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Literature / God-Emperor of Dune

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You've got person in my worm! No, you got worm in my person!

"It is difficult to live in the present, pointless to live in the future and impossible to live in the past."
Leto Atreides II

God-Emperor of Dune is the fourth installment of the Dune Chronicles by Frank Herbert. God-Emperor of Dune was published in 1981 by Putnam, it was a best seller according to Publisher Magazine the same year.

God-Emperor of Dune skips 3500 years from Children of Dune. Leto II is ruler of the Imperium and has continued the metamorphosis he started in Children of Dune, greatly enhancing his life-span and making him Nigh Invulnerable. Leto's awareness greatly surpasses even his father's and he had an iron grip on all aspects of life in his empire in order to ensure humanity's continued survival via the 'Golden Path'. Leto has commandeered the Bene Gesserit breeding program for his own purposes, culminating in Siona, a rebellious girl who is invisible to even Leto's oracular vision. Siona is the daughter of Moneo, Leto's majordomo, he himself was once a rebel as well before seeing the necessity of the Golden Path. The cast is rounded out by Duncan Idaho, which Leto continues to task the Tleilaxu with restoring back to life over the last three millennia both for breeding and for the company he provides, despite many of them dying while trying to assassinate Leto himself.


Just when Leto's ultimate success is at hand, Ix has sent a new ambassador, Hwi Noree, designed to seduce Leto and make him vulnerable. Despite Hwi's best intentions to betray her Ixian superiors, her very presence does exactly what was intended, for the first time in millennia causing Leto to doubt his choice and sacrifice. The other threats to the Atreides continue, the Tleilaxu are also scheming throughout, the Spacing Guild and the Bene Gesserit attempt to influence events to the best of their comparatively feeble abilities and Siona lurks ready to pounce on the tyrant she resents so much.

Will Leto's 'Golden Path' survive? Will humanity?


God-Emperor of Dune contains examples of:

  • Absent Aliens: Unless you count the Sandworms, and their implied creators. Even then, the sentience was added after the fact, by Leto II. Plenty of non-sentient species are also mentioned in passing. There's a lot of life in the universe, but none of it talks back.
  • Achilles' Heel: Leto II, at the end of Children of Dune combines his body with sandworm larvae to extend his life by thousands of years and gain immunity to almost every form of physical damage, also inherits the sandworms' vulnerability to water. Of course, this is intentional and part of his plan.
  • Action Girl / Action Mom:
    • The Fish Speakers are quite literally warrior moms.
    • Siona - her first appearance is to out run a pack of genetically modified wolves, and then swear revenge on Leto II.
  • Addiction-Powered: Leto makes decade-long allocations of scarce Melange, highlighting this aspect of the Imperium.
    • Bene Gesserits depend on some drugs and the Spice for some of their abilities, each Reverend Mother is addicted. In a report within the novel, the sisterhood monitors how much Spice is allocated and why.
  • Aerith and Bob: While the first book introduces many distinctly-European names, such as Paul, Jessica, Gurney, and Duncan (even Baron Harkonnen, whose first name is Vladimir), the names get far more exotic as the cast fills out throughout the series. Notable examples include Moneo, Hwi Noree, many Fremen, and the Latin-European-Greek full names of the Bene Gesserit.
  • A God Am I: Leto II, at least publicly.
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: Not that the computers were inherently bad, it was that humanity chose to destroy them because they were making humans lazy and limiting humanity's potential, effectively making them dependent on sentient machines for survival. Even the God-Emperor publicly upholds the prohibition, even though he plays with this by privately using technology that others would find questionable.
  • Alternative Calendar: It's implied that the (3000-year) reign of the Leto II has in effect become a calendar.
  • Amazon Brigade: Fish Speakers and the Bene Gesserit.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Leto II’s enforced ‘peace’ makes Paul’s jihad look benign. Also highlighted in how the death of some historians seem to get greater focus than the plight and death of billions under Leto II.
