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From: "Tony Ellis" <tony.ellis@futurenet.co.uk>
Subject: (urth) The Contessa
Date: Tue, 13 Apr 1999 15:51:23 +0100

SBear wrote:

> And later Roy wrote:
> >    Okay, I accept that the woman Sev sees being led away, as Tony Ellis
> >(and mantis, in the archives) states, is in the role of the Contessa, but
> >who was she in the "real" world, outside the play, on the last day of Urth?
> >Both she and Sev seem to recognize each other. From where, when? If she is
> >less than forty years old, as suggested by her desirability, then Sev
> >couldn't have seen her on Urth, because he has been gone that long. Why was
> >she apparently being arrested?
> Maybe she's a little older than that; could she have been born at the
> very start of Severian's reign, for instance?
Either you two are missing the point or I am <g>. She isn't "in the role
of" the Contessa, she -is- the Contessa. She's being arrested for
whatever reason the Contessa was being arrested in the play (although I
seem to recall she wasn't being arrested at all, but escorted). There's
no suggestion that she and Severian have met before at court or
anything: Severian specifically says that her face wasn't known to him.

He "recognises" her and she him because this moment has happened before
- in the sub-reality of Dr Talos's play. That's why Severian sees in the
Contessa's eyes the recognition that they are both in "a drama that had
been played out before", or words to that effect.

I can still remember getting to this bit the first time I read Urth of
the New Sun, and the penny suddenly dropping. My jaw literally fell

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

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