Paul Atreides

Paul Atreides
Name: Paul Orestes Atreides
AKA: Paul Maud'Dib, Usul, The Preacher.
Lifespan: 10,175 A.G - 10,217 A.G.
Homeworld: Caladan
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A beginning is the time for taking the most delicate care that the balances are correct. This every sister of the Bene Gesserit knows. To begin your study of the life of Muad'Dib, then take care that you first place him in his time: born in the 57th year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV. And take the most special care that you locate Muad'Dib in his place: the planet Arrakis. Do not be deceived by the fact that he was born on Caladan and lived his first fifteen years there. Arrakis, the planet known as Dune, is forever his place.

-from Manual of Muad'Dib by the Princess Irulan

Biographical Information

Paul Atreides, Atreides Heir
Paul Atreides, Heir to the throne of House Atreides, as of 10,191 A.G. (After the Guild).
Born on Caladan in the 57th Year of the Padishah Emperor, Shaddam IV (10,175 A.G.) Paul Orestes Atreides, known later in his life as Paul Maud'Dib (One Who Points the Way), and as Usul to the Fremen, was the son of Duke Leto Atreides, ruler of House Atreides and the Lady Jessica. He was the grandson of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, father to his mother, though she knew it not. During the course of his life he became one of the most legendary figures in history, and forcefully acquired the position of Padishah Emperor before he was twenty years of age. His many skills included combat training under House Atreides' finest, Bene Gesserit training under his mother's guidance, and the compassionate ways of an Atreides heir under his father, Leto I, who Paul would name his first child, Leto II, after.
He was the product of the Bene Gesserit breeding line that stretched back many generations and sought to acquire the correct mix of genes to produce the Kwisatz Haderach, a super being capable of seeing an area of the inner self that no woman could. As a result of this, his powers of perception and foresight were renowned, though it was often difficult for him to see clearly what was to come.


Spoilers AheadWarning: Spoilers Follow For Dune Universe, Caution Advised!

Young Life

During his young life, Paul Atreides was given the finest upbringing any aristocratic family member could hope for. He learned martial arts and weapons training from Gurney Halleck, the Ateides family soldier, and Duncan Idaho, the Ginaz Sword Master, as well as Mentat training from Thufir Hawat.In addition to this, he received training in the ways of the BeneGesserit from his mother, almost unheard of among men, and became learned in ducal mannerisms from his father. This lead him to be a superior fighter, adept, and heir.

The Journey to Arrakis

The Gom Jabbar Test.
Paul is tested with the Gom Jabbar, a poison needle. If he should remove his hand from the box that causes him pain he will be jabbed with the poisoned needle.
At the age of fifteen, Paul was tested with the Gom Jabbar by the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam, and after passing the test, became a subject of close consideration for the Bene Gesserit, as they believed that Jessica, who had sworn to bear only daughters of the Duke, may have conceived the Kwisatz Haderach.
Recently, House Atreides had been forced to accept a ducal fief from the Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV: the ownership of Arrakis and its spice resources. House Harkonnen, the previous owners of the planet, had been cleared from it, and a Guild heighliner had been prepared for their departure to the desert planet. Unbeknown to them, the Emperor intended to destroy the Atreides here, with the help of the Harkonnens, who would then be given charge of Arrakis again.
Emerging from space after their journey, the Atreides took residence in Arrakeen's grandest dwelling, the Keep, and here began to reorganize the shambles that had been left to them. Most mining facilities were in a state of disrepair, and would require fixing if their operation was to be successful and they were to consolidate their position as rulers on Arrakis.
They arranged events that would increase their income flow, as the smugglers they overlooked gave them bribes. The Atreides even organised a banquet, which many important benefactors attended, which gave them an idea of their circumstances.

Exile into the Desert

Any Atreides plans would prove to be short lived, as the Harkonnens arrived, en masse, on the planet, taking with them legions of loyal Sardaukar who, at their command, had earlier forced Dr Yeuh to betray the Atreides, incapacitating Leto and sabotaging the house shields. Paul was asleep at the time, under a sedative. He and his mother were captured, bound, and sentenced to be killed in the desert by a worm. While Leto was before the Baron Harkonnen, who gloated over his absolute victory, Paul and Jessica were aboard a thopter, en route to the deep desert. Unaware that the boy possessed persuasive powers, the pilots were subtly killed by them, and they escaped the crashed thopter and headed for an outcrop of rock, where they would be safe from a worm that had been alerted by the sounds of their conveyance. Duncan Idaho arrived briefly to give them provisions and equipment. While at this outcropping, Paul gazed at the second moon of Arrakis, and was gifted suddenly with a vision of the future. He saw Fremen praising him, calling him "Maud'dib". He saw his father's death, the life that was growing within his mother, that of his unborn sister, a Fremen woman asking about Caladan, and the puzzling, diverging landscape of the future through prescience, which he saw he would be able to change with his actions.

