I'm trying to remember where in the book a certain conversation takes place--maybe someone here can help me?

Here's what I remember: Either Paul or Leto is walking along, talking with Gurney (?) and then Paul/Leto says something that sets Gurney (if it is Gurney) off on a twenty minute inner monologue, where he comes to some new realization. There is no actual conversation the whole time, but after the inner monologue, Paul/Leto speaks to Gurney's new realization as if he was able to hear it, of course, due to his very accurate prescience at that point in the story.

Any ideas?

  • 2
    If prescience was involved, it wasn’t Leto. Jul 3, 2022 at 2:14
  • I don't have the books to hand but I suspect it may be a conversation between Paul and the ghola of Duncan Idaho, possibly from the second book?
    – Alith
    Jul 3, 2022 at 3:36
  • @suchiuomizu Leto II Jul 3, 2022 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


You might be referring to this (abridged) conversation between Leto and Stiglar. (Children of Dune P. 65/73)

Sietch Tabr - The Attendant:

Stilgar cleared his throat. Leto spoke without turning: "I have a very serious problem, Stil." "So I surmised." The voice beside Leto came low and wary. The child had sounded disturbingly of the father.

"My problem is that my father left so many things undone," Leto said. "Especially the focus of our lives. The Empire cannot go on this way, Stil, without a proper focus for human life. I am speaking of life, you understand? Life, not death."

Leto and Stilgar talk about the past, leadership responsibilities, Fremen tradition, and how the deeper tradition that lay in Leto's mind would change society in uncounted ways. Then the conversation's brought to a halt by Stilgar's abbrupt turning and walking away:

Stil, I charge you to save people. They're more important than things. And Ghani is the most precious of all because, without me, she is the only hope for the Atreides." "I will hear no more," Stilgar said. He turned and began climbing down the rocks toward the oasis across the sand. He heard Leto following. Presently Leto passed him and, glancing back, said: "Have you noticed, Stil, how beautiful the young women are this year?"

This last simple observation by Leto sets a cascade of thoughts in Stilgar's mind.

Stilgar could not explain it, but he found Leto's casual observation profoundly disturbing. It ground through his awareness all the way back across the sand to Sietch Tabr, taking precedence over everything else Leto had said out there on The Attendant. Indeed, the young women of Arrakis were very beautiful that year. And the young men, too. Their faces glowed serenely with water-richness. Their eyes looked outward and far. They exposed their features often without any pretense of stillsuit masks and the snaking lines of catchtubes. Frequently they did not even wear stillsuits in the open, preferring the new garments which, as they moved, offered flickering suggestions of the lithe young bodies beneath.

Why did I want the village destroyed? Stilgar wondered, and he stumbled as he walked. He knew himself to be of a dying breed. Old Fremen gasped in wonder at the prodigality of their planet -- water wasted into the air for no more than its ability to mould building bricks. The water for a single one-family dwelling would keep an entire sietch alive for a year. The new buildings even had transparent windows to let in the sun's heat and to desiccate the bodies within. Such windows opened outward.

The very meaning of sietch -- a place of sanctuary in times of trouble -- had been perverted here into a monstrous confinement for an entire population. Leto spoke the truth: Muad'Dib had changed all that.

The old ways (My ways! he admitted) had forced his people to ignore all history except that which turned inward onto their own travail.

With an abrupt shock, Stilgar realized that these things were equally dangerous to the course which Alia was setting. Again Stilgar stumbled and fell farther behind Leto.

Change is dangerous! Stilgar told himself. Sameness and stability were the proper goals of government. But the young men and women were beautiful. And they remembered the words of Muad'Dib as he deposed Shaddam IV: "It's not long life to the Emperor that I seek; it's long life to the Imperium." Isn't that what I've been saying to myself? Stilgar wondered. He resumed walking, headed toward the sietch entrance slightly to Leto's right. The youth moved to intercept him. Muad'Dib had said another thing, Stilgar reminded himself: "just as individuals are born, mature, breed, and die, so do societies and civilizations and governments." Dangerous or not, there would be change. The beautiful young Fremen knew this. They could look outward and see it, prepare for it.

Stilgar was forced to stop. It was either that or walk right over Leto. The youth peered up at him owlishly, said: "You see, Stil? Tradition isn't the absolute guide you thought it was."

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.