(urth) Grand Unified Theory

James Wynn crushtv at gmail.com
Mon Sep 13 11:39:28 PDT 2010

>> Roy C. Lackey
>> Good for you. Beef? Last time I checked, Santa's reindeer had horns, sinews,
>> hooves and hides. Then there are so many more animals, like goats and
>> buffalo and *I guess I should be thankful, right down to the Marrow* in my
>> bones, that Bison couldn't fly, whether or not he has a Smoothbone. Hey,
>> maybe Horn's mother was Marrow's mistress and Horn was really his son, not
>> Smoothbone's, which would of course put the symbolic horns of a cuckold on
>> Smoothbone, so everything works out okay and they are all connected. After
>> all, Smoothbone fathered a son by his second wife, and the son was named,
>> you guessed it, Stag. Perfect! Should I stop now? Just imagine where I could
>> take this if my imagination wern't so impoverished.
> Anyway you aren't quite getting it. As whole animals, reindeer, goats, buffalo,
> bison and stags do not fit in with hoof, hide, etc. And cuckold, being
> derived from bird behavior, isn't even in the same ballpark.
> *Smoothbone and Marrow are rather more in line with the concept*.
> [snip] To be honest, I have been pounding my forehead trying to think of a way
> that the names Horn, Sinew, Hoof and Hide are not related.
> Why does that connection suck?

They suck because they do.  Compared to Hoof and Hide, the name 
connection of Horn to Sinew is almost an insult. It's like saying 
"Technically, you're my son but..."
On the other hand, if Sinew were named in homage to Silk it would be 
something of an honor I suppose, but Horn never says that was the case. 
And he certainly doesn't seem inclined to bestow any special blessings 
on Sinew. Horn's hostility and paranoia toward Sinew borders on deranged.

But on the issue of the names of Marrow and Sinew and Smoothbone:

As Horn leaves Lizard Island, Sinew tosses his hunting knife into the 
boat. Apparently it was an impressive throw. [OBW  page 43 (paperback)]

On page 126-127:
Marrow sees Horn off on his way to Pajarocu. Horn says "we embraced and 
he called me his son". Then "Just as Mucor had waited until I was well 
under way  and could not easily return her gift before presenting me 
with Babbie, and as Sinew had waited before throwing me his precious 
knife, so Marrow waited before presenting me with his third and final 
gift. It was his stick, which he flung aboard in imitation of Sinew (I 
had told him about it) when I was well away from the pier. I shouted 
thanks, and I believe I picked it up and flourished it, too, though I 
could not help thinking about Blood's giving Patera Silk his lion-headed 

There are more associations in that little paragraph than one can "shake 
a stick at", so to speak. It is packed with irony considering Horn's 
paranoia about Sinew wanting to kill him, Silk actually killing Blood, 
and, yeah, Sinew sort of killing Horn eventually. In a story, this sort 
of blatant parallel behavior (Marrow & Sinew tossing items into Horns 
boat from the pier) does _not_ mean nothing. There is enough there, that 
I would rightfully seem pig-headed if I were to be cockily derisive 
about people supposing whether Wolfe was intending something more in the 
quite _genuine_ nominative connections between Sinew, Marrow, and Blood.


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