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Dune is based on a
complex imagined society set roughly 20,000 years
in the future. The setting is the year 10,191,
and human beings have spread out and colonized planets throughout
the universe. On the planet Caladan, Duke Leto of the House of Atreides
is preparing to leave for his new position as the governor of Arrakis,
a desert planet with valuable resources of melange, a spice drug
that is extremely popular with wealthy people. Leto and his family,
including his concubine, Jessica, and his son, Paul, suspect a trap
by their rivals, the Harkonnens, led by Baron Harkonnen. Leto decides
to settle on Arrakis because of its rich supplies of melange, despite
warnings from his men, including his adviser, Thufir Hawat, and
his master-of-arms, Gurney Halleck.
The Atreides arrive on Arrakis and the duke quickly moves
to secure the planet from a Harkonnen attack. His main plan is to enlist
the Fremen, the tough natives of the Arrakeen desert, as soldiers
and advisers. Meanwhile, Paul’s and Jessica’s special abilities intrigue
the Fremen. Jessica is a member of the Bene Gesserit, a school of
quasi-mystical witches with strange powers. The Fremen believe that
Jessica and her son are saviors who have come to lead them toward
creating a lush paradise on the dry Arrakis.
Dr. Yueh, a member of the Atreides house, betrays them.
The Harkonnens arrive and wipe most of the Atreides out by using Sardaukar,
the super-soldiers of the emperor, who is secretly helping the Harkonnens.
The traitor, Dr. Yueh, hands Duke Leto over to the baron, but in
his guilt he helps Jessica and Paul escape. Dr. Yueh places a secret
tooth in Duke Leto’s mouth. Duke Leto dies by emitting poison gas
from the secret tooth, in a failed attempt to kill the baron. Hawat
and Halleck escape as well. Halleck joins the local smugglers while
Hawat attempts to join the Fremen, but Hawat is captured by the
Harkonnens. He then agrees to work for Baron Harkonnen as a Mentat,
or thinker, while secretly plotting his revenge against the baron
and against Jessica, who he thinks betrayed Duke Leto.
Dr. Kynes, a Fremen leader and planetary ecologist, orders
the Fremen to find Jessica and Paul. The Fremen capture and then quickly
accept Jessica and Paul as their destined leaders. Jessica becomes
their reverend mother, while Paul is recognized as something close
to a religious prophet. Paul takes the name Muad’Dib, a religious
title that means mouse. As he matures swiftly following his father’s
death, Paul discovers he has great powers above and beyond those
of his mother. He can see into both the future and the distant past.
His consumption of melange heightens his powers.
Two years pass. The baron, living on the Harkonnen home world,
schemes to usurp the emperor, while grooming one of his own nephews,
Feyd-Rautha, to take over the job. Meanwhile, on Arrakis, Paul has
become very powerful and influential among the Fremen. He is both
their secular and religious leader, like Kynes before him, but his
powers are far greater than those of Kynes. He has a child with
a Fremen woman, Chani, the daughter of Kynes, and his mother has
given birth to Alia, Duke Leto’s daughter. Paul teaches the Fremen
to fight using a special style called the “weirding way” and using
the advanced fighting techniques of the Bene Gesserit. One day,
the Fremen discover that the baron has abandoned his aid to Rabban,
the nephew he assigned to rule over Arrakis. Paul and the Fremen
make plans to raid the Arrakeen capital now that Rabban is cut off
from the baron’s help.
Upon discovering the power of the Fremen, the emperor
himself comes to Arrakis, along with his Sardaukar and the Harkonnens. The
Fremen attack the emperor, quickly dismantling his spaceships while
destroying the Sardaukar. In the battle, Alia kills Baron Harkonnen,
and Paul’s young son dies in a raid. Paul demands that the emperor
step down; Paul asks to marry the emperor’s daughter, Irulan, so
that he may become the new emperor. Feyd-Rautha challenges Paul,
citing the right of vengeance, and Paul kills him in a duel. Powerless
now, the emperor agrees to Paul’s demands, and Paul becomes the
Ace your assignments with our guide to Dune!