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From: "Alice Turner" <al@interport.net>
Subject: (urth) Soldier: Oior and Drakaina
Date: Sun, 21 Sep 1997 14:22:25 

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

I've just been reading Soldier of the Mist again, and I've got a couple of

1) I don't quite understand the role of Oior. He is the Scythian mercenary
(son of Scoloti) bowman attached to Hypereides who goes to considerable
trouble to form an alliance with Latro---he says to protect himself from
these alien gods. He says one of the other bowman is a Neuri, who seem to
be like werewolves preying on the recently dead. He saves Latro's life from
(presumably) this person (Spu) and extracts a blood oath from him. He turns
up again in the last chapter, ravening over Drakaina's body---he is the
Neuri himself, of course; there were at least two clues to this fact
earlier, the Spu burial and something to do with his eyes. I presume he is
also the "wolf" that dug up the grave of the dead woman (Thygater) brought
back to life. My question is---why is he such a big deal? Why is he
mentioned in the prophecy, and why does Kore emphasize that he must be
killed? Is the test between the blood oath and loyalty to the gods? If so,
it doesn't seem much of a test since a) Oior is offstage most of the time,
b) Latro doesn't really remember his oath, c) Kore is right there on the
scene. Or is he just alien magic and bad news that the gods want removed?
Or is it that he belongs to the Great Mother who is at odds with Kore, and
this her Kore's way of claiming Latro for her side? Apollo predicted
it--where does that put him?

2) I don't quite get the metamorphosis of Eurykles into Drakaina/Medea.
When Io says she turned Eurykles into herself (rather than him getting his
heart's desire) she is right, since Io, like Oreb, is always right. But,
since Latro saw Eurykles as a shade at Drakaina's seance at Acheron, we
have to presume that the old body is dead. Why then, does the dying
Drakaina identify her/himself as Eurykles? If it's just because the snake
(Medea) has left the body, it seems rather a cheat for us to have seen the

(Someone could have some scholarly fun with the role and symbolism of the
snake in the New Sun, Short Sun and Soldier books!)

BTW, though demons are rather a specialty of mine, I've never run across
the Neuri anywhere else, and they're not in my references, including the
Herodotus index. Anyone else encounter them elsewhere? 


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