Margot Fenring

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Lady Margot Fenring is a fictional character from the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert. She is featured in Herbert's Dune (1965), and is a major character in the Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy (1999-2001) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

The Bene Gesserit wife of Count Hasimir Fenring,[1] Margot is first described in Dune through Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen's eyes:

Feyd-Rautha dipped his head with the required courtesy. He stared at the Lady Fenring. She was golden-haired and willowy, her perfection of figure clothed in a flowing gown of ecru — simple fitness of form without ornament. Gray-green eyes stared back at him. She had that Bene Gesserit serene repose about her that the young man found subtly disturbing.[1]

The non-canon Dune Encyclopedia (1984) by Willis E. McNelly invents an extensive, alternate biography for Margot.[2]

Dune[edit]

In Dune, Count Fenring had been the Governor of Arrakis during the handover period between House Harkonnen and House Atreides.[1] Margot leaves behind a note for her Bene Gesserit sister Lady Jessica, concubine to Duke Leto Atreides, in the palace on Arrakis:

TO THE LADY JESSICA — May this place give you as much pleasure as it has given me. Please permit the room to convey a lesson we learned from the same teachers: the proximity of a desirable thing tempts one to overindulgence. On that path lies danger. My kindest wishes, MARGOT LADY FENRING[1]

Jessica's own training alerts her to the true nature of Margot's message:

But the hidden message of the note demanded immediate attention, couched as it was in a way to inform her the writer was another Bene Gesserit ... The visible note contained the code phrase every Bene Gesserit not bound by a School Injunction was required to give another Bene Gesserit when conditions demanded it: "On that path lies danger." Jessica felt the back of the note, rubbed the surface for coded dots. Nothing ... She looked at the leaf above the pad. The leaf! She brushed a finger along the under surface, along the edge, along the stem. It was there! Her fingers detected the subtle coded dots, scanned them in a single passage:

Your son and Duke are in immediate danger. A bedroom has been designed to attract your son. The H loaded it with death traps to be discovered, leaving one that may escape detection. I do not know the exact nature of the menace, but it has something to do with a bed. The threat to your Duke involves defection of a trusted companion or lieutenant. The H plan to give you as gift to a minion. To the best of my knowledge, this conservatory is safe. Forgive that I cannot tell more. My sources are few as my Count is not in the pay of the H. In haste, MF.[1]

Unfortunately, Margot's warning is not enough to stop the Harkonnen plot against the Atreides. Duke Leto is killed, and Jessica and her son Paul are forced to flee into the desert of Arrakis.[1]

Later in the events of Dune, Margot is sent by the Bene Gesserit to seduce Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen and to "preserve the bloodline" by retrieving his genetic material (through conception) for their breeding program. She also intends to "plant deep in his deepest self the necessary prana-bindu phrases to bend him," which she later refers to as the "Hypno-ligation of that Feyd-Rautha's psyche." As she and her husband discuss what a shame it is that Paul Atreides is dead (as everyone thinks he is at that time), Margot prophetically recounts a Bene Gesserit saying:

Do not count a human dead until you've seen his body. And even then you can make a mistake.[1]

Near the end of the novel, it is made clear that Margot has shared some of her training with her husband: "The Count focused on Paul, seeing with eyes his Lady Margot had trained in the Bene Gesserit way, aware of the mystery and hidden grandeur about this Atreides youth." Hasimir subsequently refuses Emperor Shaddam IV's command that he kill Paul.[1]

Soon after, as Reverend Mother Mohiam watches Paul and Feyd-Rautha duel to the death, she comments on the existence of Margot's child by Feyd: "If both died here that would leave only Feyd-Rautha's bastard daughter, still a baby, an unknown, an unmeasured factor, and Alia."[1]

Seizing control of Arrakis, Paul deposes Shaddam, who is exiled to Salusa Secundus;[1] Count Fenring willingly joins the former Emperor.[3]

Prelude to Dune[edit]

Dune: House Atreides[edit]

During the events of Dune: House Atreides, unmarried Margot Rashino-Zea is hand-selected by Bene Gesserit Kwisatz Mother Anirul to infiltrate the household of Abulurd Harkonnen on Lankiveil. One of the Bene Gesserit's best commandos, she knows sixty-three ways to kill a human using nothing but her fingers, and has also been trained in the ways of spying and ferreting out information, flash-memorization techniques and connecting mismatched tidbits of data to construct a broader picture. The Sisterhood hopes to find incriminating evidence, perhaps hidden there by the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, that they can use to coerce the Baron into participating in their breeding program. Margot soon discovers that the Harkonnens have been grossly underreporting melange production to CHOAM and the Padishah Emperor Elrood IX, and are stockpiling it for their own purposes.[4]

Margot convinces Emperor Shaddam IV to marry Revered Mother Anirul:

