(urth) Five Severians -- Severian-as-Clone
dstockhoff at verizon.net
Wed Dec 18 07:48:28 PST 2013
"If she is all her family's daughters and sons, then either she is merely the only one (meaning her family is about to die utterly with her) or she is genetically identified with others unknown (i.e., Severian). Either explanation could justify Severian's interest in her."
Valeria's use of the word "breeds" bothers me the most. It just screams "clone" to me.
On Wednesday, December 18, 2013 9:20 AM, David Stockhoff <dstockhoff at verizon.net> wrote:
>On 12/17/2013 10:16 AM, Michael Thayer wrote:
>New theory (? - or maybe you've heard it before - is there anything new under the New Sun?). Five coffins, two empty, three closed. In Citadel, Severian our narrator tells us of a second "first Severian." What if Severian is, like the narrator of tFHoC, a clone? One of five clones, each initially housed in the mausoleum, which is dislocated in time like the house of Master Ash or one of the botanical gardens? At the time our narrator Severian is leaving Urth for his trial, two of the clones have left/been released from the mausoleum (narrator-Sev and the "first Severian" who came before). If the mausoleum is dislocated in time, then it is possible that each one of the clones would exit into a different strand in the "tapestry" of time. Perhaps whoever constructed the mausoleum and put the five Severians there was/is planning to release them one by one until one of the clones successfully brings the New Sun?
>The cloning theory is well grounded, but temporally dislocating the
mausoleum is new AFAIK. In a way, I don't like this, because it
seems to move the explanation further away rather than explain it.
Where is this place? how does Severian get there? who put it there?
But Lee is right, and the best answer may simply be "Gene Wolfe."
Whether it's out of time or not.
>I see none of the usual clues to time dislocation: Severian doesn't
refer to time passing or not passing, and it seems like there are
easier ways to store clones than by slowing time.
>>Clones in the text. I remember reading in a Wolfe interview that the prostitutes in the House Azure, the "khaibits," are in fact clones of the Chatelaines. I think we need to entertain the idea that Father Inire -- "alive so long beyond the span of his short-lived kind" (Citadel, 405) -- who seems (to me) to be many places at once, is not a single person but a multitude of clones (reminded of Borsky's Palaemon as Inire theory, Wright's Ceryx as Inire theory (AD 84), and all the "bent" "crooked" or "small" men who show up cowled or masked in the text -- servitor who confers with the Autarch and escorts Sev to the Green Room (Claw 338), the masked medicine man escorting Sev in the jungle toward the end of Citadel). tFHoC certainly alerts us to the clone as a Wolfe convention and plot device -- could it be a key as well?
>>Could a Severian-as-clone theory explain the baffling scene involving the grotesque homunculus who addresses Severian as "brother" (Citadel, 388)?
>Inire does get around (and so do his images), but then what does it
mean when Inire says in his letter that he is away?
>Not to mention: who cloned him, when, why? Does Severian know? I
don't think we can use the "Gene Wolfe" answer twice. But his
character does seem to have a form, if you will, that is larger than
its content, much like Erebus, Abaia, and the others with Korean War
parallels. He could very well be "someone else" or the agent of that
>If this theory has any legs at all -- a dubious prospect! -- we would need to account for a sixth Severian, the natural born man, son of Ouen and Catherine, grandson of Dorcas, etc., who was cloned five times.
>We also need to account for Valeria, her family, and the rest of the
Citadel, which is only superficially a cluster of 1940s-style rocket
ships---all but the Witches' Tower. (That and Valeria bug me most of
>Valeria may well be in the same time-dislocated space as the
Severian clones in storage, as has been suggested. But nothing she
tells Severian indicates this; rather, much time has passed since
her family was involved in Citadel affairs, and while her family
seems isolated it is plainly not completely so. If she seems
old-fashioned, the evidence given points toward poverty and past
wealth, not time dislocation.
>Yet the Atrium does do something time related: she says the dials
were put there because of its function, not the reverse. If so, her
family may be affected by its proximity.
>It may also be that she is related to Severian, with her "dark
hair." If those are her family's towers, why not also the Atrium and
the mausoleum? If her family produced all the Citadel's castellans
at the peak of its power (both the family's and the Citadel's, and
probably from Typhon's time onward), they would once have had access
to the highest technology possessed by Man. They could even be
related to Typhon's family.
>If she is all her family's daughters and sons, then either she is
merely the only one (meaning her family is about to die utterly with
her) or she is genetically identified with others unknown (i.e.,
Severian). Either explanation could justify Severian's interest in
her. But identifying Valeria with Severian might violate the
parallel with Rosemary (may she rest in peace).
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