Study Guide

Dune Book II, Chapter 35

By Frank Herbert

Book II, Chapter 35

  • We finally get off Arrakis and move on to Giedi Prime. Sure, it's a filth-hole, but it's still a change of scenery.
  • We follow Count Fenring and Lady Fenring to the Harkonnen home. They are there to see Feyd-Rautha perform his 100th slave-gladiator kill on his seventeenth birthday. No cake?
  • The Baron introduces the Count and Lady Fenring to Feyd-Rautha. The young man says he'll dedicate his kill to the Lady Fenring. Though a sweet gesture, she refuses.
  • When Feyd-Rautha leaves to prepare, the Baron and the Count have a talk under the "cone of silence." Good to know they'll finally figure out how to get those to work in the future.
  • The Count comes right out and says it: the Emperor does not like the way the Baron ordered the Sardaukar off Arrakis.
  • The Baron claims it was the only way to avoid suspicion from the other houses, but the Count reminds the Baron of the Fremen problem.
  • The Baron scoffs at the notion, but the Count has some news. A smuggler has reported signs of habitation in the south desert. There are more Fremen than the Baron imagines.
  • The Emperor also wishes to access the Baron's account books. The Baron has no problem with this. In fact, he wants the Count to accuse him of something—anything—so that he can take advantage of the situation and prove the Count wrong. This way, the Count will lose face with the other Great Houses.
  • The Baron mentions plans to make Arrakis into a prison planet, but the Count suggests obtaining the Emperor's permission first. Naturally, says the Baron.
  • One more matter on the agenda: the Count wants to know if Thufir Hawat is really under Harkonnen employ.
  • The Baron confirms it, saying he was in need of a Mentat. The Count orders him to kill Hawat, but the Baron will do no such thing until he sees an Imperial seal with the order.
  • We done talking? Good because there's a fight to get to.
  • In the arena, Feyd-Rautha builds up the pomp and circumstance for the event. He even dedicates the kill to his uncle.
  • But Feyd-Rautha and Hawat have concocted a plan. Instead of fighting a drugged gladiator, Feyd-Rautha will do battle with a sober one. Now, Hawat has planted a trigger word in the gladiator's mind. When Feyd-Rautha utters the word "scum," the gladiator will freeze up, allowing Feyd-Rautha an easy kill.
  • Oh, and Feyd-Rautha switched the poison from the white dagger to the black one. Because you can never have a deck stacked too greatly in your favor.
  • The gladiator challenges Feyd-Rautha, and everyone in the audience realizes he is not drugged.
  • At the beginning of the fight, Feyd-Rautha plants two barbs in the gladiator's arms, but the guy keeps coming.
  • The gladiator disarms Feyd-Rautha of the white dagger, believing it to be the poisonous one. But Feyd-Rautha says the trigger word and is able to nick him with the actual poisonous dagger. The gladiator dies.
  • Well, almost. The guy was able to fall on his own dagger, so technically he took his own life.
  • The Baron orders Feyd-Rautha to be presented the head of his kill, but Feyd-Rautha proclaims that the man fought bravely and deservers to keep his head. How, um, generous of him?
  • The crowd loves the spectacle, and Feyd-Rautha is now admired and feared throughout Geidi Prime, just as Hawat predicted.
  • The Baron creates a fete (a day of celebration) to honor Feyd-Rautha's courage. He leaves to address urgent matters, leaving Count Fenring and his Lady.
  • Using their own super-special code language, the Count and Lady Fenring reveal to us their devious plan in a moment of true villainous exposition.
  • The Lady Fenring will seduce Feyd-Rautha tonight and become pregnant. This will ensure that Feyd-Rautha's bloodline remains intact. While she's at it, she'll implant "parana-bindu phrases" that will allow her to bend his will to hers (35.274).
  • The Count wonders what Feyd-Rautha would have been like had he been raised under an Atreides code. He also laments the loss of Paul Atreides.
  • Lady Fenring reminds her husband of an old Bene Gesserit saying: "Do not count a human dead until you've seen his body. And even then you can make a mistake" (35.292).