(urth) Thea's Identity

Lee Berman severiansola at hotmail.com
Fri Apr 19 05:45:15 PDT 2013

>Thomas Bitterman: but is there a passage indicating the servants are derived from 

In discussing his extinguishing of some exultant families, Master Gurloes suggests 
that they are the newest of families on Urth. So I don't think so. There may be 
certain conclusions we can draw from their height, which is stressed so heavily.
Body size is so important across the whole 12 book Sun series.

>As another bonus, the Autarch is the "self-ruled", or, more colloquially, "the boss of 
>himself".  Who actually does what the Autarch tells them?  The servants of the House 
>Absolute, and the army.  If both the servants and the soldiers are (pretty much) clones, 
>then he is literally just the boss of himself. It's the type of joke that feels unfunny 
>in just the right way for Wolfe to have made it.

Yes, as Dan'l suggests is so likely in SF, a metaphor that is literally real. Ultimately
though, I think we may conclude that the Commonwealth is ruled by Father Inire. His
letter to Severian starts with flowery flattery of the Autarch's position and self-
identification as a humble servant. But the letter then goes on to reveal that Inire
is pretty much running everything and will continue to do so.

>David Stockhoff: However, I suspect that the autarch is under strict control in 
>some ways we don't know about.

Agreed, in the same sense that Severian seems to be under special observation
throughout BotNS, by Malrubius/Triskele, B, F and O, Hethor or monkey-like figures 
or other mysterious sources. Of course by "monkey-like figures" I am implying 
Father Inire, and the thread that ties all of those observers together is that they 
are all cacogens (or at least have a space-faring history). Master Gurloes also
speaks to myterious sources at the top of their tower, and we must suspect Severian 
was often a topic. 

Appian hints that he, himself, had a Malrubius figure watching over him when he was 
younger. Also, Appian knows Severian is to be his successor from their first meeting
and he even mistakenly thinks the time for succession has come when Severian asks to
be taken to "the garden".

(Damn, just thought of something- on that request for the garden, Severian is shown a 
giant winged being in the Autarch's mirror book. The Garden Of Eden was guarded by a 
cherubim (plural being) angel. Perhaps that's what Wolfe originally had in mind and later 
in UotNS amended the angel to be the archangel Tzadkiel. Given the Genesis-Edenic imagery
we are given in Talos' play in the next section, I wonder if we were supposed to make 
that "Garden" connection. Maybe others did and I missed it?)

>If we assume that no offspring could do the deed with the knife due to 
>an inability to obey, maybe the picture changes. But still I'd think no 
>autarch would want a child.

Good point.

>..in fact, it seems that every autarch must have been "unmanned" or else never tried 
>the test, so Appian's castration might not be an anomaly but part of the system. Are 
>they not allowed to breed?  *Severian himself did not.*

The text has someone (Tzadkiel maybe?) say that Appian had been the first to brave the
test since Ymar who was the first autarch. So three taking the test over 1000 years
seems pretty anomolous. Yet, (IIRC) we don't hear about any dynasties of Autarchs and
we have the suggestion that succession normally occurs via the suicidal choice of the 
next "servant of the throne".

My guess is that Severian himself not having offspring serves a literary purpose. Some
of the ancient Greek heroes/demi-gods had children but they weren't very important or
frequently mentioned in the myths. But since Severian's story is told in first-person
it might come across as distracting if he had the normal, caring thoughts of a father
(or callous on his part if he didn't).

I think Silk is left childless for the same reason, but interestingly, SilkHorn does
end up having children (some actual offspring, others being Inhumi surrogates). And
these characters do confuse and distract the sense of purpose in Horn's story making 
him more human than Severian and Silk, which was surely intended. 		 	   		  

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