Dunecember: Week 2 Roundup


(by Paul Pope, for DHarbin’s Dune Book Club, which wrapped up this week)

This week was full of mostly quiet character moments and bookended by Paul’s father, the Duke Atreides. We saw him in a moment as a father with Paul,  in a hushed moment with Paul’s mother–who we learned is not his wife, though he is also unmarried–and in a moment of leadership with his lieutenants. Paul’s father is interesting, as he is doomed from the start but upholds his nobility and values while focusing on laying the groundwork for his son to ascend.

Through Jessica we learned more about the Bene Gesserit in the form of the Missionaria Protectiva. This is a really brilliant concept, this panoplia propheticus. The idea that there’s a group subtly spreading “prophecies” that will protect its people belies a number of Herbert’s themes pretty early on. The MP is incredibly cynical for something approaching the religious nature of the Bene Gesserit order, though not that different from the legends that pervade the universe in Asimov’s Foundation series concerning the Foundation itself. However, the Foundation is simply a society preserving useful knowledge, while the Bene Gesserit seems to have (at this point) some sort of mystical connections. Herbert tries to make them science-based, with his talk to body language and “hearing the truth,” but there is an almost Jedi-like ability in ladies like Jessica with regards to their bodies and the casually-dropped hints at mind control.

The Fremen were introduced in the form of the Shadout Mapes (future band name, to be sure). The Missionaria Protectiva’s panoplia propheticus definitely holds sway in her, and Jessica is able to feign her way through that interaction (which seems heavy in subtext but is mostly impenetrable) and comes out with a crysknife. How hardcore is it, by the way, that the knife must not be sheathed unbloodied. Eeeesh. (Also, for our D&D metaphor, Jessica HAS ACQUIRED crysknife [properties unknown])

Paul also used some of his Jedi sorry, Bene Gesserit training to dispatch a crazy flying knife, and Jessica discovered an extravagant luxury and grave warning (partially illustrated above by the great Paul Pope, drawn for DHarbin’s Dune Book Club).

This reading has still been pretty heavily forshadowing doom to come. Any thoughts?

This week, read to page 126-ish, to the chapter concerning Kynes, which ends with “Against his own will and all previous judgements…”