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From: "Robert Borski" 
Subject: Re: (urth) Thais the countessa
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 2002 20:07:58 -0500

Jen Van Gee again, still in a genealogical vein, writing:

> Interesting.  I can see the connection of this "raven
> haired", "olive skinned woman" to the play.  If she is
> Thais, however, it does seem Severian would recognize
> her later on the boat.
> I had always thought of this weeping woman surrounded
> by Praetorians as a Katherine of the torturers, mother
> of Severian.  It's a bit of a limb walk, I know, but the
> view is cool.

Well, don't walk too far out on that limb or you'll displace me because I've
been arguing the Catherine-Contessa connection for years, both here and

For starters there's a physical resemblance between Catherine, Severian's
mother, and the woman arrested--for now let's call her "Carina," the actual
name of the contessa in _Eschatology and Genesis_.

Secondarily, Carina (or rather its homonymic variant, Karina) is not only
the Scandinavian equivalent of Catherine, it's also a nested or cryptonymic
name (that is, the letters c-a-r-i-n-a can all be found in Catherine). The
events of E & G being meant to function as typological foreshadowing, Carina
therefore equals Catherine.

Now for some speculation as to what it all means: Catherine, daughter of
Valeria and Dux Caesidius (see my NYRSF essay, "Catherine and Beyond" for
details), is being "arrested" by the agents of Father Inire so he (who knows
she will eventually give birth to Severian) can ensure she will not be
killed in the great flood about to be brought on by the arrival of the New
Sun. Handed over to the Pelerines on the other side of the Corridors of Time
(there's evidence the Cumaean is the monials' secret leader), Princess
Catherine does not enjoy her captive status, runs away, meets Ouen--and the
net result is Severian--plus the little sister who may be "Thais."

Mantis speculates in LU that the woman Severian hears crying in the
Corridors of Time is Catherine herself. Perhaps it's because she knows she
can now never return to the drowned world of her parents--only, if for a
little while, the guild in which her son will grow to manhood.

Robert Borski


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