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From: Dan Rabin <danrabin@a.crl.com>
Subject: (urth) Chrism
Date: Fri, 23 Apr 1999 00:50:38 

I just noticed this one:

1. When Severian is initiated into the Order of Seekers for Truth and
Penitence, he is anointed on his forehead with blood, the chrism of the

2. When, in the Second House,  the old Autarch shows Severian the book that
shows "the way to the Garden", blood vessels in Severian's forehead burst.
"The sight has marked you," comments the old Autarch.

I don't think this implies that Tzadkiel and Master Palaemon are one and
the same :-), but a lot of things *do* come together in the latter scene:

A. Severian's sworn loyalties--to the Order (betrayed), to Vodalus
(ultimate betrayed, but shown in *this very scene* to be compatible with
loyalty to the Autarch), to the Autarch (sworn spontaneously as a result of
the vision), and of course, to the higher beings who have just anointed
him.  In typical Severian fashion, he misunderstands what has happend, and
swears fealty to the Autarch instead.

B. The Autarchial succession--the old Autarch was informed that Severian
was next while Severian was with the Thecla khaibit (as revealed in
_Citadel_).  Now Severian shows up again as the expected messenger from
Vodalus, carrying a message impressed on an implement that has the same
shape as the forebrain-extraction tool.  Then, before the old Autarch's
eyes, the beings from the book anoint Severian.  After a brief release of
tension when he realizes that he has invested Severian's search for the
garden with too weighty a meaning, he drops a hint about the manner of
succession (later he admits that he was seeking to postpone his time).
Whereupon Thecla's memories identify the Autarch and Father Inire enters to
guide Severian to the Green Room.

Now Severian knows that he serves both sides in the civil war, as does the
Autarch.  He seems to miss the import of his new anointment.  Within a
couple of chapters he will be acting in "Eschatology and Genesis".

I have toyed with the idea that perhaps Severian is anointing himself, thus
making the future Autarch self-anointed as well as self-ruler, but this
doesn't seem to fit Severian's general attitude of reverence toward the

Oh, the craft!

  -- Dan Rabin

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

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