Study Guide

Dune Book I, Chapter 17

By Frank Herbert

Book I, Chapter 17

  • Jessica wakes up to a disturbance. She leaves her room to find Duncan Idaho skunk drunk on spice beer and making a right fool of himself.
  • Jessica attempts to calm Idaho down, but only Montana can do that. He's too far gone.
  • Yueh arrives and attempts to make the man drink some caffeine and get his footing back, but Idaho refuses.
  • When Jessica steps in, Idaho claims he doesn't take orders from a Harkonnen spy. Whoopsie.
  • Angry but poised, Jessica demands he sleep it off in his room. Then she orders Hawat to meet her in her sitting room.
  • There, Hawat and Jessica have a face to face.
  • Jessica demands to know if Hawat is a Harkonnen agent. Hawat is insulted. Now you know how she feels, buddy.
  • Jessica also senses there's a traitor among them, so they try to figure out who it is. Idaho? No. Gurney? Certainly not. Yueh? Can't be. He's under Imperial Conditioning.
  • Jessica and Hawat are left puzzled.
  • Jessica suggests the traitor may be a red herring, an idea meant to tear them apart by having them tear at each other. Then, just maybe, the Harkonnens are planning to attack with lasguns.
  • But Hawat won't risk it. He stays pretty angry, so Jessica tries to show him how his emotional involvement is jeopardizing his mission.
  • Hawat fights back, citing Jessica's Bene Gesserit training and the fact that Leto never married her as proof of her untrustworthiness. That's a word, right? No?
  • Jessica shows some of her Bene Gesserit training to Hawat by completely outthinking him. She notes Hawat's blind spots in his logic, and how she could have made the Duke a puppet for her whenever she chose to.
  • Hawat is flabbergasted at the Bene Gesserit's power, but he's not completely convinced she isn't a Harkonnen spy. In fact, her power would only make her more dangerous if she were. Dude just doesn't give up.
  • Still, Hawat admires Jessica all the more now.
  • Jessica dismisses Hawat, knowing she'll see proper actions from him.