(urth) Thea's Identity

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 12 11:52:37 PDT 2013

>David Stockhoff: Didn't know the vats were Face Dancers!

Yeah, I can't remember if it book 5 or 6 of the Dune series but at 
some point the Duncan Idaho clone remembers his "birth mother" she
being essentially a monstrous tube-fed uterus-body stump of a female 
face dancer. Their race's ultimate secret shame and embarassment.

>As for that succession---as far as I can recall there is no evidence anyone knows 
>about the central gimmick of the Autarchy except the Autarch himself and Father 
>Inire, and I suppose Vodalus and whatsername. So the entire seraglio may be under 
>the impression that their kids have a shot at the throne. Keeps 'em focused.

I think we are given enough circumstantial evidence to figure out the mechanism
of succession in The Commonwealth. In one appendix, Wolfe specifically lists the
social classes- Exultants, Armigers, Optimates,"Servants of the Throne", 
cacogens, the commonality and the religious.

>From Cyriaca we learn that the Autarch and the Exultants are in direct opposition
to each other (hence the need for the hostage seraglio which includes Thecla). It
would appear that despite the provincial rulings of fiefdoms, exultants have no
shot at the throne themselves. All three autarchs we know something about (Severian,
Appian and Ymar) have been raised up from the "Servants of the Throne" caste. Since
Severian mentions mop maids (IIRC) and other such in his Autarchial memories, I take
the elevation of autarchial servants to be the case through all the history of the

As David suggests above, Father Inire would seem to be involved in the process. In 
fact, every time the Old Autarch meets with Severian, there seems to be a possible 
iteration of Father Inire hovering somewhere nearby- the cowled servitor, the uturuncu
shaman and a few more who are less obvious candidates. Given his longevity, surely
Inire is the Rasputin/Richelieu-ish power behind the throne and he who does the real 
autarchial choosing. As Cyriaca suggests, it is the power of the cacogens who allow
the autarch to stay in power, keeping the power-hungry exultants at bay.

Interestingly, Cyriaca, the armagette, seems to know more about the power structure of 
the Commonwealth than Vodalus who has focused all of his rebellion on the person of the 
Autarch and doesn't seem to recognize the backing power of Inire and the cacogens at 
all. Why would Cyriaca know so much more than Vodalus? I think the clear answer is that 
she is getting information from her mysterious, ancient book-loving "uncle" whose 
knowlege of Urth and Briah's cosmic history is rivalled only by Malrubius. (further
circumstantial evidence suggest to me this "uncle" is in fact Father Inire, but that
would be another thread).

>Gerry Quinn: And that leaves aside the need for managed population decline in the face of 
>the approaching ice. Most likely there are too many people, rather than too 

I tend to agree with Gerry that underpopulation is not really the driving force behind 
cloning on Urth. I think the most instructive answer is found in historical and mythological

Perhaps it is is safe to say that such behaviors as incest, pedophilia and homosexuality 
were tolerated in ancient Egyptian and Greek societies more than others because their 
pharaoahs and kings and other leaders engaged in such behavior. Since some of these ancient
leaders were elevated to god status over the centuries, it is not surprising to find these
behaviors in the Egyptian and especially the Greek pantheon of deities. Another odd aspect
found in these ancient gods was the potential for asexual reproduction, notably by Zeus, who
budded off Athena and Dionysus. But there are other examples.

Taking Gene Wolfe's statement that he considers pagan gods to be real, I think we find a
fictionalized version of the same thing going on in the Sun Series. If Urth is ruled by 
giant beings who can bud off minature pieces of themselves, small wonder that the people of 
Urth are conditioned to accept cloning behavior for themselves. 		 	   		  

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