  • Ancient Astronauts/All Myths Are True: A variant in that humans themselves fill this role, with the Bene Gesserit purposely spreading myths based on heroic and religious archetypes throughout fledgling colonies to make use of the people there later. Its one of the reasons why Leto II dislikes the Sisterhood - retaining a religious pretense while abusing it for their agenda.
  • And I Must Scream: Leto II's awareness supposedly exists in each of the sandtrout and sandworms produced from his body. In his words, he is a pearl of awareness locked in an endless dream.
  • Anti-Magic: Due to Leto II breeding the Siona gene into humanity, a substantial portion of the human population (including all of the Bene Gesserit) cannot be seen within prescient visions, thereby preventing the prophet's trap. No-Ship technology also applies.
  • Anyone Can Die: Leto II, Moneo Atreides, Hwi Noree, Duncan Idaho
  • Arc Words: "The Golden Path" defines the entire series after the second book, and only becomes more and more powerful as you fully come to realize what it means.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Leto II’s view.
    "The surest sign that an aristocracy exists is the discovery of barriers against change, curtains of iron or steel or stone or of any substance which excludes the new, the different"
  • Artificial Human: Any Tleilaxu-creation, including the Face Dancers, Gholas, clones, some Mentats, and human-animal hybrids.
  • Ascended Extra: Duncan Idaho, being a resurrected clone-thing. In the first book, actually dies only to become the only character to feature in all six novels of the original series.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Leto II, especially when Hwi Noree is threatened.
  • Author Catchphrase:
    • "Ah-h-h-h-h."
    • "Plans within plans... wheels within wheels..."
  • Badass Normal: Duncan could be considered this, seeing as Leto’s breeding program has enhanced the physical capabilities of his Fish Speakers, Duncan is hopelessly slow in combat and can even be bested by Moneo. But Duncan more than compensates by being a brilliant tactician.
  • Badass Army: The Fish Speakers
  • Badass Bookworm: Moneo show shades of this, Leto II counts too.
  • Badass Family: Atreides
  • Belief Makes You Stupid: Inverted, Subverted, Justified, and Invoked. All depends on your personal interpretation, and which characters you examine. Frank himself said one of the main themes of the series was putting all your faith into one person and following them blindly. You can follow someone, but to utterly submit to them leads to total destruction. This is what happens at the end of the novel. Nayla puts her faith so blindly in Leto that she follows unquestionably every command. Even one that she clearly sees would end up killing Leto.
  • Big Bad: The Tleilaxu and Ix
  • Black and Gray Morality: Leto II is the greatest tyrant in history; yet both claimed their actions were necessary to avoid an even greater catastrophe — the complete and total extinction of humanity. (And considering that his father Paul and Leto both share an ability to see into the future, they are probably right.)
  • Blessed with Suck: You can see the future. All of it. Every twist, turn, nook, and cranny. There are no surprises. There is no escape. You will never live something that you have not already foreseen. Leto is bored.
  • Bodyguard Babes: Leto's Fish Speaker guard.
  • Body Horror: Leto II in demiworm form.
  • Butt-Monkey: Duncan 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.
  • By the Eyes of the Blind: Inverted. Siona and her descendants cannot be detected by prescience.
  • The Casanova: Duncan Idaho, dear god. Described as having a devastating masculine appearance and animal magnetism. Brought back to life as a ghola hundreds of times to be used as a stud in various sex-related schemes that resulted in thousands of children and eventually millions of people with his genes. This comes full-circle when the Tleilaxu conditioning he receives from his last incarnation allows him to seduce an Honored Matre.
  • The Chains of Commanding: Leto II
  • Charles Atlas Superpower: Leto II seemed to want to suppress some of these.
    • The Bene Gesserit train themselves to alter their blood composition, manipulate others by voice alone, being able to hold their breath for long periods of time, delay aging, neutralize any poison or drug, possibly see the future, and intense martial arts. They only get the future-vision and molecular control from the Spice. Everything else is pure Charles Atlas, with a few hints of selective breeding.
