From: "James Wynn"
Subject: RE: (urth) Typhon and Severian Date: Mon, 10 Mar 2003 12:54:06 -0600 Crush says: >Having not read 'King Jesus' my problems with the >Herod-Jesus/Typhon-Severian analogy is mythopoetic: >I do agree that Typhon takes the thematic role of Herod at times - I >haven't >decided with Typhon's meeting with Severian in 'Urth of the New Sun' more >closely parallels Herod and Jesus or Herod and John the Baptist. Chris shakes his head and says: I have trouble agreeing with this, since Typhon's role with respect to Severian is solidly and beyond question related to Satan's role with Jesus. The resemblance to Herod is going to be, in large part, a matter of Herod resembling Satan at times... Crush responds: I'm not sure what part you don't agree with, but I'll take a shot at an answer to the best of my ability. As do mythological characters in Graves' works, Wolfe's characters frequently (usually) carry multiple thematic roles. So, yes, Typhon's and Severian's meeting in Sword of the Lictor (?) is thematically the Temptation of Christ. Typhon holds Severian by the heel and Severian "crushes" Typhon's head (Gen 3:15). But these roles occur because Typhon/Python/Set/Satan is the serpent-enemy of the Sun (Apollo, Horus, Christ, etc.). IMO Typhon's name is the strongest argument that he had something to do with the dimming of Urth's sun since this would establish Typhon's and Severian's relationship as Set and Horus. But I don't see how Herod is thematically the enemy of the Sun. Herod the Great maybe (the one who killed the infants in Bethlehem), but not the Herod of the trial of Jesus. This Herod is curious about Jesus. He is vaguely worried that he might John the Baptist resurrected, and he'd like to have Jesus perform some miracles on command, but that's the extent of it. Just as Pilate is suspicious of the Sanhedrin's motives for trying to get him personally involved in Jesus' prosecution, Herod is suspicious of Pilate's motives. Neither the Sanhedrin, nor Pilate, nor Herod, are good stand-ins as the Devil. None wish to be openly identified as Jesus' executioners. All three are in a crisis of choices over which they cannot freely act nor (except for Herod) freely extricate themselves. None act with knowledge of the full significance of their actions. The thing is that Wolfe might have written the Herod-Typhon parallel for reasons not directly connected to Typhon's name or even 'King Jesus'. For example, in "Calde of the Long Sun", Silk and Loris have a conversation at Blood's house that parallels Jesus' and Pilate's. Why? Loris and his cousins take many other thematic roles in the Long Sun as serpent-enemies, but I have trouble connecting any of these roles to Pilate. So, does Typhon's Herodian similarities mean that he has the same relationship to Severian as Herod did to Jesus in 'King Jesus'? Is there a genuine Typhon-Herod connection even if it is only in 'King Jesus'? Don's quote from 'King Jesus' had **Jesus** with a Typhonic beard, not Herod. I don't know of a Herod-Satan association. If there were one, then I'd be much more prepared to accept Don's theories. -- Crush --