There’s a reason many of us flock to science-fiction fantasy stories. These stories are really good at getting us out of our world, which can be a welcome escape at times. And even though the characters and storylines are often outlandish, there’s usually something we can relate to in our lives here on Earth. For Grimes, though, she says the story of Dune is more than just an escape world – it’s her real-life world, too.
Grimes has never been afraid to be uniquely herself, even when it doesn’t make sense to most of us. She’s an artist – in the truest sense of the word – but many people know of her because of her on-again, off-again relationship with billionaire Elon Musk. The two share two kids together, a boy and a girl, and their lives together are unique, too. In a recent interview with Vanity Fair, Grimes says her life is essentially like the Frank Herbert masterpiece Dune. And she’s felt a deep connection to that story since she was a young kid, but now she feels it mirrors her life as a parent.
Most of us who have been introduced to the Dune world – through the book, the original from 1984, or the more recent 2021 remake – recognize it as the epitome of science fiction. The characters are definitely from another planet, and the storyline is super dramatic. So, when Grimes told the magazine that Elon is essentially Duke Leto and her son, X Æ A-12 Musk (whom she’s nicknamed X), is Paul, it’s hard not to roll our eyes. And yet, if you think about one specific point she’s making, there’s something to the statement.
Although Grimes has been a fan of the Dune universe since her dad first read her the book when she was four years old, she told Vanity Fair that the 2021 movie remake was the first time she saw a likeness to her own life. To her, the story of Lady Jessica, a Bene Gesserit who is the concubine of Duke Leto, mirrors her relationship with Elon. And she sees parallels to her son X in Paul Atreides, a “chosen one, tasked with becoming a great leader.”
“When I see X,” she said to Vanity Fair, “like, I just know X is going to have to go through all this really fucked-up shit that sort of mirrors Paul-type stuff. I was just crying my eyes out the whole movie.”
Grimes knows this sounds strange. She admitted that to the magazine, but does she have a point? In the interview, Grimes also talks about the pressures that comes with being Elon’s girlfriend. She talked about the struggles of having everything Elon does or says as an automatic reflection of her – and the expectation that she reels him in – kind of like a Bene Gesserit? Also, the notion that Grimes’ sense of self was briefly erased by the media seeing her only in relation to Musk is similar to the way people undermine the importance of Lady Jessica in the Dune books. As Paul is reminded in the new film, he has more than one birthright, and the birthright on his mom’s side is, arguably, a bigger deal.
Most of us will never experience living under a microscope in the same way Grimes does – and her that her children inevitably will. So, while Grimes comparing her family to characters in the Dune universe feels very side-eye to us, maybe, (maybe?) the connection helps her feel like there’s some normalcy in her real, outlandish world.