Dune: Children of Dune: Pt.3 “The Golden Path”
“History is written on the sands of Arrakis, where rebellion and civil war continue to breed. Fed by Alia’s brutal tyranny and repression, as she sinks deeper into the Abomination of her own Ghost. Unable to recognize the forces conspiring against her. Unaware of the whirlwind, sweeping towards her across the desert” -Ghanima
The final chapter begins with Alia denouncing the Quizirate, blaming them for the anarchy in the streets of Arakeen. Unable to put the blame squarely upon her own shoulders or her mother she takes it out upon Javid and the rest. After she banishes them from the room, our floating fat friend “Baron Harkonnen” spectre appears again to advise our young regent. As she screams at him to leave, Javid smiles from behind her door as he eavesdrops upon the conversation.
Meanwhile when we last left the “Dynamic Duo” of Ghanima and Leto, a Laza Tiger had slain Leto from ours and Ghanima’s point of view. She bursts from the cave in tears driving her Crysknife deep into the tiger, over and over as Leto looks on from a high cliff-top out of her view. Leto recites a Fremen prayer to his sister from afar, knowing the pain she must feel at her brothers death.
As Leto seeks Jacurutu his sister is still quite pissed. She takes it out upon two lovers (her would be assasins) in the middle of doing their business. As she drives her Crysknife over and over into the male lovers heart, she claims “This is for Leto”. She collapses and reawakens in the center of the Fremen Resistance, led by Lady Jessica and Stilgar. All firmly believe that Leto perished to the Laza Tigers. Irulan played by the magnificent Julie Cox, is furious. Finally she has come full circle, from Enemy of the Atreides, to being a True Atreides herself, quite a turnaround.
Leto arrives at Jacurutu. Immediately as a viewer you realize this is the place from all the dreams between Paul and Leto throughout this series. Voices come from the dark taunting him before a dart screams into his neck, rendering him unconscious.
Back upon Salusa Succundus, Wenescia is furious. She has learned Ghanima is still alive, and she orders Javid to “Stir Alias pot some more”. Farad’n is listening(what is it with doorway eavesdropping in this series?) at the door, his conversion is almost complete as well.
As we return to Alia witnessing the defilement of a Fremen corpse, she orders the complete destruction of the uprising. Soon after, an innocent Fremen Sietch is razed.
Leto awakens upon a stone altar in the middle of the Sietch of Jacurutu. He is being fed by a beautiful young girl. (note: In the books this is the moment when he truly knows his Father (Paul’s) failure. This girl is Leto’s Chani, if he chooses her he will live a life similar to his father and the Golden Path will die, as will humanity). The girl threatens to kill Leto if he attempts to escape.
Finally Wenesicia has everything the way she wants it. She summons Jessica and proposes an alliance between Corrino and Atreides. In exchange for sanctuary she will teach Farad’n the same way Paul was taught. The long term implications here are astounding, remember this scene because even though it seems unimportant, it has VAST implications later in the series as Farad’n bloodline becomes part of the Atreides, and his training. This is a scene that irks me because they never showed the scene between the Preacher and Farad’n. Paul(Preacher) already knows one day Farad’n will marry Ghanima and bear children which will lead to “Siona” the fulfillment of their goal. But were getting ahead of ourselves!
Back in Jacurutu Leto has been fed the Spice, and is very deep in a trance. He will now have to choose his path, to quote the book loosely: “I saw many paths, and on each led to the extinction of man, then I saw a small Golden line, A Golden Path, the path to humanity survival. But the path is but a small line, one misstep, one mistake, and humanity ends.” Instead the movie shows a short dream and he coughs, asking what is being done to him. In his dream he sees a lush green Arrakis and the giant corpses of Worms all around him, he screams. Again this is a bit confusing since the Spice is mainly what is causing humanity to die out in the long run, due to their dependency.
Leto awakens as the Kwitzat Hadarach, and more. His father Paul was but a child to him, Leto knows everything, and is virtually immortal. To prove his point he picks up the Spice Essence and drains it in one gulp with no change of expression. He confronts the Fremen girl with his knowledge, explaining that they can never breed the Sand trout into new worms off-world. Again I was highly disappointed, the book has a much more romantic take upon Leto and the Outcast female. They clearly love each other in the book, but Leto must do what he must do.
He heads to the Sandtrout cache the Outcasts have made. And just like the Fremen children he forms a glove out of the Sand Trout. But unlike the others the Sand Trout see Leto as part Shai-Halud, and merge with him. Forevermore Leto begins changing, until he becomes fully a Worm.
