. He does the deed of the Pelerines, showing that after all of the oaths he's broken, he is still aligned with the hope that the Concilator/New Sun of the Pelerine faiths.  Thematically, by removing the Master Ash bear from his cave, who then DISAPPEARS, we see veiled proof that Severian has chosen the path that will avoid the Ragnaorok.

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