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From: "Chris" 
Subject: Re: (urth) the great god Pan
Date: Fri, 24 Jan 2003 01:38:09 +0000

The bit about iron is interesting- while I'd heard that the sidhe had a 
problem with iron, I never knew there was an underlying reason behind it. 
Are there any other sources that might explain the significance of iron, and 
whether it was referred to before the Christian Era or not?

I do think that sometimes too much is made of Wolfe's Catholicism, as I 
think has been mentioned here before. And jamming this story into an 
"orthodox" Catholic framework is likely to be an uncomfortable fit.

I never felt, reading the stories, that any of the goddesses were purely 
evil, though certainly inhuman and for the most part cruel. I doubt any of 
the male gods would behave any better when push came to shove. I don't think 
it's misogynistic - I really think the most villainous characters in this 
story were male, actually, though they knew how to put a good face on it.

That said, the bit about Io... she's a bright character, but that is at 
least in part because Latro cares about her and portrays her positively. 
Despite that, there are some things to be uncomfortable about- and I suspect 
that Latro's deep (mysterious) depression had a bit to do with the way she 
changed the nature of their relationship to protect herself, among other 
things. He may not have remembered any better, but I suspect he'd have still 
felt like something was wrong there.


>As I recall (dimly),  Plutarch said a sailor heard a voice from a
>distant island commanding him to proclaim that "The great god Pan is
>Since Pan's name literally means "All,"  I had always assumed that this
>was supposed to be a coded message that the entire Greek pantheon of
>gods were dead - i.e., that the Christian era was coming. In Soldier in
>the Mist the lamia complains that Io has dropped her chains into the
>snake's hole, that supernatural beings dislike iron, and that "The
>reason is to come." Again, dimly do I recall that faeries were supposed
>to shun iron because of the significance of the nails holding Christ to
>the cross.
>This raises the wider question of Wolfe's ambiguous and often quite
>terrifying presentation of the Greek deities. I think we are to view
>them as actual gods, not just Latro's hallucinations, but Wolfe says in
>one interview that they were "not worthy of being worshipped." Would
>that make them demons? What is the orthodox Catholic position these days
>on rival religions and their supernatural beings? Certainly the
>underlying logic of the Latro novels thus far is the move from
>Earth-worship to Father-worship, and as usual in Wolfe all the major
>evil characters are either female (or in one case) become female.  (Not
>that he's totally misogynistic: the Amazons are portrayed entirely
>positively, and Io the slave girl is the brightest and best of all his

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