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Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 23 Jan 2010 08:27
by nampigai
I can't remember, but that was my thought as well - can't seem to find anything about it though.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 23 Jan 2010 10:38
by Freakzilla
Up until then, the Water of Life wasn't the only poison used by the BG.

"Even your Bene Gesserit Truthsayer is trembling," Paul said. "There are
other poisons the Reverend Mothers can use for their tricks, but once they've
used the spice liquor, the others no longer work."

~Dune

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 23 Jan 2010 13:30
by inhuien
Hmmm, yes, I should have known that.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 24 Jan 2010 05:24
by nampigai
ahh - well as I said at the moment I only hold the danish version, and sometimes the translations are a bit slaggy (at best). However in the first chapter Mohiam talks to Paul about the trouthsay poison (I only assume that this is the water of life).

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 24 Jan 2010 16:36
by SandChigger
Not yet, at this point. (Bit of a spoiler to discuss it here :? , but only the Fremen have WoL at this point.)

(Freak, delete as you see fit. :) )

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 02:12
by nampigai
argh see this is why I'd like to read it in english instead - I've assumed (ever since I've read it the first time) that the "poison" Mohiam was talking about was the water of life. I believe she is in the movie though (not that it should be viewed as canon though ;-) )

Actually I never gave it much thought before, I just found it strange that her eyes wasn't blue (come to think of it...they aren't in the movie, nor the minies either). First I thought lenses too, but then I thought...was that something I read in some of the prequels?

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 02:37
by A Thing of Eternity
I'd guess her eyes are actually blue, but almost everyone other than the Fremen who were addicted to the spice wore contacts to cover up the blue.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 10:49
by Ziggy
Not so sure her eyes would neccessarily be blue. Her eyes are mentioned at several times in Dune.

The old woman was a witch shadow -- hair like matted
spiderwebs, hooded 'round darkness of features, eyes like glittering jewels.

Two bird-bright ovals -- the eyes of the old woman -- seemed to expand and glow as
they stared into his.

He looked up into bird-bright eyes.

He could not take his attention from
the seamed old face, the glistening eyes

Paul saw the bird-bright eyes of the
Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam glaring beneath her black hood, and beside
her the narrow furtiveness of Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen.


Of course this doesn't rule out contacts, but those who have the Eyes of Ibad all suffer from deep addiction whether voluntary or not. The Fremen obviously, and spice workers are among those who aquire the blue eyes from their environment which is saturated in melange. Others knowingly take high doses. The Guild navigators and Piter are examples.

"For a Mentat, you talk too much, Piter," the Baron said. And he thought: I
must do away with that one soon. He has almost outlived his usefulness. The
Baron stared across the room at his Mental assassin, seeing the feature about
him that most people noticed first: the eyes, the shaded slits of blue within
blue, the eyes without any white in them at all.

"Ah! Indeed but! But he consumes too much spice, eats it like candy. Look at
his eyes! He might've come directly from the Arrakeen labor pool.


Note the baron's specific reference to the Arrakeen labour pool. Why is the Baron concerned about this excess? Impairs his Mentat abilities? Becoming too expensive?

Another comment from Jessica this time.

"A Fremen housekeeper," Jessica mused, returning to the subject of the
Shadout Mapes. "She'll have the all-blue eyes."


Curious that she focuses on this particular attribute, and makes no comparison to the BG. At many times our attention is drawn to this Fremen feature and hint that it is uncommon outside of the deserts of Arrakis.

Contact lenses remain a possibility with Mohiam but I'm leaning towards the RM as simply not being at this stage of addiction. She would not have required the WoL for the ritual as has been pointed out. It is certainly clear that those who can afford it, are able to consume a sufficient dose for the geriatric properties without assuming the all blue eyes. None of the major political figures are mentioned as having the trait, or covering up with lenses. e.g. Baron H, Duke Leto, The Emperor, etc. Likewise those in their household with status / wealth enough to have relatively greater access to melange show no signs of the blue eyes, with the notable exception of Piter and indeed this is singled out for mention.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 12:25
by Serkanner
Ziggy wrote:"Ah! Indeed but! But he consumes too much spice, eats it like candy. Look at
his eyes! He might've come directly from the Arrakeen labor pool.[/i][/size]

Note the baron's specific reference to the Arrakeen labour pool. Why is the Baron concerned about this excess? Impairs his Mentat abilities? Becoming too expensive?


