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Characters: Dune
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    House Atreides and Supporters 

The good guys. Mostly. Seem to be descendants of the Atreides and Agamemmnon, and their ancestor's curse still seems to hold sway over them.

Duke Leto Atreides

  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Only bites the poison capsule in his mouth once he sees there's no getting out of this one.
  • Big Good
  • The Chains of Commanding: Why he can't marry Jessica. Staying eligible is the one reason the other Houses show him goodwill.
  • Dead Man Walking
  • Defiant to the End: With Yueh and the Baron.
  • A Father to His Men: He abandons a full load of spice in the interest of saving every last worker.
  • Gilded Cage: Arrakis, and on a smaller scale the Governor's mansion (which is encased with shields).
  • Guile Hero: He's not really coldblooded enough to be The Chessmaster; that's Hawat's job. But he knows how to scheme and plot reasonably well.
  • Like a Son to Me: The Emperor himself confided that he wished to have Leto for a son, and regrets that "political necessities" obliged him to screw him over.
  • Papa Wolf: They have tried to murder my son!
  • The Patriarch
  • Poor Communication Kills: Having a Bene Gesserit for a lover isn't much use when you think she's a spy. The Harkonnens expertly manipulated everybody into not talking to the Duke. He in turn is trying to draw the enemy out, but it only makes matters worse.
  • Real Men Hate Affection: Adding to Leto's problems, Jessica is chafing under his frosty persona. Leto desperately wants to be affectionate with her, but it would be political suicide. She's not a Duchess, just a concubine.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure
  • Royal Who Actually Does Something: Almost immediately after arriving on Arrakis, he takes an active role in building up the spice mining industry and organizing the management of Dune.
  • Sacrificial Lion
  • Taking You with Me: He attempted to kill Baron Harkonnen using a poison gas in one of his molars that would take out everyone in the room, including himself. Unfortunately he doesn't quite get the clean sweep, and that's as bad as not trying.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: Though outwardly a gift to House Atreides, Leto fully realizes that Arrakis is a trap. The Emperor feels threatened by Leto's popularity, and conspires to crush him.
  • Unwitting Pawn: Being lured into taking the title to Arrakis instead of going into exile. Alternatively, his seeming mistake was a success.

Lady Jessica Atreides

  • Always Someone Better: Paul, who one-ups his mother's hyper-awareness. ("She's so slow.")
  • Badass: Oh yes.
  • Beneath the Mask: Type B: hidden powers.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Even if she is one of the kindest, most humane people among House Atreides, she is still a Bene Gesserit— with all the power and skill that implies.
  • Compelling Voice: A Bene Gesserit power, which she also taught Paul.
  • Fallen Princess
  • Happily Sort-of Married: Both she and Leto consider themselves married. The only reason they don't formalize it is to keep the possibility of an alliance with other Houses open.
  • Hot Consort: Jessica is officially a concubine for the purpose of diplomatic convenience, but in practice she is running the whole show.
  • Lady of War
  • Mama Bear: She is quite protective of Paul, and will do anything to protect him.
  • Mind Manipulation: Used rarely, primarily in self-defense or in a demonstration of her secret powers when such is necessary.
  • Minored in Asskicking: She may major in political manipulation, but she can take down any Fremen— who are the guys that easily beat up the Sardaukar. In fact she's so good that when he first meets her, Stilgar is worried that in the Fremen's Asskicking Equals Authority society, she may choose to become the leader.
  • Rebellious Princess: Rebelling against the Bene Gesserit, that is.
  • The Vamp: The Bene Gesserit specifically bred her to be one. However, Jessica hasn't used her wiles on Leto as she could have.

Paul Atreides

God Emperor Leto Atreides II

Ghanima Atreides

Alia Atreides

Thufir Hawat

Dr. Wellington Yueh

  • Beneath Suspicion: Due to his mental conditioning that should have made it impossible for him to harm others.
  • The Commies Made Me Do It
  • Double Agent
  • Determinator: Yueh manages to stay alive long enough to give Baron Harkonnen a few last words before falling.
  • I Have Your Wife : What led to his agreement to betray the Atreides.
  • The Medic: In addition to the usual trappings of the trope, he has undergone conditioning designed to make it impossible for him to harm others.
  • The Mole: The in-universe equivalent to Judas Iscariot. He doesn't relish the prospect of being remembered as a notorious traitor.
  • The Power of Love: A very dark example. In the Duniverse, doctors of the Suk School undergo mental conditioning so they really can do no harm, but Yueh's feelings for his wife were so strong it allowed him to overcome it. It's left open whether this is really due to love or the fact that his wife was a Bene Gesserit and the whammy that they habitually put on everybody the come in contact with was just stronger than the one he got from the Suk School.
  • Taking You with Me: Yueh is unsure of whether his wife is alive, but plans to take out the Baron in either case.
  • Tragic Villain

Gurney Halleck

An Atreides retainer and one of Paul's teachers.

