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From: Jim Jordan <jbjordan@gnt.net>
Subject: Re: (whorl) Wolfe's Answer re Torturers' Guild
Date: Mon, 16 Jun 1997 18:05:40 

[Posted from WHORL, the mailing list for Gene Wolfe's Book of the Long Sun]

At 09:51 AM 6/16/97 -0400, you wrote:

>My question and Wolfe's answer were:
><<14. "Is there a member (current, former, or future) of the Order of
>Seekers for Truth and Penitence on the Whorl?"  I'm going to
>interpret this question in the broadest possible sense, since that
>seems to be what Parsons wants.  Yes, there is.  It is Silk.>>
>It's been suggested that Wolfe is slyly pointing out that Silk is indeed a
>"seeker for truth and penitence," and Wolfe's answer has no more
>meaning than that.  I would respectfully disagree. it.  Wolfe rarely
>emphasizes key information in his writing, but he is always, within the
>logic of the narrative, accurate.  Believe what he says.  The Order of
>Seekers for Truth and Penitence (capitalized as a proper noun) is a
>specific organization.  Silk is a member.  Either Silk is (or has
been/will be)
>a torturer.  Severian has to be the best candidate.

	I'll bet you're completely wrong.
	The Order for Seekers of Truth and Penitence is (tada!) the Christian
Church, or the Catholic Church. 
	Silk is a member of it in the proper sense.
	Severian starts as a member of a perverse antichrist copy of it.
	Thus, "in the broadest sense," both are members of it.
	Don't be too surprised at this. Remember that in the bible, the opposite
of the Bride is the Whore. The anti-church of the antichrist clones
(manmade men) in The Fifth Head of Cerberus is a whorehouse. The Autarch
also runs a whorehouse. 
	All of which means to me: I need to reread the Severian Quintet for clues
about this matter.
	Hmmm. The towers. Consider. The towers at the center of a city, with a
graveyard nearby, are usually the Cathedral. Here we have Witches, Animal
Torturers (Bear Tower), and Human Torturers. Boy! An anti-cathedral or
what?! But as Wolfe has said, Severian is trying to grow out and away from
his horrible beginnings. 
	Hey, these towers are spaceships, pointed toward heaven, that once
travelled in the heavens. A VERY interesting symbol for the church! But one
that recurs in the form of THE SHIP of The Angel of Justice (Tsaddki-El).
(How often is a spaceship a church in SF?)
	"How marvelous it would be to send this old Matachin Tower hurtling among
the stars! And yet there was something sinister about it, as about all
things perverted from a noble purpose to a shameful one." Urth of NS, hc, 261.
	For me, this is opening up a lot of new and interesting possibilities.
What do you experts (Mantis, et al.) think?


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