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From: "Roy C. Lackey" <rclackey@stic.net>
Subject: (urth) The Conciliator
Date: Wed, 24 Nov 1999 14:07:50 

Dan Rabin wrote:
>>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
>>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.<<

From what we are shown in the text, the Conciliator was known to most people
of the Commonwealth in Severian's time, but his cult was not widely
established; that is, people had heard of him but he was not the center of a
popular religion. The Pelerines and their like were relics of a faith in
decline, if it had ever been catholic. More importantly, whenever the
Conciliator was mentioned, usually in terms of being or bringing the New
Sun, it was done in a manner suggestive of Someone who would somehow bring
about a renewal of Urth--who would make well again the weakened sun and
usher in an era of peace, plenty, and prosperity. The analogy is with the
Jewish concept of the Messiah current in some quarters two millennia ago.
The Messiah was to be an earthly ruler, a temporal authority over a kingdom
overflowing with milk and honey on earth, not some celestial everafter.

Nowhere--absolutely nowhere in NEW SUN--is there even a hint that the coming
of the Conciliator is conceived of as an eschatological event. So far as the
coming of the New Sun is known to the people of Urth, it is a good
thing--for them. The man on the street had no inkling that he and all he
knew and loved would have to die for someone else to get to heaven--that is,

Had the people of Urth known that they would have to pay the price of
complete obliteration for a "sin" that wasn't even theirs, and if they had
had a choice in the matter, I have little doubt what their choice would have
been. The feeble attempt at rationalization at the phony trial by having
people whom Sev had wronged elect to fight on his side, thus tipping the
balance of justice in favor of the New Sun, is just that--feeble. All but
Gunnie were aquastors; aquastors are only of the dead; the dead have nothing
to lose. They weren't real.

The psyches of the aquastors come from memory--Sev's memory. They existed in
his memory as he wanted to see them, idealized to suit his notions of
Justice and Right. He hardly knew some of the people--little Severa he had
never even met. And they all forgave him--sure, that's human nature, very

Oh, and happy birthday Alex.


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

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