Duncan Idaho

Another Atreides retainer, he serves as the House's swordmaster, responsible for managing the household's defenses. He dies in the first book, only to be reincarnated over and over again in later books.

  • Ascended Extra: He appears more than any of the main characters of the entire series.
  • Back from the Dead: Repeatedly in the later installments.
  • Butt Monkey: He is reincarnated as a ghola. Again. And again. And again. And again. And killed (rather than dying of old age) only a slightly smaller number of times.
  • The Casanova
  • Chick Magnet: Hinted at in the first book, outright stated in Heretics when he counter-seduces the Honored Matre Murbella.
  • Cloning Blues
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Why he dies in Dune.
    • Does it again in Children of Dune.
    "Two deaths for the Atreides. The second for no better reason than the first."
  • Master Swordsman: Though by his own admission, not quite as good as Gurney ("Gurney could best me six times out of ten.").
  • Old Retainer: Via the gholas.
  • They Killed Kenny Again

    Fremen 

Liet-Kynes

A half-fremen Planetologist continuing his hope of bringing water to Arrakis. Temporarily appointed Judge of the Change.

  • Badass Bookworm
  • Badass Family: Tales of his father are legendary in their own right.
  • Death by Irony: A planetologist killed by his own planet; even more poetically, by a spice bed! Kynes realizes the folly of his 'science' as he dies.
  • Heroic Vow: Bringing back water to Arrakis and terraforming it into a lush world.
  • His Name Is...: Felled by sunstroke and about to be sucked underground, Kynes has a breakthrough over how to fertilize Arrakis.
  • Hope Spot: There's hope that some Fremen will spot the carrion birds overhead and come investigate. Kynes is killed by a whirlpool before this can happen.
  • I Have Many Names: "I am accepted in both sietch and village."
  • Mauve Shirt: Of the captives stranded in desert by Sardaukar, only Kynes bites it.
  • Nature Hero
  • Noble Savage
  • Science Hero
  • Seeker Archetype

Chani

Stilgar

Fremen Naib (chief) who mentored Paul in the ways of the Fremen. After Paul's ascension to Emperor, he becomes one of Paul's generals and the guardian of his children.

Jamis

    Harkonnens and Supporters 

The Harkonnens are House Atreides's Arch-Enemy, and are evil to a fault, with possibly one exception. But then again, things are not so simple as that.

