Dune: People: God Emperor Leto II Atreides

Leto II is the second son born to Paul Muad’Dib and his consort Chani. He was born with a twin sister Ghanima. Born is a relative word though, as Chani overdosed on spice during her pregnancy and the twins were preborn in her womb. Preborns gain full consciousness and all the memories of their ancestors whilst stuck in the prison of their mothers uterus. Needless to say Leto II had problems when he was born.

If you were to meet Leto II in a bar, he wouldn’t be drinking anything. No water, vodka, gin or beer for this bloke. Instead he’s be at the pub to “people watch”. Occasionally he’d pick fights with the drunks to help guide them on his “golden path”, or really just to boost his self esteem.

Leto was born an orphan. His mother died during child birth and his father soon disappeared into the desert. Leto and Ghanima were raised by their foster mother Irulan, and by the Fremen, Stilgar specifically. He spent his first 9 years searching for his father and his true identity. Leto II as a preborn knew that he was different, and that his gifts had special risks attached. He learned his place in the universe after he fled Arrakeen and his aunt Alia, who was ruler of the imperium at the time. He walked out into the desert to escape her tyranny and try to bring it to an end.

He walked into a trap. Just like his father, he was captured by the Jacuruto, and was force fed multiple quantities of spice essence. Rather than sink into abomination like his aunt, he survived the spice agony and gained an ultimate awareness of the universe. Much more so then his father ever could. He realized that humanity was doomed unless he intervened. With his body saturated by spice, he surrounded himself in sand trout and began the transformation of turning himself into a sandworm. This would allow him to live long enough to strengthen and teach humanity, and eventually begin anew the spice cycle long after all the worms soon became extinct.

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Leto returned to Arakeen and deposed his aunt Alia, and took control of the imperium. For the next 3509 years, Leto ran the imperium with an iron first (or worm skin). He subtly taught humanity to never give up, to expand, explore, create and live. His control over the empire was dependent purely on his control over spice. With the worms dead, he controlled the entire supply, and gave out small allotments every year to specific groups for a job well done.

This 3500 years reign was called Leto’s Peace because of the lack of war. All rebellion was crushed by his elite fighting force, the fish speakers. The Fish Speakers were an all woman army, trained much like the fremen fedaykin before them. This army was always led by a Duncan Idaho ghola. Hundreds were created for the God Emperor (as Leto was called) from the original Duncan cells.Leto’s Golden Path culminated with the creation of Siona. A Great great great… niece of his, in a masterful breeding program. The genes of Siona (and her descendants) are able to hide her from prescience. Guaranteeing that humanity will never be completely exterminated.

The God Emperor was killed by a Duncan ghola and Siona. They succeeded where hundreds of thousands failed before. Siona realized that water was lethal to him and used that to her advantage. They destroyed a bridge he was crossing (on his way to his wedding to the beautiful Hwi Noree), causing him to plummet into the river far below. The water caused the sandtrout skin on his body to dissolve into thousands of smaller sandtrout. These sandtrout began the spice cycle of the worms again, turning Arrakis into a desert planet once again. It is said that each worm still contains a piece of his essence.

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Leto II is played most excellently by James McAvoy.


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Dune reviews are © 2003 Ryan Bechtel and Greg Frantz.
Not for reproduction without the authors express permission.

Dune names, characters, pictures and everything else associated with the series are the property of Sci-Fi Channel, New Amsterdam Entertainment, and the assorted publishing companies who own the rights to the various Dune novels.

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