damkianna: A cap of Irulan from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Empress". (Empress.)
[personal profile] damkianna
God, I had forgotten how long Children of Dune was - and how pretty. I mean, the costumes are still a little hit-or-miss, and the special effects are mostly miss, but still.

Anyway, Irulan! Part 1 here.

This time around, we first get a glimpse of Irulan through some funky wavy glass, looking stern and hardcore.



This, it turns out, is because that glass forms part of the wall in a sort of council meeting room. The first part of this scene is Irulan facing off in a subtle, sharp way against a now grown Alia, and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT.





Their little verbal fencing match is unfortunately ruined by Paul, who has a couple visions of a grown-up shirtless version of his unborn son, agrees that his power must not be marginalized by wretched democracy, and then treats Irulan like a glorified secretary.



He literally says, and this is verbatim, "Are you taking this down, Irulan?" D:<

But she has too much poise to punch him in the face.



From here, we move very quickly to a pretty severe low point for Irulan. We find out that Chani has been unable to conceive, and as soon as the Fremen Reverend Mother tells her that the poison that's preventing it is from offworld, Chani figures out that it must have been Irulan.

Obviously, this was a terrible thing to do, and I'm going to do my best not to make excuses even though I usually heart Irulan. I do think that in the end, she handles having done a terrible thing quite well - but we haven't gotten there yet.

In the meantime, Irulan is busy writing, because apparently in the bookverse she is a hugely prolific author ...



... and then gets interrupted.





This scene breaks my heart a little; Chani is so badass, and yet she's also not entirely unsympathetic to Irulan. She gets that Irulan's in a pretty shitty situation. Stupid Paul. Ahem. ANYWAY.

Chani lays it out for Irulan in no uncertain terms, and then lets her go.




Irulan tries to hang on to a little poise, but it won't stick - her denial over the fact that Paul doesn't love her is crumbling, and it's obvious at this point that he just doesn't really care what she does.




But because she's Irulan, she deals with it.



The big-time Reverend Mother of the Bene Gesserit - the same one who was schooling Irulan in bending space ballet waaaaaay back at the beginning - comes to Dune space, and Paul has her detained, because he ordered her never to come back to Arrakis. Irulan goes to visit her.



Along with the space ballet, Irulan was trained in the secret sign language used by the Bene Gesserit, and she and the Reverend Mother have two conversations at once. We learn that the Reverend Mother actually ordered Irulan to poison Chani, and now that Chani is compensating for it, the Reverend Mother wants Irulan to make sure any resulting child never gets born.

Irulan dislikes this plan. My guess is that she's told herself she wasn't really doing actual harm by feeding Chani contraceptives, because it's a pretty passive route; nonconsensual abortion, not so much.





After this, a bunch of stuff happens - Paul gets physically blinded by a firebombing, but he can still see with his ~mind~, and we get introduced to some side plots about assassination and cloning. \o/ Eventually, though, we find out that Shaddam, Irulan's father, has died in exile; Paul allows Irulan to attend his funeral. This scene is very short, but it's one of a very small number of times that Irulan and Wensicia are both onscreen at once, and that much awesome is hard to resist.





For the record, I have no idea whether this is a continuity error or what - Wensicia looks like the elder of the two of them, but Irulan is clearly referred to as Shaddam's firstborn in the first miniseries. Maybe Wensicia was born to a different mother? I have no idea. It doesn't matter! They only get about three lines to snipe at each other, but they do it beautifully, and I LOVE that last cap, with Irulan's lovely little smugface and Wensicia's mouth going flat. MY HEART.

Not too much later, Irulan finds out that Paul knew what she was doing to Chani, and they have a HORRIFICALLY awkward conversation about it. Irulan is obviously about a second from crying the whole time, but she keeps it together.






At least, until he tells her he's grateful for her selfishness because it prolonged Chani's life and then kisses her, because he is a GIANT JERKFACE.



