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Shadow & Claw (The Book of the New Sun #1-2)
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2011 Reads > S&C: The Green Man (spoiler, claw, ch 3)

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message 1: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (last edited Feb 25, 2011 08:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
When I initially read the series, the green man in the tent's conversation with Severian seemed to introduce time travel into the series. During this re-read, I now see it as solidifying the presence of time travel, the actual introduction of it being the jungle hut scene in the Botanical Gardens.

It's very interesting that the green man claims to come from a future where Urth's sun is brighter, enough so for him to be able to live off photosynthesis via the chlorophyll in his veins. We've previously been given bits of Urth mythology about a rekindling of the sun, but here is a being that claims to be from a future where it's actually happened, the first positive sign of possible redemption for Urth.

What do you think of the green man, time travel, and the hint at redemption?


message 2: by Colin (last edited Feb 25, 2011 09:35AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Colin | 278 comments The redemption quality also comes with the Green Man motif from our pagan (and literary) past. Many cultures have had such figures pop up in their mythology, and are interpreted as symbols of rebirth, Spring, rejuvenation, etc.

As a harbinger of the "new sun", a green man would be an ideal figure to rekindle hope.

When i read that part in Claw, i got the impression that Man had a significant role in the new sun. My mind then raced and imagined some form of ancient rocket device long hidden, automated and protected from time, on a timer, waiting for the moment the old sun goes pop, then blast-off, presto, brand new sun thanks to the ingenuity and foresight of the long dead past civilization. I then imagine a smarmy/cheesy advertising logo emblazoned across the sky, "This new sun brought to you by Miracle Gro. Gro big or gro home," then fade away leaving a mystified populace who then create a new diety to worship, Gro the Allfather, bringer of Miracles.

But my imagination tends to do stuff like that.

*Edit: Also with time travel, and maybe a SPOILER?






















From later on in Claw when there is talk about the Conciliator as a being...i was struck that it was a time traveler, jumping around, appearing in many places over the course of many years, doing various things.


message 3: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
I haven't gotten there in my re-read yet, but yes, you may be on to something with the spoiler comment.

Also, I would totally buy stock in Cosmic Miracle Gro if their logo was impressive enough.


message 4: by Ed (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ed (edwardjsabol) | 170 comments I actually think there's time travel in the story prior to the Jungle Hut scene, but Severian doesn't realize what's happening when it occurs and Wolfe hides it very well.


message 5: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
The woman he meets very early on in the Atrium of Time?


message 6: by Ed (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ed (edwardjsabol) | 170 comments She's likely a time traveller, yes, and the Atrium of Time might be a kind of TARDIS, but I was actually referring to an even earlier event, specifically when Severian almost drowns in Gyoll in chapter 2 of TSotT. I think in actuality he did drown, as evidenced by the visions he reports, but a time traveller changed the timestream to prevent his death.


message 7: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (last edited Feb 28, 2011 06:28AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
Ed wrote: "She's likely a time traveller, yes, and the Atrium of Time might be a kind of TARDIS..."

I've read that suggestion somewhere before, but I haven't analyzed that scene closely. What are the clues in it that she's a time traveller?

Ed wrote, "I think in actuality he did drown, as evidenced by the visions he reports, but a time traveller changed the timestream to prevent his death."

Hm, but at various other times he again has visions both of the giant aquatic women and Master Malrubius -- and those other times *don't* involve near-death situations (so far in my re-read). Is there something specific about this first time he has the visions that makes you think a time traveller saved him / brought him back to life from drowning?


message 8: by Ed (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ed (edwardjsabol) | 170 comments Jlawrence asked: "What are the clues in it that she's a time traveller?"

Well, she lives in the Atrium of Time, but it's not definitive, I'll grant you. There's something about how the Atrium of Time can only be accessed from the tunnels and can't be found in other ways.

Jlawrence wrote: "Is there something specific about this first time he has the visions that makes you think a time traveller saved him / brought him back to life from drowning?"

