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Chani Kynes [d. 10210 AG], also known by her intimate name Sihaya (meaning desert spring), was a Fremen warrior and Sayyadina as well as the royal concubine of Emperor Paul-Muad'Dib Atreides. As Paul's only lover, she mothered Leto II the Elder, Empress Ghanima Atreides and God Emperor Leto Atreides II.

Physical Appearance[]

Chani is described as skinny with an elfin face bearing the dark and whiteless blue eyes of her fellow Fremen. She also had long and tawny-red hair like her eventual daughter.

History[]

Upbringing[]

Chani was born on Arrakis, the daughter of half-Fremen planetologist Liet Kynes and Fremen herbalist Faroula. A formidable fighter by the time of her father's death, Chani served under her uncle and Naib, Stilgar, at their primary residency of Sietch Tabr.

Introduction and life with Paul[]

After Arrakis was invaded by Harkonnen and Sardaukar forces, Paul and his mother Jessica managed to escape a Harkonnen ornithopter but found themselves in the deep desert where they were to be left for dead. While sheltering in a large rock formation from a rampaging sandworm, they were intercepted by a band of Fremen travelers including Chani, who were sent by her father to locate the Atreides refugees.

Her introduction to Paul came during a tense stand-off incited by Jamis and her uncle, who was both subdued and impressed by Jessica's combat prowess. Although familiar to the Atreides heir because of his prescient dreams on Caladan, Chani saw only a stranger.

After assimilating Paul and Jessica into Fremen society with Stilgar's guidance, Chani began her lasting love affair with the young Duke - now known as Usul and Muad'Dib - and eventually bore him a son named after Paul's late father. However, their firstborn soon shared his namesake's fate at the hands of a Sardaukar raiding party while his parents and grandmother were visiting another sietch. This tragic loss drove Paul to take the Water of Life and fall into a long coma until he could be revived by Chani's familiarity with the transmutation process.

After the Fremen-lead victory over House Harkonnen and House Corrino and Paul's subsequent ascension to the Golden Lion Throne through his marriage to Shaddamn IV's eldest daughter, Chani became his official concubine but remained his sole lover after being reassured by Jessica that history would remember her as "wife."

Pregnancy and death[]

Now a resident at her Emperor's colossal Arrakeen Palace, Chani suffered years of persistent fertility issues from having her meals laced with contraceptives by Princess Irulan so she could become the sole bearer of Paul's children and secure the Corrino bloodline - a plot sanctioned by the Bene Gesserit, who feared the impact of Chani's undocumented ancestry on their breeding program.

Irulan's sabotage ultimately proved fruitless against Chani's decision to take heavy doses of melange to counteract her infertility. After a traumatic and accelerated pregnancy that left her constantly famished and addicted, she went into labor at Sietch Tabr and gave birth to preborn twins, whom Paul named Ghanima and Leto II.

Tragically, Irulan's treachery was unintentionally lethal for the royal mother, who succumbed to her spice overdose and the trauma of childbirth.

At the apex of their own conspiracy against the Emperor, Tleilaxu agents Bijaz and Scytale offered to resurrect his loved one with their axlotl tanks and mnemonic conditioning, citing their previous revival of Duncan Idaho and his former memories. Despite his crippling grief and temptation, Paul refused their proposition and had them both killed, knowing the cost of such dealings with the Bene Tleilax.

Her remains were eventually interred in the extensive crypt beneath her son's desert Citadel.

Quotes[]

  • "I would not have permitted you to harm my companions." - Meeting Paul, 1965 novel
  • "Tell me about the waters of your homeworld, Usul." - Paul's prescient dream of Chani
  • "Tell me about the waters of your birthworld, Paul Muad'Dib." - Chani's actual words
  • "My planet Arrakis is so beautiful when the sun is low. Rolling over the sands. You can see spice in the air. At nightfall, the spice harvesters land. The outsiders race against time to avoid the heat of the day. They ravage our land in front of our eyes. Their cruelty to my people is all I've known. These outsiders, the Harkonnens, came long before I was born. By controlling spice production, they became obscenely rich. Richer than the Emperor himself. Our warriors couldn't free Arrakis from the Harkonnens. But one day, by Imperial decree, they were gone. Why did the Emperor choose this path? And who will our next oppressors be?" - Opening narration, 2021 film
  • Chani Kynes told Paul Atreides: "I will never leave you." - Dune: Parte Two
  • "You might not believe in the prophecy, but you're a part of it." - Dune: Parte Two

Gallery[]

Appearances[]

Screen Adaptations[]

  • In 2010, Chani actress Sean Young posted a YouTube video of her behind-the-scenes footage of David Lynch's 1984 production, filmed by her own Super 8 camera.
  • Only the 2000 miniseries depicts Chani's firstborn son, and her red hair color is absent in all three adaptations.
  • Zendaya's portrayal of Chani is a more skeptical character than her source material, showing initial distrust of the offworld exiles while recognizing the Fremen prophecy as foreign propaganda from Jessica's Sisterhood. Despite her suspicions and concerns over the growing religious fervor in her people, she ends up falling in love with the humble and reluctant Mahdi, who seems to be a sincere and powerful asset until her eventual manipulation by him and his mother into fulfilling her end of the prophecy with "desert spring tears." Cementing himself as the supreme leader of her society, her grief over this betrayal could be seen as supplanting the death of her firstborn son from the book, losing the man Paul was prior to his drinking the Water of Life.
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