While Leto is training, so is Farad’n. Jessica is teaching him the Prina Bindu. Think of “The Matrix”, the Prina Bindu is total control over every muscle in the body. Most humans master the main muscles and a few odd ones, like someone who can wiggle their ears for example. Except those trained in this way can control *every* muscle, allowing them to move like an Insect with no delay between sending the electrical impulse to the brain and the execution of the mental command. Later a race will master this, called “The Honored Matres”, dangerous gals those ones.
Finally Wenescia gets to the point. She offers Jessica an alliance between Corrino and Atreides. Some great lines in this scene between two legendary actresses. Duncan is furious, remember he is a loyal lap dog, incapable of allegiance outside the Atreides. The book sets up some really sad scenes here, instead since we aren’t mind-readers you don’t realize that in Duncan’s head he has already accepted death and is one miserable geezer for the rest of the book. Jessica convinces Duncan that this ruse will buy precious time, he smiles a wan sort of smile, and goes to Alia to deliver it.
Alia argues a bit but she knows the idea is sound, she orders it to be so, but Atreides will rule, Corrino is simply breeding stock. Alia dismisses the Priests, and tells Duncan she should have him executed. It’s during this scene that Duncan knows the Alia he loved no longer has any control over the body that is know possessed by Harkonnen. If only Duncan knew who it was that controlled Alia, he would have slain her immediately. The movie does a fantastic job at showing Alia’s possession, it was the one thing I didn’t think any series/movie could portray correctly.
Meanwhile Leto is testing his potential and his new Worm-skin by standing in front of an oncoming Sand-Storm. If you remember it was explained that these storms can strip the flesh off a living man in seconds. As Leto recites the Litany Against Fear, the sandstorm engulfs him. As it ends we see nothing but sand, then suddenly Leto’s fist covered in Sand Trout emerges from the sand and he pulls himself up unscathed.
“My skin is not my own” Leto claims, as he bolts off at superhuman speed leaving a trail of dust behind him. Again and again he tests this new body of his, and heads for the Palace of Arakeen. Though Ghanima still believes he is dead she seems to sense his presence, as she explains to Irulan. She’s not too fond of the Corrinos, and slightly grossly claims “I want his blood on the wedding sheets, not my own.” Eww.
The Preacher is out riding a Worm in the desert when suddenly the worm stops dead in its tracks in front of Leto. His guide claims “It is a Demon”. But Paul knows exactly who it is, he dreamed of this final encounter all his life, the one time he would be allowed to meet his son. Paul even for all his dreams still doesn’t believe it is possible that Leto made the choice he would not. Imagine not making a horrible choice because you were scared, and as a result your children have to go through it, because of this Paul is miserable. Here’s some dialogue that follows about why Paul did not choose the Golden Path:
Leto: “There is only one way to bring about the Golden Path”
Preacher: “You cannot control the future!”
Leto: “Maddening, Maud-Dib should’ve heeded that advise”
Preacher: “Do you think Maud-Dib couldn’t see the thing you want to do? Do you think he did not confront the possibility!?
Leto: “Maud-Dib was afraid!”
Preacher: “He was trapped by his own prophecy, a victim of what he knew, he could not choose!”
Duncan meanwhile is enjoying sanctuary at Stilgar’s sietch. Javid comes to deliver an ultimatum from Alia, and Duncan slays him claiming: “The Royal cuckold thanks you for this opportunity.” as he drives his crysknife into Javid’s heart. Stilgar jumps up and shouts at Idaho claiming he has betrayed sanctuary. Duncan informs him he has done nothing more than cut the leash from Stilgar’s neck. This is the ultimate insult for a Fremen, and Duncan knows it and willingly accepts death at the hands of Stilgar. The original chapter in the book where this happens is brilliant and involves a great exchange of dialogue between Duncan and Stilgar. But the movie needed continuity and it worked out okay I suppose. Alia is infuriated at Duncan’s death and orders a full assault as the Baron Harkonnen giggles on.
The Storm Gathers; as Halleck arrives at the Smugglers Basin. Leto and The Preacher are already there. Leto recruits Halleck claiming “I am Desert Power, and nothing can stop me”. Leto uses a Thumper (well actually just his foot) to summon a worm by stomping over and over with super human strength.
