FIND in
<--prev V28 next-->

From: Dan Rabin <danrabin@a.crl.com>
Subject: (urth) The Conciliator's ho-hum career
Date: Tue, 23 Nov 1999 23:26:40 

Rostrum writes:

> What's he going to do, other than wander around healing people
>and turning water to wine that will make him such a mythic figure?  Not
>that miracles aren't notable, but most of the world's religious figures
>are remembered for something more than a bunch of magic tricks.

If we go back to the scene in which Canog overhears Severian explaining his
role to his "followers" in his cell, I think we can start to put some of
this together.

Presumably, the Hierodules, Hierogrammates, and Hieros were unknown in
detail  to the populace in Typhon's day.  Typhon probably had a cult of
personality: let us imagine him to be as frightening and ever-present to
his subjects as was Stalin in his day.  A wonder-worker appears out of the
sky, behaving ethically, survives a beating at the hands of Typhon's goon
squad, calls down an earthquake  as he is about to be treacherously
executed, and kills the hated prefect of the torturers.  While in prison
awaiting almost certain execution, he reveals that he is on a mission to
reconcile the sky people with the Urth people, and is bringing a New Sun
(the old one having faded appreciably in Typhon's day, as he reveals in
_Sword_).  There's hope!  The tyrant may be challanged, and perhaps the sun
can be renewed as the Conciliator renewed himself after his beating!

As the Conciliator is escorted from his cell to be taken to see the
Monarch, he prophesies that the ragged apprentice Ymar will become the
ruler, and he repeats the prophecy of Typhon's downfall to the Monarch's
face!  The angry ruler imprisons the Conciliator, who tames wild animals,
wins over some of Typhon's soldiers, and vanishes when true danger
approaches.  The Conciliator could have killed Typhon with the concealed
knife, but declines to do so, and he rescues the officer whose negligence
let him retain the knife.

This is POWERFUL STUFF!  These events woudl not seem to their witnesses to
be just a sequence of unconnected supernatural-appearning tricks.  Rather,
they would seem to be a divine intervention against Typhon by a power far
greater that heals and succors rather than imposing rule.  Ymar's rule,
prophesied by the Conciliator, would derive its legitimacy from the
connection.  Indeed, we learn over the course of _New Sun_ that the quest
to bring the New Sun is the central feature of the Autarchy.  The fact that
the Autarches have Hierodules as advisors is an enactment of Severians

And a thousand years later, when the Conciliator is remembered and Typhon
forgotten, the former kills the latter in the course of utterly refusing to
rule via the tyrant's power.  Of course, it's ten years _earlier_ for
Severian, and Typhon doesn't know that Severian doesn't know that he will
become the Conciliator.

Perhaps the fact that we see these events through Severian's eyes rather
than those of the populace is what makes all seem so inconsequential.

  -- Dan Rabin

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

<--prev V28 next-->