In Children of Dune, Leto II and Lady Jessica had a testy conversation, and at the end of the chapter, Leto tells Ghanima "it worked". What did Leto mean by that statement? And what happen to make Lady Jessica think that Leto had played her like "a fine instrument"?

Quote from book:

this unchild had been playing her like a fine instrument throughout their interview

2 Answers 2


There's a few ways in which Leto's conversation with Jessica "worked".

First, he had to ensure that she see how Alia had succumbed to her inner memories and become the Abomination so feared by the Bene Gesserit.

Second, he wanted to allay her fears that Ghanima and himself would fall into the same trap, by showing how aware of Alia's situation they were.

Third, Leto was demonstrating to Jessica how her Bene Gesserit training has conditioned her to respond to specific phrasing and stimuli - a kind of neuro-linguistic programming (which started to be popularised in the 1970s).

Finally, he wanted to set Jessica on a course which would support the plan Ghanima and himself laid out, and which we see fulfilled throughout the remainder of the book.

Leto saying "it worked" to Ghanima simply means that he is confident that he achieved his intent with his conversation with Jessica.

As for Lady Jessica realising how Leto had "played her like a fine instrument" reveals how she now recognises how the conversation and her Bene Gesserit conditioning have been used by Leto to achieve such recognition.


He was showing her her own vulnerabilities, letting her see him as who he was: the next ruler of the universe. He needed to prove to her he was the most powerful being humanity had ever seen. Who was she to judge his intentions if she could be "played" so easily by him? She was forced to focus on and to follow his hand.

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