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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (whorl) re: [big spoiler] Narrative technique in _Return_
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2001 09:52:56 

Dan wrote, and Adam responded:

>> In _Return_, we pretty much get a chapter-by-chapter alternation
>> between the homeward-bound story and the _Whorl_ story, told in very
>> different styles.  Homecoming-protagonist pretty much continues his
>> persona from _Green's_, but as Whorl-narrator he adopts a very
>> mannered avoidance of identification with the Whorl-protagonist: he
>> never names that person (always referred to via third-person pronouns
>> or as "the man who...").
>Not quite.  The third-person sections are not written by the
>Homecoming-protagonist, but by the editors of BoTSS, Hoof, Hide and their
>wives, as stated in the Afterword.  Which raises the question: why do the
>editors keep up the ambiguity over the protagonist's identity until almost
>the end?  One possibility is that they don't want to admit that Horn is
>dead, but there are a couple of problems with this: apparently Hide and Hoof
>never did believe that the protagonist was Horn (see the start of Hoof's
>narration on p. 337); and when the editors finally do name the protagonist,
>they unambiguously call him Silk.  Another case where the editors create a
>mystery and I don't see why: it's clear that "Horn" gives an eye to Pig, but
>as far as I can recall this is never stated.

Allow me to interject: I don't think that Horn was completely evacuated
from the Horn/Silk/Silk combine (that is Horn spirit/Silk body/mainframe
Silk-via-Pig's body spirit) until after the big quest was completed.

Just as Scylla's quest took them on a "tangential" side trip to Urth, so
that she could "come home" and be reunited with her original body in her
original homeland.  Same thing for Horn.  Or so it seems to me.

After Horn is laid to rest, the combine is Silk/Silk, or Silk2.  Still not
cured of that awful melancholy, suggesting that main frame isn't an easy
cure-all, but perhaps he is a bit better?

As for editors creating mystery, I think the lack of their fingerprints in
IGJ (footnotes, comments) was something larger in that it suggested that
they (editors and family) had not received the book.

Part of the difficulty surrounding Horn giving Silk's eye to Pig, it seems
to me, is the fact that at precisely this moment, when Pig first looks at
his benefactor after the operation, the transfer happens, and Horn/Silk
becomes Horn/Silk/Silk.

One of the first tricky questions for me was, "Why would Nettle leave Blue?
Why not be a grandmother?"  For this I think the biggest answer is probably
that she was told the damning secret, and as a result she would be hunted
on Blue.  Beyond that, well, the colony has gone to hell, time to move on!

What about Seawrack?  Here's the weird case where she was Horn's
girlfriend, and while the Horn/Silk/Silk combine occassionally confused
Seawrack with Hyacinth, still, I don't think that Silk2 is likely to have
an affair with Seawrack, just as Horn wouldn't do so with Hyacinth.  So why
is Seawrack going?  She is such a wild, untamed thing, and the Whorl seems
like such a domestic scene . . . unless she will live in the Lake as the
replacement for Scylla?

Silk2: widower; Nettle: widow; Seawrack: siren; Marble: mother; Oreb: free

But back to Urth--that Scylla's body was in Severian's favorite mausoleum
(remember the bronze that has his own features) causes all sorts of big
ripples . . . is Severian, at root, a member of the same family?  He cannot
be Typhon, since Typhon is blond and entombed on Mount Typhon.  So if he is
a member of the royal family, he must be a son.  One of the two sons.  A
dark son.  Perhaps the dark son who had a mildly helpful role in TBOTLS.


Sirius Fiction
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