Claw of the Conciliator: Chapters 13 to 15

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Severian uses the Claw to bring back the soldier he killed. He encounters Hethor again. Severian and Jonas are captured and taken somewhere prisoners are held indefinitely in a big room; there are even generations of prisoners who are born and die there.

They also catch a glimpse of Dorcas, Baldanders, Dr. Talos, and Jolenta.

Comments

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    Huh! Looks like nothing happened... :wink:

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    @clash_bowley said:
    Huh! Looks like nothing happened... :wink:

    Not a lot, it must be said.

    While Wolfe writes entertainingly enough, things are not exactly moving quickly in the book. The contrast in pace between this book and The Land God Gave to Cain is rather marked.

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    @NeilNjae - I as actually just teasing dr_mitch about his post being rather content free, but I do agree on the lack of movement.

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    Now updated... and some content!

    This was a set of chapters about noticing small things...

    Severian's pleasure and relief at seeing Dorcas. Him deliberately and almost casually using the Claw.

    Jonas' familiarity with the Notules. His metal hand. The fact it's now obvious his ship was a spaceship though this hasn't clicked for Severian- presumably he lacks the frame of reference.

    And the concept of the prison, even the concept in general of imprisonment until the crimes are forgotten.

    But it was an odd set of chapters to begin and end with for the week.
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    Just a reminder that next time we break the pattern and have four chapters, before going back to three.
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    @dr_mitch said:
    Jonas' familiarity with the Notules. His metal hand. The fact it's now obvious his ship was a spaceship though this hasn't clicked for Severian- presumably he lacks the frame of reference.

    He's obviously near immortal, or at least spent long periods crowding c. That was evident last read. My bet is he's a robot literally reskinned, though why one hand is still metal is beyond me.

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    There's also that the other two torturer-fanboys have been chasing Severian for a while and are desperate to be with him. That's more than just being a torturer fanboy. What do they know about Severian?

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    This book is called The Claw of the Conciliator and in this group of chapters, we had a chapter of the same name. And yet, the Claw has yet to really become a character in the novel, or in the series. It still has McGuffin status, I think, but I wonder if that will change - change in this novel, even.

    One thing did catch my eye - something the old 'volunteer' says:

    "Someone must make amends for the evil of Urth, or the New Sun will never come."

    Does this speak to a broader theme in the novel? It is a foreshadowing of something in Severian's future? Is it he who will make amends? How does this book is about a second coming? Who makes amends in the story of Christ before his Resurrection, and can we see a parallel between Severian and that person?

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    There was also a chapter called The Shadow of the Torturer in the book of that name... perhaps a theme?

    The prison is surely metaphorical as well as literal... humanity as a whole seems to be effectively a prisoner on Urth, and is as resigned to this generational fate as are these prisoners.

    Jonas is yet another enigma - apparently immensely old, and hanging out with Severian, as so many people are, for obscure motives. Very reluctant to reveal anything significant about himself. No doubt all will become clear at some point... though having said that my experience of Gene Wolfe is that we may have to wit a very long time to hear more.

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    @Apocryphal said:
    Does this speak to a broader theme in the novel? It is a foreshadowing of something in Severian's future? Is it he who will make amends? How does this book is about a second coming? Who makes amends in the story of Christ before his Resurrection, and can we see a parallel between Severian and that person?

    This is a point about which theologians debate greatly ("infinite are the arguments of mages..."). A Hebrew Bible prophecy (in Malachi) indicates that Elijah will be a forerunner before the Messiah. Now, in Christian terms, John the Baptist enacted this role for the earthly life of Jesus, but left open some aspects to be completed at a later coming.

    So basically the positions boil down to
    a) Elijah will, in person, be resurrected and turn up again, ie a strictly literal interpretation
    b) a specific person fulfilling a similar role to Elijah will be recognised in some unspecified way, this by analogy with John the Baptist
    c) the role is diffused among many people so there is a collective forerunner presence, this building on the principle that Christianity frequently democratised roles which previously had been granted to particular individuals.

    Does Severian act like Elijah or John the Baptist? IMHO, not especially. At least, I cannot see any obvious analogies. Both those gents were fairly hard-line about what people had to do or not do, so you could call them dogmatic, but we don't really learn very much from either Hebrew or Greek bibles about their characters. Right now, Severian does not seem to be announcing or drawing attention to anyone other than himself, and the whole point of a forerunner is to be rather invisible - eg John the Baptist is attributed as saying "he must increase but I must decrease", but I don't see Severian especially minded to decrease!

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    Maybe something to keep an eye on moving forward is whether Jonas = John. I’m doubting we’ll find direct comparisons, though. Severian, at this stage, seems to represent the evils of Urth, and I wonder if Jonas will ‘baptise’ him in some way. Is Severian a Barabbas type character?
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