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From: "Greene, Carlton" <CGreene2@hunton.com>
Subject: (urth) Hethor's Slug Revisited
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 1999 16:40:17 

Robert Borski wrote:

hence I'd like to quibble with Mother Pyrexia's entry in LEX-URTH ("She had
changed into something very strange when the house was opened, a noctural
creature, and was quickly killed"), arguing that she may well have lived,
taking to the woods about Salthus until Hethor arrives. (He's in the crowd
at Morweena's execution.) Somehow, beastmaster Hethor is able to
enlist/compell her aid and I believe it's the transmogrified Mother Pyrexia
who attacks Severian in the antechamber and underground cell of the
Magician's Academy (both places are dark)--not some giant interstellar slug.

I think it unlikely that Hethor's slug and the former Mother Pyrexia are the
same creature.  When Severian finally encounters the snuffling slime
creature in person, he describes it as a brown, pudding like mass nearly the
size of a destrier -- presumably much larger than an old woman.  More
importantly, there is no indication that Hethor's pudding monster had reason
to fear fire; instead, when Severian was faced with the monster in the
wooden long house (during the battle of the magicians) the monster appears
to be able to snuff out the torches remotely --

in came "what had been the bottom of some fetid marsh.  It flowed around the
doorposts blindly and softly, and as it did, another torch went out."  III
at 147.

later in the same scene, the creature has melted Decuman and is advancing on

"The creature was turning, blindly but purposefully ... To get one of the
two remaining torches, I had to run toward the creature.  I did and seized
the torch, but it went out as I took it from its bracket."  III at 148.

In light of the exceptional size of the creature and its ability to douse
fires, it seems to be a far different creature from the nocturnal,
fire-fearing ex-Mother Pyrexia -- Hethor's slug would have just doused any
torches carried by Saltus villagers, and slurped them up in its destrier
sized bulk.  :) 

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

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