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From: "Talarican" <exultnttalarican@mindspring.com>
Subject: (urth) One more New Sun IAQ
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 09:18:42 

Into the relative quiet reigning on the Urth list at present, I interject
what I anticipate will be the final installment of BNS IAQ's. Hopefully
these will turn out to be one of the better production runs. Enjoy.
 - The Mad Exultant

(Shadow, IV) Okay, where DID Triskele go, and to whom? Apart from Sev's
statement that they reencountered each other occasionally, Wolfe teases us
with too many sly speculations about Triskele's whereabouts to simply
dismiss the issue as a detail-for-texture. (In fact, Triskele contributes
nothing to moving the plot along, so he serves some other purpose) Did
Triskele die about the time Severian went into exile? Of what, and why?
Aquastors are "always of the dead", and the Triskele which accompanied the
aquastor of Master Malrubius clearly was an aquastor, as it vanished with
Malrubius. If Triskele has NOT died prior to that time, then how do we
resolve the paradox?
(possible partial answer: having escaped into the old tunnels which
presumably connect to the Corridors of Time, Triskele was in the past or
future and therefore not "alive", for the purposes of the Aquastor
Restriction, at the time of Sev's walk on the beach. So where/when WAS he at
the time?)
(another possible sly clue: Sev speculates that perhaps Triskele was adopted
by someone who headed north to the war, but he doesn't explicitly specify a
soldier. Could Triskele have encountered other denizens of the Corridors of
Time, such as Inire?)

(Sword, XIV) What was pictured on the giant ancient mosaic exposed on
Casdoe's Cliff, over which Sev descended but never deciphered? Like the
picture of
Neil Armstrong planting the flag on the Moon, will this turn out to be some
recognizeable cultural icon from our time, perhaps a corporate logo?
(It is interesting to see how similar is Sev's description of what he
observes in the tiles, to the "magic eye" art that was to become a fad about
a decade after _Sword_ was published.)
(One possible clue: the predominant colors are beryl (pale green with a
bluish cast, i.e. aquamarine, teal) and white.)
( I considered the Proctor & Gamble logo, P&G being owner of the Pringle's
brand, but its official color is blue)

(Shadow XXXV) As the players approach the Piteous Gate, Dr. Talos points out
the abundant undeveloped meadowlands still available for use within the
Wall. Baldanders shakes his head and replies "They were not for the growing
of Nessus". What did Baldanders believe they were for? What WERE they for,

Another thing: Baldanders is clearly in his way a rebel and a menace to the
Commonwealth, yet he and Dr. Talos repeatedly pass through the heavily
guarded Gates without a care in the world. Surely his activities in the
north, though Lake Diuturna is so remote, could not altogether have escaped
the notice of officials of the Commonwealth such as the archon of Thrax.
News of his visits from Hierodules has even become known to Cyriaca in
Thrax! (Sword XII) Surely the House Absolute, even without Inire's exotic
methods of surveillance, must have some idea something peculiar and
potentially worrisome is brewing in those parts.
Would Hierodules have dealings with citizens of the Commonwealth and not
inform Inire, who is presumably their ambassador/control agent on Urth?
Could they do so without Inire finding out? Would Inire know such a thing
and keep it to himself?
 Talos actually offers the observation (Shadow XXXV) that some guards in the
garrison manning the gates probably are on the lookout for persons on the
Autarch's Most Wanted List. Later, as the company broke up and went its
separate ways (Claw, XXVI), Talos said he at first speculated that Sev was
sent by operatives of the House Absolute for intimidation, but readily
dismissed that notion as "an absurd overreaction" and remained untroubled by
the fact a servant of the Autarch travelled with them. (Perhaps an "absurd
underreaction". One might think a more appropriate response, on learning the
notorious rebel mad scientist was abroad, would be to send an Inquisitor,
leading a squad of anpiels and fusilarii, after him) Why is Baldanders so
confident he is not being sought, or that his disguise is so perfect he can
pass through a gauntlet of vigilant pandours undetected? (but they're
looking for a _small_ man!)
(Could Baldanders, like Vodalus, be in the final analysis a cats-paw of that
power the Autarch serves? The Hierodules do seem to hint broadly at this

For that matter, the purpose of the Wall is somewhat problematical, in spite
of Jonas' hints. While it seems to serve in and of itself as a fortress as
well as a defensive work, it seems rather extravagant and useless. A
civilization capable of building it should not need it, and it would
presumably constitute only an annoying minor obstacle to any enemy capable
of seriously threatening such a civilization. Flyers can simply pass over
it, it is irrelevant to a bombardment or invasion from the air or from
orbit, and doubtless concentrated high energy artillery could breach it in a
matter of days. The only rationalization that makes any sense would be that
the builders somehow anticipated the future decadence of their civilization,
and wished to bequeath their descendants a formidable passive defense
requiring little maintenance or skill to be effective against similarly
regressed adversaries.