His rescue is too convenient. He quasi-drowns a lot whenever he goes swimming. Maybe that's because that's how he was supposed to have died.

There may also be a reference in The Urth of the New Sun, but I don't want to spoil that.


message 9: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
Ed wrote: His rescue is too convenient. He quasi-drowns a lot whenever he goes swimming. Maybe that's because that's how he was supposed to have died.

Ah, yeah, we have seen multiple incidents of him almost-drowning and being rescued, so maybe there is something to that.


message 10: by Jared (new)

Jared (jared_king) | 51 comments There are a few references to water + rebirth throughout the books, a blatant one in Sword of the Lichtor, some sort of religious reference i guess, christening and all that.


message 11: by Patrick (new)

Patrick (halfadd3r) Has anyone else read Desolation Road? I can't really say anything more because it could REALLY spoil the ending of Desolation Road. However the Green Man seems familiar.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2859 comments This is the solution that Houellebecq comes up with in

The Possibility of an Island, as a solution for decreasing food supply on earth, or the entire destruction of it. So I just kept thinking of that book and its many clones.

Where does the Green Man go, after he leaves Severian's sight? Is he really destined to be some kind of traveling freak-show circus? It seemed random. :)


message 13: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (last edited Mar 07, 2011 09:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
I kind of hoped he found some way to travel back to his initial time after Severian freed him (Severain broke his chain after the last answer the Green Man gave him, remember?), but that might be too hopeful. ;)


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2859 comments I kind of sensed he was in Severian's world for a reason, or am I just too much an idealist?


message 15: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (last edited Mar 09, 2011 11:28AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
Jenny, well I think he's definitely there as a concrete sign that there's *some* hope for Urth -- I'll be finding out if there's further reference to him as I start Sword & Citadel.

Spoiler, CLAW, ch 28



Ed wrote (about a time-traveller maybe saving Severian):

"jlawrence: 'Is there something specific about this first time he has the visions that makes you think a time traveller saved him / brought him back to life from drowning?'

His rescue is too convenient. He quasi-drowns a lot whenever he goes swimming. Maybe that's because that's how he was supposed to have died."


Well, now I've read near the end of Claw where the giant undine claims to have saved Severian when he almost drowned in Gyoll. It's interesting because that would mean it was not a vision he had while unconscious after almost drowning, but an actual memory of her saving him. Of course, she could be lying, but if she's able to swim all the way to the relatively small river where she speaks to him, she definitely could swim in the much larger Gyoll. Also, the sea monster Abaia and his undines seem to have a real interest in Severian.

He could also just be having a vision *again*, but the fact Dorcas sees the undine too leads me to believe we're supposed to believe in the undine's reality.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 2859 comments See, Wolfe is practically insisting that I read the rest of the Book of the New Sun in order to find the answers to these questions.


message 17: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (last edited Mar 09, 2011 01:06PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
Yes, yes he is.

I truly don't remember if we see the Green Man again, though - so no promises about that. ;)


message 18: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
OK, I can now confirm he does appear again. :) (I'll have more to say about him in a spoiler-filled-if-you've-finished-all-four-books thread).


message 19: by Bruce (new)

Bruce (grymoire) | 14 comments Jlawrence wrote: "I kind of hoped he found some way to travel back to his initial time after Severian freed him (Severain broke his chain after the last answer the Green Man gave him, remember?)"

Nitpick Warning - He broke his whetstone and handled half to the Green Man. This can be used by the Green Man to wear down a weak spot in the chain.

Normally this would takes days (I do woodworking and metalworking). Maybe the whetstone had an adjustable grit. LOL.


message 20: by Jlawrence, S&L Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jlawrence | 960 comments Mod
Bruce wrote: "Nitpick Warning - He broke his whetstone and handled half to the Green Man. This can be used by the Green Man to wear down a weak spot in the chain.

Normally this would takes days (I do woodworking and metalworking). Maybe the whetstone had an adjustable grit. LOL."


Advanced-but-now-forgotten-Urthian-whetstone-tech. ;)


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