Because an addiction is a weakness ... and that can be exploited.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 18:08
by chanilover
Mohiam tells Paul that truthtrance allows the BG to look within to their body's memories, when the Truthsayer is "gifted with the drug". In Dune the BG's access to OM is linked with the truthsayer drug rather than the water of life.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 18:36
by Ziggy
Because an addiction is a weakness ... and that can be exploited.

Indeed and something the Baron himself was exploiting to the fullest, I'll bet.

The Baron stared at the approaching man, recalling the name: Nefud. Iakin
Nefud. Guard corporal. Nefud was addicted to semuta, the drug-music combination
that played itself in the deepest consciousness. A useful item of information,
that.
.
.
.
"First," he said, "let me congratulate you, Nefud. You're the new captain of
my guard. And I hope you'll take to heart the lesson to be learned from the fate
of your predecessor."
The Baron watched the awareness grow in his newly promoted guardsman. Nefud
knew he'd never again be without his semuta.


Good points! Also been thinking some more and worth noting that the WoL is not the spice itself. Jessica's eyes are only mentioned as being all blue some time after she has udergone the ritual. The first reference takes place early on in Book III of Dune which takes place a few years after she has become RM. IIRC her eyes change immediately after taking the WoL in the Lynch movie? Difficult at times to remember the source of every little detail. I'm still trying to wash the last traces of the prequels out of my head and it was good to re-read all six Dune novels one after the other recently. It actually helped to also highlight even more continuity fuck-ups, inconsitencies and nonsense of the KJA 'canon'.

Since we're chatting about spice addiction among other things, what are your opinions about such a dependency and the GP? Consistent with it or another crutch that humankind should avoid? Is seeding other worlds with the post-Tyrant sandtrout enough to prevent something like Paul's hydraulic despotism happening again?

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 18:40
by A Thing of Eternity
Ziggy wrote:Since we're chatting about spice addiction among other things, what are your opinions about such a dependency and the GP? Consistent with it or another crutch that humankind should avoid? Is seeding other worlds with the post-Tyrant sandtrout enough to prevent something like Paul's hydraulic despotism happening again?


With or without scattering the trout, the GP isn't threatened at all by the spice. It is no longer needed for space travel, and humanity has spread so far that the vast majority of people in the universe never would have heard of the stuff, other than maybe in legend. Definitely a crutch to be avoided, but that was exactly what Leto did in the famine times, he deprived humanity almost completely of the drug and forced it to adapt to get along without it.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 18:58
by Ziggy
You raise excellent points there! The BG are very much dependant upon it even during the time frame of Chapterhouse. Lucilla and Odrade's addiction gain special mention. Think Frank was pointing this out to us as a weakness that the BG should seek to overcome in the future? Perhaps their amalgamation with the HM will allow them to use their drug without inheriting the more serious flaws of the HM?

"The substitute they employ replaces melange with few benefits except to prevent
withdrawal agonies and death. It is parallel addictive."
"And the captive?"
"Murbella used it and now she uses melange. They are interchangeable.
Interesting?"

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 19:07
by A Thing of Eternity
To be honest I think FH was going to destroy the sisterhood in the final book, but I could be wrong. I don't really know what his plan for the spice/worms was considering the seeming importance of Sheeana and the No-Ship worms, but I do think he was going to make an example of the BG/Old Empire in general and kill them all off. I think it might be that the "enemy" was actually something positive.

