Baron Vladimir Harkonnen
Frank Herbert's Dune


Baron Vladimir Harkonnen was the ruler of House Harkonnen in the first Dune book. He ruled from Giedi Prime. He is immensely fat and doesn't care for women - instead he interests himself with pretty, young boys.

He hated the Atreides and often worked towards killing off all of its members. He was responsible for the death of Duke Leto through the traitor Dr. Yueh. One of his biggest mistakes regarding Arrakis is to continuously discount the Fremen as being only a few thousand weakling desert dwellers, easy to eradicate.

He had no children himself and rested the fate of his household in his two nephews, Rabban and Feyd.

Description from the first scene with him: "Grossly and immensely fat. And with subtle bulges beneath the folds of his dark robes to reveal that all this fat was sustained partly by portable suspensors harnessed to his flesh. He might weigh two hundred Standard kilos in actuality [440 lbs], but his feet would carry no more than fifth of them." When Jessica first meets him she observes his "fat cheeks were two cherubic mounds beneath spider-black eyes." At the gladiator match, he moves with a "waddling-glide imparted by the necessities of guiding suspensor-hung weight. His jowls bobbed up and down; the suspensors jiggled and shifted beneath his orange robe."

VLADIMIR IN LYNCH'S DUNE
The Baron was a bit too disgusting in the movie. Yes, he is fat. But he's not puss-covered and so on. His pretty-boy obsession is there ... but the heart-plugs are a new invention. In the movie he comes across as a crazed lunatic that likes to randomly hurt people. In the book it's more that he hates the Atreides because they're popular and have noble blood. He is scheming their downfall, but always has his priorities straight. In fact in the book when he gets Hawat he insists on taking good care of him, because a mentat is too important to waste. He laughs that the Sardaukar won't see this. In the movie, he laughs at Hawat and sticks the cat-antidote in his face.









I'll throw in a picture of Beast Rabban here too since again they went for the gross aspect of him rather than the driven-by-Baron-for-a-purpose side.



VLADIMIR IN SCI FI DUNE
I was actually really pleased with the SciFi version of the Baron. He was supposed to be smart, treacherous, and cherubic. He was RIGHT on. He isn't supposed to be "gross" - he is supposed to be "overweight". As anyone not of the MTV generation knows, the two are not equal. They did an extremely good job of showing he is heavy but also still quite capable. And they keep his intrigue with young boys, but in a way that makes sense in his world.









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