No woman, no man, no child ever was deeply intimate with my father.
- The epigraph which begins this chapter is about Count Fenring, who is said to have "refused to kill a man even though it was within his capabilities and my father commanded it." Irulan ends this epigraph by saying "I will relate this presently," and it's been long enough since my last read of the novel that I can't remember who Fenring refused to kill, or if we ever even find out. He's a fascinating character, especially considering how little time we spend with him in the novel.
- Nobody beats Emperor Shaddam IV for being a great "off-screen" character, though, unless maybe it's Irulan herself. (Granted, she does become a major on-screen player in the sequels.)
- There is a leap forward in time of several years here, and he find out about it -- and about the rise on Arrakis of a new religious figure, "Muad' Dib" -- via the Harkonnens. Earlier in the novel, we were finding out about dangers to the Atreides via the Harkonnens; now we are learning about the (as-yet unknown) resurgence of the Atreides via the Harkonnens.
- The Baron upbraids Feyd-Rautha for unsuccessfully attempting to assassinate him, which is a lot of fun; he's also disdainful of his nephew's lack of finesse and subtlety. "And as he had done many times since that terrible day on Arrakis," Herbert writes, "he found himself regretting the loss of Piter, the Mentat. There'd been a man of delicate, devilish subtlety. It hadn't saved him, though. Again, the Baron shook his head. Fate was sometimes inscrutable." Paul, of course, would be able to give his grandfather some counsel on this subject. Herbert, here, is accomplishing some significant tasks: he's allowing us to be somewhat admiring of (and sympathetic toward) for the Baron AND his nephew. He's pulled that off elsewhere in the novel, too, and it is striking. I think we naturally do that for any POV character; the mere process of aligning ourselves to another person's mind (even a fake person's) pushes us in that direction.
|The Illustrated Dune p. 371 (art by John Schoenherr)|