Welcome student. This guide will help you understand the motivations and machinations of the various [[HOUSES]], [[GROUPS]], and [[CHARACTERS]] found in the novel Dune.
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[[The Spacing Guild]]
[[The Bene Tleilax]]
[[The Bene Gesserit Sisterhood]][[Paul Atreides]]
[[Duke Leto Atreides]]
[[Baron Vladimir Harkonnen]]
[[Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohaim]]
[[Shai-hulud, The Sandworms]]<img src="https://arthive.com/res/media/img/oy800/work/139/[email protected]" width="1100" height="700">
House Harkonnen was a Great House during the time of the Padishah Emperors. Their capital was Giedi Prime, a heavily industrialised planet with a low photosynthetic potential. House Harkonnen was most famous for its underhanded and sinister political tactics, and for an ancient feud it maintained with another Great House, House Atreides. In addition, House Harkonnen had a reputation for ambition, malevolence, hatred and brutality. It was typically ruled by a Siridar Baron.
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Paul Atreides, aka Muad'Dib, Usul, and The Preacher (10175 AG- 10219 AG), is a central character to the Dune series. He was born on the planet Caladan as the son of Duke Leto Atreides I and his Bene Gesserit concubine Lady Jessica. He was also the older brother of Alia Atreides.
He married Bene Gesserit trained Irulan Corrino, but did not produce an heir by her. With his Fremen concubine Chani Kynes, he was father of the twins Ghanima and Leto Atreides II, the God-Emperor.
Last Duke of House Atreides, leader of the Fremen, and first ruler of the Atreides Empire, Paul was considered the Kwisatz Haderach: the powerful prescient being, long sought by the Bene Gesserit and product of their lengthy breeding program.
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Gurney Halleck (b. 10135 AG) was Warmaster for House Atreides during the reign of Leto Atreides I, and then his son Paul.
Along with Thufir Hawat and Duncan Idaho, Halleck was one of Paul's principal teachers during his early years on Caladan. He was a ruthless, yet noble and romantic warrior of enormous talent. Described as "an ugly lump of a man", he was regarded the most loyal of friends to those he loved, and to those he hated there were few enemies more terrifying. A traditionalist and purist at heart, Gurney Halleck did not indulge in melange addiction or other methods to prolong human life.
Halleck was a talented minstrel who was skilled in the use of the baliset. He would often play music on this instrument to entertain his guests, or to fill the dining halls of House Atreides with music when he was in their service. Moreover, Halleck was also fond of sprouting verse from the Orange Catholic Bible, and would frequently find an appropriate verse for almost every situation. Indeed, at times his quotations were so appropriate they were almost prophetic.
Halleck's fighting abilities were second to none. In a fight against Gurney with sword or knife, few opponents lasted more than a few moments, including even battle-hardened Sardaukar. Gurney was also skilled at various other weapons, and astonished Fremen later saw that he could adapt to his environment, as witnessed by the fact that he taught himself to ride sandworms as they did.
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Despite their keen sense of oral history, the history of the Fremen prior to their arrival on Arrakis was distorted and partially lost over the millennia. They concluded that Arrakis was the final stop on the migration of the Zensunni Wanderers, a journey that they mistakenly believed started on the planet Poritrin.
To the Fremen, the fight for survival had long dominated their cultural identity. The brutal environment of Arrakis necessitated the frugal use of energy and resources, especially water. Additionally, their history with cultural persecution mandated the need for combat knowledge. These two aspects saw them emerge as efficient and hardy warriors, who used their skills and the environment of Arrakis to fend off off-world opponents who often possessed far superior technology and formal training.
The Fremen typically lived in patriarchal collectives, known as sietches, which were led by a Naib. Each sietch resides within one of the numerous rocky formations that dot the sands of Arrakis. Collectively, all Fremen belonged to the Ichwan Bedwine, or broad brotherhood.
Water played a vital role in the Fremen culture. Indeed, for Fremen, water was life. To conserve against the unnecessary loss of water in the desert, Fremen wore complex full-body filtration systems called stillsuits, which reclaimed the body's moisture. Additionally, specialized headgear prevented most of the normal loss through the scalp and forehead via perspiration, while masks and noseplugs reclaimed moisture from the wearers' breathing. Gloves were also available, too, but many Fremen opted instead to rub the juice of the creosote bush on their hands to inhibit perspiration. With a Fremen stillsuit in proper working order, the wearer lost only about a thimbleful of water per day.
The Fremen rule was that one's water belongs to the tribe. Thus when a Fremen died or was killed in combat, rather than being buried or cremated, he or she was rendered down into water. In the case of amtal, or ritual combat to the death between two disagreeing Fremen, since they fought without stillsuits, the water of the loser went to the victor to replenish him. What remained was measured and allocated to him, but the water itself was turned over to the watermasters.
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The Spacing Guild is an organization in Frank Herbert's science fiction Dune universe. With its monopoly on interstellar travel and banking, the power of the Guild is balanced against that of the Padishah Emperor as well as of the assembled noble Houses of the Landsraad. Mutated Guild Navigators use the spice drug melange to successfully navigate "folded space" and safely guide enormous heighliner starships from planet to planet instantaneously. Essentially apolitical, the Guild is primarily concerned with the flow of commerce and preservation of the economy that supports them; although their ability to dictate the terms of and fees for all transport gives them influence in the political arena, they do not pursue political goals beyond their economic ones.
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Shai-Hulud (شيء خلود) is the Fremen term for the sandworm of Arrakis.
As with many Fremen terms and words, Shai-Hulud is more than a mere descriptive term for a physical entity. Specifically, it often alludes to the Fremen belief that the sandworm is a physical embodiment of the One God that created and governs the universe. Thus to the Fremen Shai-Hulud is a sacred term that is usually spoken with a tone of awe, fear or respect.
Linguistically, Shai-Hulud has many literal translations, all of which speak of the size, age, and power of the sandworm. Among the noted translations are:
"Old Man of the Desert"
"Old Father Eternity"
"Grandfather of the Desert"
In Arabic, the name can be split into "Shai" ("Thing") and "Hulud" ("Immortality" or "eternity").
Shai-Hulud is not to be mistaken with Shaitan, a similar sounding Fremen term that carries a very different meaning.
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