    • Mentats as well are "human computers". They are trained to possess photographic memories and deduce perfectly logical conclusions from the barest minimum of information. A Mentat Advisor is one of the most valuable assets that a noble house can have.
  • The Chessmaster: Leto II
  • Clingy Costume: Stillsuits. Mostly out of use by this time, but Siona needed one during her test.
  • Cloning Blues: Gholas (clones of the dead), especially the multiple incarnations of Duncan Idaho.
  • Combat Clairvoyance: Thanks to his powers, Leto II could even foresee where to best place his forces for ambushes.
  • Compelling Voice: Leto II, thanks to carrying the memories of his Bene Gesserit grandmother.
  • Crapsack World: Dune is a universe of tyrannical regimes, war and constant backstabbing. And even the most moral factions aren't that moral either, Leto II takes it Up to Eleven — see Black and Gray Morality.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Leto II is prepared for everything thrown at him, to the point that he’s bored.
  • The Creon: Moneo
  • Culture Chop Suey: A classic example. Millennia of galactic colonization have created completely new unrecognizable ethnicities and modified versions of current Earth religions.
  • Cultured Badass: Pretty much everyone.
  • Darwinist Desire: Leto II essentially confiscates the Bene Gesserit breeding program to produce the Siona trait.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Paul named not just one but both of his sons after their late grandfather, though one (son) had died by the time the other came along. Oddly, they're both named Leto II.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: For The Chosen One, the Messianic Archetype, and hero tropes in general.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The Golden Path is humanity as a whole earning theirs. However it is averted in Leto II himself who, despite his sacrifices, doesn’t get his, despite it being dangled in front of him.
  • Emperor Scientist: Leto II actually becomes the God-Emperor of the Universe to continue a gigantic human breeding program personally.
  • The Emperor: Leto II as God-Emperor
  • Face–Heel Turn: Duncan Idaho frequently dies betraying Leto II. In the end, he is partially responsible for Leto’s death, despite being in charge of protecting him. Though for Leto himself this is Just as Planned since his death is part of the Golden Path. It could also be a Heel–Face Turn if you consider Leto II the bad guy.
  • Faster-Than-Light Travel: Foldspace
  • Fictional Document: The events of the story are based on Leto’s journals being found in the future.
  • Fictional Geneva Conventions: The Great Convention, which prohibit certain weapons from being used in warfare. The most important is the use of nuclear weapons on human targets.
  • Foregone Conclusion: A major theme of Dune is You Can't Fight Fate, so expect these in spades.
    • God Emperor of Dune is written from the Framing Device of the titular Leto's unearthed memoirs. That he is dead and his reign ended is therefore known from the start, and the nature of his demise ("fragmented consciousness") is foreshadowed.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Only useful without Deflector Shields, which are ubiquitous, so almost a subversion/aversion. (A lasgun shot hitting a shield is highly unpredictable, and can cause either a nuclear-level explosion or only destroy both shooter and shootee). Also, lasguns are presented unusually realistically for sci-fi (except for the universe-physics-specific shield bit). In Leto II's future, lasguns have come back into general use after he banned shields, leading to a massive arms race after his death.
  • Galactic Superpower: The Empire that reigned from the Butlerian Jihad to Leto II's planned Scattering.
  • Gambit Roulette: More like a Gambit Casino because Leto II goes through four millennia of jihad after jihad, taking a totalitarian grip on all matters secular and religious, controlling the universal economy with his stranglehold on the spice, and carefully manipulating the bloodline stemming from his sister through the ages, all to get Duncan Idaho in bed with his great-great-great-great-great-great^? grand niece (and subsequently create prescient-immune people).
    • The Bene Gesserit are also big on the Gambit Gambling Circuit, manipulating individuals, societies, governments, religions, and bloodlines to produce their Kwisatz Haderach— and then having to start over from scratch when they get one too soon.