"The Sisterhood can help you secure your power base — more than an alliance with any single Great House of the Landsraad ... in these difficult times, we believe you would gain the greatest advantage by allying your throne with the power and resources of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood ... The Bene Gesserit are quite influential, you know. We can work behind the scenes to smooth over any difficulties you currently have with the Landsraad. This would free you to perform the work of being Emperor and secure your place in history. A number of your grandfathers have done this, to good effect ... You are now the most powerful man in the universe, Sire, but your political rule is balanced between yourself, the Landsraad Council, and the powerful forces of the Spacing Guild and the Bene Gesserit. Your marriage to one of my Sisters would be ... mutually beneficial."[4]

Margot's future husband Count Fenring adds:

"Besides, Sire ... an alliance with any other Great House would bring with it certain ... baggage. You would join with one family at the risk of spurning another. We don't want to trigger another rebellion."[4]

Through this arrangement the Bene Gesserit seek influence over the Imperial throne by ensuring that Shaddam will never have a son.[4]

Dune: House Harkonnen[edit]

In Dune: House Harkonnen, Margot seeks out the Fremen on Arrakis in search of a group of Bene Gesserit sisters working on the Missionaria Protectiva who had disappeared in approximately 10,070 A.G. (Reverend Mother Ramallo among them).[5]

Margot reads the title page of a manual from a Fremen desert survival kit called a fremkit:

"This is like the Azhar Book," Margot exclaimed, surprised to see an edition adapted to Fremen ways. "Our Book of Great Secrets."[5]

Further works[edit]

Sandworms of Dune[edit]

In Sandworms of Dune (2007), the second of Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's two-part finale to the original Dune series, a ghola of Paul Atreides is created over 5,000 years after the original's death. Once his memories are restored, Paul recalls that after his ascension to the Imperial throne (between the novels Dune and 1969's Dune Messiah) he "had not been able to escape political struggles, assassination attempts, the exiled Emperor Shaddam's bid for power and the pretender daughter of Feyd-Rautha and Lady Fenring ..."[6]

Paul of Dune[edit]

Hasimir and Margot are raising Feyd and Margot's daughter — whom they have named Marie — as their own in the Brian Herbert/Kevin J. Anderson interquel Paul of Dune (2008).[7] Between the events of Dune and Dune Messiah (1969), the Fenrings train their young child as both an assassin and a Bene Gesserit, but reject the interference of the Sisterhood itself in favor of their own plans for Marie to seize the Imperial throne from Paul Atreides.[8] Marie has Margot's blond hair and features,[8] as well as Feyd's pale blue eyes;[9] at age six, the Fenrings declare her ready.[10] Marie is accepted into Paul's court as a playmate for his young sister Alia.[11] At a banquet with her visiting parents, Marie and the Fenrings execute their well-planned assassination attempt on Paul.[12] Alia manages to kill Marie, but Margot's revelation of her daughter's paternity surprises Paul enough to allow Hasimir to stab him mortally.[12] Paul's concubine Chani uses the poisonous Water of Life to help save him, and he lives; rather than kill the Fenrings, he banishes them to Salusa Secundus into permanent exile with Shaddam, whom they loathe.[12]

Margot in adaptations[edit]

Both Margot and her husband Hasimir are omitted from David Lynch's 1984 Dune. However, Hasimir plays a minor part in the 2000 miniseries Frank Herbert's Dune, and some of Margot's actions are attributed to Princess Irulan as part of Director John Harrison's expansion of Irulan's role in that adaptation. The character of Margot was to have an increased role in the film adaptation of Dune planned by Alejandro Jodorowsky in the 1970s.[13]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Herbert, Frank (1965). Dune. 
  2. ^ McNelly, Willis E. (June 1, 1984). "FENRING, LADY [MINGUS] MARGOT". The Dune Encyclopedia. pp. 215–218. ISBN 0-425-06813-7. 
  3. ^ Herbert, Frank (1965). "Appendix IV: The Almanak en-Ashraf (Selected Excerpts of the Noble Houses): COUNT HASIMIR FENRING". Dune. 
  4. ^ a b c d Herbert, Brian; Kevin J. Anderson (1999). Dune: House Atreides. 
  5. ^ a b Herbert, Brian; Kevin J. Anderson (2000). Dune: House Harkonnen. 
  6. ^ Herbert, Brian; Kevin J. Anderson (2007). Sandworms of Dune. Tor Books. p. 409. ISBN 0-7653-1293-X. 
  7. ^ Herbert, Brian; Kevin J. Anderson (2007). Paul of Dune. p. 55. ISBN 0-7653-1294-8. 
  8. ^ a b Herbert/Anderson. Paul of Dune. pp. 172–174. 
  9. ^ Herbert/Anderson. Paul of Dune. p. 92. 
  10. ^ Herbert/Anderson. Paul of Dune. p. 377. 
  11. ^ Herbert/Anderson. Paul of Dune. pp. 447–448, 453–457, 464–465. 
  12. ^ a b c Herbert/Anderson. Paul of Dune. pp. 488–510. 
  13. ^ Jodorowsky, Alejandro (1985). ""Dune: Le Film Que Voue Ne Verrez Jamais (Dune: The Film You Will Never See)". Métal Hurlant (107). DuneInfo.com. Retrieved February 8, 2014.