Baron Vladimir Harkonnen

  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Leto learns the hard way that the governor's mansion was just on loan.
  • Bad Boss: His subordinates survive just so long as they're useful to him and not a second longer. As well, he's a big fan of You Have Failed Me and He Knows Too Much. Even his own family isn't exempt, as Rabban might have discovered if thing had gone more to the Baron's intentions. Just about the only one who is relatively safe from him is his nephew Feyd-Rautha, who the Baron is grooming to succeed him and who he doesn't want to throw away unless absolutely necessary.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: His raising Count Rabban and Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen as his own led to them being severely dysfunctional.
  • Best Served Cold: Seeks to avenge House Harkonnen's uprooting from Arrakis. The real source of his animosity stems from a Hatfield-McCoy feud with House Atreides.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: With Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, who supplies him with an entire legion of elite troops as well as warships.
    • Bigger Bad: During Children of Dune he's using and influencing Alia even though he's dead, thanks to her Genetic Memory.
  • Cain and Abel: Despised his brother Abulurd's "bleeding heart" nature. He also had him murdered and then took custody of his nephews.
  • The Chessmaster
  • Depraved Homosexual: He has slave boys delivered to his quarters, and the Dune Encyclopedia, though not canonical, hints that his attractions may extend to Feyd-Rautha. There are hints of it in the David Lynch film as well. He certainly had designs on Paul, but gave them up when he realized how lethally dangerous the boy was.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Would have preferred to torture Leto in private, one nobleman to another. For one, it sets a bad precedent for the next ruler of Arrakis. Also, if word got back to the other Houses that the Imperium is involved, everyone would be terrified the Emperor's coming for them next. However, the Baron quickly loses his patience when Leto doesn't bend.
  • Evil Genius
  • Evil Is Petty: The Baron prides himself on not "wasting" good men — but he'll murder you over a trifling offense.
  • Evil Uncle: Rabban and Feyd don't take after their dad, obviously.
  • Fat Bastard: Is so overweight he needs antigravity support to move.
  • Faux Affably Evil: He seems like a jolly man, with his mannerisms and constant use of endearments... but he's actually a diabolic power-hungry schemer.
  • Foe Yay:invoked Arranging for a Paul lookalike to be drugged up and sent to his bedchamber.
  • Genghis Gambit: Intends to use his nephew Rabban as the fall-guy in one of these, but it doesn't work out, due to the Fremen uniting behind Paul Atreides instead. In the film version, it only succeeds in drawing the attention of the Emperor who demands to know why the Baron has made such a hash of things on Arrakis, threatening the flow of spice to the entire known universe.
  • Karmic Death: Poisoned by the daughter of his enemy.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better
  • Large Ham: In every sense of the word. In the film, this includes flying around the room laughing maniacally after outlining his scheme to his nephews.
  • Luke, You Are My Father: One of his cast-off concubines (there are hints it's Reverend Mother Mohiam; this is hinted at in the David Lynch film and confirmed in the prequels) gave birth to Jessica, making him Paul's grandfather. Which he didn't know until right before his death at Alia's hands.
  • The Man Behind the Man: Rabban was his puppet ruler, with Feyd-Rautha planned to succeed him.
  • Manipulative Bastard
  • No, Mister Bond, I Expect You To Dine: Propping up Leto's paralyzed body in a dining room chair, then proceeding to negotiate with him over lunch.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity / Stupid Evil: When Feyd-Rautha's assassination attempt fails, Vladimir orders the deaths of the slavemaster and two nearby guards for seemingly pointless reasons; the slavemaster just lost to Feyd at Chess, and the guards were not carrying a corpse with enough dignity. What he did not say out loud was that he was killing off Feyd's co-conspirators under the guise of Evil Is Petty.
  • Sissy Villain: Somewhat. Not outwardly visible, though.
  • The Social Darwinist: His soliloquy about rabbits, and how fear and power are the tools of statecraft, mark him as this.
  • Villainous Incest: He actually ogles his nephew, Feyd. To say nothing of his attraction to Paul.
  • We Have Reserves: His reaction to Leto's final attack is to close the door on his own men, leaving them to die from poison gas. (In the miniseries, he simply flies away from the range of the gas.) His immediate reaction was joy that they had died and he survived. He also casually kills off Leto's troops rather than recruit them, but then again, they were hardly likely to serve him.

Piter de Vries

Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen

  • Badass Normal: Holds his own against the Kwisatz Haderach. Questionable how normal he is though. He's had the same intense level of combat training that Paul has, with added lessons in how to fight dirty in a nominally "clean" contest.
  • Bastard Understudy: The Baron is grooming him to be the next ruler of Arrakis, and perhaps even Emperor.
  • The Dragon: To his uncle
  • Evil Counterpart:
    • Count Fenring laments that Feyd was raised the way he was; if he hadn't, Feyd could have turned out like Paul. He is of course, Paul's first cousin
    • Feyd is also the remaining male from the Bene Gesserit genetic selection line (discounting the renegade Paul), making him their last hope (except for Feyd's bastard daughter). Furthermore, he was most likely supposed to be one of the parents of the Kwisatz Haderach, with Jessica and Leto's child being the other.
  • Let's Dance: The duel opens with Feyd complimenting Paul's "dancing."
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: "On his seventeenth birthday, Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen killed his one hundredth slave-gladiator." That's because each of those slaves was drugged or programmed to respond to Safe Words. And of course, his weapons are all poisoned. This time he faces one of Leto's elite troopers, and he very nearly winds up dead despite the deck being stacked in his favour.
  • Smart People Play Chess: The Baron gingerly broaches the topic of the latest attempt on his life (by Feyd) by pointing out the Pyramid Chess set in his room.
  • The Starscream: The Baron is aware of Feyd's continual attempts to kill him, and forces Feyd to kill his sex slaves one-by-one and by hand to curb his ambition (after filling his head with promises of the imperial throne).
  • You Fight Like a Cow
  • You Killed My Father: Well, his uncle, really, but he attempts to avenge the Baron. However, as he was not above trying to kill the uncle himself, it's likely that he's just angry that the person got the chance to kill Harkonnen whereas he didn't.