Another problem with the Wall arises in Urth (XLVII, XLVIII) . Where is it
after the flood? The water covering Nessus does not cover, and did not knock
over, the towers of the Citadel, assuming we accept Sev's assertion that
that observation was real. Yet the Wall, high as the lowest clouds, seems to
have essentially vanished, though Sev did indeed mention that "sections" of
the Wall were down. One would have thought that if the incoming wave
couldn't knock down the Citadel towers, the Wall could have withstood it and
preserved the City within its circle, provided the gates were closed. (That
would be another valid purpose for building it) If nothing else, the rubble
would have been tremendous and unmissable, possibly forming an atoll of
metal islands in the new sea.

For that matter, Sev at this point has at least two separate experiences of
exploring drowned Nessus (under water deep enough to cover the Citadel
towers, then with Juturna in water shallow enough for the tops of the towers
to break the surface.) Which, if either, of those experiences were true, the
other at least, if not both, being a dream?

(Urth XLV) What was Thais about to say to Sev after he offered Odilo his
blanket on Eata's boat, "I -",  cut off when Pega jabbed her? ("I'll share
mine with you"? But why would Pega object? She could be next)

(Claw XI, very end of chapter) Was the family estate of Thecla and Thea's
clan located in the province ruled by Thrax, probably upriver? Were they one
of those maverick exulted families of that province which caused the archon
so much indigestion? (well, what with their daughters growing up to be
Vodalarii, it seems likely) As he first experiences her memories merging
with his after Vodalus' banquet, Severian has a Thecla-memory of playing by
the River Acis (!). This was indeed, so far as I could discover, the first
mention of  the river Acis in BNS, long before Sev arrived in Thrax.
For that matter, could they be the "great northern clan" of which the young
apprentice Eata fantasized being a lost scion? (Shadow II)

(Urth XLVI) I realize that Autarch Severian might not wish to produce an
heir prior to his New Sun trial, but - hey! - he was married to Valeria a
good decade or so before he left. How did they avoid a "blessed event" in
all that time? Are birth control pills available in the Commonwealth, or was
the relationship of Severian and Valeria asexual? It is interesting that, of
all the women with whom Sev has encounters, the one he actually marries is
one of the few never described in even abstractly erotic terms.

When Dr. Talos visits the Autarch Severian (Citadel XXXVI) in order to pay
him his last remaining share from their itenerant-players gig - a
counterfeit chrisos - Sev notices that it is identical to the chrisos
Vodalus tossed him after the fight in the necropolis.
Obviously, not only was Vodalus' chrisos bogus (as was Vodalus' movement),
but we are shown that someone who came to see _Eschatology and Genesis_ got
a fake chrisos from the same source as Vodalus, and passed it to Talos.
What is the significance of this, in a scene Sev admitted was a
flash-forward out of time sequence with that point in his narrative? And did
the company receive chrisos at any time other than from the House Absolute -
i.e. was the old Autarch's court passing out counterfeit coins? We can of
course see an illustration of what we have already been told expressly, that
a covert extralegal connection between the Vodalarii and the House Absolute
existed, but is there something else here?

(Citadel XXX) After she and the Green Man rescue Severian from the Ascians,
Agia  releases him instead of torturing him to death, quite casually
consoling herself with the certainty that "in the end you will come into my
hands again". Even more interesting, Agia apparently did not free Sev only
because the Green Man was present to ensure she did (how would he compel
her?). The Green man states that "the woman... would have _freed_ you
without my help".
Why is Agia so sure she will get hold of Sev again? Why is she content to
wait for that occasion rather than seizing the moment? (maybe she was hoping
he would fail and the Hierogrammates would castrate him? But why let them
have all the fun?)
Does her threat/prophecy in any sense come to pass? (her aquastor, at the
battle before Tzadkiel's throne? But from her viewpoint, this took place
before the events of _Citadel_, indeed before Briah existed)

(Urth XXXII ) As Severian boards the _Alcyone_, he thinks he recognizes a
"sun-browned" deckhand, but cannot recall who he resembled. Who WAS that
tanned man?

Finally, I have some difficulty with the alleged love affair of Thecla and
Severian while she was in the Tower. Is Sev being an "unreliable narrator"
when he describes, only much later and after subsuming her memories, their
carryings-on? Gurloes, you might recall, (Shadow VII) detected Sev's
attraction to her from the very first and warned him not to get heavily
involved. One would think apprentice Severian, otherwise terrfied of
Gurloes, might be warned off. One would think that Severian's visits with
Thecla would be closely monitored, too much so to allow for more than at
most very brief furtive naughtiness, which the scenes actually there in
Shadow suggest. Could the "memories" of more relaxed and leisurely trysts,
related in the later volumes,  be fantasies augmented by his shared memories
of her, concocted from both their desires?

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

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