I don't have any evidence for any of that though, just hunches.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 19:53
by Ziggy
I think you could be right. Either that or the BG as saviours but not sure that fits in with Frank's overall themes. I think probably the former and the Old Empire does represent, in many ways, the stagnation that Leto wanted humankind to break out of. I did wonder if he had something of both in mind. The BG teaching humanity an important lesson and sacraficing themselves in doing so? Oh, and just for the record, I'd much rather hear your hunches than accept anything from the New Canon. Skynet and Terminators... :roll:

You folks have a specific thread where you speculate on what may have happend if Frank had written Dune 7? Sorry for not searching but getting late here and starting to flag. If so, I'd like to read that.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 25 Jan 2010 20:22
by Freakzilla
Ziggy wrote:You folks have a specific thread where you speculate on what may have happend if Frank had written Dune 7? Sorry for not searching but getting late here and starting to flag. If so, I'd like to read that.



I'm sure there's one around here somewhere.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 03 Feb 2010 03:16
by nampigai
A Thing of Eternity wrote:To be honest I think FH was going to destroy the sisterhood in the final book, but I could be wrong. I don't really know what his plan for the spice/worms was considering the seeming importance of Sheeana and the No-Ship worms, but I do think he was going to make an example of the BG/Old Empire in general and kill them all off. I think it might be that the "enemy" was actually something positive.

I don't have any evidence for any of that though, just hunches.


to destroy them - or have them evolve? Odrade knew the BG wasn't flawless.

as for Sheeana, Duncan and Scytale - I really would have liked to know what they had in mind.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 03 Feb 2010 06:37
by Ziggy
Perhaps after the merger with the HM the BG are now ready to expand beyond the Old Empire? We don't know the fate of those that were sent off into the Scattering. The BG believe those that did may have returned as the HM but it's a point that still remains open to debate. It is uncertain if Frank was telling us this was so or simply that the BG had convinced themselves that this was the case?

Now that they can transplant the sandtrout they needn't be without the spice, although as some have pointed out in this thread that dependancy is a weakness in itself.

as for Sheeana, Duncan and Scytale - I really would have liked to know what they had in mind.
Wouldn't we all! I think the biggest disappointment is knowing that KJA has destroyed the opportunity for us gaining any insight into what Frank may have intended for these characters if Frank's notes even exist at all. I think that Sheeana would have played a significant role though. I can't see Frank devoting so much time to developing her character simply for her to disappear into the background.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 03 Feb 2010 06:58
by nampigai
Yes – Frank must have had something more intended for Sheeana. I’m also somewhat curious about the sculpture she creates. Think I’ll post about it in the reading group.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 20 May 2010 00:43
by D Pope
I'm probably missing something, but, the blue within blue comes from the saturation of the blood by melange. Fremen had it because they were immersed in spice basically, used it for everything & ate it all the time. Jessica knew she was addicted before her eyes turned. There's a line 'a touch of the spice brush' when offworlders take to much. I believe going through the spice agony isn't the same as saturating yourself. To that, spice & the WoL are different things aren't they? The average citizen lives over 200 years with spice, without getting blue eyes.

I think she simply didn't take enough to force a change.

Twards the end of the postings I may have missed this if it 's been covered. If this is the case, i'm sorry.

Re: Chapter 01

Posted: 20 May 2010 15:50
by MrFlibble
Freakzilla wrote:Up until then, the Water of Life wasn't the only poison used by the BG.

"Even your Bene Gesserit Truthsayer is trembling," Paul said. "There are
other poisons the Reverend Mothers can use for their tricks, but once they've
used the spice liquor, the others no longer work."

~Dune

That pretty much answers the question. Also this:
Terminology of the Imperium wrote:REVEREND MOTHER: originally, a proctor of the Bene Gesserit, one who has transformed an "illuminating poison" within her body, raising herself to a higher state of awareness. Title adopted by Fremen for their own religious leaders who accomplished a similar "illumination." (See also Bene Gesserit and Water of Life.)
TRUTHTRANCE: semihypnotic trance induced by one of several "awareness spectrum" narcotics in which the petit betrayals of deliberate falsehood are apparent to the truthtrance observer. (Note: "awareness spectrum" narcotics are frequently fatal except to desensitized individuals capable of transforming the poison-configuration within their own bodies.)
WATER OF LIFE: an "illuminating" poison (see Reverend Mother). Specifically, that liquid exhalation of a sandworm (see Shai-hulud) produced at the moment of its death from drowning which is changed within the body of a Reverend Mother to become the narcotic used in the sietch tau orgy. An "awareness spectrum" narcotic.

