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From: "Mark Millman" <Mark_Millman@hmco.com>
Subject: Re: (urth) Agia: Thief?
Date: Fri, 16 Oct 1998 14:14:39 

On 16 October 1998 at 5:00 PM GMT,
Robert Borski wrote:

> Re Agia as the Claw's thief. I've already
> stated I find this difficult to accept, and
> wonder what mantis or other proponents
> of the Agia-as-thief theory make of the
> following scene in SWORD. Sev wants
> the Claw back from the cacogens, and
> Barbatus asks, "If it is yours, where did
> you get it?"  Sev lays his Agia theory on
> him, but Barbatus seems almost incensed
> by this. "All this is speculation. You did not
> see this jewel upon the altar, nor did you
> feel the woman's hand when she gave it to
> you, if in fact she did. _Where did you get
> it?_" (p. 271, and these are Wolfe's italics,
> not mine.)
> Baldander's answer to the same question
> --'I got it from the drawer in a table'--also
> does not seem to satisfy Barbatus, and
> not much later Famulimus says to Sev, as
> they're walking to their timeship, "Though
> you did not now pass our test..."
> It seems to me that passing "the test"
> somehow involves correctly answering
> the question, "Where did you get it?" What
> think you?

I'm not convinced that the literal question "Where did
you get it?" is really at issue for Famulimus and Bar-
batus here.  I think it's the only way that they can ask
the real question without giving away the answer; if
Severian knows the answer, then the phrasing won't
throw him off, but if he doesn't have a clue (as he, in
fact, proves he hasn't), then he'll try to answer it as
it stands.  Any physical answer--"Agia planted it",
"it was in the drawer", even "well, it just appeared
there one day"--is going to be incorrect.  The correct
answer is something like, "It's a part of me."  But as
Severian doesn't yet recognize this, he can't pass
the test.

Remember also that the Pelerines search Agia be-
cause she looks guilty to them, and don't bother
with Severian because he appears plainly to be an
innocent.  There's more to it than just appearances,
too; if I recall correctly, mention is made of the chief
Pelerine's (is she a Mother Superior?) ability to see
the truth regardless of circumstance.

> FLOWERS. I have a copy of the
> non-deluxe edition I'll let go for $175.00.
> It is a nice book, but perhaps too much
> so--I'm afraid to handle it, fearing finger-
> prints or drool may soil it.

Drool, Robert?  If you love the book that much, I'm
surprised that you're willing to let it go at all.

> Robert Borski

Mark Millman

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

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