Count Glossu Rabban

  • Ascended Extra: He has only one brief appearance in the original book, he is a considerably more significant character in the film, miniseries, and prequels.
  • The Brute: The Baron describes him as a "muscle-minded tank-brain".
  • Genghis Gambit: His uncle sets him up as the fall-guy in one of these, ordering him to squeeze Arrakis dry (well, metaphorically speaking) and crush all resistance, while intending to dispatch his other nephew Feyd to kill and replace him as a far more benevolent ruler.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In the miniseries, when he was attacking the Harkonnen city (presumably on the Baron's orders), he is encountered by the citizens who were present. When he realizes that he's not only outnumbered, but he's going to suffer immediate death as a result and not capture, his reaction is to drop his weapon and scream to the heavens, not doing even one thing to delay his death. His death is not described in the books.
  • Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Known by a plethora of titles on Arrakis, including "Mudir Nahya" (Demon Ruler), King Cobra, and Beast Rabban.
  • Off with His Head!: His ultimate fate in the miniseries, and in the David Lynch film (albeit at a different set of hands).
  • Smarter Than You Look:
    • The Baron is convinced that he's a dolt. However, Rabban was regent of Arrakis for years and learned a thing or two — namely, don't mess with the Fremen.
    • In the first novel, he suggested to the Baron that they perform a count of the Fremen on Arrakis, which the Baron immediately rejects. If the Baron had listened to his nephew, he might have been better prepared to fight the Fremen later.
    • And Rabban does get in a very astute question to the Baron regarding the Baron's subversion of Yueh, which causes the Baron to at least wonder how smart Rabban really is.
  • The Unfavorite/Offing the Offspring: The Baron planned to have Rabban rule Arrakis again then and have Feyd kill him to make him loved and praised.

    House Corrino and Supporters 

Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV

  • An Offer You Can't Refuse: Here, have this planet-sized Death Trap with no way out except through the Guild which takes my bribes.
  • The Emperor
  • The Evil Prince
  • The Exile: After abdicating the throne to Paul, Shaddam is banished to the Sardaukar prison planet.
  • Friendly Enemy: In secret, Shaddam admires his cousin Leto, and had once mentioned to Irulan that he had wished the political climate that necessitated wiping out the Atreides did not exist. As it stands, the Emperor orders Leto's death simply for having a more powerful army than him.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: The Emperor boots Leto out of Caladan, only for his heir to return and unseat him from the throne.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: His paranoia won't allow him to leave the Baron alive with what he knows.
  • Properly Paranoid: He suspects the Harkonnens of moving against him... which is actually the case. In fact, the Baron anticipated Corrino's wrath and planned to unify the Houses against him.
  • The Social Darwinist: The Emperor is known for his open contempt of "weakness". When the Sardaukar find Leto's body, the Baron flies into a panic— not because he killed Leto, but because he botched the job. Word of the poison gas will get back to the Emperor, who will make life difficult for him.

Count Hasimir Fenring

A counselor and friend of Emperor Shaddam; also an assassin. Was one of the Bene Gesserit's recent failures.

  • Badass: Implied. After the Emperor sees Paul fight he concludes that Fenring would be able to take him easily even if he wasn't exhausted.
  • The Dragon: To Shaddam IV.
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: Sort of. He is one of the most sympathetic of the villains and serves out of loyalty to the Emperor.
  • Flawed Prototype: At the end of Dune, he is revealed to be a failed Kwisatz Haderach.
  • Happily Married: Very much like Jessica and Leto. With one small exception...
  • Immune to Fate: Although he falls short of being a true Kwisatz Haderach, he's close enough that Paul can't read him.
  • My Master, Right or Wrong
  • Not So Different: Even Paul admits this at the end.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: Seems little more than a harmless fop, but is actually much smarter and deadlier than he looks.
  • Punch Clock Villain
  • Sexless Marriage: He and Margot are fairly happy together, but he is physically incapable of sex.
  • Spell My Name with an S: Children of Dune spells his first name as "Hassimar".
  • Verbal Tic: "Hmmmm." It actually serves as a form of cipher which only him and his wife can understand.

Princess Irulan

Emperor's daughter who provides commentary at chapter headings. Also, she is is forced to nominally marry Paul to secure him the throne.

Wensicia Corrino

Farad'n Corrino

The Sardaukar

The private army of the Padishah Emperor.

