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Date: Wed, 27 Nov 2002 15:36:58 -0600
From: James Jordan 
Subject: (urth) Typhon, Quetzal, Scylla Hypothesis

At 02:10 PM 11/27/2002, you wrote:

>Crush responds:
>It's all quite moot with Charles' recent post, but still nicely done. Still,
>your suggestion has two problems:
>(1) Remora is one of the "slaves of Scylla" in this chapter and he's very

         Well, he serves Quetzal, even if he's a better man. So on my 
mooted paradigm, he's also be a slave of Scylla if Quetzal is one. On my 
paradigm, neither Remora nor Quetzal would WANT to be a slave of Scylla. 
Remora would want to make an exodus from Whorl and Scylla to a "Christian" 
Blue, while Quetzal would want to escape Whorl and Scylla to a hellish Green.

>(2) Scylla is not a serpent in mythology, etymology, association, nor on the
>Whorl. Echidna is the serpentine goddess.

         Okay. It's been a while since I read the books, and I've become 
confused about these big-babe goddesses. But IIRC Scylla is Mother, and was 
close enough to Typhon for Typhon's daughter to get linked up with her 
Urth-manifestation. (Am I right here?)
         If that much is right, then at least my hypothesis that Scylla was 
involved in building Starcrosser might be of some value, and that the 
allegory might mean Starcrosser is her tree.
         If not, I'm satisfied that Quetzal is just referring back to the 
original Biblical story. I notice the reference to permanent exile from the 
garden in Quetzal's version, and I don't know how to link that with the 
events of the novel itself. I.e., if Urth is the garden, then the exile 
would not be permanent, since Narrator & Co. do go back and visit there.
         Perhaps the safest, if more humdrum, way to read it is that 
Quetzal refers back to the original Garden story, and then sees the tree 
that he himself has planted as Green, a tree he as snake hopes to lure 
humanity up into. In that case, the Garden story has no allegorical 
reference to the whorl. Rather, Quetzal is simply identifying with the 
Ur-serpent, in the way perhaps that Silk is an extension of Christ the 
Redeemer. Humanity is spiritually "up a tree," and Quetzal thinks of Green 
as an extension of that ur-tree, and himself as an extension of the 
original serpent.
         Still, I kind of like your suggestion in the main. Wolfe is 
many-layered, and some allusion to the building of the Whorl seems likely 
to me. And since Quetzal is not the original serpent, then how about 
Scylla? Well, that suggestion may founder on your point that Scylla is not 
associated with serpents elsewhere. Typhon might be the serpent who lured 
(forced in his case) the people up into the Whorl-tree. Scylla might be his 
         How about Scylla as Lilith? Wolfe recently put out a story about 
Lilith, so she's been in his mind. (I don't recall the title.) Scylla as 
"Mother" might be a Lilith figure, with Lilith as the original and evil 
"mother" replaced by Eve.
         Does this work? You tell me. Try it on:
         1. Original serpent + spiritual-daughter Lilith lure humanity up 
the original (spiritual-symbolic) tree.
         2. Typhon + daughter-associated Scylla replay that event, putting 
people on Whorl.
         3. Quetzal (+ ?) intends to replay it again, putting people on Green.

Just grist for the mill. Any thoughts?



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