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Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 23:15:24 -0700
From: maa32 
Subject: (urth) "pristine" first chapter

Just an offhand comment that many here will already know:

The mistake in identification between Drotte and Roche, coming early in the 
narrative, seems unlikely to be a mistake by Wolfe because of its prevalence 
as the opening scene.  However (as someone who just completed a novel with a 
lackluster beginning that I'm still changing) sometimes the beginning is the 
easiest part to change.  Indeed, we know that Wolfe switched the first chapter 
with the second chapter in his narrative.  Which means that orginally 
"Severian" would have been the first chapter, and we would have seen the 
drowning before the saving of Vodalus.  There is so much in that first chapter 
that it is hard to believe that it might be a last minute revision, but the 
possibility does exist that it is the last thing Wolfe touched in his rewrite 
of Shadow of the Torturer.

My question is this: assuming that all of these mistakes in memory are valid, 
do they all point to something?  Are any of them related to his use of the 
claw?  Does anything connect them?  What does it matter if Severian has an 
almost perfect memory as opposed to a perfect one?  I like the idea that the 
previous iterations of Severian survive in his memories: he's lived the same 
stuff so many times that he remembers multiple timelines and only thinks that 
he actually remembers what happened to him.  My favorite example is his 
recital of the poem of hiding: he changes from "Like glass grow to any eye" to 
"Like grass grow to any eye" from SotT to CotA.  A typo?  A fruedian slip?  
And then, if the Severian that comes to retreive the coin is a different eye, 
changed through time and manipulation, does the coin simply appear to be 
counterfeit to his eyes?  Could it be genuine all along, while Severian's 
primitive magic actually deceives his future self?  Some odd stuff.

Do the changes make him look better?  Not really.  It justs lets us know that 
his memory is fishy and may not be utterly accurate because his life has been 
extensively meddled with.

Also, on the topic of Silk confused as Malrubius: yes, Gurloe's fear in 
Chapter 19 of RttW was the primary area, but I also thought that Brother 
Porter saw Silk and thought he was Malrubius as well.  I thought there were 
two occurences of this. I'll look again.

Marc Aramini


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