Frankly, this conversation makes me kind of angry. I'm glad that Paul's willing to acknowledge that people can't seem to stop using Irulan to further their own agendas - but I think it casts all his griping about how trapped he is in that much worse a light, given that Irulan is actually trapped to a much greater degree than, you know, the EMPEROR OF THE UNIVERSE. I mean, if he were oblivious enough to not realize that other people also are surrounded by a sea of crappy choices sometimes, maybe I would sympathize more; but, clearly, he's not. :P

More things happen; Chani gets pregnant, and, because this is sometime in the distant future where they have a lot of highly advanced technology, she dies of babies. (At least there are no medical droids giving official diagnoses like "she lost the will to live", STAR WARS.) To be fair, the music behind the delivery montage is gorgeous. The montage swaps to Irulan, alone in Arrakeen, a couple of times.




I choose to believe that this is the moment when she's really acknowledging to herself that what she did was wrong, and that she did it for selfish reasons - and, moreover, the moment she decides she's going to reclaim her awesome and SKATE BETTER. [/Brink]

And skate better she does. In the next ep of the miniseries, Chani and Paul's children are teenaged, and Irulan has dedicated herself to their safety. This is what I meant when I talked about handling it well - Irulan did a shitty thing, but she doesn't run away from it, or give up on being a decent human being, or ignore the twins because they remind her of what she did. I know I keep saying this, but: she deals with it. \o/



I love how totally hearteyed she is over them; I realize it would have been complicated, but I wish we'd seen a little more of them growing up with Irulan. BUT ANYWAY.

Leto flies a thopter like he wants to die a fiery death, which Irulan does not care for.






And I can't blame her, especially during the part where he lets them drop into a giant sandworm's toothy throat for a minute. D:

They arrive in Arrakeen in time for Lady Jessica's arrival from Caladan; I HEART this, even though it is just a tiny moment. Irulan is carefully posed, but Ghanima sees right through her.



Irulan confesses that she always wanted to be friends with Jessica, but that it wasn't possible, and that she at least deserves Jessica's respect, after all this time. And Ghanima listens and then takes Irulan's hand, and holds it until Jessica comes up to them.



It's pretty adorable.

Irulan and Lady Jessica proceed to have a conversation in the interior greenhouse that starts out sort of impersonally polite.





However, Irulan rapidly gets her grim eyebrows on, and - she doesn't know Jessica's on her side yet - essentially tells Jessica to watch it, because nothing is going to happen to either Leto or Ghanima if Irulan can prevent it. \o/ YAY IRULAN.



Ahem. Sure enough, she's tested a bit later; a shipment of clothing arrives, purportedly a gift from Wensicia's son Farad'n, and suspicious Irulan is (rightfully) suspicious.




She demands that the clothes be carefully examined, and not given to the twins without her say-so.

Unfortunately, by this point Alia has at least partially been taken over by - well, not the Baron Harkonnen, exactly, but the memories of his life and experiences she ended up with by mistake. She reprimands Irulan for her TOTALLY VALID caution.




Irulan pretty definitely has an inkling that something is up, but she can't just crush Alia herself. She gives Lady Jessica a fantastic "Seriously, CODE RED" look as she leaves.



Jessica, of course, gets the point, and she and Irulan have another Bene Gesserit sign language chat about how best to keep the twins safe.





They decide on getting them out of town, and Irulan is once again a master of stealth.



Once they're out in the desert, there's some shenaniganry - the twins decide to run off someplace because Leto has visions that he needs to get there, but when they run, they wear the clothes Wensicia sent, and they turn out to have been treated such that specially-trained space wargs will attack anyone wearing them. Ghanima gets hurt, and Leto runs off and lets her think he's dead; she manages to get back by herself, and the next time we see Irulan is at her bedside as she recovers.




Alia comes to try to take Ghanima back to Arrakeen, which Irulan is not enthused about.




The Fremen allow Alia to take Ghani - there's a civil war on, and they don't want to violate their neutrality - but only if Irulan gets to stay with her. Clearly, they understand that Irulan is basically the best shot Ghani has at surviving.

Once Alia moves out of earshot, Stilgar apologizes for placing Irulan in danger by making such a deal.



But Irulan's pretty sure she can take it.



