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From: "Mitchell A. Bailey" <MAB@lindau.net>
Subject: (urth) The Power Behind the Phoenix Throne II
Date: Sat, 12 Jun 1999 17:42:32 

Inire probably arrived at about the same time as, or shortly after, the
sun started to gutter. Inire seems to have openly appeared on Urth at
about the same time, no coincidence, as Ymar rose to power.  Inire no
doubt recognized Ymar as the Conciliatorís chosen one and put all his
temporal thaumaturgy at Ymarís disposal from the start. It would seem
that the higher powers who chastise the Urth by crippling the Sun at the
same time provide a hope and plan for redemption through the mission of

One thousand years later, Severian, the Epitome, departs for his
appointment, leaving Inire as regent. However, Inire, his work already
done, soon dies or departs to the stars whence he came. Since Valeria
did not have the opportunity to consume Severianís memories, she could
not become truly an Autarch. Severian, by becoming the New Sun, has
already fulfilled the higher purpose of the Autarchy, so she would
actually be superfluous as Autarch.

The Autarch has been cultivated by Father Inire not merely as a ruler
but as the Epitome from whom will spring the New Sun and the blessings
of the Hierosí forgiveness. As Severian announced at his examination,
the Autarchs represent and take responsibility for all the peoples of
Urth. I will speculate that this is the purpose for the memory-transfer
custom. Quotes Malrubius-aquastor, ďIn you all the divergent tendencies
of our race _may_  have achieved synthesisĒ (emphasis mine. Thanks, Tony
Ellis!). This, I presume, is the reason for the title Epitome claimed by
Severian at his examination in UNS. Perhaps that abstract-sounding goal
is accomplished in the concrete sense by producing a person in whom a
broad representative spectrum of past lives and experience are present. 

(As has been exhaustively discussed before by Mantis, Tony Ellis, Peter
Stephenson, and others, and others, an eidetic memory such as Severianís
could have been a necessary property for that individual finally sent to
for Urth, for whatever reason. I like Tonyís suggestion that Sevís
memory gives him more allies to fight for him, a trial by ordeal as it
were. I do think Peterís idea of Severian as Everyman come closest to
the explaination Iím using, but thatís a side issue here. My point is,
Inireís mission seems to have been to guide and cultivate (but not
control!) this process of shaping the Epitome..)

The best comparison which comes to my mind is from Tolkien. Inire could
be compared to Gandalf, sent by the Valar to guide the free peoples of
Middle-Earth through crisis. Like Gandalf, Inire seems to be a messenger
for celestial powers, is preternaturally long-lived, possesses knowledge
beyond the grasp of even the wisest, travels extensively into difficulty
and danger, and wears grey when not disguised. Inireís misty
difficult-to-see grey robe furthermore suggests the Elvish camouflage
featured in LOTR and Silmarillion. Like Gandalf, Inire departs after his
task is done. I truly wonder if Mr. Wolfe didnít have Gandalf in mind,
just a little.

Just as Gandalf inspired and coordinated resistance to Sauron, Father
Inire guides the Autarchs toward that point where they could be
reconciled, on behalf of all the peoples of Urth, with the Hieros,
ending ďthe epic penance of mankindĒ. Then Urth could join, harmoniously
this time, in the greater society of the peoples of the universes and as
a bonus vanquish the ďmegatherianĒ enemies of mankind and escape the icy
fate of a prematurely dying sun. 

It is easy to see an emissary of the Hierogrammates on a mission here,
taking a very personal interest in the fate of the peoples of Urth.

On the other hand, by establishing the Autarchy and the House Absolute,
Inire engineers himself a venue  for indulging, with impunity and to his
heartís content, his penchant for underaged exultant girls.

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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