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Question About the Ordos...

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I was reading the house descriptions in Dune2k's profile of the game Dune 2000. Under House Ordos, it says that the Ordos aren't mentioned "much" in Frank Herbert's Dune series... this seems to imply that they are mentioned, at least once. I can't recall ever stumbling over a mention of the Ordos, having read the entire series. And, knowing that Westwood made up the House in the first place, they shouldn't be mentioned at all... maybe this [the mention of Ordos in the book series on this website] has been confusing for other people?

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Yeah they used the symbol of House Wallach from the DE for the game dune2. House Ordos is actually pretty powerful in the DE, holding 7 out of ten votes in the landsraad, and because of that in the DE is probably a large share holder in CHOAM, probably as much as three to five percent. They arent mentioned at all in any other part though except for those few little details. I do want to ask you though vanguard what those symbols mean on the ordos crest of the ivy vines that are green and the whitish bones in an X cross. I wanted to ask you if any of those things have any heraldic references. Maybe you could pick out some little bits of info of what kind of house they are from the DE by what those symbols mean.

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Glad you asked, as I've been a bit of a haraldry nut for the past few years.

We'll start with the blazon of House Ordos as seen in the DE:

Or two bones white per saltire, in dexter chief entwined with ivy vert

In plain english, this means two white (argent) bones crossed in an 'X' formation (called a saltire, or a ST. Andrew's Cross) on a gold (or) field, with green (vert) ivy entwined around the top-right.  'Dexter' means the right third of the escutcheon (the shield where a coat of arms is located), in relation to the wearer (that is, if the wearer has his coat of arms on a badge on his tunic, dexter would be the same side as his right hand); 'chief' means the top third of the escutcheon.

Now, the House Wallach coat of arms, which is used as the Ordos arms in the Dune games:

Sable on a pale argent, a closed book tenn

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-In the DE:  Sable a falcon's head couped (cut off) gules encircled by laurel branches vert. - A red hawk's head on a black field, surrounded by green laurels.

-The Atreides banner is green and black, and of course, the red hawk is a prominent symbol.

Hawk/Falcon - Persistence ("one who does not rest until objective achieved")

Laurels - Peace, or triumph


-In the DE:  White a ram's head caboshed (removed) guardant (looking "out" of the escutcheon, toward the viewer) azure. - A blue ram's head on a white field.

-The ram's head is also prominent in the Dune games.

-The novels seem to imply blue and white as well, but a gryphon instead of a ram (seen in Heretics of Dune, which was written after the DE).

-Orange is also mentioned as a primary Harkonnen colour in Dune.

Gryphon (as seen in the books) - Valour, bravery, vigilance

Ram (as seen in the games and DE) - Authority


-From the DE:  Argent a lion rampant (on hind legs, facing dexter, with right hind leg in front of left, right front leg over left, tail up, and usually with tonge straight out) or. (Im going by memory here.  The lion may have been rampant guardant) - A gold rampant lion on a white field.

-The DE also mentions that the Sardaukar use a black flag.

Lion - Courage

Heraldic Lion (I'm not exactly sure what differentiates the two) - Bravery, strength, ferocity, valour

[edit]  I forgot to mention earlier that, in addition to heraldic charges being historical, keep in mind they may be totally unfounded.  Coats of arms were usually designed by the owner, so they may have been inaccurate even at their creation.  Or, the charges may have a specific historical or personal significance.  A severed hand, for instance, refers to the mythological discovery of Ireland.  As I recall, a race was on to claim Ireland, and the first to touch the land was deemed claimant.  As two boats were approaching the land, the captain of the boat in second place, seeing he could not catch up to the other boat ahead, apparently cut off his hand and threw it on shore, thus touching the land first.

Another example of charges of personal significance would be the Hopewell (or Hopwell) arms having rabbits on them.

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Most of the stuff I knew.  For some of the specific meanings for things, I had to look them up, although I knew a snake represented wisdom from a previous inquiry in this very matter.  But I know much of it off by heart.  As I said, I'm a bit of a nut for this stuff.  A year ago, I got a signet ring with my coat of arms on it, and in a high school report on Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, I got some extra marks by talking about heraldry.  Or maybe I just got the points for admitting to the class that I was quite the nerd for knowing - and liking - heraldry.  ;)

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No, that's cool. I've got a poster describing the process of creating a coat-of-arms and showing the rundown of the whole heraldry process. I picked it up in London. I've always been interested in this stuff, but never have found the time to learn it.

I'm impressed.

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Wow, that poster sounds really interesting.

Anyway, here is one of my favourite sites.  It lists tons of common charges, as well as the various tinctures, furs, patterns, and lion poses.  And search google for "heraldic symbols" for more sites, as this one doesn't list the marks of cadency, and really doesn't list all the ordinaries in a separate area (they're listed among the charges).

There are also programs you can download that will allow you to design coats of arms.  You can drag and dop charges and ordinaries, and select tinctures, furs, etc.  It also allows you to marshall (i.e. quartering, or an inescutcheon - one escutcheon within another) arms, and import custom-made charges.  And once you've made a coat of arms, you can print it out, view it in black and white (the tinctures take on patterns in B&W - gules/red is vertical lines, for example), and eit'll even generate a blazon (heraldic description) of the arms.

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