Muad'Dib could indeed see the Future, but you must understand the limits of this power. Think of sight. You have eyes, yet cannot see without light. If you are on the floor of a valley, you cannot see beyond your valley. Just so, Muad'Dib could not always choose to look across the mysterious terrain. He tells us that a single obscure decision of prophecy, perhaps the choice of one word over another, could change the entire aspect of the future. He tells us "The vision of time is broad, but when you pass through it, time becomes a narrow door." And always, he fought the temptation to choose a clear, safe course, warning "That path leads ever down into stagnation."
-from Arrakis Awakening by the Princess Irulan

He also saw a bloody jihad, looming on the horizon, carving a passage of death and despair across the universe in the name of Maud'dib. This, he would later decide, was the thing he wished to prevent above all else.

Becoming Maud'dib

Chani, Paul's Fremen love.
Deep in the human unconscious is a pervasive need for a logical universe that makes sense. But the real universe is always one step beyond logic.

Paul and his mother were later discovered hiding in a cliff outcropping by Fremen scouts. Among them was the Naib of Sietch Tabr, Stilgar, and the daughter, Chani, of the now dead planetologist Liet-Kynes, who had remarked at Paul's abilities with the Stillsuit when first they met. Though at first the confrontation was one of violence, with Jessica holding Stilgar to the side, and threatening to kill him if his people harmed Paul, but, after seeing that the woman had the weirding way, the Fremen accepted Paul and his mother as members of the tribe, and bestowed the name of Paul-Maud'dib on Paul.
Jessica was named as a Sayyadina, a Reverend Mother under Fremen terms. Later she would drink the Water of Life. Returning with the scouting party to Sietch Tabr, Paul was challenged to a fight to the death by a young Fremen, Jamis, whom he had shamed by injuring earlier during their encounter at the cliff outcropping. The fight with Jamis was not something Paul had intended, nor did he wish to kill Jamis, which is what he was forced to do, even after offering him surrender.
The guest were then introduced to Fremen customs, and were shown the Fremen Reservoirs.
In the years that followed, Paul fell deeply in love with Chani, with whom he had a child, Leto II, while his mother was given the Water of Life, which affected the unborn child within her, making her awakened to consciousness before birth.
Belief began to spread among the Fremen tribes that Paul was the messiah, the Voice from Another World that would lead them to salvation and make Arrakis a paradise. The Fremen began to gather under Paul's leadership, and even Stilgar was eager to be under his command. Together with his hordes of Fremen, Paul set out to conduct an elaborate plan which would put him in control of the universe, and reek vengeance on the Harkonnen scum that ruined his life. To begin with, the Fremen were ordered to sabotage Spice expeditions, destroying the harvesters of all they found, and killing its passengers.
This eventually brought the production of Spice to a halt, and forced the Padishah Emperor to come to Arrakis in person and investigate the fief that he had entrusted to the Harkonnens, who were clearly not handling it well.

Emperor Maud'dib

Paul Atreides, also known as Paul Maud'Dib and Usul.
Paul Muad'dib, Emperor.
While the Padishah Emperor arrived with a great fleet on Arrakis, Paul mustered all of his Fremen forces, and arranged them so that he had a clear view of the Shield Wall protecting Arrakeen, while he and the Fremen remained invisible. Earlier, his son had been killed in a raid while his sister, Alia, was captured. Within the Emperor's makeshift housing, Baron Harkonnen was brought before him and questioned as to why the Spice was not flowing, and who this so called Mau'dib was. The Baron was unable to answer fully. The captive Alia, whom the present Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam christened an abomination, was then brought before them, and it was in this moment that they realized that Paul and his mother had survived. Seconds later, a great explosion shook Arrakeen, as the Shield Wall was breached, and Mau'dib's forces came riding in on the backs of sandworms.
The Emperor ordered Alia restrained, and the Baron obliged, not realizing that the girl was armed with a Gom Jabbar, which she promptly used to prick the Baron with, ending his life. In the chaos of battle that followed, Mau'dib was ultimately victorious. The Emperor was captured, and ordered to surrender his throne to Paul, as well as his daughter, Irulan. With no choice in the matter, he was exiled to Salusa Secundus, and Paul took the mantle of Emperor.
In the years that followed, Paul built up a mighty empire. Though married to Irulan, Chani remaind his wife. His sister grew to be known as Saint Alia of the Knife, due to her Fremen upbringing. Together, he and his sister made religion and politics one. Alia, alongside Paul, became a prominent religious figure, aswell as a member of Paul's political system. This, mixed with Paul's ability to see clearly what was going on in the present, and his powers to see into the future, made them near impossible to overthrow, though their were those who tried.
His mother, and last surviving member of House Atreides, Gurney Halleck, were on Caladan while the greatest of these conspiratorial groups was formed. Gaius Helen Mohiam, Irulan, a Bene Tlielax Face Dancer named Scytale, and a Guild Navigator, Edric, all plotted to overthrow the Emperor. The presence of Edric, around whom Paul was vision-less, prevented their plans from being known.

