One of the original Dune novel’s arguably best portions did not appear in the 2021 film. I’m speaking, of course, about the infamous dinner scene. Duke Leto Atreides and Lady Jessica invite a smuggler, a banker, and an ecologist for a royal banquet. This sets up a dinner theater performance featuring the secretive characters.
Many fans felt disappointed to see this scene cut from the film—even if the scene’s internal nature would make it hard to portray effectively onscreen. Dune author Frank Herbert uses this scene to establish many of the story’s hidden tensions, along with the sense of shrewdness that House Atreides possesses.
Today we will explore that virtue of shrewdness (or cunning), following after last week’s part 1 that examined how Duke Leto’s nobility shows how Christians can live in a hostile world. In that article, I unpacked what it means for Christians to live in negative spaces and how Leto constantly displayed nobility against pressing odds, and how Leto’s fictional portrayal can give Christians a model to emulate.
Leto, however, shows us more than his nobility. While director Denis Villeneuve’s film focuses on that particular character trait, the books’ Leto also shows much remarkable shrewdness. To live in negative spaces, Christians must be prepared to act with shrewdness along with nobility.