Tag: Dune

Characters I Love: Duncan Idaho

Duncan Idaho FIN 2Every now and then, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This time we’re talking about: Duncan Idaho, the Swordsmaster & Warrior Mentat hero of Frank Herbert’s Dune saga.

First off, you can always tell who has only read the first book in the series – or who only saw the David Lynch film – because when they hear about Duncan Idaho, they either go “Who?” or “Wait, the guy who gets killed in the first book? He was barely in it!”

Those are valid responses… but Duncan is revived as a Ghola named Hayt in the next book. Over the course of the series, he dies and is reborn numerous more times. By the end of the series (the apocryphal finale written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson), there is one inescapable conclusion: the hero of this series is not Paul Atreides (who isn’t even in Books 4-6) or even one of Paul’s heirs. The hero is the ever-loyal, always capable Duncan Idaho. When the one, true Kwisatz Haderach is finally unveiled, there can only be one person who truly existed in multiple times and who has, over the course of the series, learned everything there is to know about the Honored Matres, the Guild, the Bene Gessserits, etc.

Duncan is a hero, through and through, and those are hard to find in the gritty, political machinations of the Dune universe. A Swordsmaster and mentor to Paul, Duncan dies to protect his adopted family. His return is meant to bring down Paul but his affection for his master is too great. His doomed love for Alia is heartbreaking to witness. When the Honored Matres begin sexually enslaving all they meet, only Duncan can respond in kind.

Duncan Idaho is one of my all-time favorite characters, existing in one of my all-time favorite universes. I wish he were more well-known… because while Paul’s story is equal parts thrilling and disturbing (and I’m going beyond the first book, which is all that many people know), it is Duncan’s that truly encapsulates the human experience. Despite all the “little” deaths he experiences, he continues to grow and evolve, conquering all the barriers that are put upon him and even bred into his flesh.

The art today comes from Jacob Atienza and it’s as good an image of Duncan as I’ve seen so far.

What’s Going On?

Gavyn_001Welcome back, my friends!

I’m currently reading Strange Adventures by Jim Starlin and Mentats of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. I always enjoy Mr. Starlin’s cosmic stories and this one features strong artwork and some of my favorite characters — Captain Comet, Adam Strange & the Prince Gavyn Starman. Good stuff! The Dune book… I adore the original Frank Herbert stories and have had mixed feelings about these expanded universe novels. This one is pretty decent so far.

Once I’m done with Dune, I’ll be reading The Bishop of Port Victoria by D. Alan Lewis. It’s a New Pulp novel featuring a masked hero, which is right in my wheelhouse. Looking forward to it.

Planning to do a little bit of writing on the crossover novel today — probably won’t have time to get a lot added to it but it’s all going to add up in the end. Today’s chapter features Gravedigger, Cedric Hendry and The Dark Gentleman. Oh, and a dangerous gent named Mr. Death. With a name like that, he’s probably not going to ask them out to tea, eh?

I also need to find some time to work on the first Dark Gentleman story that will kick off the eBook series….

Our art today features Starman, one of the characters that I mentioned appears in Strange Adventures. This particular image is courtesy of Ivan Reis. I’ve always been a fan of the Prince Gavyn Starman and he might show up in one of my Characters I Love posts at some point.

Take care, folks. See you tomorrow!

 

Characters I Love # 16: Princess Irulan

princess_irulan_by_llyssa-d4n0lhqEvery Wednesday, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Princess Irulan. Irulan is a character in the Dune novels written by Frank Herbert and I’ve always felt like she got the short end of the stick! She was the eldest daughter of Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV and Anirul, a Bene Gesserit of Hidden Rank. She was the bride of Paul Atreides, part of a political maneuvering that would ensure Paul had an uncontested claim to the throne after seizing it from her father. Because Paul (as Muad’dib) was in love with a Fremen woman named Chani, Paul swore to never take Irulan to his bed. This badly wounded Irulan and rumors of their unconsummated marriage haunted her in the royal court. Denied the chance to continue the royal lineage, Irulan fell prey to jealousy and sought to sabotage Paul’s efforts to have a child with Chani.

