* I totally just realised that Spice is Oil. It's the only thing that enables interstellar travel, you get it from a desert, the only thing stopping me from realising this was that if I drank a gallon of oil I wouldn't see visions of the future (well I might but they probably wouldn't be true; then I'd die)
** Don't forget the race of badasses who live there.
** Dude, the planet is named Iraq-is. It's ruled by a man named Shaddam. A lot of the terms that the Fremen use are slightly modified Arabic. I love Dune, but subtlety wasn't always Frank Herbert's strong point.
*** Dune was written in 1965. Saddam Hussein didn't become President of Iraq until 1979.
*** It's possible Herbert was going for a StealthPun, but Arrakis comes from Arabic for "the dancer" – it's the star now known as Mu Draconis. Iraq in Arabic is al-'Irāq.
*** Dune is so ''obviously'' a metaphor for the politics of the 1970s Persian Gulf (the emperor is called Shaddam, has the title of "Padishah" like the ruler of Iran, and he is toppled by a fanatical religious movement like the Iranian Revolution) that it comes as a real shock to realize that it was written ''fifteen years'' before the events it seems to be satirizing. (Maybe the author got hold of some Spice and had a vision of the future?)
*** The 1960's were when the colonial holdings of the European powers in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East finally started gaining independence. But of course the European powers were still trying to manipulate local politics so they could continue to maintain influence and access to the resources they wanted from those colonies to begin with. Dune wasn't so much prophecy as it was RippedFromTheHeadlines at the time. Frank Herbert was especially perspicacious in anticipating the role of religion as a unifying factor against colonialism/mercantilism.
** If subtlety wasn't Frank Herbert's strong point, one wonders what he was trying to say about a group of indigenous savages riding gigantic phalluses and swallowing up entire armies just by opening their mouths. Or the fact that when a small phallus is immersed in water, it excretes 'the water of life' and then ''dies.''
** Read Dune, then go watch ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia'', or read about the real Major Lawrence. Lawrence goes into the desert where the war between great civilized world powers is being waged, and harnesses the incredible overlooked strength of the native badasses to swing the outcome, and is (at least in the movie) revered and almost worshipped by his fighters.
*** Also, T. E. Lawrence was born out of wedlock (and in a time period, when it was considered a big deal). Paul is the son of Leto's relationship with his concubine Jessica.
*** Exposure to the Spice turn your eyes blue. The bluer Paul's eyes grew, the more GoingNative he had become. Creator/PeterOToole, who played Lawrence in the movie [[https://pmcvariety.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/peter-otoole-lawrence-of-arabia.jpg?w=670&h=377&crop=1 had the bluest eyes I have ever seen.]]
** Herbert specifically calls this out in the author's note, actually.
* ''Literature/ChapterhouseDune'' - With the [[AuthorExistenceFailure death of Frank Herbert]] the future of the Dune Universe is hidden from the viewers, which is a perfect analogy for the Golden Path, however unintended it may be.
* The first ''Dune'' book puts various quotations from in-universe documents as epigraphs for the chapters, which often cryptically foreshadow things that happen later in the book. Thus, the quotes sort of work the same way Paul's visions of the future do, and the reader is given a small taste of experiencing the novel as he experiences his life: You know something in advance about later plot points, but often don't have the context to work out their significance yet.
** In addition, all those chapter quotes are from books written by Irulan. Which as you're reading, makes you think that Irulan survived the story and became a great expert on Mau'dib/Paul - maybe even indicating that Paul never succeeded in his aim to topple the Emperor. Then at the end of the book when Chani is upset that Paul must marry Irulan for the sake of politics, Jessica consoles her by saying that she hears Irulan has aspirations to be a writer - a good thing as she will need something to fill her time, given that Paul will never, ever be a real husband to her. And suddenly you realise that what those chapter quotes really prove is that Jessica was right, and Irulan lived a meaningless life as a trophy bride for Paul.
* The ''gom jabbar'' ordeal wasn't intended to weed out candidates who couldn't master their animal impulses, as Reverend Mother Mohiam suggests. It was meant to weed out the ''disobedient''. Bene Gesserit leaders expect absolute obedience from initiates, even in matters as intimate as relationships, marriage, sex, and motherhood. Thus, they use the ''gom jabbar'' test to eliminate candidates who disobey and select candidates who obey a command under extreme suffering.