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Some questions about Dune.


Clickfatigue
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Hi.

I've been very into Dune for years. I saw the movie in the cinema in 1985 and athought most seemed to hate it i really loved it. I finally got around to reading the first book a few years ago and really loved it. I don't usually read a book if i've already seen the movie but as Dune is one of my fave movies of all time I decided to give the book a read and i'm glad i did. I've had great time over the last year or so reading through the books. I'm reading the two epilogue books now and of course they don't have the FH touch but it's nice to see how things move along.

I've wanted to find a good forum for Dune chat for a while now so finally i've found one and would be interested in your opinions on some thoughts/questions I have about the Dune universe which i love more than the actual story. I'll start this post with just a couple and do more later.

  1. At the end of Dune when Paul took over his victory seemed to have little to do with the millitary campaign and more to do with the fact that he basically blackmailed the Guild to give him the power of transportation by virtue of his threat to blow up all the spice in a chain reaction.

    Well, why didn't he, or the Fremen before him for that matter, just do that from the start? Anyone could have rigged the spice vints to blow then just dictate their terms to the Guild.

  2. As much as i love the Dune story and universe (i've seent he movie about 30 times), i did start to feel that Paul was a totally miserable buggar and towards the end of the second book i was getting really tired of his pesimistic and whining thought patterns. Anyway, i dont consider that a fault in the book as my getting tired of Pauls whining might have been FH's intention. However, ther was one thing that i just could'nt buy about the story. That is, the massive Jihad that killed 'billions' of people. Oh, i understand any nutcase jihad, yeah, humans are messed up things. But Moadib was a 'hands on' ruler not a figurehead like the Emperor of Japan in WW2. Paul had a strict control on the operation of his new empire. The Emperor Hirohito was justa figurehead and the madness of the Japanese in general drove them on their murderous rampage. Paul was more like Napoleon who could order his army to invade or to retreat.

  I just couldnt accept that Paul did not have the control and power to stop the interplanetary Jihad if he wanted to. I don't see any benefit to it. Paul was going on about how his empire would be more just than the corrupt Corino one. Billions being slaughtered was worse and saying that it got away from him and took on a life of it's own doesn't gel with me about how revered and in control Moadib was.

  Thoughts on that please.

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It's been a couple years since I read the books so my answers may be a bit off.

1.

The Fremen were waiting for their prophecy or Saviour. Paul was the "spark" they needed to take control of Arrakis.

2.

If billions of people were killed in the jihad, then there must be trillions of people in the known universe. I do not think it would be possible for Paul to control trillions of people. They most likely restricted spice flow to some planets to cause them to go through withdrawal or to fight for them.

Also the Corrins have been in power in the universe for centuries, so a new leader/organization would cause chaos and there would be many people trying to gain power and hold onto the past.

Paul knew he had to do this but he was too weak to do so and his son had to take control to cause the Great Scattering with a God controlling the universe. I doubt he could control his people, he had to do what they wanted to an extent, especially the Fremen (although they viewed him as a prophet so I guess they would blindly follow him even though some betrayed him).

Also I don't think Paul could stop the jihad. Once it started no way to stop it. Like any revolution.

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Hello! My name is Titus, nice to see you on the boards. They are getting old, but sometimes someone has to come around and kick up the dust that occasionally settles. :)

Its been awhile for me as well, as far as reading the novels.

First question:

I believe paul had to wait for all the necessary steps to occur. He had to wait until everything came into perfect alignment, and once the great houses and other powers convened, paul could trip the trap that he had created.

Second Question:

The fear paul had towards his terrible purpose was the fact that no avenue could be found to lessen his horrific impact on the universe. It is so brilliant. he was trapped by his own destiny, and his prescience acted almost as a sort of hell. imagine knowing your best destiny, and loathing it! By the time he had the power he had, all he could do is manage the monster he created as best he could.

See though, he also had to kill people based on his precognitive notions of the distant future. In short, he had to clear the way for his son, though he never realized this fully (at least in my opinion).

Stick around! it would be nice to see some more new faces. I have found that the folks here are more eclectic and thoughtful than any other duniverse web board. In my personal opinion it puts the official dune boards to shame. :)

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Hello, I'll try to answer your questions from my POV:

1. The whole connection between worms, the Spice and the Guild was a strictly guarded secret. Obviously it would be easy to control the Guild by restricting its access to the Spice, but that's why no one outside the Guild (possibly even the Emperor himself) knew this for sure. The Fremen were probably the only ones in the Imperium to know the connection of the worms and the Spice in the worm life cycle, and what regards the Guild's dependancy on the Spice, Paul learned that partly due to his Mentat projections, and partly because of his prescience.

2. As the Emperor and the Fremen Mahdi, Paul was really helpless and trapped in his own position. He was, in fact, a perfectly fitting piece of a greater puzzle that incorporated Fremen beliefs, Imperial politics, the Bene Gesserit program, and his own prescient visions.

There is no way Paul could stop the Jihad or prevent it from happening. Even worse, he knew Jihad was probably the best possible outcome, and this is his tragedy that his human mind rejected that what was necessary for human survival.

It was Leto II who was really in control. He used his excellent understanding of human nature to steer humanity to the course that would ensure its survival. But to achieve that kind of understanding and the ability to use it, Leto II ultimately sacrificed his own humanity, an act which Paul feared most.

BTW Clickfatigue, I suggest reading other Frank Herbert's works that are not realed to Dune, to get a broader picture of his views and philosophy.

