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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (whorl) RTTW spoilers, crutch of Horn
Date: Sat, 17 Feb 2001 20:36:44 

Alex David Groce wrote:

>Note that there is also Nutria's reading: Horn isn't delusional, but
>his family & Remora (our editors) are.

Right, that would be 0% Delusional for the narrator; the outsiders cannot
grok it, but the Outsider can.

>I find the most convincing reading to be a mixture of the Quixotic and
>the delusional: Horn and Silk are both present in the body from the
>moment of the transfer from Green.  Silk, however, is in a funk--while
>he contributes to the actions of Silkhorn, at first he does not wish
>to acknowledge himself as still alive.  Equally, Horn doesn't want to
>admit to himself that he's "dead," but certainly can't say "I'm Silk
>now"--both because he's sane enough to know that he isn't the Silk
>that New Viron needs, even if he is the real Silk in some sense.  He's
>also having a hard time admitting that Silk is in him wishing he were
>dead.  The Long Sun narration makes it clear that the little suicide
>scene on top of the airship was traumatic for Horn.  This is much

I agree with just about all of the material you posted (I would go on more
about how, after all this build up of "natural king" stuff, the events of
Gaon, and Viron before that, prove that there is no way Silk can do it
right, etc.).  I just had this sense that N was grasping at =all= straws
(following rumors that Silk was in hotel; catch whatever comes out of Pig's
eye; etc.) while he was on the Whorl in an attempt to better complete his
mission.  It didn't feel to me like he was entirely delusional in his
Quixotic quest.

(The whole issue of psychic "fragments" separate from body and spirit might
point to a tripart system, like body/soul/spirit.  I don't know.  But my
intuitive model agrees with what Nutria said about how Silk's brainstuff is
still there for N to use, just like his super-muscles are, even if Silk's
spiritual essence is gone away.)

On to the new topic: if we can agree that "Horn is a crutch," and I can
readily go along with that, then suddenly I find myself asking "why?"  It
is strange, because I went along with it in the book (it especially seemed
"right" after the whole wooly "laying Cilinia to rest" thing), but at the
moment it seems odd.  As if Thecla suddenly imploded ala Master Ash.  Or
perhaps Jonas imploding within Miles as the news of Jolenta's death gets to

The "easy" answer is: well, Thecla was meant to be Severian's female side,
his constant companion; she has no goal beyond that, she had no life quest
that seeks completion, where completion leads to dissolution.  But Horn
completes his quest, and is now free to die?  So his whole purpose was to
be the crutch?  (Granted, there's that powerful twin-theme again: one dies,
the other is immortal.)  Why not stay around?  Unless such a state is, er,
"a fate worse than death"?

(Note that you are in direct contradiction of Nutria here, since he says
that Horn is becoming more like Silk rather than imploding.  And I can see
his reading, too, fwiw.)

(Eek, come to think of it . . . the equivalent of Thecla imploding might
very well be that part in URTH where she appears in her own body, etc . . .

OTOH, if it is Horn back at New Viron, then what is the attempted
suicide-by-inhumi-attack, a sort of exorcism of dark Silk through enactment
of the thing itself?  (I mean, it hardly seems like the sort of thing one
is going to do as one becomes "Silkified" . . . unless . . . ) And then,
having done that, N is a Horn/repaired-Silk?


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