Dune: People: Scytale

Scytale is a Bene Tlielax Facedancer, and is one of the most intriguing characters in the Dune Saga, he also represents a contradiction that may lead to the answers in the final book.

Scytale is a Bene Tlielax Facedancer, and is one of the most intriguing characters in the Dune Saga, he also represents a contradiction that may lead to the answers in the final book.

He is the ringleader of the Conspiracy against Paul in “Dune Messiah”. His ulterior motives are many, as he uses the Conspiracy for multiple reasons. The Conspiracy singular purpose is to destroy Paul and put House Corrino back on the Throne. However, Scytale plans to retrieve the genetic material of both Paul and Chani, to recreate them as Gholas and use them as puppets so the Bene Tlielax can rule the Empire. Instead his plan fails, but succeeds in a way far beyond their hope. Duncan Idaho regains his memories when Scytale tries to manipulate his moral imperative. Since Duncan is incapable of ever harming an Atreides, when Bijaz (through Scytale) orders him to do so, Duncan is reborn with his memories. This revelation puts Scytale off balance and he dies at the hand of Paul.

Scytale emerges again in “Heretics of Dune” as one of the eight Masters, and a strong friend of Tylwyth Waff, the Master of Masters. In the final book “Chapterhouse Dune” Scytale is the only Bene Tlielax to escape the fate of both the Honored Matres, and another faction which is only revealed as two Face-dancers that have the capability of absorbing the Souls of all those that fall into their “Net”. Scytale escapes with Duncan Idaho and Murbella, their fate is unknown. Inside his chest contains the cells of everyone important who ever lived (Paul, Leto, Chani, Jessica, Harkonnens, Corrinos, etc.)

Important speculation:
Scytale goes from being a Face-Dancer, the lowest caste of the Bene Tlielax to Master, one of the eight beings that control all Tleilaxu through humming commands to Face-Dancers, and creating law for the Domel (regular people). It is revealed that Face-Dancers are lower than human and can never under any circumstance become anything other than a Face-Dancer (Even assuming the face of a Domel is forbidden, note that in “Heretics of Dune” that one does so…) Yet Scytale in a former life was a Face-Dancer. Scytale escapes capture in the final book from the “Soul Net” created by two face-dancers that have evolved into Gods by absorbing the souls/memories of anyone they capture. This contradiction should play heavily into the final book, as the 2 Face-Dancer gods just assume Scytale is a normal Master and they wished to ‘tease’ him. Stay tuned ladies and gents for the final book.

Scytale is played by Martin McDougall.

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Dune reviews are © 2003 Ryan Bechtel and Greg Frantz.
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