(urth) The Pelerine (COTA 8)

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Sat Sep 11 19:28:44 PDT 2010

>Andrew Mason: There's also the chapter 'Dorcas', in which, if I remember 
>rightly, the name 'Dorcas' never occurs. 

Yep, though we do hear the nickname, "Cas" repeated a few times, as Ryan Dunn
and I discussed recently. I suspect few first time readers connect the boatman's 
lost wife, Cas, with young Dorcas.
>That it's Einhildis makes a lot of sense; though, as you say, it's not
>entirely clear why that should lead to concealing her name.
Aside from Cyriaca, the most interesting thing to me about Severian's conversation 
with The Pelerine is the suggestion that he may have some pedophilic thoughts 
at times. Also interesting is that one of the other times there is a suggestion of 
Severian's pedophilia is during a conversation with another notable but unnamed 
character, the Old Leech (his boy Mamas gets a name but not the Leech). 
I admit that I  may be the only person in the lupine universe to see this pedophilic 
tendency, so perhaps it is just me being weird. (I myself am very normal, I swear!)
But, given that I see much allegory to ancient Greek myth I don't think it is as weird 
as it might appear. Zeus and Heracles and a number of others had such pedophilic 
tendencies and it would seem they were more tolerated back then.
>I'm not convinced by the idea that everyone who Severian has sex with
>is related to him. Is there any special evidence in this (Cyriaca's) case?

Many think that the maid playing Holy Katharine is Catherine, Severian's mother.
Cyriaca would seem to be roughly Catherine's age. Also they both have dark hair, an 
oval face and may both be failed Pelerines. There is some other circumstantial 
evidence that connects them. Not enough evidence to fully prove Cyriaca is Severian's 
relative but enough for me to consider it possible, since I am actively looking for 
his family members in the story.
>Cyriaca knows a lot, but her knowledge is strangely bitty. I'm inclined to think that the 
>knowledge she has is not secret, just not widely shared.
If all she knew about was the formation of the Library, I might agree. But she seems to have
intimate knowledge of the Hiero race and how the Hierogrammates were formed and how they use
aquastors. It is the same story we hear from Malrubius and from Apheta and Tzadkiel in Yesod, 
but from a different point of view (a darker, more twisted view).
In recent discussions we've sorta determined that the Hierogrammates were probably created by
humans from Ushas. If not, by humans from another universe or something. Either way, this stuff
seems way, way too cosmic for someone like provincial Cyriaca to have come by casually on Urth. 
Her uncle is a rare book collector, making him like a curator sort of person. And we know Father 
Inire has a penchant for trying to unfairly awe little girls with stuff which is far too cosmic 
for them to really grasp. I see a likely connection.
>Yes, I've wondered about the Red Tower (which seems, with the Witches' Tower and the Bear, to be 
>one of those nearest the Matachin, but whose function is never stated). But if it were connected 
>with the Pelerines, wouldn't Severian know more about them?...I know about khaibits. Where do we 
>hear about secret beautification and hairless creatures (in connection with Exultants - I remember 
>the witches' hairless creatures)?

Well the torturers (even Master Gurloes) all seem rather scared of the Witches. There is something 
about the torturers never going to the tower of Healing as ancient scores might be settled...I 
was just thumbing through Borski's Solar Labyrinth and he devotes a chapter to the witches with 
a bunch of evidence about how they could be connected to the Pelerines and perhaps that the Cumaean 
serves as the leader of both. 
There is a mention of Chatelaine Lelia's hairless rats which seem similar to the Cumaean's hairless 
creatures. Might be a connection.  I'll say this. There is much mystery associated with those in the 
Commonwealth who dabble in the biological sciences. We get a pretty detailed view of Father Inire's 
mirrors and a blaster pistol and flyers, but the machinery in the Witches Tower, Typhon's building, 
Baldanders castle is all very mysteriously described.
It is my theory that there is much cloning going on here but it is highly disguised and usually 
unmentioned My guess is that the hairless creatures are cloned fetuses; the Mandragora being an 
Regarding secret beautification, there are the khaibits which is sort of secret, their purpose only 
revealed at the end of CotA. There is Dr. Talos' beautification of Jolenta, the secrets of which are 
revealed at theend of CotC. The Cumaean is supposed to be able to beautify even more than Dr. Talos. 
And Merryn, who looks the same after 15 years, has the skin stretched tighly across her face like 
Another quickie is from Severian's mushroom-induced hallucination in which we learn that exultant women 
have "their eyes made large, as Thecla's had been by the application of miunute amounts of certain poisons 
in childhood". Maybe the most cryptic is a dream sequence in which Thecla is in a room with a bunch of tall 
women and one has a "heart-shaped patch" with "web-fingered wings" on her face. There seems to be something 
going on with blood bats that we are not fully told about.
For so many years I was rather stumped on why all this mysterious beautification was going on in the 
seams and cracks of BotNS. Recently I stumbled upon the Judeo-Christian story of a certain fallen angel who 
specialized in bringing war to men and artificial beautification to women and mating with them. I think 
this may be related to this story. 		 	   		  

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