I love the teeny half-a-smile creeping onto her mouth right there, like, "Ooo, danger, that is so new to me." :D

When Ghanima's recovered, she and Irulan have a fantastic conversation in the greenhouse. Various other things have happened, and Farad'n has made an offer of marriage; Ghanima's accepted it, and during this talk, Irulan is trying to warn her off - trying, essentially, to save her from getting stuck in the same mess Irulan was in during the last episode of the first miniseries, and the first episode of this one.




Ghanima says she doesn't intend to get stuck - she intends to use this whole marriage deal to get Farad'n alone so she can kill him, because she is going to be a galactic empress who gets shit done. Irulan is so proud.




She's there when Farad'n arrives.



Farad'n is actually kind of a cool guy, and unknowingly saves his own life by explaining to everybody right there on the palace steps that his mother's the one who tried to kill Leto and Ghanima with the space wargs. Irulan ... doesn't look super surprised to hear that her sister did it.




I personally place that second expression somewhere in the realm of, "If your son hadn't just exiled you, I would so kill you right now."

More stuff happens in here: Leto pops up again, having fulfilled his own visions and gotten himself sort of partway turned into a sandworm, and Alia readies herself for a battle with the rebel Fremen, except she's tricked into coming back to the city - she thinks it's Ghanima's wedding, aka the sealing of a new alliance with House Corrino, but it's actually a confrontation over that thing where she's acting like the Baron Harkonnen all the time.

The point is: Irulan is there!



Alia sort of hisses, "Where is she?" at Irulan as she passes, and Irulan gives her this great placid look and just keeps walking.



Once everybody else has filed in, Leto and Ghanima appear on the steps; when Irulan sees that Leto is still alive, you can practically see the hearts in Julie Cox's enormous eyes.



Leto confronts Alia, and she tries to have him killed, but he's all superpowered now. Irulan finds this satisfying.



Alia has sort of a breakdown, and then remembers who she is, and before the weird ghost/remnant thing of the Baron Harkonnen can convince her not to, she stabs herself, instead of knifing Leto. This scene breaks my heart a dozen different ways, and Irulan is not unaffected - after all, she did watch Alia grow up, even if we didn't get to see any of it.




Finally, all crises are resolved, all plotlines are wrapped up, and it's time for Lady Jessica to depart again. She asks whether Irulan wants to go with her, and Irulan responds that she has no other home but Dune.




It's a lovely moment. Irulan's finally come to terms with herself and found peace and family and a purpose on Dune, despite the best efforts of pretty much the entire galaxy - and, even better, she gets the hug she's always wanted from Jessica.



Seriously, if you think about it, a lot of things in this miniseries could have been solved if various people had gotten hugged with sincerity more often.

In conclusion: IRULAN. \o/

w00t. In the process of putting this one together, I managed to cap all the ladies of Dune in one runthrough, which greatly ups the odds that I'll actually finish doing all six of them. ... Probably mostly because it is just fun to unload every spare thought that passes through my brain when I watch these miniseries. :D

Date: 2011-02-07 12:44 am (UTC)
xenakis: (leiared)
From: [personal profile] xenakis
(At least there are no medical droids giving official diagnoses like "she lost the will to live", STAR WARS.) *Glares meaningfully along with you* WTF GEORGE LUCAS? WTF?

It's kind of crazy how many emotions Julie Cox is able to convey while keeping her Totally Stoic Face on. *smishes her*

Date: 2011-04-28 08:40 am (UTC)
fahrbotdrusilla: ridic discription about how cute she is (Default)
From: [personal profile] fahrbotdrusilla
but I think it casts all his griping about how trapped he is in that much worse a light, given that Irulan is actually trapped to a much greater degree than, you know, the EMPEROR OF THE UNIVERSE.

Ugh, I KNOW!

Date: 2011-04-28 04:19 pm (UTC)
fahrbotdrusilla: ridic discription about how cute she is ([dune] - Irulan/Paul (sorta. kinda))
From: [personal profile] fahrbotdrusilla
After I finished reading Children of Dune I legitimately wanted to punch Paul for everything he put the family through. It really didn't do him any favors when most of the main character tended to suffer more than he did.

Don't even get me started on the running off on his kids thing just... arg.

