- We meet Kynes, the Emperor appointed ecologist on Arrakis who is also a whole lot more but not letting on. People are scared of him and by people, I mean Harkonnen spies! He plans on hating the Atreides but they are just too cute and cuddly for him to loathe. Oh, and he is beginning to link Paul with the Messiah myth in his head, even when he doesn’t want to.
- The Duke saves some men harvesting spice from a worm attack, even though they have to abandon the harvested product. Who can guess the party behind the almost-accident? That’s right; the Harkonnens! Two Fremen are spotted riding the worm by Paul, which Kynes denies vehemently.
- It is hinted that the Emperor doesn’t really hate the Atreides but is scared about how popular and loved the Duke is, making the latter a threat that must be dealt with.
- Jessica and Hawat have a psychic showdown, which Jessica wins (duh) but causes Hawat to be more attentive towards her (not that it did any good)
- Harkonnens’ plan comes to fruition and the Duke dies while Yueh is not a complete bastard and gives Jessica and Paul a fighting (and since they succeed, escaping) chance.
- It is revealed by Paul who turns into a computer-ish freak that Atreides and Harkonnens are genetically related.
- Oh, and the evil Duke is a pedophile who has the hots for Paul!
This time, we started with:
When my father, the Padishah Emperor, heard of Duke Leto’s death and the manner of it, he went into such a rage as we had never before seen. He blamed my mother and the compact forced on him to place a Bene Gesserit on the throne. He blamed the Guild and the evil old Baron. He blamed everyone in sight, not excepting even me, for he said I was a witch like all the others. And when I sought to comfort him, saying it was done according to an older law of self-preservation to which even the most ancient rulers gave allegiance, he sneered at me and asked if I thought him a weakling. I saw then that he had been aroused to this passion not by concern over the dead Duke but by what that death implied for all royalty. As I look back on it, I think there may have been some prescience in my father, too, for it is certain that his line and Muad’Dib’s shared common ancestry.
and read all the way until the end of the second book!
A summary of what has happened until now:
1. Paul & Jessica finally meet Fremen, Stilgar’s clan, who are about to kill them but are convinced to take them along. This decision is due to convergence of multiple factors, including Kyne’s (who is the Liet) last decree to the Fremen, Jessica’s sharp mind, BG myth-seeding, Fremen legends, the duo’s weirding ability to fight etc.
2. Kyne is left to die in the desert by Harkonnen and takes part in a huge info dump before he kicks it. The main idea behind that dump and what Stilgar lets on to mother & son is that the Fremen are slowly amassing enough water to change the face of Arrakis. It won’t happen in a day, it won’t even happen in their time, but the world’d better watch out when it does!
3. We meet Paul’s future intended, Chani, who is also Kyne’s daughter & Stilgar’s niece.
Paul struggles with the pressure of the impending bloody future, crippling presence of prescience, and killing a person not because his life was in danger but because the Fremen was an idiot! The Fremen’s wife and two sons are now under his care and will remain so for at least a year. His legend continues to grow and overshadow what he is trying to do.
4. Jessica enters into a whole ritual back at the Fremen settlement and walks out irreversibly changing her unborn daughter and with the memories of the previous Reverend Mothers.
5. Harkonnen is his evil, loathsome self but Feyd isn’t a lightweight either. Then there is the emperor who is trying to make things uncomfortable for the both of them.
6. Of the Atreides can, Idaho is dead, Hawat has been employed by Harkonnen (and seems to be driving a wedge between the Duke & his nephew), & Halleck is on board a Guild ship along with a few of his men.
Wow! A lot happens in this part of the book. I’m not even sure that I got all of it in the summary but I tried. Some parts that stood out to me, included this interaction between Hawat and Fremen:
The “fight” between Fremen and the much dreaded Sardaukar, if it can be called a fight. The Fremen are way way cooler than the Sardaukar, as you will see with this quote:
The Sardaukar approached the waiting group of Fremen in an enclosing half-circle. Sun glinted on blades held ready. The Fremen stood in a compact group, apparently indifferent. Abruptly, the sand around the two groups sprouted Fremen. They were at the ornithopter, then in it. Where the two groups had met at the dune crest, a dust cloud partly obscured violent motion. Presently, dust settled. Only Fremen remained standing.
Paul has all the charm his old man had and commands loyalty from whomever he meets is plain to see in this interaction he has with Idaho:
The imagery that Herbert uses to describe the desert is beautifully done and without any floweriness:
The sun dipped lower. Shadows stretched across the salt pan. Lines of wild color spread over the sunset horizon. Color streamed into a toe of darkness testing the sand. Coal-colored shadows spread, and the thick collapse of night blotted the desert.
Something that bugged me was why, if Jessica is so smart & all-knowing, did she manage to get herself silenced by the Fremen, just when Paul needed her advice the most. He could have used her help while fighting Jamis to death. I mean, look at her in this scene where the Fremen are about to leave; she is so regal and everything and then she goes behaving like a pouty teenager!
Oh and the craftiness of the BG! They’re like the Aes Sedai all over again:
(Irulan) You must remember that he was an emperor, father-head of a dynasty that reached back into the dimmest history. But we denied him a legal son. Was this not the most terrible defeat a ruler ever suffered? My mother obeyed her Sister Superiors where the Lady Jessica disobeyed. Which of them was the stronger? History already has answered.
(Jessica) Paul must be cautioned about their women. One of these desert women would not do as wife to a Duke. As concubine, yes, but not as wife.
Then she wondered at herself, thinking: Have I been infected with his schemes? And she saw how well she had been conditioned. I can think of the marital needs of royalty without once weighing my own concubinage.
Since I have been scouring the internet for anything and everything on Dune, here is what I have for you today:
The song is, “Weapon of Choice” by Fatboy Slim and not only does it contain the line, “Walk out rhythm, it won’t attract the worm”, it also features a dancing Christopher Walken. Watch it!
Oh and this joke that cracked me up: