Gurney Halleck
Frank Herbert's Dune

Gurney Halleck was a trusted warmaster of the Atreides, serving under Duke Leto and training his son, Paul. Gurney was known for playing the baliset and coming up with appropriate quotes no matter what the occasion. He's not a handsome man - Paul calls him a "rolling, ugly man".

Where the previous conversation Paul has with Thufir the Mentat is restrained and educational, Paul and Gurney playfully tease each other. When Gurney teases that he has come to teach Paul how to make music because he's such a bad fighter, Paul jokes back "Maybe you'd better sing me a lay then, I want to be sure how not to do it." When later Gurney actually pushes Paul hard in a fight, Paul notes that "he felt a sense of wonder at the uncharacteristic seriousness in Halleck's manner, the sobering intensity."

Gurney had been a Harkonnen slave and his younger sister was killed in the slave quarters. He carried a beet-red "inkvine" scar on his face from those days - caused by Beast Rabban in a slave pit.

On Arrakis, Duke Leto "admired the ugly lump of a man, noting the glass-splinter eyes with their gleam of savage understanding. Halleck's wispy blond hair trailed across barren spots on his head. His wide mouth was twisted into a pleasant sneer, and the scar of the inkvine whip slashed across his jawline seemed to move with a life of its own. His whole air was of casual, shoulder-set capability." Leto notes Paul had called him "Gurney, the valorous."

Gurney joins the smugglers when he thinks Paul is dead. Paul runs into him several years later and Gurney rejoins him, staying with him in his new Fremen role.

Gurney is the only one of the Atreides team that survives more than halfway through the book, so his character is pretty important. They do give him his exact lines, even down to the way he greets Paul in the desert when the two re-find each other. The fight scene on Caladan was also well done. He's a good mix of friendly and serious. I do think Jean-Luc Picard (i.e. Patrick Stewart) was too handsome for the role, though. He's supposed to be an ugly lump. And while he does have a scar, you can hardly see it. It's supposed to be a major trait of his. I do like how they let his hair grow out when he's on Arrakis.

Much like with Gaius, it's not that I dislike Gurney in this movie. It's that unfortunately he's in many scenes with the Perfectly Petulant Paul that destroy the scene. The intro scene is supposed to be a very meaningful one - the two first establish they are good friends who friendly-joke with each other. Then Paul is supposed to say "Can't we just play, I'm not in the mood to fight today" and Gurney teaches him a lesson. Instead, Paul is nasty to Gurney, takes him down then says "Get lost old man, I'm not in the mood" and stalks out. While Gurney - the BATTLE VETERAN TEACHING HIM TO BE A MATURE ADULT - just watches him walk out. It is VERY VERY frustrating.

Later on, in the "invented" scene with Irulan at the dinner, it's even worse. The very formidable Sardaukar now have floppy hats and are ready to fight Gurney, who is ready to fight them back. But nooooo, it is the "wise and tolerant" kidlings that pull their "unreasonable and belligerant adults" apart from the fracas. ARRRGGGGHHHH.

Gurney is reasonably lumpish but the ink-vine scar is hardly a big feature on him. He does have his baliset ...

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