Date: 2013-03-01 12:11 am (UTC)
hollyberries: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollyberries
I followed the trail of links from your AO3 yuletide gift all the way here, and wow! Irulan definitely gets shafted in the books, and thank you so much for putting the picspams together!

Re: Wensicia being so much older - Irulan is the eldest of Shaddam's daughters, but living on Arrakis gives a natural level of exposure to spice, which apparently slows aging? And Salusa Secundus is meant to be super severe and not a great place to live, so. *handwavey*

Date: 2013-03-28 07:20 pm (UTC)
monicaop: (Irulan - Sad Bed)
From: [personal profile] monicaop
Hi :), I just came here just searching for anything good said about Irulan online, and wow!!! You did an amazing job with the way you see her characters in both of the miniseries!!

I love Irulan, she's one of my favorite characters ever, as how she was portrayed in the miniseries, in the books, she's good but here she rocks it!!

I saw you have a fic in Ao3 and I'm reading it right now, and wow, you did things different from how I always pictured it with this character, I always wondered how things would have gone if Irulan would have been in the sietch when Leto and Ghanima were born, if maybe Irulan's love for Paul would have been enough for him to see again.

I even asked for fics like this in several fics auction, only got 1 fic out of it, and sadly the author didn't really got a good grasp of the characters but with the tiny amount of fics with Irulan... really you can count them with your hand fingers, it was enough at the moment.

Thanks again, I truly enjoyed this, and I know I'm going to enjoy your fic!! I hope you decide to write more for this lovely character!! be well, Monica

The Princess Irulan Corrino

Date: 2016-02-11 12:43 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hi, and thanks for your close reading of Irulan's role and Julie Cox's performance in the miniseries. Irulan is my favorite Dune character as well, because she's a bookworm, because "deals with it" so often, because she's so intelligent that she can stealthily be an active agent when she's forever officially occupying a de facto passive role as noble-born-wife-in-name-only (oh, and Queen of the Universe, but let's not quibble).

Irulan is a supporting role, but she's the most relatable and rounded character, at least in the miniseries (I've only read Dune, not the sequels), because she's not a hero, she's not a villain, and though she exhibits a moral failing here and, she has great strength of personal character, and can change: I love how protective she becomes of the twins in the miniseries. And she grew up to do what loves: write!

But I first fell in love with Irulan in David Lynch's movie, and ironically not for any of the reasons above. I loved her because in the movie she was a mysterious presence that implied the books' sequels contained a universe of characters we don't know yet. That and the fact that with exception of her in the background of two scenes, we only see her as a disembodied head floating in space, narrating an introduction to the film with eerie spacey music in the background and her face disappearing and reappearing like the Cheshire Cat for no reason at all but cool visuals. And when I was a kid and first saw the movie in the theater I was instantly mesmerized. Still am. Plus, Virginia Madsen's Irulan voice-over narrates the ENTIRE MOVIE. Lynch's treatment of Irulan made me wonder, "What did Frank Herbert think of Irulan? Did he and David Lynch love her too?"

Thanks again, David

Re: The Princess Irulan Corrino

Date: 2016-02-15 03:26 pm (UTC)
scoobydune: (Default)
From: [personal profile] scoobydune
A caveat re the David Lynch film: The film is very faithful to the book in so many details. But when it deviates, it really deviates, so I warn you to go with the flow and enjoy the amazing production and costume design, and the great supporting performances by true Shakespeareans like Patrick Stewart, Francesca Annis, and my favorite, the great Siân Phillips, who was the Livia you love to hate in the 70s I, Claudius mini-series and who plays Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam. Oh, and Sting! (Haha)
Edited Date: 2016-02-15 03:27 pm (UTC)

Re: The Princess Irulan Corrino

Date: 2016-02-15 04:03 pm (UTC)
scoobydune: (Default)
From: [personal profile] scoobydune
And I forgot my single favorite performance in the film: The casting of Jose Ferrer as Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV was genius. You're going to love him!

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damkianna: A cap of the Reverend Mother from the Dune miniseries, with accompanying text: "Space cowgirl." (Default)
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