Dune: People: Alia Atreides

Alia Atreides, sister to Paul Muad’Dib Atreides, was Regent to the empire after his death.Alia Atreides, sister to Paul Muad’Dib Atreides, was Regent to the empire after his death. Alia is also know as the Holy Sister and St. Alia of the Knife.

For good reason too, Alia was once cruelest Fremen women the universe had ever known! Alia was born the daughter of Jessica and Duke Leto Atreides. But birth wasn’t that simple for her. After Leto’s death Jessica was forced to seek refuge with the Fremen in the desert of Arrakis.

To become accepted by the Xenophobic group, Jessica had to consume the water of life while pregnant with Alia. The water of life, made up of spice essence has the nasty side effect of awakening unborn children in the womb of their mothers. So as a rule, its avoided at all costs! Well Jessica decided that the rule was really more of guideline, and ignored it! As a result, Alia awoke to full adult consciousness with still several months left to go in her mothers uterus.

To twist the knife further, the water of life also made both Jessica and Alia a full reverend mother. So Alia was born with all the memories of her ancestral lineage! Talk about confusing. She’s entered life stuck in a tight internal organ for five months, and has thousands of lifetimes of experience each telling her differently how to react to the situation. Once she was born, she freaked out her fellow Fremen children by being too smart and wise for her age.

Thus her piers and elders were all scared of her. She made up for it by adopting the Fremen culture, specifically cruelty. During Paul’s attack on the Emperor, she earned her nickname as St. Alia of the Knife by killing hundreds of Corrino and Harkonnen wounded and prisoners to get their water. This of course is a Fremen tradition to take the water of their enemies. But usually the two year olds shy away from this activity. Alia choose to make the most out of her terrible twos! After Muad’Dib became Emperor, Alia’s admiration for her older brother continued to grow and grow. She constantly wanted to be more like her older sibling, and to help him with his problems.

As a result she began to take spice regularly to see what he saw in his visions. But because she wasn’t the Kwisatz Haderach, she could never get a complete vision, but the tenacious Alia kept trying! Out of love for his sister, Paul set up an offshoot religion of his own dedicated to his sister. This religion rivaled that popularity of his own. Alia had begun to be thought of as the Holy Sister, the sister to god, and somehow eventually even more powerful a deity then her brother. Her popularity grew through propaganda and acting, rather then accomplishments, such as the case of her brother. It just goes to show you the showmanship does count! When Paul walked out into the desert, she became Regent of the Imperium in the name of his children Leto II and Ghanima.

To help her through these times Duncan “Hayt” Idaho was there for moral support, which led to matrimonial support. Alia, like many women succumbed to Dunca’s charm and wed him less then a year after she became Regent. Her “immortal status”, the stress of running the Empire and her spice addiction eventually drove her insane. The spice awakened many of her aggressive ancestors, they rivaled to take control of her.

Duncan tried to help at this time but he was impotent to do so. Eventually Alia’s maternal grandfather, the Baron Harkonnen, possessed her mind and control her actions. Oh Yeah and she started cheating on Duncan with Javid, the leader of the her religious government, the Qizarate. The Baron, through Alia, as well as the Qizarate (the religious government) ran an empire of terror. She needlessly attacked rival planets and even the fundamentalist Fremen who disagreed with her. Had Alia stay in charge much longer, all of the sandworms would have be killed off through Dune’s transformation, thus depriving the imperium of the necessity spice.

Her possession through Arrakis into civil strife. It wasn’t until Leto II begun his transformation into a sandworm, that the her reign of tyranny ended. Leto spoke to the Alia trapped inside, the true Alia regained control of her body long enough to commit suicide, this stopping the Baron from further destroying the empire.

Alia is played by Laura Burton in the first mini-series, and superbly by Daniela Amiva in the mini-series Children of Dune.

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