  • Ghost Memory: Bene Gesserit acolytes receive the total line of their predecessors' memories when undergoing the Water of Life. Later books have Bene Gesserit placing their foreheads together to exchange genetic memory in times of extreme danger.
  • God-Emperor: The series was a big influence on the more modern "Memetic Divinity" aspect.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Hwi Noree. The Ixians breed and designed her to be the perfect Honey Pot for Leto. Unfortunately their attraction and compatibility with one another is so perfect that Hwi sides with Leto and betrays the Ixians soon after meeting him for the first time.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: The Dune universe is positively riddled with words seemingly inspired by or derived from Arabic and Farsi (most of the future religions have some Islam in them). Even Hebrew shows up once or twice. Amongst other things, K'fitzat ha'derekh (compare to Dune's Kwisatz Haderach) is a magical ability ascribed to some real-world Chassidic holy men — specifically, the ability to teleport.
  • Genetic Memory: Bene Gesserit Reverend Mothers (and Wild Mothers such as the Fremen's and Rebecca) get genetic memories of all their female ancestors, the Kwisatz Haderach gets them for all his ancestors, as do children of these two. Gholas can gain past life memories this way too, by being manipulated into doing something their original self would never have done.
  • Gender Bender/Hermaphrodite: Face Dancers are described as "Jadacha hermaphrodites" (a term with an unknown meaning) and "mules" due to their sterility. They are able to change appearance and gender at will, and perform the role of either gender, but cannot reproduce.
  • Half-Human Hybrid: Leto II
  • Higher Understanding Through Drugs: The appendix to Dune lists several "awareness-spectrum narcotics" that increased the user's understanding and mental abilities, including melange (by Guild Navigators), the Fremen "Water of Life" (which affected Paul Atreides and his sister Alia), and the drugs used by Bene Gesserit Truthsayers (who were Living Lie Detectors).
  • Hobbes Was Right: Leto II determines that the only way to prevent an energy crisis and galactic war leading to the extinction of humanity is to establish himself as a tyrannical, semi-immortal God Emperor. Though this is a bit of a subversion, since the problem was that humans wouldn't leave their safety zone of the known star systems unless they were oppressed and forced to stay there for a couple centuries. Once Leto died, every major human civilization was then free to explore the universe again, in a bit of reverse psychology. Of course he knew it would happen that way.
    • And despite what Brian and Kevin J Anderson would have you believe with their sequels, a close friend of Frank's has stated that he told him that if he were to end the series, he'd do it in such a way where a true democracy was established.
    • You don't even need inside information to reach that conclusion, really: Leto II was quite open and fierce about his hatred of the "pharaonic model".
  • Human Resources: The Tleilaxu. Achieved by using all their females as artificial wombs for their genetic products.
  • Hyper-Awareness/Sherlock Scan/Spider-Sense: The Bene Gesserit use their hyper awareness as a tool for manipulation. Descriptions of Bene Gesserit thought processes in the novels are often comparable to chess masters watching the world around them like one big chessboard, and calmly noting their accruing advantage. At one point a Bene Gesserit correctly deduces that there is a hidden room on the other side of a large banquet room by noting the subtle geometry of the walls of the room and the objects in it as being specifically designed to produce a slight echo where those in the hidden room can listen in.
    • Even with mental processing as incredible as that, the Bene Gesserit still only learn those abilities as a supplementary skill for their main areas of expertise. The mentats, however, specialize specifically in Hyper-Awareness and so are infinitely more adept then even the best Bene Gesserit. Then you take a Bene Gesserit and train her (or occasionally him) as a Mentat...
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Frank Herbert's original Dune novels all contain the word "Dune", and three out of six follow the formula "X of Dune".
  • I Know You Know I Know: Whoooooooooo boy...
  • Immune to Fate: Siona and her descendants.
  • Insignificant Little Blue Planet: Humanity rules an Empire of a million worlds that stretches across the galaxy. Thing is, not one of those is Earth, the majority of humanity has no idea where their race evolved. Leto II is one of the few who know.
