Has anyone ever settled the matter as to whether Agia was gunning to make use of Severian to obtain the gem from the Pelerines? It just seems really unlikely. She seems someone of so much sense, of mercantile calculation... and already had underway a ruse which looked safe to secure her and her brother a sword worth a villa (no more lentils, ever!). Plus, in the collision with the Pelerines' tent, one of the horses dies, and she herself suffers a leg injury -- and so presumably could have died herself. Was she THAT ambitious? If so, it is perhaps no surprise that rather than being someone who possessed "the hopeless courage of the poor," as Severian settles her as being, just someone representative of a class of people, she was someone, like Thecla, like Severian, bound and due to sit on the throne -- which she mostly does, in becoming the next Vodalus, a success story of success stories.
Cecilia Michel Lopez I think the parallel question is whether the One Ring was actually lost by Gollum and accidentally picked up by Bilbo, or the Ring abandoned him to work its way to the surface and its master. It doesn't really matter what Agia intended. The Pelerines were perfectly chill about the Claw vanishing, which is entirely in keeping with Christian tradition for relics. The pop version is the Holy Grail relocating. For the scholarly version, read Geary's "Furta Sacra" which details the medieval belief that the theft of genuine relics was only possible with the cooperation of the saint & the will of God.
Patrick McEvoy-Halston To me, it very much matters what Agia intended. I had come to know her; I spent time with her — she interests me. Leave it to the pelerines to gauge her of no consequence. Leave that barbarity of assessment... to them. Thanks, though, for the grail reference, which is interesting, however much it nevertheless performs the crime of having us take flight from a person we are interested in.
Tim Hanson It seems very unlikely that she planned the whole from the beginning. There' would be too many variables. This thread has got me wondering though. I'd assumed it was an opportunistic crime. However if she dropped the Claw into Severian's sabertache as the text suggests that would be putting the whole Avern Challenge scam at risk. The most likely outcome would be Sevarian being detained rather than them escaping with the Claw. Hmm...
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Steve Petersson I think she indulged in a crime of opportunity, and had not planned it in advance.
Patrick McEvoy-Halston Who else is like that? Jonas, Severian... melito... man-ape who approached Severian. Also, goose who becomes gray salt goose.