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From: "J. Schultz" <jschultz@wcnet.org>
Subject: (urth) Autarch
Date: Sun, 19 Jul 1998 22:42:38 

It takes me a while to get around to reading all my mail.  This is in
response to the difference between Autarch and Monarch.  As we have all
figured by now Autarch means one who rules themselves.  This idea works into
one of the themes I see present in the first set of books (tBotNS).  At each
step in Severian's development we see him cast off the power of one
authority after another.  He breaks his ties from the authority of the
guild, the Archon and his post as Lictor, Typhon, etc.  It all leads up to
the point where just before the Lake people attack the castle of Baldanders,
when Severian says (to paraphrase) I began to follow the Increate's
authority above all others.  Severian has become his own man, as it were.
He decides for himself what is right and wrong, moral and evil, with a
personal relationship with God.  Thus I feel that the title "Autarch" is
symbolic of this change and that the title has more thematic meaning, rather
than any real practical meaning in the way of legal proceedure.  A rose is a
rose is a rose.  Or, it doesn't really matter what you call him, the idea is
that he is the top dog and no one is higher, the one man who rules himself.
As we find out, however, the Autarch is the subject of the Hierodules and
other higher powers (at least in some sense of the word).  We can't forget
that the message of tBotNS is basically spiritual and religious, whether we
like it or not.  In my mind it is the redemption of a torturer who is lost
in an immoral and decaying world.

As far as what would have happened had Appian let Severian enter Yesod, he
most likely would have failed having not learned the important lessons that
were to come.  However, He would have EATEN Appian's brains AT THAT TIME.
Appian even says, "Gee, sorry I'm so shocked but I thought I had more time."
Which leads me to believe that Appian knows that Sev will take the throne
and he knows that to take the throne he (Appian) has to be dead.  I would
balk too if my replacement walked in the door and said, "Well, I'm ready,
take me to the garden and get your brains ready."  While Sev doesn't say
this it is percieved this way by Appian.

Let me say that the story has already faded in my mind and mingled with half
ideas, my own experiences, and the way I would like it to be.  (as I'm sure
happens to us all)

One timeless question  (FunkMonkey steps in line behind hundreds of
philosophers, ancient to modern)   How much free will does Severian have?
When does Tra. KNOW Severain has passed.  Have they engineered him from the
begining and so no test is needed?  He has some power from the White
Fountain long before heading into space, as Sev himself says, 'as if the
presentment of his future came back through time to him.'  Assuming he
raised Triskle from the dead he has had his 'powers' from the begining.
Everyone on Urth in Sev's time knows of the Concilliator.  The Concilliator
is Sev returning triumphant.  Thus Severian has already suceeded before he
begun!  Or has he?  Time travel always throws me through a logic loop.  Like
asking the question "If I went back in time and killed my past self, who
would grow up to kill me?"  Any thoughts?  This could be and endless

     with the logical MonkeyWrench

J. Schutlz

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

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