  • Instant Oracle: Just Add Water!: The Guild Navigators adapted to life in a spice-filled environment which granted them precognition and the ability to navigate at FTL speeds. They spend most of their lives inside of zero gravity tubes filled with spice laden air rather than a tub of water, but same concept.
  • Intrinsic Vow: Gholas. ...All of them.
  • Jerkass: Siona opposes the greatest tyrant mankind has ever known, but she's also hypocritical, cruel and pointless vindictive. Nor does she admit the consequences of her actions. She does not even oppose the Golden Path once she understands it, but persists nonetheless. Which just goes to show you that Leto is cruel because he must be, Siona is cruel just because.
  • Kill and Replace: A favorite tactic of Tleilaxu Face Dancer Shape Shifters, such as the infiltration of the Museum Fremen and the Ixian Embassy.
  • Kill It with Water: Aside from extreme old age or atomic explosions, the only way to kill a sandworm is by completely drowning them in water. Good luck finding any on a planet called Dune. This, of course, comes full circle in God Emperor of Dune, where Leto II must be killed in water for the sandworm cycle to continue.
  • King Bob the Nth: Leto II
  • Last of His Kind: Leto II, as the last of the sandworms. Later averted with his death.
  • Living Lie Detector: Bene Gesserit can notice the visual and auditory cues that denote a lying person. Many courts employ Bene Gesserit for this specific purpose, as "Truthsayers". Leto II can detect a human's emotional state with perfect accuracy by sampling pheromones at 3 parts per billion.
  • Lonely at the Top: Leto II at the height of his power laments that he has no one who can truly understand him.
  • Longevity Treatment: One of many uses for spice, when it is plentiful lifespans of three hundred years aren't uncommon. Oddly enough, Moreno refuses to use The Spice despite this benefit.
  • Mainlining the Monster: Sandworms are the source of the invaluable Spice, without which galactic civilization would collapse. While keeping them captive is unfeasible to say the least, the need to preserve their species runs at odds with the Fremen drive to make Arrakis more liveable for humans, making it a major political issue.
  • Monochromatic Eyes/Technicolor Eyes: A result of high-level Spice addiction, when enough ingestion saturates the blood stream and stains the eyes. Described in the books as "blue-on-blue".
  • Mundane Utility: Horse drawn antigravity wagons for farmers. Dune, for all your anachronistic needs. Justified in that Leto II intentionally suppresses all forms of advanced culture and technology except those he uses himself, as part of his plan to force humanity to evolve.
    "Have you not considered how much easier it is to control a walking population?"
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning/Heroic Sacrifice: Leto II's Golden Path.
  • National Weapon: Crysknives, made from the tooth of a sandworm, are sacred to the Fremen. Leto II keeps his father’s in a special compartment for use in ceremonies. The rest are kept in displays by the Museum Fremen.
  • The Navigator: An entire guild of them, who depend on spice to guide their ships.
  • Necessarily Evil: Leto II makes himself the most terrible tyrant in history deliberately, so that when he is dead humanity will scatter and never be controllable by a single power ever again.
    • A scattered humanity that cannot be found via any type of prescience is a humanity that cannot be exterminated. (c.f., Siona's initiation to the Golden Path.)
  • No Transhumanism Allowed: Both subverted and played straight. Deliberate breeding programs are used to create humans with intelligence, reflexes, lifespan, capacity higher consciousness and physical capabilities far beyond those of current-day humans, but a religious taboo is kept in place on genetically engineering anything recognizably inhuman or unable to interbreed back into the larger human population. Thus, the characters and societies remain human while simultaneously having greater advancements over modern man than modern man has over homo erectus. The Tleilaxu, however, have no religious taboo on inhumanity and gleefully make a living selling inhuman humans genetically-engineered for specific purposes. Though Leto II could arguably be a Pro-Human Transhuman.
