Dune: People: Paul Muad’Dib Atreides

Paul Maud-Dib Atreides was one of the most extraordinary humans in all of the Dune universe. Paul was na-Duke to House Atriedes, trained as a mentat, and was taught how to fight by Gurnery Halleck, Duncan Idaho and Thufir Hwat (some of the greatest fighters in the imperium), and finally was the Kwisatz Haderach (the product of over 10,000 years of Bene Gesserit selective breeding to produce a super-human). Paul’s combat training was further amplified by the Bene Gesserit muscle training exercises his mother taught him.

Paul is the last son of Duke Leto Atreides and Lady Jessica. Jessica was ordered by the Bene Gesserit to bear a daughter from Duke Leto.  When Leto’s first son was killed in an airship explosion, Leto fell into a deep depression. Because of her love for the Duke, Jessica disobeyed and gave birth to a man-child, ruining thousands of years of genetic breeding.

The new son Paul was trained as a mentat shortly after his birth; as such he has a machine like mind capable of performing logic functions much faster than a normal human.  Also trained by his mother “Lady Jessica” in the forbidden ways of the Bene Gesserit (Fast reaction, agility, Truth sense, Voice), Paul becomes the Kwisatz Haderach, the man that can look into the past souls of male descendants.  Previously only women could look, and only in their female lineage.  The minds of males were lost until Paul came about.

Paul grew up on Caladan a lush water planet known for its fine wines and pundi rice. At age 15, when House Atriedes was granted the Arrakis fief, the entire house moved to the desert planet. Unfortunately for the Atriedes, it was a trap all along. Emperor Shaddam fearing Duke Leto’s popularity set a trap for the Duke and his family. Using the Harkonnen-Atriedes rivalry, Shaddam sided with the Barron Harkonnen to eliminate the rising House. Several months after Paul and his family settled on Dune, they were invaded and conquered by House Harkonnen and the Emperor’s saurdikar troops.

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Paul escapes his father’s fate by fleeing with his mother and the help of his trusted friend Duncan Idaho.  The Fremen take in both Paul and his mother, thinking that he is their Mahdi, their messiah. It was during this time that Paul became Muad’Dib (fremen for desert mouse, and one of Dune’s moons), and began training the fremen in how to destroy the Harkonnens. Muad’Dib creates a special breed of fighters from the fremen, know as the Fedaykin. These elite fremen troops were also trained in the wierding (Bene Gesserit) way of fighting.

After two years of guerilla raids, Muad’Dib eventually becomes the fulfillment of their prophecy of “The one who will Come” by whittling down the Harkonnen troops.  After Paul rids Arrakis of the Harkonnen, the Emperor himself is forced to deal with Paul’s Fremen uprising, but instead is defeated when Paul uses forbidden Atomics to destroy the Shield Wall, allowing his Fremen riding Worms into the Imperial compound.  Paul fights a duel to the death against Feyd Rautha, nephew and last remaining Royal of House Harkonnen.

After Paul becomes Emperor, he sends a Jihad or “Holy War” against the planets of the known Empire.  Conservative estimates, show that Paul killed 61 billion (10^6), sterilized 90 planets, utterly demoralized another 500, and annihilated 40 religions. He goes so far as to compare himself to Hitler, and Genghis Khan in “Dune Messiah”.  He claims he is following a much longer viewpoint than anyone can possibly imagine, the first hints of the “Golden Path”.  A conspiracy is leveled at Paul through Scytale, a Face-Dancer of the Bene-Tleilaxu, along with the leader of the Bene Gesserit, the Guild, and House Corrino through Irulan, Paul’s wife for refusing to allow her to bear the Heir to the Imperial Throne. At the same time of this larger conspiracy, the fremen also try to destroy Muad’Dib. This conspiracy led by many of his own fedaykin use a stone burner to blind Paul. They succeed in destroying his eyes, but Paul can still see using his prescient powers.

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Chani, Paul’s concubine and love of his life, bears two children, Leto II and Ghanima. Unfortunately for her, she dies during child birth. Her death overwhelms Paul, and causes him to lose focus of his “third eye” At this point in the larger conspiracy, Hayt (the Duncan ghola) was meant to kill Paul when he uttered the words “She’s gone Duncan”. Rather then killing Muad’Dib, Hayt regains his memories and swears his loyalty to House Atriedes once again.

As a result of Muad’Dib’s true blindness, he follows the ancient Fremen ritual of walking alone into the Desert of Arrakis, to allow his body to be taken by their God, the Worms “Shai-Halud”.  That is when Paul Muad’Dib Atriedes dies, and the Preacher is born.

Duke Leto is expertly portrayed  by Alec Newman.

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

Dune names, characters 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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