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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: (urth) More lies
Date: Mon, 8 Nov 1999 16:49:42 

Here are some occasions where Sev lied to the reader; that, or his perfect
memory failed him. The day after his elevation he saw the order for Thecla's
excruciation to begin on the following day. (I, XII)

"I could not sleep after that. Instead I went (for the last time, though I
did not know it) to the tomb in which I had played as a boy."

Then (IV, XXXVI), as autarch, he returned to the tomb, "The mausoleum where
I had played as a boy stood as I had left it, its jammed door three-quarters
shut.", to retrieve the false coin given to him by Vodalus.

Also, compare the little "charm" he recounted both when he hid the coin and
when he recovered it; they're not quite the same. One uses "glass", the
other "grass".

Here's another: Just after describing where he and his friends swam and
before recounting his near-drowning (I, II), Sev says: "I have chosen to
describe all this now because I never went again after the day on which I
saved Vodalus." Then, when he is captain of apprentices (I, X), "I took
parties of apprentices to swim, thinking that to be my duty, though I could
never dive in deep water without fear." Both statements can't be true.

During his "conversation" with the mandragora (IV, XXXV), another memory of
his infancy is awakened: "I remember a time very long ago when I was cold
and hungry. I lay upon my back, encircled by brown walls, and heard the
sound of my own screams. Yes, I must have been an infant. Not old enough to
crawl, I think." Yet (I, II) elsewhere he says: "From my earliest memory I
remember all. That first recollection is of piling pebbles in the Old Yard."
Any child old enough to pile pebbles is more than old enough to crawl. Note
the "brown walls"; the walls of the cells in the Matachin tower are gray, as
noted in the breast-feeding memory.

Now, these are just a few examples I stumbled across without really trying,
where Sev is either lying for no good reason that I can see, or, more likely
(unless Wolfe is sloppier than I believe), where Wolfe is showing the reader
that Sev's memory is less than perfect--or both.


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

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