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Paul Atreides aka Muad'Dib, Usul, and The Preacher (10175 AG - 10217 AG), born on the planet Kaitain, son of Duke Leto Atreides I and Bene Gesserit concubine Lady Jessica. Oldest brother of Alia Atreides.

He married Bene Gesserit-trained Irulan Corrino, but without offspring. With his Fremen concubine Chani Kynes, was father of the twins Ghanima and Leto Atreides II, the God-Emperor.

Twenty-first and last Duke of House Atreides, leader of the Fremen, and first ruler of the Atreides Empire. He was considered the Kwisatz Haderach, the powerful prescient being, long sought by the Bene Gesserit and product of their lengthy breeding program.



The Bene Gesserit brought Paul's parents together with the intention of producing an Atreides daughter; who could then mate with the heir to House Harkonnen, and produce the fabled Kwisatz Hadarach, or super-being. However, the plans of the Bene Gesserit sistherhood were thrown into turmoil when Jessica, due to her love for Leto, gave a male heir to his House.

Birth on Kaitain[]

Jessica kept the gender of her son in secret until she was summoned to the Imperial capital to give birth to her child. Because of the importance of this unborn child, Lady Anirul Corrino, Kwisatz Mother of the the Bene Gesserit and wife of the Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV, supervised his birth. Even after the stunning revelation during delivery that the child was a male, Anirul decided that Paul must live and be protected. As Anirul and the Bene Gesserit staff realized that an assassin was in the Imperial Palace, Lady Anirul realized she had to help kill the murderer herself.

During Jessica's rigorous labor, Anirul found the murderer alone in the Palace but she is mortally wounded, and Gaius Helen Mohiam was able to kill the murderer. The Imperial intruder turned out to be the twisted mentat, Piter de Vries, agent of House Harkonnen. As word got out about de Vries' killing of Anirul, the capital city, Corrinth City, went into turmoil.

After arriving in Kaitain, Leto quickly searched throughout the Imperial Palace, and once he found Jessica and Paul, they quickly left for Caladan. A few weeks later, during the announcement of Paul's birth to the citizens of Cala City, far away, on Arrakis, giant sandworms performed a mystical rite beneath the light of Dune's second moon.

War of Assassins[]

During the War of Assassins of 10,187 AG, between House Moritani and House Ecaz, the Atreides family became involved when Ilesa Ecaz, the intended bride of Duke Leto, was killed just before marrying him. The entire planet went on lockdown, and while Leto prepared his attack force to meet the Moritani's on their home planet of Grumman, his son Paul, who has left in Idaho's care in Castle Caladan, was attacked shortly thereafter in his bedchamber.

Duncan arranged an escape into the night, flying with Paul in an ornithopter to Caladan's sparsely populated Eastern Continent. While fleeing, Paul and Duncan were ruthlessly hunted throughout all of the continent's dense forest overgrowth. The two eventually made friends with Caladan primitives, who helped them escape from the assassins over the course of the following week.

Eventually, Duncan arranged for Paul and himself to gain entry to the abbey of the Sisters in Isolation, home in exile of Paul's grandmother, Lady Helena Atreides. The two rested and refreshed themselves as Paul met his cold demeanored grandmother for the first time. After the Moritani assassins found them, they bombarded and burned down the entire abbey, killing alomst everyone inside, including Paul's grandmother. Swain Goire, the Lady's bodyguard, who accompanied her in exile, gave his life, in a last ditch effort to allow Duncan and Paul to escape. Later, in the deep jungle, the Caladan primitives set traps for the assassins, as they came to understand the kindness of House Atreides, and their just rule over the planet.

As the Atreides and Ecaz families joined forces, they landed on the planet Grumman. Hundro Moritani led his forces into open battle on the salt plains near the planet's capital city, Ritka.

Paul learned this way the bloody nature of battle, as he saw the hand-to-hand combat experienced by both sides; and it changed Paul's nature thence-forward. Later, when Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV landed near Ritka to enforce a peace treaty, Paul saw the treachery exhibited by Viscount Moritani as he threatened to blow up the entire city and plain with nuclear devices. No longer would the 12-year old Atreides view the world in naivete', but would be prepared.

Tessia Struck[]

In 10,188 AG, Jessica and Paul visited Ix so that Paul could spend time as an exchange student in Vernii City, just as his father had done decades earlier. To Jessica's dismay, while there, the Bene Gesserit guilt-caster Stokia and three other Sisters visited Tessia Vernius. They demanded that Tessia produce more children for the Bene Gesserit breeding program, which Tessia refused. Unbeknownst to Jessica, Stokia used her psychic powers to put Tessia into a comatose trance, which rendered Tessia helpless. Rhombur was unable to help his poor wife, and Dr. Yueh could do nothing to help her, who began to waste away. The Sisterhood demanded that Tessia be take with them to Wallach IX, where they would nurse her and take care of her. In grief, Rhombur let them take his wife away.