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For the first question, it all comes down to his prescience. The other answers are all part of it for sure, but the fremen, until Muad'dib came, were basically pinned. They depended on the spice like most of the universe to survive. Probably more so given how much of their internal economy depended on it (food, plastics, ect). This is one reason why they were taking the slow route to reform the planet; so they could release their dependence on it and make their lives a bit easier, although I'm sure not all of them or even most understood this. The other option, which perhaps some knew about, required organization and knowledge about the outside political and military world. This is because only with complete control of Dune could they hope to challenge the outside powers. With Paul, they had a leader who could organize them. His first step was stopping spice production. This grabbed the immediate attention of the universe, and prompting the personal attention of the primary military force of that universe: the emperor. This strategically put the emperor in a poor position, as it provided the opportunity for Paul to dethrone him without leaving the planet (something the Guild wouldn't have permitted), and eliminating the Emperor and universe's main weapon; his Sardaukar. Once these were gone, then and only then could he implement his threat in a *political* way to pressure the universe *and* in a military way that could properly defend the planet in this threat.

So why couldn't a different leader achieve this, such as Stilgar? Well of course he didn't have the prophecy behind him, but beyond that, it comes down to prescience. The Guild can "see" the possible futures in the universe, and especially catastrophic events such as the end of their organization. But with Paul there, they see nothing. This is why they needed him killed, because they knew he could work without their knowledge against them. But unfortunately they had to rely on those with militarys: The Emperor and his allied Houses. Without seeing what he was doing, he was free to actually implement a strategy to bring about the completion of the first stage.

Your second question as to do with the second stage. I disagree with TMA here in that I believe Paul *did* realize how the future had to progress. He saw the Jihad, and knew he had to let it go: this merely prepared the universe for the scattering by doing numerous things, such as destroy the economy and eliminate it's dependence on spice. Once poverty stricken, it breaks the mold of human complacency and forces them to seek out survival in new venues, thus promoting the scattering. The scattering required a trigger however, and this is what Paul couldn't face doing. After the Jihad, he had basically spent his all of his emotional strength. He simply didn't have the balls to do it from there on out, mostly because he was too human. That's why he left it, hoping that it was enough. I think he knew in the back of his mind that it *wasn't* enough, but just didn't have the emotional strength to complete it, which is why he didn't try to stop his son, and more or less set up the field for his son to complete it.

As for your main question on this point, it was a Jihad like any other. It had to be. In a universe with, as mentioned, possibly trillions of people, a hand full of fremen (millions) could only be the "trainers" of the movement. It was up to other people to be convinced of it and carry it out. So while he had control of the fremen (although I believe the fremen culture is set up so that it's control is mostly on an individual basis: they followed Maud'dib, performed his strategies because they trusted that it was correct; but it wasn't blind loyalty like a Sardaukar to his Emperor), he could only send them to locations to stir up the Jihad in their own unique way. This generally meant the elimination of anyone that wasn't behind them. Think of it like a mob with mob mentality. Paul sends a fremen to a population. That population is the mob, and the fremen is the trigger. He or she gets that mod rioting, and the deaths follow. Only through this path could he actually bring control of the universe back under the Imperial control once he had it. Why would anyone follow him simply because he killed the previous Emperor? They wouldn't; they would factionalise along the lines already set up in the feudal system. So, he needed to re-solidify. In a universe where standing militaries are more or less worthless in size, he had a huge one, and still it was minuscule. The Jihad had to complete to collectivize his power, among other reasons (some stated above).

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Thank's guys, some really nice and instructive answers there.

I'm glad to find place to chat about Dune. I really think the Dune universe is one of the best creations in literature. I especially respect the way FH didn't go for Aliens. Apart from human lines mutated beyond recognition and machine intelligence the Dune univers is pretty sterile and i really like that.

  I liked Leto alot actually. Also, and i'm not sure why but I felt quite sad as the books moved forward in history. Something about the massive amounts of time and how if go far enough into the future then even the most momentus events get reduced to a bullet point in the history books. I guess that puts a fatalistic tone on things.

  The Honored Matres so far remind me of the hordes of Atilla and the Huns (themselves being driven on by an even more fearsome enemy) swarming over the crumbling Roman Empire.

  Do you guys think the repetition of the Ghola thing is a bit weak? if eel the same way about the constant Duncans and others the same way i felt about Back to the Future 2. The first movie was the original of course and a near perfect sci fi comedy. BTTF2 was good enough but when M.J.Fox was playing various parts it got a bit gimicky.

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@Tezcatlipoca

Thank you for a very good in-depth analysis :) I enjoyed reading it.

@Clickfatigue

The Duncan gholas play different roles in the books, and I see nothing wrong with it. From Dune Messiah forward, Duncan is opposed to the rest of the universe, he represents the "pure" Atreides spirit, so to say, and has a fresh outsider's look on what's going on. He also has his role in establishing continuity in the storyline, it's like as if the people from the Other Memory could interact with what is "future" for them and act according to their judgement. It is by Duncan that Muad'Dib's reign, Leto II's empire and the post-Leto universe are tested against what it all started with.

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Duncan seemed to me like some constant for Leto to evaluate the rest around (as Flibble said, "pure Atreides"). I learned only afterwards that Frank had apparently (?) brought him in for displeased fans.

As for regarding jihad (the military part, but it's rooted within), if you look in Islamic history then you can see that it went on independently of the first leaders and was forming a wave of its own: Jihad equaled a kind war-oriented telephone game? ;D

Welcome on our boards Clickfatigue, and discuss all you want :)

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