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From: Michael Straight <straight@email.unc.edu>
Subject: Re: (urth) Severian = Conciliator hint in BOTNS
Date: Tue, 30 Jun 1998 09:30:13 

On Sun, 28 Jun 1998, Dan Rabin wrote:

> We have recently been discussing whether the identity of Severian, the New
> Sun, and the Conciliator is deducible from _The Book of the New Sun_.

> ``I, knowing no prayers, spoke without sound to someone who seemed at times
> within me and at times, as the angel had said, infinitely remote.''

I don't think this bit says much about Severian's identity.  It sounds to
me like the way many people might describe their experience of prayer, but
few if any would mean by it that they are themselves Jesus.  It seems to
me more an expression of the paradox of God's immanence and transcendence.

> ``... I remained conscious of my kneeling body, but only as a peripheral
> burden.  My mind was among the starry wastes, far from Urth and indeed far
> from Urth's archipelago of island worlds, and it seemed to me that that to
> which I spoke was farther still--I had come, as it were, to the walls of
> the universe, and now shouted through the walls to one who waited outside.
>   `Shouted,' I said, but perhaps that is the wrong word
> [...]
> I asked only that I might lead myself; and as I did so, I seemed to see,
> with a vision increasingly clear, through the chink in the universe to a
> new universe bathed in golden light, where my listener knelt to hear me.
> What had seemed a crevice in the world had expanded until I could see a
> face and folded hands, and the opening, like a tunnel, running deep into a
> human head that for a time seemed larger than the head of Typhon carved
> upon the mountain.  I was whispering into my own ear, and when I realized
> it I flew into it like a bee and stood up.''

This part takes on lots of significance in retrospect having read Urth,
but again, I can think of several ways to interpret it other than
"Severian will leave the universe, become the New Sun, then go back in
time to become the Concilator."  I think alga would have labeled that "fan
fiction" back before Urth came out. 

So far, the parallelism of the titles seems like the most concrete clue to
Severian's destiny.  But even with that, I can see imagining that the
title of CLAW refers to Severian following in the footsteps of the
Conciliator, doing deeds like his, rather than thinking Severian would
eventually go back and be the Conciliator. 


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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