Bronso Story[]

Later that day, Rhombur decided to tell his son, Bronso Vernius, that he was the artificially conceived son of Tyros Reffa. Bronso, who was 11 years old, reacted bad and encouraged Paul to run away with him off-world. Paul, under the oath to Duke Leto "to protect Bronso", accompanied him.

Though his time with the Jongleur performing group was less than a month, Paul was able to remember many of the techniques that the Jongleurs had taught him about mass hypnosis, and he was later able to use them to cement his rule amongst the Fremen, and later as Emperor.

Death of Rhombur[]

A few days later, House Atreides received information that both arrived first to Chusuk, and now could be found on Balut with a Jongleur performing group. When Jessica and the rest of the searchers from House Atreides and House Vernius arrived on Balut, they found both Bronso and Paul well treated by the performing group. The Jongleur group was to give a performance in honor of the Governor of Balut's upcoming marriage in the planet's famed Theater of Shards. Paul was able to sense that an assassination attempt was planned.

Paul saved the life of the planetary Governor Alra Kio, but when Rhombur pushed Balut's leader out of the way, the intense sound blast hit him, and ravaged his body. All present recoiled in horror as Rhombus died, and Bronso cradled his dying father.

Just before Rhombur died, he whispered his last words to his son, "Is Paul safe?" Deeply hurt that his father did not speak of him or his mother while dying, Bronso cast Jessica and the rest of House Atreides out of his life for the next 12 years. The Atreides returned to Caladan.


A young Paul Atreides, by Raúl Allén and Patricia Martin, Dune Graphic novel

As the son of Duke Leto Atreides I, Paul grew up with a privileged background on the water-covered planet of Caladan, the ancestral home of House Atreides. Though he lacked companions his own age, he did recieve tuition from his teachers, men like Thufir Hawat, Duncan Idaho, Gurney Halleck and Doctor Yueh, as well as education in Bene Gesserit methods and techniques from his mother. Shortly after his fifteenth birthday in 10191 AG, Paul's father revealed to him that Paul's training, through his teachers, had been geared toward turning Paul into a mentat. The theory was that when Paul succeeded his father as Duke of House Atreides, one of the most respected and moral Great Houses of the Imperium, a mentat-duke would truly be a formidable force in the Landsraad. Paul's latent talents also earned him the attention of the Bene Gesserit, who tested him with the Gom Jabbar as they hoped to salvage their breeding program through him.

The Rise of Paul Muad'Dib[]

Alec Newman as Paul Atreides in the Sci-Fi Channel miniseries.

Paul Atreides accompanied his parents when House Atreides was relocated to the desert world Arrakis to manage mining operations of the Spice Melange. However, when the deception of House Harkonnen and the Emperor Shaddam IV was revealed, he escaped into the desert with his mother and joined the Fremen. Upon joining the desert people he took the name Muad'Dib.

This experience, coupled with significant exposure to the Spice Melange triggered dormant prescient abilities within Paul's bloodline. These abilities, coupled with his leadership skills, his military training, and an ancient prophecy of the people of Arrakis, enabled Paul to become the leader of the formidable Fremen. It was on Arrakis that he discovered that his grandfather - the father of Jessica - was the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. He also drank the Water of Life and survived, expanding his consciousness bringing his prescience near to perfection. He was the first and last male to drink the Water of Life and survive, showing himself to be the Kwisatz Haderach; although he claimed to be something else, something unexpected. Paul claimed, after converting the Water of Life that he could not only see the future and the past but also the present, which he called "the now." His vision allowed him to see Shaddam IV's great fleet in space above Arrakis, ready to attack.

During this period Paul met and fell in love with Chani, the daughter of planetologist and native Fremen Liet Kynes. Their first son, Leto Atreides II the Elder was murdered by Glossu Rabban Harkonnen, further fueling the existing enmity between House Atreides and House Harkonnen.

After spearheading a highly effective campaign of guerilla warfare against the House Harkonnen and Sardaukar forces that had taken control of Arrakis, Paul conquered the powers in Arrakeen. With his marriage with Irulan Corrino, daughter of Emperor Shaddam IV, successfully negotiated the end of the long-standing Corrino Empire and his own ascendancy to Emperor.