  • No Woman's Land: Inverted in that Leto II deliberately elevates women over men, save for a select few. A sharp contrast to the old patriarchal Imperium.
  • Numbered Homeworld: The planet Ix (pronounced as spelled) developed from millennia of language-development to the point that the original prefix was lost, and Ix came to be pronounced as a word rather than as "IX", or 9 in Roman numerals.
  • Occult Blue Eyes: The influence of Spice turns people's eyes an unnatural bright blue. The turning blue is implied to be a normal biological reaction of humans exposed to spice. However Spice also gives psionic abilities to at least some humans which links the two together in people's minds.
  • Omniscient Morality License: Leto II, though framed more like Necessarily Evil.
  • Organic Technology: Though most of Dune prefer the use of these, Leto II often uses the Ixians more mechanical technology.
  • Orwellian Editor: Leto II, being a Kwisatz Haderach, has full access to his masculine and feminine genetic memory which stretches from about the year 40,000 back to the beginning of human awareness. What does he do with it? He has hundreds of historians burned alive for misconstruing the facts that he has personal access to. Of course, this was partly mystique-building, as he secretly rendered them unconscious first.
  • Phlebotinum Overload: The justification for banning shields is because this could result when a lasgun is fired.
  • Phlebotinum Rebel: Psychically-invisible Siona Atreides. Someone planned for it to happen.
  • Prescience Is Predictable: One of the core themes of the main series. Indeed, this could be the Trope Codifier for all modern uses.
    Leto II: It has occurred to me more than once that holy boredom is good and sufficient reason for the invention of free will.
  • Pro-Human Transhuman: Leto II
  • Prophecies Are Always Right: Justified — prophecy actually controls reality. Specifically, the future is open and branching, until someone with prescience actually takes a look - which will lock the future they see into place. Leto's whole plan is about making humans immune to prescience, so that this can't happen any more.
  • Psychic Powers: Prescience (precognition), Other Memory and memory transfers, Miles Teg's clairvoyant sensing of No-Ships, most of these are not explained as "psychic" powers, but a natural consequence of Genetic Memory and Charles Atlas Superpower levels of mental training.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The Bene Gesserit take this to the extremes. With complete control over their biochemical makeup, they can slow down or speed up the aging process at will or choose to look younger or older while chemically being another age. They rarely take advantage of this, however, because such power can be intoxicating and dangerous. If someone outside the inner-Bene Gesserit organization were to notice the true extent of their powers it could lead to their destruction from superstitious outsiders as well as loss of influence over the Empire. Leto II ends up doing this, living up to 3,500 years. Until he is (willingly) assassinated, that is.
    • The pre-Born count in a different way. While chemically and physically true to their age, exposure to the Water of Life in the womb awakens their Genetic Memory. This leads to a personality being composed solely of their complete lineage of ego memories, upwards of hundreds of thousands of generations. Leto II and his sister Ghanima are both nine when they begin wresting control of the empire from their similarly-affected aunt, and must constantly chastise anyone that presumes them to be mere "children." They never had a childhood, nor a life of their own. Only the memories of billions.
  • Sand Worm: Notably absent, as they're all extinct. Leto II is the closest thing.
  • Screw Destiny: This is the major theme of Children of Dune and God-Emperor of Dune. The main character's goal of the novels is the creation of what he termed, the 'Golden Path' — a future completely free of destiny with unlimited choices. The ironic thing is, to do this, Leto not only messes with people's futures for the next 3,500 years, but makes himself a victim to fates he foresaw for himself, thus giving up his own freedom. This is also a direct subversion of the original novel, where one of the main themes were "you can't fight fate."
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: "True" prophets (Paul Atreides and his descendants) don't predict the future so much as create it, locking themselves (and everyone else) into an inescapable destiny. It takes Leto II almost four thousand years to break humanity free from the consequences of this.