The BG used other "awareness spectrum" narcotics besides (and before the discovery of) melange/Water of Life. We've had a similar discussion on FED2k:
http://forum.dune2k.com/index.php?topic=22111.msg351290#msg351290

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 19 Jun 2010 04:45
by Ghanima Atreides
However, I think those "awareness narcotics" refer to other things, such as the Truthsayer drug that amplifies Truthsense. As far as the transformation into a Reverend Mother goes, only spice essence/Water of Life works. Though I remember this being mentioned in GEoD as well, I found this quote from Heretics that, in my opinion, is as clear-cut as it gets:

"It was the same old argument, Taraza saw. Without melange and the agony of its transformation, there could be no Reverend Mothers.

Although they had searched and experimented constantly, the Sisterhood had never found a substitute for the spice."



I think she simply didn't take enough to force a change.


I also think that is not the case. Reverend Mothers have always been described as having blue-within-blue eyes, even in Leto's time when they would have kept their melange intake to a minimum. We know the spice was highly addictive ( "The spice ... is mildly addictive when taken in small quantities, severely addictive when imbibed in quantities above two grams daily per seventy kilos of body weight." [Heretics]). When Rebecca, the Jewish girl from Chapterhouse, is to be brought before the Honored Matres, she has an eye transplant specifically to hide the Spice Agony in her past, implying that it is an obvious clue.

As for why Mohiam isn't described as having spice eyes...she's also not specifically described as not having them: just that they were bright, bird-like and glistening. It's possible she wore contacts, like Schwangyu, since she was an Emperor's Truthsayer which made her into a public figure, and at the time Bene Gesserit secrets and weaknesses weren't so well known. Or maybe Frank developed the idea of tight Bene Gesserit dependency on melange later.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 19 Jun 2010 08:27
by MrFlibble
Ghanima Atreides wrote:Though I remember this being mentioned in GEoD as well, I found this quote from Heretics that, in my opinion, is as clear-cut as it gets:

"It was the same old argument, Taraza saw. Without melange and the agony of its transformation, there could be no Reverend Mothers.

Although they had searched and experimented constantly, the Sisterhood had never found a substitute for the spice."

Don't forget that this is from the times several thousand years after when Mohiam lived. Here's a more telling quote:
Dune wrote:Jessica saw the slave cribs on Bela Tegeuse down that inner corridor, saw the weeding out and the selecting that spread men to Rossak and Harmonthep. Scenes of brutal ferocity opened to her like the petals of a terrible flower. And she saw the thread of the past carried by Sayyadina after Sayyadina - first by word of mouth, hidden in the sand chanteys, then refined through their own Reverend Mothers with the discovery of the poison drug on Rossak... and now developed to subtle strengthen Arrakis in the discovery of the Water of Life.

I believe this suggests that the Water of Life was merely more effective in amplifying the Reverend Mothers' powers compared to other "awareness spectrum narcotics". There is no doubt that Reverend Mothers created with the use of the Rossak poison drug had Other Memory, because it is stated here that they substituted for the oral tradition carried with the Sayyadinas.

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 19 Jun 2010 09:11
by SandChigger
Note that that last refers to the Fremen wild Reverend Mothers.

Is there any evidence that the BG knew of WoL before Jessica?

Re: Why Weren't RM Mohiam's Eyes Blue?

Posted: 19 Jun 2010 09:12
by Ghanima Atreides
That's about the "wild" Reverend Mothers of Fremen stock, not the Sisterhood. And it's not said specifically that it had the same effect as the Spice Agony/Water of Life transformation, I took it to mean it was a step in that direction but not quite there. If that were the case, and the Rossak drug could be substituted for the spice, then Taraza wouldn't have said otherwise in the future, even assuming that through Jessica they would have learned of it. Either way, Mohiam was an RM before Jessica took the WoL, and if she knew of an alternative, it makes little sense the Sisterhood would have forgotten about it.

*Edit: Ninja'd by SandChigger :P