The New Empire[]

Paul becomes Emperor

Upon crowning himself Emperor in 10193 AG, Paul enacted a strategy that had been revealed to him through his prescient abilities. This decision saw the theology (and many customs) of the Fremen thrust into the whole of the Empire. A result of this was that Paul Atreides himself a revered god-head on many worlds in the Known Universe. There was resistance, and Paul found himself increasingly isolated from his family and friends as he decided that the Jihad to place his view of the future of mankind in place, must be bloodthirsty and relentless. Whole planets were sterilized as some of the Great Houses put up a struggle against Paul's relentless Fremen armies.

Assassination attempts[]

Paul (right) & Stilgar reviewing Jihadi forces on Arrakis

Paul was also the target of assassination attempts, the first was tried at the Great Surrender ceremony, at the dedication of his new Palace in Arrakeen. The plot, orchestrated by a misguided Swordmaster Whitmore Bludd, though unsuccessful, killed his sister-in-law, Rugi Corrino, as she was representing the former Royal House at the galaxy-wide event.

The second attempt was a twisted and convoluted attempt involving the former Count, Hasimir Fenring; his wife Margot Fenring; and their daughter, the gifted Marie Fenring. In regards to Fenring, Paul's prescience constantly failed and provided little insight due to Hasimir's genetic make-up of a failed Kwisatz.

"All relationships change, Count Fenring, and as humans we must adapt to them or die."
―Paul Atreides, Paul of Dune

As a result, at a banquet in honor of the Fenring's, Marie attempted to attack and stab the Emperor, but instead, was killed by Alia. In grief, Hasimir thrusted the Emperor's Blade deep into Paul's body, which brought him to the brink of death. Paul remembered that he had the abilities of a full Reverend Mother. While Suk doctors stitched the damaged organs of his body back together on the cellular level, he passed the Water of Life that Chani gave him to save his life. Paul exiled the Fenring couple permanently to Salusa Secundus to live out their days with the deposed Shaddam Corrino IV.

Rise of Bronso[]

In a secret meeting, Paul arranged to meet his mother and the now restored realtionship with Bronso on the planet Ix. Suddenly Paul stepped out of the shadows, to explain to his mother the role of the Jihad.

Just before the meeting, Jessica had to resist the urge to kill her son, as she had been promised the Mother Superior leadership of the Sisterhood by Mohiam, if she murdered the Emperor. Jessica had hitherto been concerned about Paul being possessed by Abomination, since he had sterilized so many worlds for the Jihad.

Paul explained to Jessica that he had to sterilize those worlds, because the people that had looked upon him as some type of Messiah, have to learn the kind of tyranny that false messianic hopes could foster. After seeing his atrocities, mankind never would trust in one human for a type of salvation again. He calmly explained that he planned to sterilize even more worlds, but was secretly evacuating the populace of each world to limit the number of deaths. He also told her about Bronso's secret mission -- to write diatribes and publications about Paul's failings.

Over the next few years, as Bronso published and distributed writings about Paul's faults; the Qizarate, Alia, and the Fremen wanted Bronso captured and punished. Bronso eventually was captured, and put into Paul's secure prison on Dune. Paul secretly dismissed the guards and opened the cell, allowing his friend to escape.

Final Years as Emperor[]

After the bloody Jihad that lasted more than twelve years, and claimed billions of lives, Emperor Paul Atreides eventually subdued all outright rebellion. The order of the Known Universe was maintained through the replacement of Corrino imperial power, which was supported by Sardaukar military strength; with Atreides imperial power, supported by Fremen military strength.

Paul's interpretation of his prescient visions also necessitated that Arrakis be transformed from a barren desert planet into a lush and fertile world, with the exception of a small desert for the sandworm to remain alive and keep producing spice. By the end of his rule this plan was well on its way to succeeding. This program had begun under Pardot Kynes as an attempt to harness a planet; however, under Paul, it became part of a plan to save humanity.

Despite his strong leadership and formidable prescient abilities, Emperor Paul Atreides began to feel building pressure from discordant groups within the Empire: notably the Bene Gesserit, Bene Tleilax, fringe groups within the Fremen, and the dethroned but still powerful House Corrino. Among the schemes of his enemies were the detonation of a stone burner near where Paul and his forces stood in Arrakeen, which resulted in his physical blindness. Upon Paul's recovery from this incident, he shocked all by his ability to 'see' despite not having eyes. His perfect prescient abilities allowed him to perceive the world around him.

