Literature Study GuidesDuneBook 2 Section 35 36 Summary

Dune | Study Guide

Frank Herbert

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Dune | Book 2, Section 35–36 : Muad'Dib | Summary

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Summary

Book 2, Section 35

It is Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen's 17th birthday, and because he is the baron's designated heir, everyone on Giedi Prime is observing the day of celebration. Count Fenring, visiting for the celebration, meets privately with the baron to convey a message from the emperor: the emperor is not happy the baron ordered the Sardaukar off Arrakis. There have been reports of plant life in the deep desert, and the baron may be underestimating the Fremen. The emperor wants to audit the baron's books. Also, the emperor is upset Thufir Hawat is not dead, as the baron previously reported, but alive and working for the baron. The count makes it clear the baron is on shaky ground with the emperor.

As part of his birthday festivities Feyd-Rautha fights a slave-gladiator. This gladiator turns out to be a captured Atreides soldier, who fights fiercely before he is finally killed. Later, Count and Lady Fenring discuss how the whole fight, including the surprising fierceness of the gladiator, was staged to show Feyd-Rautha's strength. They also discuss that Lady Fenring, a Bene Gesserit, is supposed to seduce Feyd-Rautha to maintain his bloodline.

Book 2, Section 36

Stilgar's troops arrive back at their home sietch, or village. Once they are inside its sealed cavern environment the Fremen remove their stillsuits. Because her father, Liet-Kynes, is dead, Chani goes to see the Reverend Mother, and Jessica goes with her. Stilgar tells Paul that because he killed Jamis he now must assume responsibility for Jamis's wife, Harah, and her two sons. Harah shows Paul to his apartment, or yali, a rock chamber draped with fabric and spread with carpets. She leaves to get food, and while she is gone her two sons arrive.

Paul's premonitions of this time with Stilgar's people feel as if they are close but not exact matches with reality. He has a sense that the future paths are in constant motion; the possibility of jihad is still among them.

Analysis

The novel returns to Baron Harkonnen and his nephew and heir, Feyd-Rautha. As usual the baron is scheming, but this time his schemes aren't going unnoticed. The emperor wants to audit his books and is suspicious because Duke Leto's Mentat, Hawat, is now working for the Harkonnens. Count Fenring arrives to let the baron know the emperor is keeping an eye on him. Feyd-Rautha reveals his own ambitious nature when he stages the gladiator fight so it looks as if a captured Atreides almost won the fight, giving Feyd-Rautha a hard-earned victory. This is also meant to reflect poorly on the slave master, who is supposed to drug the gladiators and make them easier to kill.

The fact that Harkonnens have gladiator fights in which a human gladiator is killed by a member of the noble family adds to the characterization of the Harkonnens as bereft of morality. There is no low to which they will not sink.

The action returns to Paul, who learns he is now responsible for Jamis's wife and two sons. All the while he can see the jihad among the possible futures. It is easy to lose sight of the fact that Paul, though a duke, is only 15 years old. This is more responsibility than most young men his age face.

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