Essentially the narrator of the Dune series, Irulan’s writings about Paul are fascinating, as her quotes reveal not only her reverence for her husband but also her jealousy, spite and confusion. She never fully understands him but she struggles to find a role in this government where she’s been reduced to a figurehead. Though she does some things that are, at best, spiteful and, at worst, outright treasonous, I always respected Irulan a lot. In a different world, she could have been a great wife to Paul — she understood the ways of the Imperium in ways that he never grasped. Unfortunately, she was too tightly tied to the rhythms of the past and the presence of Chani denied her any chance to ever win the heart of the new Emperor.

This is how she’s described when Paul met her:

Paul’s attention came at last to a tall blonde woman, green-eyed, a face of patrician beauty, classic in its hauteur, untouched by tears, completely undefeated. Without being told it, Paul knew her — Princess Royal, Bene Gesserit-trained, a face that time vision had shown him in many aspects: Irulan.

There are so many wonderfully vivid characters in the Dune universe and almost all of them carry some measure of tragedy. Irulan’s role as the wife who stands alone, forever apart from the husband who has claimed her as the spoils of war, is a particularly haunting one. While she could never compare to my absolute favorite Dune character, Duncan Idaho, she is one of those that I always think about when my mind turns to the classic saga that has meant so much to me and to many, many others.

Our image today comes from the DeviantArt page of the talented Llyssa. Go and check out the rest of her work and adore her.

My Ten Favorite Books

20130717-081150.jpgIt probably comes as no surprise that I read a lot. I don’t stick to just pulp, either. I regularly breeze through lots of genres and even plenty of non-fiction. So what are my all-time favorite books? Read on!

In no particular order, my faves are:

Dune by Frank Herbert
God Emperor of Dune by Frank Herbert
The Living Shadow by Walter Gibson
The Death Tower by Walter Gibson
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer
The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Justice, Inc. by Paul Ernst
Red Nails by Robert E. Howard
Drood by Dan Simmons

What are some of yours?

 

Characters I Love # 4: Duncan Idaho

Duncan Idaho FIN 2Every Wednesday, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Duncan Idaho, the Swordsmaster & Warrior Mentat hero of Frank Herbert’s Dune saga.

First off, you can always tell who has only read the first book in the series – or who only saw the David Lynch film – because when they hear about Duncan Idaho, they either go “Who?” or “Wait, the guy who gets killed in the first book? He was barely in it!”

Those are valid responses… but Duncan is revived as a Ghola named Hayt in the next book. Over the course of the series, he dies and is reborn numerous more times. By the end of the series (the apocryphal finale written by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson), there is one inescapable conclusion: the hero of this series is not Paul Atreides (who isn’t even in Books 4-6) or even one of Paul’s heirs. The hero is the ever-loyal, always capable Duncan Idaho. When the one, true Kwisatz Haderach is finally unveiled, there can only be one person who truly existed in multiple times and who has, over the course of the series, learned everything there is to know about the Honored Matres, the Guild, the Bene Gessserits, etc.

Duncan is a hero, through and through, and those are hard to find in the gritty, political machinations of the Dune universe. A Swordsmaster and mentor to Paul, Duncan dies to protect his adopted family. His return is meant to bring down Paul but his affection for his master is too great. His doomed love for Alia is heartbreaking to witness. When the Honored Matres begin sexually enslaving all they meet, only Duncan can respond in kind.

Duncan Idaho is one of my all-time favorite characters, existing in one of my all-time favorite universes. I wish he were more well-known… because while Paul’s story is equal parts thrilling and disturbing (and I’m going beyond the first book, which is all that many people know), it is Duncan’s that truly encapsulates the human experience. Despite all the “little” deaths he experiences, he continues to grow and evolve, conquering all the barriers that are put upon him and even bred into his flesh.

The art today comes from Jacob Atienza and it’s as good an image of Duncan as I’ve seen so far.