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I hear the wind blowing across the desert and I see the moons of a winter night rising like great ships in the void. To them I make my vow: I will be resolute and make an art of government; I will balance my inherited past and become a perfect storehouse of my relic memories. And I will be known for kindliness more than for knowledge. My face will shine down the corridors of time for as long as humans exist.
--Leto Atreides the II

Unlike his father who saw possibilities connected to his own future, Leto can peer into other people’s timelines. He does this with ease in the novels, when he discerns the future and the past of Hwi Noree, his wife. As a result, there is very little hidden from him! Add that with his other abilities and there’s pretty much nothing Leto cannot discover. The ultimate problem is that he cannot turn it off. While he can avoid looking into other people’s timelines, it’s not feasible for him to do so for a long time. His entire life revolves around the Golden Path and even in camp; he will not see that hindered. So he will violate people’s privacies and see into them. He can’t change that! If he hadn’t taken the wormskin, he wouldn’t have this problem, but he did (and the reasons for that could be anything, really, but I believe it had to do with Ghani than anything else).

So what does that make him in terms of camp? A really annoying godmode. According to the books, Leto is just unable to fully empathize with people. He can’t! He has billions of memories and emotions, which make it difficult to characterize his own, much less understand what other people feel to minutiae. He does try, but most of the time, he doesn’t. It is much easier for him to help people from a distance, to taunt and draw out their negative emotions and memories in order for him to replace it with a little more positive thinking. This doesn’t always work! (It certainly doesn’t work with Idaho and Leto loved him a lot) but it is what Leto is most used to doing and it gives him a certain degree of freedom. He doesn’t have to get too deeply attached and he gets to help people. Christmas everywhere!

Except Leto, in the nature of human beings, wants more. He recognizes this need! He’s always going to want his sister around, even when she can’t be. He’s always going to want people to believe he’s doing good for them, but people just don’t get the long-term of his actions. Leto is able to balance reality to his needs. That’s always kept him balanced and he is rather pragmatic in this approach. He’s willing to dally here, indulge there, as long as he keeps his expectations realistic. Oh, Fuuma has Tatsumi; it doesn’t really matter. Oh, Erik and Charles are hilarious; I can tease them a little more if I feel like it. Oh, Machika has Rain; so I can spoil her a bit more. In a way, Leto takes comfort in the fact that he’s never going to be in first place. It’s not going to happen! The only person who Leto had had that chance with could have been Shizuo, but Leto was more content with helping Shizuo out of his own issues than indulging. So, for Leto, he is able to make his camp connections on the basis of the fact that he will never rate high enough for people to bother.

Yet, considering his last post, doesn’t seem to be accurate. There are people who think of him, who are willing to think of his needs. He’s… never had anyone like that before! He has always been independent (sure the twins took care of each other, but at the same time, they had all the memories between them to know that they could take care of themselves) and has always thought that (being the GOD FUCKING EMPEROR OF THE UNIVERSE) that everyone would assume the same. But they didn’t and they offered to bring him food, to help him out, to keep him company and Leto was… a bit of a loss. He can’t even express himself properly without being a dick half the time! More importantly, he wasn’t sure about his role in their lives anymore. He sees that he might be too attached and that he might do selfish things in the name of the people he cares about and Leto does not want to be selfish. He hasn’t reached a point where he likes “I DESERVE THINGS FOR MYSELF” (He reaches that point 4,000 years later which ….shows you …something).

So basically, Leto might go to superhard repressive mode, to dig out the characteristics that made him choose the Golden Path to being with, trying to find some kind of self-esteem talk to better himself, since he sees himself as actually potentially failing the destiny he chose for himself. Ultimately, for Leto, the Golden Path takes precedence over anything Leto has or is allowed to have. Mostly, he just really wants his sister to come visit so she can sort out the mess of emotions he’s feeling at the moment. IF ANYONE CAN IT’S GHANIMA!!! But really, he just needs someone (now, and later) to tell him he’s doing the right thing, that humanity will be saved, that his sacrifice is not in vain. Leto always seeks validation, mostly from his father whom he felt could have sheltered him and protected him. He’s widening his scope a little, to allow people who are not blood-kin into his life, but he’s a bit far from accepting validation from just anyone. At least, not just yet.
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Leto Atreides the II

June 2013

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