As Ghanima greets her husband to be at the Spacepad in Arakeen with Alia, Jessica and Wenescia also arrives with Farad’n setting the stage for the final showdown. Wenesicia presents Farad’n, and Farad’n apologizes for the death of Leto and announces his mother is a traitor and trained the Tigers to kill Leto. Farad’n has finally come into his own, and for the first time his leash is freed.
Farad’n orders Wenescia stripped of all title, and banished. Quite the turnaround eh? This actually pleases Ghanima, and he falls upon his knees and offers his death as a wedding present should she want it. Ghanima offers her hand to help him up and smiles gently at him. Alia proclaims Farad’n life is spared. Wenescia however will spend the rest of her days in a dark damp cell.
Stilgar has his Fremen rebels armed and ready to invade. He orders worms be summoned, creating a storm as great as the one Maud-Dib created when he dethroned the Emperor Shaddam. Stilgar unleashes a war cry from atop his worm as the descend upon Arakeen for the final showdown between the Fremen and the Royals. The Preacher in the interim is preparing his final speech to give to the masses. Gurney however feels he has forsaken Paul Atreides, but the Preacher explains Paul is truly dead, and the desert has erased his passing, and soon Maud-Dib must fall as well.
As Ghanima prepares for her wedding she hears her brothers voice and orders her handmaidens to leave at once. Leto appears to her, and they embrace fiercely as she caresses his worm skin, laughing. Even thousands of years later Leto claims he loved only his sister and no other. As they look at each other embracing in the mirror they both begin to cry then start kissing??? Is this Oedipus or Dune?
The preacher meanwhile must of seen this sibling coupling because he is dismantling the bazaar. But instead of stopping him the Fremen begin chanting “Maud-Dib, Maud-Dib” over and over. Alia wants him dead, but Harkonnen urges caution, if he really is Paul, they will create a martyr, and as always martyrdom would defeat them. The preacher demands who calls for Maud-dib, and explains his words are like water upon the sand.
“I am the voice from the wilderness. And I bring you a warning: The water we spread upon the desert has become blood. Blood upon the land that was once clean and pure. We have provoked the desert, forsaken its ways,we have succumbed to mindless ritual and seductive ceremony. All in the name of righteousness, all in the name of Maud-Dib. I have stood upon the sand, and saw a beast rise up, and upon the head of that beast is the name of salvation, come to spill water upon the sand, come to lead us back to a dry and thirsty land. only one blasphemy remains. And that Blasphemy is, Alia!”
With this Paul pulls the hood off a nearby fremen who is Alia, and says: “Forgive me sister”. An outcast then plunges a blade deep into the heart of Paul, and Alia watches as her brother falls and dies. The Fremen screams “Jacurutu!” and almost escapes before Gurney catches him and brutally takes his revenge. Leto comes screaming in with super human speed and catches his father as he falls. Paul’s final words to Leto:
“It’s in your hands now. Son.” And Paul “Maud-Dib” Atreides died.
Finally it’s wedding day, and Ghanima is a no show at the altar. As Alia asks where she is Leto and Ghanima appear together and Leto bellows in the voice of the Worm. Ghanima proudly follows her brother down the dias to confront Alia. He declares Alia abomination, and she sends her soldiers to attack him. Ghanima smiles. Leto easily dispatches the soldiers moving so fast he appears only as a slight blur. Seconds later the floor lays littered with the Quizerates bodies. Then Alia herself attacks. Leto easily blocks and repulses her.
“The time has come Aunt. You must face the Future.”
Alia responds by speaking in tongues, in the voice of Harkonnen calling Jessica a Bene Gesserit witch. He claims he can kill her, and Alia moans the word “Mommy, help me.” Leto lowers a Crysknife and says “Help yourself.” Harkonnen wants to drive the knife into Leto, and just as it seems they might succeed Alia has flashes to her childhood and remembers how much she once loved him and his father. She caresses his face and then plunges the knife into her own heart as Baron Harkonnen screams “We’re so close!”.
As Alia dies, so does the Religion of Maud-Dib. Leto now will create a terrible future in which humans are no longer able to purchase Spice. He himself will dole it out as he sees fit, so that no one can travel through Space again unless he permits. The Bene Gesserit will no longer be able to produce Reverend Mothers in abundance due to their limited allowance. The Guild becomes his slave, totally dependant upon the Spice for existence. And the Bene Tlielax? They begin the long lost goal of producing synthetic Spice, the one race that Leto cannot see fully in his visions. Leto one day knows he must totally destroy the Spice and “Scatter” humanity, but that day is thousands of years in the future, and another story altogether. Thus ends Children of Dune.
The Saga of Dune is far from over!
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