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Alicia Witt played Alia Atreides in the 1984 Dune movie

Alia Atreides, aka Saint Alia of the Knife (10191 AG - 10219 AG), born in planet Arrakis. Posthumous daughter of Duke Leto Atreides I and his Bene Gesserit concubine Lady Jessica, was the younger sister of Paul Atreides.

Regent of the Atreides Empire, she established an autocratic government based on the cult of her personality. She was killed by her nephew Leto Atreides II, the God-Emperor.

Early Years[]

Alia was still in the womb when Jessica took the Water of Life. Thus she was pre-born, and highly susceptible to Abomination from before birth.

After living with the Fremen for several years, she was present in the palace in Arrakeen when her brother and his forces successfully conquered the combined forces of the Emperor's Sardaukar and House Harkonnen. During the invasion she poisoned Baron Vladimir Harkonnen - her maternal grandfather - with a Gom Jabbar.

Childhood on Dune[]

Alia, having been born a full Reverend Mother, was able to help Emperor Paul as he consolidated his rule in Arrakeen and throughout the Known Universe. She helped him rule on Dune while he was off-planet visiting Caladan, helping to settle matters between the Fremen and other locals.

When the former Count Hasimir Fenring and his wife, Margot Fenring, brought their young daughter Marie Fenring, to Arrakis, to be raised by  Paul and the Royal Court, Alia was chosen as her companion. Alia was astute and observed Marie, and noted her fighting style strengths and weaknesses. Some time later when the Fenring's re-joined their daughter, the couple sprang their assassination plot at a celebratory banquet.

Alia was able to kill Marie Fenring first before Marie was able to kill Paul, driving a blade deep into her body. This action earned her the nickname of Alia of the "Knife", and Alia was proclaimed a heroine.

The Regency[]

Alia as Imperial Regent

Establishing Her Rule[]

With the seeming death of Paul, and his children Leto and Ghanima still too young to effectively rule, Alia went from being a Princess to being the Imperial Regent of the Atreides Empire. She was corrupted by power and established a cult of personality, using rich trappings and grandiose titles such as the Mahdinate to build considerable political weight.

Against Bronso[]

It was during this time of crisis when her mother Jessica, secretly visited Arrakis to observe the state and condition of her twin grandchildren, and the rising paranoia of her daughter against true and supposed enemies. Alia lashed out against Paul's childhood friend, Bronso Vernius of Ix, and had him executed when he wrote of Paul's failings as Emperor. It was also during this time, that she and the ghola of Duncan Idaho became husband and wife.

Into Abomination[]

Shortly thereafter, Alia fell fully into Abomination, and was secretly tormented by the living personalities of countless ancestors. Chief among these was the personality of Vladimir Harkonnen, who sought to use his granddaughter as a tool to reclaim power from beyond the grave.


As Abomination, Alia takes comfort in the metaphorical arms of Baron Harkonnen

Alia had few close, genuine relationships, largely due to her mentally and emotionally imbalanced state. Her relationship with her mother was strained at best, and simmered with deep resentment. And her interaction with Fremen was tarnished at an early age by their fear of her abilities and knowledge.

Though she loved and admired Paul, her brother, she also partly resented his influence. And her love for Duncan Idaho was ultimately destroyed by a casual affair with Javid, one of her priests who secretly served the Fremen insurgents who plotted against her.


During the same years in which she held herself aloof from family and friends, Alia indulged in massive doses of melange, ostensibly for the purpose of broadening her prescient vision. However, Alia lacked her brother's prescient ability, and the spice trance most often failed her. The same drug which had initially keyed her sensitivity to her ancestral voices could be depended upon to keep those same voices from becoming blurred or unavailable. As a result, Alia's heavy melange consumption became a means of maintaining contact with her internal advisors and gave them power.

Alia's actions during her Regency were those of a power-hungry woman aided by the memories of generations of ambitious rulers and princelings. Her every manoeuvre, including her marriage to the first Duncan Idaho ghola, was seen as having been performed in order to solidify her own position, and her manipulation of the children in whose names she ruled was also considered a devious maneuver. Not content with having destroyed herself, she set about to lead her niece and nephew into similarly destructive ways. Since the most direct way of achieving this goal involved the children's becoming enmeshed in their ancestral memories, Alia continually tried to interest them in the spice trance.

Alia ordered the assassination of The Preacher, despite knowing it was her beloved brother. Upon Leto's return from the desert, he gave her a choice, Trial of Possession or suicide. Realising that she would not pass the Trial, Alia threw herself from a high window to her death, a death that was witnessed by her mother Jessica, the Atreides twins, and Farad'n Corrino.

Had it not been for her death, Alia could have continued to rule for several centuries by regenerating her cellular structure. According to Fremen tradition, as with all Abominations, the only cure was death.


The impact of Alia's religious powerbase was long-lived. Many considered her a revered figure for several hundreds of years after her death. In the months prior to Leto II's death, a cult of Alia was discovered on Giedi Prime by Duncan Idaho's agents. Ultimately however, Alia's influence vanished after Leto's death, some three and a half thousand years after her own death.

Ghola After 5000 Years[]

Decanted Aboard the Ithaca[]

Five thousand years later, aboard the no-ship the Ithaca, during the advent of Kralizec, the ultra-orthodox Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother Sheeana Burgh decided to decant a ghola of Alia in the ongoing and upcoming struggle against the Outside Enemy. Twenty-one years after the captives and crew of the vessel fled Chapterhouse, Alia was birthed from an axlotl tank, as an "aware" newborn infant again into the world. Sheeana had ordered her tank flooded with changed Water of Life to raise her consciousness.

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Behind the Scenes[]

In the Children of Dune TV mini-series, Alia kills herself with a crysknife.

Alia was played by three different actresses Alicia Witt in the 1984 movie, Laura Burton in the Dune 2000 miniseries, and Daniela Amavia in the 2003 Children of Dune miniseries.