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Frank Herbert

Book I (continued)

Book I (continued)

Book I (continued), page 2

page 1 of 2
From Hawat’s interception of the baron’s note to Kynes’s discussion of Arrakis’s ecology


Baron Harkonnen’s plans are coming to fruition: Thufir Hawat, the master of assassins, intercepts a note, allegedly from the baron to Lady Jessica, that implicates her in a plot to betray Duke Leto. The duke does not believe the allegation, but he recognizes it as a Harkonnen plot, and he decides that in order to trap the Harkonnens, he must pretend to fall into the trap. He decides to allow Hawat and Duncan Idaho, his swordmaster, to think that Jessica may be guilty, though he does not actually believe the allegations.

Some of the Fremen have started calling Paul the Mahdi, or “the one who will lead us to paradise.” This follows the prophecy that their messianic savior will arrive as the child of a Bene Gesserit, like Jessica.

The duke tells Paul about the Harkonnen plot to turn the duke against Lady Jessica but warns him to tell no one else. The duke has plans to use his “propaganda corps” to secure the loyalty of the people of Arrakis, but he warns Paul that if anything goes wrong Paul should make use of his Mahdi status to gain the Fremen’s respect.

The duke and Paul then meet Dr. Kynes, the Arrakis ecologist. Kynes has been ordered to betray the Atreides, but he finds himself impressed by them despite his low expectations of their character. Kynes explains the use of stillsuits, special outfits that contain the amount of moisture the body uses up and which are able to recycle the majority of the body’s moisture. As Kynes interacts more and more with Paul, he finds that Paul oddly seems to fit the legends of the Mahdi. Kynes is also surprised to find that Leto is a penetrating man who seems interested in Kynes’s plans to make Arrakis an Edenic paradise.

Kynes takes the duke and Paul to visit a spice-mining operation. While they are there, the roaming spice factory is attacked by a giant sandworm. The duke takes control and makes sure to save all the miners, leaving the spice behind. The duke’s concern for human life over spice impresses Kynes. As the duke leaves and his ship flies away, Paul spots two men that he correctly identifies as Fremen, though Kynes tries to hide that fact. Paul’s mysterious skills and the duke’s concern for his workers’ lives impress Kynes even more.

The duke holds a dinner party for the distinguished members of Arrakeen society, the wealthy members of the planet. Kynes attends, and he is surprised when Jessica expresses her hope that one day Arrakis will be a lush paradise. Kynes asks her if she brings “the shortening of the way,” which translates to Kwisatz Haderach. Jessica does not have the chance to answer, but it is clear that Kynes is becoming more intrigued by Jessica and Paul.

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