These are the last of the Dune readalong questions. What fun this has been! I have loved all of the insights and different perspectives from all of the participants (check them out here.) I probably need to read the book at least five more times to comprehend everything, but doing it as a group gave me a little jump start. Thank you Carl, Andrea, and Grace for putting the questions together each week.
My plan right now is to do some sort of a wrap-up post, but I don't know when because we're off on an adventure this week (one that is the polar opposite of conditions on Arrakis!) Maybe when I get back. Until then . . .
1. What is your reaction to finally learning the identity of Princess Irulan? Do you think that her convention added to the story?
We finally get to meet Princess Irulan in person! The only reaction I can think of is that I was surprised that she was blonde.
2. Were you satisfied with the ending? For those reading for the first time, was it what you expected?
The ending seemed rather abrupt, and didn't feel very satisfying to me. I have unanswered questions (and, no, I haven't worked myself up to read the appendices yet.) I guess that's why there are sequels.
3. On both Arrakis and Salusa Secundus, ecology plays a major role in shaping both characters and the story itself. Was this convincing? Do you think that Paul would have gone through with his threat to destroy the spice, knowing what it would mean for Arrakis?
I thought the ecology and its relationship to the characters was the strongest aspect of the novel. I'm not sure if he would have gone through with the threat--he seemed pretty confident that he wouldn't have to. A calculated risk made less risky by his visions of the future?
4. Both Leto and Paul made their decisions on marriage for political reasons. Do you agree with their choices?
It's hard for me to let go of my deep-seated, modern attitudes about marriage and the place of women in society. In trying to look at it from a political/strategic vantage point, Paul and Irulan's marriage seems like the smart thing to do. Irulan can write her books while Chani has Paul's love and devotion, but is that really going to work out? Add in a micro-managing mother-in-law, and I think we could potentially see fireworks worthy of a Jerry Springer episode.
My mind is completely failing me in remembering why Duke Leto never married. I know that he was devoted to Jessica, and that she did not want to force him with her powers, but was he waiting for a political reason to take a wife from another House or anything?
5. What was your favorite part in this section of the book?
I enjoyed many things that followed the reunion of Gurney and Paul, especially when he confronts Jessica and learns that she was not the traitor. I loved it when Paul made it clear that he did not need to kill Stilgar, and that "things change."
To digress a slight bit, whenever Gurney played his music, I pictured Owain Phyfe, a musician that I love (often backed up The New World Renaissance Band). I don't know how well-known he or the band is, but I have a couple of their albums and they're great. Here's one of my favorites, although I must admit that he doesn't capture the warrior side of Gurney:
6. One of the things I noticed in the discussions last week was Herbert's use of the word "jihad." What do you think of Herbert's message about religion and politics?
I don't think I really grasp what his message was about religion and politics, but I loved the way he weaved in ideas and words reflecting how they may have evolved over eons of time. The religious aspect was so interesting because on one hand the prophesies appeared to be manufactured by the Bene Gesserit, but at the same time, they are all coming true. He never settles in either camp that I could tell. Politically, there is the idea that power corrupts (and yet the Atreides manage to maintain a sense of honor), and that feints within feints within feints within feints within feints are often so complicated that they don't actually work...