(urth) Thea's Identity

DAVID STOCKHOFF dstockhoff at verizon.net
Wed Apr 10 10:26:21 PDT 2013

(1) I forgot about the triangular faces in 5HC---of course. Are there heart-shaped faces in 5HC?

(2) I agree that the three maids have been repurposed as three clones, a clue that maids and servants with matching names are clones. Pega and Pelagia fit this.

(3) I agree that we should probably shift our assumptions a bit to consider cloning as not something just for nobles and mad scientists. I find this to be difficult, but I suppose a palace servant could afford it. What does this do to assumptions about Severian's parentage and why/how he got into the Guild? Was Severian actually born of his mother with Odilo's clone---was that Catherine's crime?

(4) It fits Wolfe's Greek model to allow ownership of other humans; cloning is an update of that. It allows him to depict a plainly fallen but not thoroughly evil world, and fits with the Commonwealth as the very last doddering, weak vestige, Constantinople-like, of a global/interstellar empire after a population collapse.

> From: Lee Berman <severiansola at hotmail.com>
>To: "urth at urth.net" <urth at urth.net> 
>Sent: Wednesday, April 10, 2013 10:52 AM
>Subject: (urth) Thea's Identity
>>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 
>>except Thais.
>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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