During The Sword of the Lictor, protagonist Severian meets a little boy named Severian (see also Who is Little Severian?). Little Severian has a twin sister named Severa. This set of names seem to be given to twins, like another set of twins we meet, Agia and Agilus.

Is this a hint from Gene Wolfe that "big" Severian also has a twin sister? If so, who is it?

I have seen some theories online. Most seem to believe it's Merryn (a character I had to look up because I didn't remember who it was), and the WolfeWiki even says Wolfe has "confirmed this in the chat". What chat? Does anyone have a primary source for that confirmation?

If there is a Word of God on this topic, then why are there so many other theories around? Some think it's Valeria, others Jolenta. Which answer has the most basis in the text?

  • Obligatory comment that Wikis (in general) are notoriously unreliable sources of information.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Commented Dec 17, 2018 at 20:21

1 Answer 1


Yes, it's clearly a hint that Severian might have a sister, as it's explicit in the text:

"I'm Ava. Severian is one of these brother - sister names, isn't it? Severian and Severa. Do you have a sister?"

"I don't know. If I do, she's a witch."

Citadel of the Autarch, chapter X.

Merryn would fit straightforwardly because she is a witch; more elaborate theories are available.

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