(urth) Thea's Identity
severiansola at hotmail.com
Wed Apr 10 07:52:06 PDT 2013
>David Stockhoff: Are any known clones, such as the uhlans, also described with triangular
>faces? If so I can't find it.
No, but in 5HoC, the Maitre-cloned slave with four arms has a triangular face. Also Number Five
bears a strong resemblance to Severian and Phaedria bears a resemblance to Thecla/Thea. I'm
pretty sure Wolfe meant there to be some thematic connections between these two stories, if only
tangential. Cloning remains shrouded in Number Five's story and I suggest it is even more tightly
concealed but just as important in BotNS. In BotNS we get it in veiled hints, throwaway
comments by the old Autarch about khaibits and Severian's dreams as child-Thecla but I think cloning
is one of the most important and driving forces behind the scenes (including for such beings as Abaia,
Tzadkiel and Father Inire). I remain convinced the five caskets in Severian's mausoleum is a 5HoC allusion.
>(1) We have no *particular *reason to think any of the four is a clone
Well, we have Severian, who is problematic, as you say. But on the other hand, each time he
is restored as an eidolon, he is cloned in some manner. It is striking that he has been
replicated in mind but it can't be ignored that he is replicated in body also.
With Pega, we have the clues of her name paired with her mistress Pelagia and the mysterious
nature of their relationship. Why would Wolfe even write such a debate over "ancilla" vs.
"soubrette"? We don't care about that. So why are we asked to question the relationship?
Then we have Odilo, where the evidence is weakest. But if the reality and ubiquity of cloning
has already been established then I think Wolfe expects us to drop the assumption that
every time we have a family relationship it is based on sexual reproduction.
Odilo is almost the same as his father. We know neither is much of a ladies man and what few
opportunities for sex appeared were sidetracked by his (their) obsessive attention to palacial
job and duties If we assume that cloning is just as likely a mode of parentage as sex, then I
suggest that cloning is the better hypothesis for the appearance of Odilo Jr.
>(3) Pega and Pelagia makes sense based on Thais and Thea and because one
>is owned by the other. Are there any such pairs we can *disprove?*
If the veiled inclusion of clones within this story was Wolfe's intention I do wish he had been
a bit more liberal with his clues. Naturally I accept the possibility that what I see is a
product of pattern-seeking and confirmation bias.
Some imperfectly name-connected pairs are Domnicella and Domnina and Catherine and Carina. Domnicella may be a title, but perhaps it is actually her name which Severian gets wrong. We know that the Pelerines draw members from aristocratic families. Original to the church, clone to concubinage? Could be.
The Catherine-Contessa Carina connection is more intriguing in light of the theory that the multiple-
appearance, unaging Catherine is a product of cloning and the Contessa Carina's three maids (all with names of beheaded saints).
As with my similar solutions to such BotNS puzzles such as knowing the members of Severian's family and
the nature of Father Inire, there is no one conclusive bit of evidence. For me, the solution resides
in a cluster of circumstantial clues which we are supposed to sum up then make an intuitive leap
of faith that Wolfe has indeed included such puzzles in his stories. If I have leapt in error on any
or all of them looks to be a mystery both Gene Wolfe and I will take to the grave.
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