(urth) Silk/Horn in the Matachin Tower

David Stockhoff dstockhoff at verizon.net
Thu Feb 7 07:36:29 PST 2013

In the absence of any concrete answer, I'd lean toward "recurring 
notion." But it's one that's grounded in Wolfe's obsessions: identity, 
speech-as-identity, spirit/soul/thought (or memory-as-identity) vs 
matter/flesh/reality, and morality of action regardless of moral 
starting point. The alzabo is a beast even when it speaks, however, so 
the inhumi are a more developed idea, in that they actually create 
themselves---their conscious selves---with the act of drinking (drinking 
and eating being separate acts of the sacrament).

With Jahlee, there may be a rough parallel to the virgin birth as well, 
if you take Krait (the mind of Krait, not the mutable body that holds 
Krait) as having been born of Jahlee's drinking of Sinew's blood rather 
than whatever conjugation created his body. This suggests the Trinity of 
course---the ultimate "ghost" story, with all its implications.

On 2/6/2013 10:43 PM, Antonin Scriabin wrote:
> Another idea popped into my head, albeit on a different topic:
> Jahlee says, right before her death, "We take their minds from your 
> blood. Their minds are yours. Here, long ago, I drank the blood of 
> your small son. Krait was my son, the only one who lived with the mind 
> it took from yours."
> This strikes me as very similar to the alzabo Severian encounters, 
> that eats the family he stays with.  The father, I believe, is eaten 
> first, and his mind "bubbles up" in the alzabo and speaks to the 
> family when it breaks into their home.  There are few shared dynamics 
> in these scenes.  For example, apart from the implication that the 
> minds of the human characters are contained in their blood / flesh, 
> there is an eerie, "unnatural" connection between one son (Krait via 
> Jahlee) and his father (Horn) in the one case, and another son (little 
> Severian) and his father (surfaced in the demeanor of the alzabo, 
> addressing him) in the other.  Thoughts?
> There is also the eating of Thecla's flesh and the transfer of "mind" 
> (powered by alzabo glands) ... the sacramental mechanics are pretty 
> clear.  Is there any meaningful connection between alzabo and inhumu, 
> or is this "blood / flesh as mind" just a recurring notion in the two 
> series, one that Wolfe is particularly fond of?
> On Wed, Feb 6, 2013 at 1:47 PM, Marc Aramini <marcaramini at yahoo.com 
> <mailto:marcaramini at yahoo.com>> wrote:
>     --- On *Wed, 2/6/13, DAVID STOCKHOFF /<dstockhoff at verizon.net
>     <mailto:dstockhoff at verizon.net>>/* wrote:
>         From: DAVID STOCKHOFF <dstockhoff at verizon.net
>         <mailto:dstockhoff at verizon.net>>
>         Subject: Re: (urth) Silk/Horn in the Matachin Tower
>         To: "The Urth Mailing List" <urth at lists.urth.net
>         <mailto:urth at lists.urth.net>>
>         Date: Wednesday, February 6, 2013, 10:12 AM
>         You're always a few steps ahead, Mark. :)
>         Is there a consensus that it's Typhon's mausoleum? Does this
>         suggest Severian "looks like" Typhon? Or someone else?
>         Also, do you think the stiff-legged "bird-like" person you
>         mentioned is actually tree-related, and that's why he's
>         stiff-legged ? (not really birdlike at all, in other words)
>     No consensus on the mausoleum and if it is the infamous one of
>     which Severian claims, "I have seen my tomb and now go to lie in
>     it" or something to that effect, but that would certainly
>     establish a very strange genetic relationship between Typhon and
>     Severian that I had previously only been able to firmly ascribe
>     only to Silk, as Typhon's probable "heir".
>     As far as the stiff-legged thing in the "colorless cloak" on the
>     high ground on Green, I think that is probably an echo of maimed
>     Severian on his high island, now that the waters have receded, or
>     at least some eidolon of Sev, effectively immortal.  Unless it is
>     just a Vanished Person ...
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