Death of Chani[]

Despite being able to 'see' through prescience, doubts began to surface in Paul's mind regarding his interpretation of the future. Feeling increasingly frustrated and out of control, he began to seek a way out. That escape route emerged through the combined treachery of his enemies, a plot conceived in the presence of a powerful Guild Navigator. The Bene Tleilax gave him a ghola of Duncan Idaho, who contained a secret trigger. Concurrently, and part of the plan, Irulan slowly poisoned Chani. As the Princesses' toxins slowly worked their way through Chani's body, the Emperor's Consort died during childbirth. {C}

Paul Contemplate's Life w/Chani's Ghola & the Twins

{C}Immediately, the Face Dancer Scytale, who had been posing as Chani's hand-maid sprung into action, and caused the Idaho ghola to remember his Tleilaxu mission, to kill Muad'Dib. As this caused a great mental conflict within Duncan, he remembered his past with House Atreides. Immediately, Scytale realized the great scope of change that had occurred, a ghola had recovered memories of its former life. Scytale bargained with Paul that the Tleilaxu could bring back a ghola of Chani, complete with her life experiences, for Paul to enjoy in realitive obscurity--if Atreides would abdicate. Instead, Paul killed Scytale.

Walk into the Desert[]

After the birth of his children, Ghanima and Leto, Paul became convinced he had lost his prescient abilities; he did not forsee the birth of his son, only his daughter. Therefore, as a no more than a blind Fremen, Paul disappeared into the desert, offering himself up to Shai-Hulud, as was the Fremen custom for the blind.

This action made a powerful statement: it signified to the Fremen that Paul's interest was for the tribe, and that even he, Usul, Paul who was Muad'Dib, was not above Fremen law.

The Preacher[]

The Preacher addresses a crowded marketplace in Arrakeen, thundering against Alia's regency

{C}Many years after his apparent death alone in the desert, and while the Atreides Empire was under the regency of his younger sister Alia Atreides, a new figure, The Preacher, appeared from the deep desert.

By urging civil disobedience against the Atreides Empire, and warning of the consequences of a green Arrakis, The Preacher attracted an ever increasing number of followers. Many believed this thundering blind stranger to be Paul Atreides, as he was blind and led by a boy.

The Preacher eventually revealed himself to his son Leto, and the two of them travelled throughout Arrakis, breaching the water storage of every sietch so that it would spill out onto the sand. Eventually Leto and the Preacher returned to Arrakeen to confront Alia, who had clearly shown herself to be Abomination by this time. Eventually rising tensions saw Alia commit suicide in front of her mother and Duncan Idaho. During the ensuing chaos, The Preacher was assassinated in Arrakeen, but not before he had revealed beyond a doubt to Gurney Halleck and Jessica that he was indeed Paul Atreides.

Thus, the great Paul Atreides, son of Leto the Just and the first Atreides to ascend to the Golden Lion Throne since its inception more than ten thousand years prior, was dead, passing into legend for eons to come, laying the way forward for his son to take the Golden Path to its logical conclusion.

While Paul envisioned the Golden Path, the ultimate transformation that would see his humanity dissolve into a sandworm frightened him. Upon revealing himself to his son, Paul confessed that his desire to maintain his humanity, and the fear of abject loneliness that the Golden Path would bring, were too much for him. He related that he walked away from what he knew he had to do, and admired but lamented for his son who had taken on the mantle that would see humanity restored, but at the cost of his own.

Rebirth as a Ghola[]

Behind the Scenes[]

Biographical Notes[]

In Original Dune it is noted that Paul Atreides was born on Caladan, both in an excerpt from Princess Irulan's Manual of Muad'Dib, as well as through his own thoughts. However in Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson's prequel novel Dune: House Corrino, his birth takes place on Kaitain.

In Paul of Dune, it is asserted that Irulan, through her history books, "streamlined the story for mass consumption". This however, may cast doubt on the canonical status of Frank Herbert's Original Dune in the Expanded Dune universe. It should also be noted that in the Original Dune that as House Atreides prepares to move from Caladan to Arrakis, Wellington Yueh mentions that it is Paul's first time off of the planet. The Expanded Dune contradicts this with his journeys to Ix and Ecaz. However, this may also be interpreted as Irulan's editing.

In Other Media[]

In the 1984 movie Dune, the role of Paul was played by long time Dune fan Kyle MacLachlan. In interviews, McLachlan related that when reading Dune for the first time as a teenager, he imagined himself as being Paul Atreides, and to be provided the opportunity to portray him in a big budget film was a dream come true for him.

In the 2000 and 2003 Sci-Fi Channel mini-series Paul was played by Alec Newman. The actor, who has a Scottish accent, reportedly adapted an American accent in a relatively short span of time just to land the role. In the 2000 miniseries, Paul was initially portrayed as a sort of "spoiled brat" in order to show the audience his growth from Atreides heir to Emperor of the Known universe.


See also[]