Lady Jessica Atreides
Frank Herbert's Dune


Lady Jessica Atreides is the consort and love of Duke Leto Atreides, ruler of the House Atreides. She has been trained in the ways of the Bene Gesserit and does not know who were parents were. In fact, she is the daughter of Baron Harkonnen. Her first description is through Paul's eyes: "Hair like shaded bronze held with a black ribbon at the crown, her oval face emotioness and green eyes staring solemnly."

Jessica was instructed by the Bene Gesserit to bear only a daughter to Duke Leto, but because of her love for him, she instead bore him the son he desired. She vowed never to regret the decision, and wonders if she has indeed created the Kwisatz Haderach.

When they first arrive on Arrakis, Duke Leto thinks, "He realized there was no single and precise thing that brought her beauty to focus. The face was oval under a cap of hair the color of polished bronze. Her eyes were set wide, as green and clear as the morning skies of Caladan. The nose was small, the mouth wide and generous. Her figure was good but scant: tall and with its curves gone to slimness."

Jessica is strong willed. Because Leto insists on having the dead bull-head-with-blood hanging in the dining room, she refuses to eat there unless she's forced to by a state occasion. Instead, she eats in her room.

She both respects the ways of the Bene Gesserit and is very cynical of them. When she first meets the Shadout Mapes she says the things she knows will have her be accepted, but she thinks, "Why do I play out this sham?" Jessica later becomes a Reverend Mother on Arrakis and bears Leto a daughter, Alia.

JESSICA IN LYNCH'S DUNE
I got the sense from the book that Jessica had short hair - a "cap of hair" with an oval face. She is supposed to be tall, slim, and very elegant. While I think the movie-Jessica is very lovely, I'm not sure that her relative curves and long hair are appropriate. She's a noblewoman and BG so she is well trained for poise and intelligence in any situation. She's fine at the beginning in that sense, although she cries to Leto before they leave for Arrakis. Once there, she pretty much turns into a basket case. Yes, she should be sad. But she was trained to act more maturely than she does in some scenes.




Chani was supposed to "squeeze" the waterbag to fill Jessica's mouth


Jessica dresses like a court BG and not like a Fremen sayyadina

JESSICA IN SCI-FI DUNE
Again, Sci-Fi turned all of the adults into bumbling idiots that the kidlings had to save. Jessica was acting ditzy and feeble even in her first months of pregnancy, and Paul had to help her out. With her BG training, she couldn't handle a child? Jessica becomes a follower almost immediately, asking her young son, "Is that a good idea?" as if he's now in charge. They run into the Fremen and Paul is up on the ledge - Jessica panics and it's Chani who says "He is here."

In the Jamis fight, Jessica is (properly) told to be quiet, but she talks again!! She says that Paul has never had to kill anyone. Afterwards she's supposed to chide him on killing a man, to snap him back to reality. But nooooo, she goes to cry in a corner and Stilgar consoles her.

Jessica is rather obviously pregnant by the time the local sayyadina comes along - and they are shocked that she's pregnant during the ceremony?









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