  • Send in the Clones: Duncan Idaho dies in the first novel, only to return over and over again first as a ghola, then as a ghola-clone. God-Emperor of Dune even has several Duncan gholas throughout the story, though all but one were played with through flashbacks and mentions.
  • Shout-Out: Leto II asks Hwi Noree if she's familiar with the philosophy of Noah Arkwright. It turns out to be a pseudonym of Leto II. It's an in-universe shout out to the Biblical character.
  • Space Age Stasis: Society is partially stagnant due to the religious proscriptions against thinking machines, robotics, and computers set up after the Butlerian Jihad, which keeps things from advancing too much. Spice does this as well, since its properties allow for expanded lifetimes and space folding, so there was no desire to experiment and find alternatives. Finally, the Bene Gesserit and Guild collaborated to set up a feudalistic government with full knowledge that it would be easier to control.
  • Spice of Life: The Spice itself, which is the most valued commodity in the entire universe.
  • Super-Detailed Fight Narration
  • Super Soldiers: Leto II's Fish Speakers, an Amazon Brigade, become more feared than the Sardaukar.
  • Sword Fight: Idaho tries to get into or invokes a knife fight. He's thwarted every time.
  • Tangled Family Tree: Courtesy largely of Leto II's 3,500-year breeding program, a Duncan Idaho ghola was introduced every few generations for the "wild" genes of the distant past.
  • Terraform/Weather-Control Machine: The sandworms managed to turn the once-lush and verdant Arrakis into a desert-world. Paul promises to transform Arrakis into a paradise through use of weather satellites, and makes good with signs of life and vegetation taking hold of the planet at an exponential rate. Unfortunately, his son Leto II realizes this is taking place much too quickly and will destabilize the universe's political and social infrastructure if the sandworms die out, so destroys the canals. He takes control of the program himself and over the next 3,500 years transforms Arrakis more steadily, only to return it to a desert world once again on his death.
  • Theme Naming: (Nearly) all the Bene Gesserit have names of the form Something-us (Female Name) (Surname), which is slightly odd considering -us is a male suffix.
  • Time Skip: 3,500 years since ‘’Children of Dune’’
  • Two Beings, One Body: Leto II's merge with the sandtrout/sandworms.
  • Two-Part Trilogy: Dune was originally conceived as one large masterwork, with the two sequels of Dune Messiah and Children of Dune entwined into the story. Considering the original is 412 pages, the second 222, and the third 592, they were obviously split. This creates an interesting case of the first book being easily stand-alone, while the two sequels are more closely connected but can still in a way also be stand-alone. They also allowed for God-Emperor of Dune, basically a midquel that set up the last two books in the series to be written. It's just kinda hard to say where Two-Part Trilogy begins and Trilogy Creep ends, or even what was intended to be a simple, honest trilogy.
  • Übermensch: Leto II
  • Unobtainium: The Spice. Now even more rarer as Leto is the only source and distributor of the stuff.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: The universe features wheels-within-wheels plots and dense mythology, although the poetic descriptions can make the book enjoyable even to those who fail to understand it.
  • Villain Protagonist: Leto II in God Emperor. Interesting in that he is only evil so that he can preserve humanity. This really comes out when you see how Siona and the novel's main Duncan feel about him, as they are virtually the only people who don't worship or beg of him.
  • Voluntary Shape Shifting: Face Dancers, though Leto and his forces are trained to detect them.
  • Warfare Regression: Lasguns are back in use, thanks to Leto banning Shield Technology to force warfare to start evolving again.
    • Then reverts back when Leto II bans shields.
  • The War to End All Wars: What could probably result if Leto didn't stick to the Golden Path.
  • Women Are Wiser: Invoked The reason the Fish Speakers are an all woman force is because of Leto's assertion that men, conditioned to violence and deprived of an outlet, will turn on their own populace, while women in the same position will turn to maternal instincts. Leto understands this because he has both male and female Genetic Memory.
    • Ultimately averted though, as women are just as flawed as men, just in different ways. They are just a more easily controlled army then men are.


Example of: