I really like the in-depth treatment you've given TFHOC, which has given me a lot to think about and sent me back to the novella numerous times to re-read section in light of some of the questions you've raised. I can't wait for this in-depth treatment of The Book of the New Sun. Thought I'd start a fresh thread on issues raised in the final few episodes devoted to TFHOC. A thought occured to me today that there is an early tip-off to the theme of genetic stagnation - I can't remember if this was brought up in the podcasts or other scholarship, but in the first couple of pages, the Narrator describes the iron shutter that covered his bedroom window, and notes that it was overgrown with a silver trumpet vine (since dug up). He writes that, "I used to wish that it would close the window entirely and thus shut out the sun," but that David would break off the twigs of the vine and make panpipes out of them. The ancient Greek word for "twig" is "klon" from which we get the word "clone" (from the ability to grow a new plant from a twig of the original plant). Wolfe has studied Attic Greek, I think he intended the metaphor for the genetic stagnation of the family, growing over and shrouding the windows of the house, which the Narrator welcomes at some level for the darkness it provides, whereas David finds a way through art/music to find a path out through that.