(urth) Vodalus and Severian

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Mon Sep 27 05:12:20 PDT 2010

>Jane Delawney: By ingesting the memories of what is probably quite a random 
>selection of individuals ('Not another tribade ...!'), 
I tend to view things a different way. I see the "tribade" comment as a 
significance pointer; a way of saying to us that the last victim of a 
Vodalus dinner was an important person whose personal details matter.
We are only introduced to two such victims, Thecla and the female corpse in the
first chapter of Shadow. I don't see much in the text to warrant speculation on
others. Moreover, Thecla's body seems to have been kept on ice for quite some time,
waiting for a special moment. Access to Severian would seem to the the obvious
reason this moment is special. We are told the purpose of the feast is to bind Vodalus' 
followers more tightly to him. But perhaps the reasons go deeper.
There is a chain of physical appearance clues (dark hair, oval face, olive skin, pale
gown) that might associate the female corpse to Severian's mother, Catherine. Perhaps
the real reason for choice of victims is not only to create loyalty bonds. Perhaps there
is the hidden purpose of collecting the lives and memories of people who are important 
to Severian.
In the beginning, Severian says he might have a presentiment of his future. Juturna shares
this. I suspect others do too (including her dad/husband). Vodalus may not be the one making 
the choices of victims. Given that he works for the Ascians, there is the suggestion that he 
serves a greater, unseen master (or masters). Vodalus first brings up the chess analogy but 
he seems to be a pawn, himself.
Father Inire's letter suggests he is quite happy to replace Vodalus with Agia. Presumably,
she makes a better antagonist to Severian than Vodalus. I suspect Inire was actually rather 
actively involved in his death by worm, and his replacement. (mirrors, mirrors)
Master Ash suggests that the Ascians are making their massive offensive, despite being ill-
equipped and manned because of some sudden new unidentified development. I think it is the 
imminent presence of Severian on the battlefield.
Tzadkiel says the whole purpose of the life of the old Autarch was so he could be tested and
fail and be castrated, just so that Severian could have those memories during his testing. 
Appian (?) is not so pleased to learn this.
My point is that I don't think there is much of random anything happening in this story.
It is all a play. A set piece designed to manipulate a certain player. It is all about 
Severian, all the time. 		 	   		  

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