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From: "Robert Borski" <rborski@coredcs.com>
Subject: (urth) Sev's Sister: II
Date: Mon, 5 Oct 1998 00:20:11 

Here's a couple more items in my Barbea-as-Sev's sister thesis, even though
I don't know what the pomo word for alternative history is, either.

In CLAW, Severian says, "I recalled the witches, their madness and their
wild dancing in the Old Court on nights of rain; the cool, virgininal
beauty of the red-robed Pelerines."

Note that of the three khaibits presented to Severian and Roche in the
House Azure, only Barbea dances for them. There's also a second link there,
in that Catherine--the mother of Severian and his sister--is a Pelerine.

I'd also like to mention again the line about Barbea's hair: "Her hair was
so near to burnished gold that it might have been a wig of golden wires."

Compare this to what Hildegrin calls Dorcas, the paternal grandmother of
Severian and Severa: "'Goldy-hair.'" To me, with a writer of Wolfe's
circumspection, this is more than simple coincidence, but an attempt to
link Barbea and Dorcas. 

Along similar lines is Severian's remark about an antipolaric other, which
Sev describes as "...a bright twin if we are dark" --possibly another
reference to the goldenness of Barbea.

As for Kieran Mullen's contention that "Why can this not be an invocation
of his mother *without* meaning that she is related to her?  Or merely a
reference to Thecla or Thea?" Why would memories of his mother be triggered
by someone who is a non-relative? Or Thea/Thecla? This the khaibit of
Chateleine Barbea, after all, not Thea/Thecla. And how do you explain
Severian's parenthetical "I don't remember where" subclause?

The one place where Kieran and I do agree, however, is the unlikelihood of
Merryn being Severa. Other than she's definitely a witch, I see little for
making such a case. On the contrary, Severian believes he's met someone
like the already adult Merryn when he was much younger, when he was sent on
an errand to the Witches Keep. And Merryn for her part does not seem to
understand that Severian's cloak indicates he's a torturer--she, a
next-door-neighbor-one-tower-over, has to be told this by the Cumaean, an
Extrasolarian. And why the name change? Born Severa, how and why has she
become Merryn?

And then one last question for Kieran Mullen: while you're quick to dismiss
both Barbea and Merryn as candidates for Severa, do you have an original
theory of your own? I promise to be much less facetious in discussing your
ideas than you were with mine, so please, if you have something, ante up
and join the game. The stakes are high, of course, but as always the
winnings are paltry. 

Robert Borski

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

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