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From: "Dan'l Danehy-Oakes" <ddanehy@siebel.com>
Subject: (urth) Spanish Castle Magic
Date: Wed, 10 Jan 2001 10:06:07 

"The Laughing Skull" wrote:

> 1) Severian's 3 legged dog is named Triskle.  The spanish word for
> sad is 'Triste', very close.  If that dog's story isn't sad, I
> don't know what is

Actually, "triskele" is a standard (if uncommon) English word, which
Webster defines as "a figure composed of three usually curved or bent 
branches radiating from a center." Possibly "triste" (French also)
makes a good resonance, though; Wolfe is very resonant...

> 2) Probably the most recognized is the term Calde, coming from
> Alcalde, meaning mayor

I'm surprised you didn't also mention "calde," "hot." Certainly
the Calde's throne is a hot seat... Another resonance.

> 3) The word 'Ayuntamiento' in Spanish means "copulation."  Seeing
> as how the cause lots of problems for Silk, could this mean that
> they're "The Fuckers?"

Interesting. It doubtelss comes from the same root as the term
I'd thought of -- "junta," which comes from Lat. "jungere," to 
join, and is cognate with Eng. "yoke" and so ultimately Sans.
"yuga," hence "yoga." 

But in fact "ayuntamiento" is simply the Spanish word for a city 
government; see, for example, the official website for el 
Ayuntamiento de Madrid, http://www.munimadrid.es/, or el 
Ayuntamiento de la Villa de Breņa Alta, Tenerife, 
http://www.balta.com/ -- there are many more; do a search for
Ayuntamiento on Yahoo! or some other search engine.

> I'm sure there are loads more that I've missed, but I'd just like
> to see what the rest of you thought

It's worth noting that juzgado is also Sp. for "court[house],"
but also a panel of judges, and so is the root of the Eng. 
slang (Amer. western) word "hoosegow."


And Tony Ellis wrote:

> Dan'l Danehy-Oakes made some interesting suggestions, 

Thank you!

> Three key points first:
> 1. I would like to resurrect Nutria's argument that Casteview
> is "about perception". 

That's a very good point, and one I touched on with my comments
about glamours but quite missed as a major theme. Me 'at's off 
ter th'rat.

> 2. Tom Stoppard once described "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
> Are Dead" as the dramatic equivalent of driving past Elsinore
> castle. [...] you would have no idea from these snapshots what
> the "real story" was all about. I find that a useful way of
> thinking about Castleview.

Yes, I agree -- we do not really know, and I believe we cannot 
know, what the faery war is actually about. It's part of something
bigger and possibly permanent; we see it only as it impinges on 
the lives of some human and demi-human characters.

> 3. We see the supernatural characters, which Dan'l Danehy-Oakes
> usefully identifies as "fey", primarily in terms of late western
> European mythology, and particularly Arthurian mythology. 

And bad science fiction, and monster movies, and Westerns, and (as
you point out) urban legend -- at least.

> In the fine Wolfe short story "A Cabin On the Coast" a pipe-smoking
> leprechaun tells the protagonist "Would ye like to see me as a tiny
> green man wi' horns like a snail's? I can do that too."

Good connect. That story does a lot to clarify how Faerie appear
in things Wolfish.

> > Who is Lucie?
> A tenant of Meadow Grass who has been turned into a vampire.

I'm not sure that's all that clear -- I had the impression there
was something more/less about her from the beginning. But then...
this _works_.

> > What's all the business with the organ playing in the museum?
> I can't improve on Dan'l's "cool effects?" With its insanely,
> ludicrously frenetic pace, and magically-transformed cats, I don't
> think this is a book we are supposed to take -too- seriously.

Thank you. I think Wolfe was trying to write a _fun_ book, and 
largely succeeded. It has several characteristics kind of uncharacteristic
of Wolfe -- notably, the very short timeframe in which the action takes 
place, and the frenetic, non-stop action. Things happen as fast here as
they do in TERMINATOR 2, and (as in T2) I think part of the intention is
to keep things moving so fast that the audience doesn't have time to do
much thinking until the whole thing's over (though, this being GW, I 
doubt that this is done for purpose of keeping us from noticing massive 
plot holes).

> > Viviane Morgan appears to be Vivian *and* Morgan le Fay. How does 
> > she manage to be both?
> Because these are just our personifications of the same supernatural
> being.

... whatever "the same" means in this context. Again, I suggest
that identity is a little wonky on the other side of the meadow.


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

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