Wensicia

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Princess Wensicia
Princess Wensicia.jpg
Susan Sarandon as Princess Wensicia in the Children of Dune miniseries (2003)
Gender Female
Spouse Dalak
Parents Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV
Anirul
Children Farad'n Corrino
Siblings Princess Irulan
Chalice
Josifa
Rugi
Affiliation House Corrino
First appearance Children of Dune
Final appearance Children of Dune
Portrayals
Portrayed by Susan Sarandon (2003 series)

Princess Wensicia is a fictional character and member of House Corrino from the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert. She appears in Herbert's 1976 novel Children of Dune — the first hardcover best-seller ever in the science fiction field[1] — and later in the 2008 novel Paul of Dune by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

As established in the appendix of Dune' (1965), Wensicia is the third daughter of the 81st Padishah Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV and Anirul, a Bene Gesserit of Hidden Rank.[2] Her oldest sister is the Princess Irulan; her three other siblings are sisters Chalice, Josifa and Rugi.[2] Wensicia accompanies her father into exile on Salusa Secundus after he is deposed by Paul Atreides in Dune.[2]

Children of Dune[edit]

In Children of Dune, Wensicia is described as "fair-haired" with a "heart-shaped face," and said to have learned "shifty trickiness" from her sister Irulan but not herself been trained by the Bene Gesserit.[3] She notes, "Irulan once divulged to me some of the things she'd learned. She was showing off at the time, and I saw no demonstrations. Still the evidence is pretty conclusive that Bene Gesserits have their ways of achieving their ends."[3] Shaddam IV's heir is Wensicia's son Farad'n Corrino, whose deceased father, Dalak, is noted to be related to Count Hasimir Fenring,[3] a close friend of Shaddam's since childhood.[4]

As the novel begins, Shaddam is dead and Wensicia plots from exile to restore House Corrino to its former glory and wrest control of the Empire for Farad'n. She attempts to assassinate Leto II and Ghanima Atreides, the heirs to deceased Emperor Paul Atreides, by sending mechanically-controlled Laza tigers to hunt them in the desert. Leto's growing prescience allows him to thwart the attack on himself and his twin sister; he pretends to be dead to escape the increasingly murderous ambitions of his father's sister Alia. Farad'n — newly trained in the Bene Gesserit ways by Paul and Alia's mother Lady Jessica — accepts an arrangement brokered by Jessica for him to marry Ghanima and share the throne; his part of the deal is to "denounce and banish" Wensicia for Leto's murder, which he does. Leto later returns and ascends the throne himself.[3]

In adaptations[edit]

Wensicia is portrayed by Susan Sarandon in the Sci Fi Channel's 2003 miniseries Frank Herbert's Children of Dune, which is an adaptation of both Dune Messiah (1969) and its sequel Children of Dune.

In the miniseries, Wensicia orchestrates the Dune Messiah conspiracy to assassinate Paul using a pre-programmed Tleilaxu ghola of his deceased friend Duncan Idaho; she is not involved in this plot in the original novel. After her assassination attempt on the twins, Wensicia negotiates the match between Ghanima and Farad'n, who soon betrays his mother by implicating her in Leto's presumed death. Sarandon's casting also changed the birth order of the Corrino heirs. In the novels, Irulan was the eldest daughter and Wensicia was the third oldest, but Sarandon was clearly older than the actress who played Irulan (Julie Cox), implying she was born first. This may also have been an attempt by the directors to show the age slowing effect of melange on the Bene Gesserit trained Irulan.[citation needed]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Touponce, William F. (1988). "Herbert's Reputation". Frank Herbert. Boston, Massachusetts: Twayne Publishers imprint, G. K. Hall & Co. p. 119. ISBN 0-8057-7514-5. "When Herbert completed the third book of the series, Children of Dune (1976), it became an authentic hardcover best-seller with seventy-five thousand copies sold (not including book club sales). It was the first hardcover best-seller ever in the science fiction field." 
  2. ^ a b c Herbert, Frank (1965). "Appendix IV: The Almanak en-Ashraf (Selected Excerpts of the Noble Houses): SHADDAM IV". Dune. 
  3. ^ a b c d Herbert, Frank (1976). Children of Dune. 
  4. ^ Herbert, Frank (1965). "Appendix IV: The Almanak en-Ashraf (Selected Excerpts of the Noble Houses): COUNT HASIMIR FENRING". Dune.