  • Always Someone Better: The Sardaukar are so good because they are trained on the Death World of Salusa Secundus. Leto (and Paul) correctly figure out that Arrakis is an even worse Death World and so its inhabitants, the Fremen, will be able to beat the Sardaukar.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: In close combat and when outnumbered, Sardaukar are trained to fight in formations of three so they never show their backs to the enemy.
  • Badass Army
  • Common Ranks: Their ranks are a combination of traditional Western ones and Arabic titles to go with Dune's cultural mix theme, such as "Colonel-Bashar".
  • Crazy-Prepared: To the point of equipping themselves with fake toes (with stabbing implements!) and garrotes in their hair in the form of shigawire.
  • Cultured Warrior: Tyekanik and the higher-ranked Sardaukar end up adapting some aspects of the Fremen faith, finding common ground there with their experiences.
  • Death World: All the Sardies get a Training from Hell upbringing on Salusa Secundus, the devastated former seat of House Corrino (a wasteland planet similarly harsh and inhospitable as Arrakis).
  • Evil Army: At least from the Atreides and Fremen point of view. But make no mistake - they can be cruel and thorough.
  • False Flag Operation: See Paper-Thin Disguise below.
  • Our Master Right Or Wrong
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Shaddam Corrino IV sends two full legions of Sardaukar in the guise of Harkonnen soldiers to bolster their assault on the Atreides after Yueh's bertayal. The Atreides pick up on this almost immediately, recognizing the incredibly distinct and vicious fighting style of the Sardaukar. The Sardaukar even attempt disguising themselves as Atreides soldiers during the assault.
  • Penal Colony: Salusa Secundus, where they are trained.
  • Praetorian Guard: To the Padishah Emperor.
  • The Spartan Way
  • The Stoic: Captain Otto Aramsham, who refuses to submit under capture by Paul and the Fremen until he uses the Voice.
  • Training from Hell: How they become as skilled as they are.
  • Villainous Valour
  • Weaponized Exhaust: The Sardaukar used this to barely eke out a victory/capture of some Fremen.
  • We Have Become Complacent: For many years, the Sardukar were able to coast on their reputation as being unbeatable in combat, and thus their skills atrophied, though they were still a force to be reckoned with by the time of the first book.
  • Worthy Opponent: To the Fremen, at least in comparison to Harkonnen soldiers.

    Bene Gesserit 

Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam

Margot Fenring

  • Happily Married: Despite everything, she and the Count do love one another.
  • Sexless Marriage: Mostly because the Count is incapable of sexual intercourse.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Averted. Margot obeys the orders of her Bene Gesserit superiors to conceive a daughter with Feyd-Rautha, but she has the Count's permission.

    Bene Tleilax 

Scytale

  • Big Bad: He is the leader of the conspiracy against Paul in Dune: Messiah.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Scytale is capable of playing on other people's emotions in order to attain what he wants.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: As a Face Dancer, Scytale can change his features to resemble another's.

Bijaz

Tylwtyh Waff

The leader of the Tleilaxu in Heretics of Dune, he seeks Tleilaxu hegemony and attempts to make allegiances with the Honored Matres and Bene Gesserit in pursuit of his goal.

  • Out-Gambitted: Every attempt by Waff to use the Bene Gesserit to his ends gets foiled, forcing him to join his cause to theirs in the end.

    Honored Matres 
Introduced in Heretics of Dune, the Honored Matres are a militant group of women descended from the Fish Speakers, Leto II's elite cadre of all-female warriors. Using sexual and fighting techniques derived from the Bene Gesserit, they intend to unite humanity under their rule— even if they must smash a few heads in along the way.

Murbella

Dama

    Thinking Machines 

Originally mentioned in passing in the original Dune novels, the Herbert/Anderson sequels and prequels expand on their origins. The Thinking Machines were artificial intelligences that once enslaved mankind, but they were overthrown by the humans in the Butlerian Jihad. However, the Thinking Machines were merely defeated and plan to rise up again.

Omnius

The Evermind, ruler of the Thinking Machines.

  • Bigger Bad: His onslaught drove the Honored Matres back into the Old Empire, and forces the Tleilax, Bene Gesserit and Matres to work together against the Thinking Machines.
  • Evil Overlord

Erasmus

A Thinking Machine who survived alongside Omnius. He is fascinated with the human race.

  • Crazy-Prepared: He has a kill-switch implanted in Khrone and his enhanced Face Dancers in case they turn against him.
  • Mad Doctor: His curiosity towards humans leads him to perform all sorts of terrible experiments on them.
  • Mad Scientist
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He killed Serena Butler's child, which caused her to go full Mama Bear and kickstart the Butlerian Jihad.

Khrone

An enhanced Face Dancer, created by Erasmus to infiltrate the humans.

  • The Mole
  • The Starscream: He plans to wait out the war till the humans and the machines exhaust themselves before he and his Face Dancers take over.


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