The Plot to Destroy an Emperor

Stone Burner
The atomic detonation was such that Paul feared that Arrakis would be destroyed.
The plan of theses conspirators was to destroy Maud'dib, while remaining in the shadows. To begin with, the Tleilaxu acquired the body of Duncan Idaho, and resurrected him as a ghola. This ghola was a gift to Paul, and had been secretly programmed to kill him. Fortunately, the Tleilaxu had not anticipated that the ghola might regain the memories of its old mind. The ghola Duncan, realizing that it loved Paul, did not harm him. The next stage of the plot involved Scytale, who, using his Face Dancer powers to take on the form of Lichna, daughter of a Fremen death commando, Otheym, infiltrated the palace in order to bring Paul to the house of Otheym, who was ill and dying.
Though he saw through the ruse, Paul allowed it to run its course and went to the house, where he was given a dwarf, Bijaz, supposedly possessive of the knowledge of Fremen traitors to Paul, those who had helped his enemies in capturing a worm to bring to another world, hoping to start a new Spice cycle that he was not in control of. Bijaz urged haste, and they left. Moments later, an atomic weapon was detonated in the area, which would have killed Paul had he not been running.
Lichna, Scytale's disguise.
He survived, but was blinded by the residual blast. In accordance with Fremen law, the blind were to be left to die in the desert, but Paul appeared to have lost none of his sight, and could name his men before they had even spoken to him. Failing to have killed him, the conspirators used a final trick, and Scytale was found holding a knife to Paul's children, Leto and Ghanima, who had just been born. Paul knew that Chani would die in childbirth, and she did so. Grieving, he cried; "She's gone." This was a mental stimuli that Bijaz, a Tlielaxu servent in truth, had implanted in the mind of Duncan. Upon hearing it, he was to kill Paul, but refused himself, and fully became Duncan. As Scytale held the Knife to Leto and Ghanima, Paul, who had suddenly lost all his vision, saw, through the eyes of his son. He realized that his son was aware, and, using this new perspective, stabbed Scytale.
Then Paul was truly blind, and in accordance with Fremen Law, abandoned himself to the open desert, and here, to the knowledge of the universe, died.

The Preacher

Leto Atreides II
Paul's son and heir, Leto Atreides II.
Years later, when the universe was under the rule of Imperial Regent Alia Atreides, and Paul's children had grown to the age of nine, a mysterious individual, with empty eye sockets just as Paul had had, appeared in Arrakeen and stood upon a pedestal, preaching blasphemy against the Atreides. He claimed that they had neglected the ways of Maud'dib, and had created a mockery of his Empire and his religion. Rumors began to persist amongst the people that this was Paul, back from the dead. When Alia heard tell of these rumors, she was intrigued, and spent much of her time debating how to deal with him, should he indeed be her brother back from exile in the desert. Often the mysterious Preacher would arrive in Arrakeen, led by a servant boy, as he was blind, and blaspheme the Atreides name. The people's belief that this was Paul was the only prevention from him being murdered.
When Leto Atreides II, intent on pursuing his Golden Path, fled from Arrakeen, using the pretext that he had been killed, he encountered The Preacher in the desert and killed his servant boy. It then became apparent that the Preacher was indeed Paul Atreides. Paul was to join with his son, and assist him in a plan that would put Alia off the throne and bring balance to the Imperium once again. It would also put Leto another step further on to his Golden Path.
The Preacher appeared once again in Arrakeen, and made his accusations in front of the royal palace. Alia, who was entertaining guests, intended to have him captured at this time. She ordered men to sneak near to him and grab him, but this failed. It caused a stir among the crowd, and in the ensuing pandemonium, Paul was stabbed and killed.
Leto, however, infiltrated his aunt's viewing chamber, and unmasked her as possessed, causing her to kill herself.

Personality and Traits

Alia, described by the Bene Gesserit as an inhuman abomination, became a great friend and sibling to Paul during his later years. In later years, however, after her possession, she became a great threat.
Before his transformation into the Kwisatz Haderach, Paul Atreides displayed the proud, superior traits of an heir to a royal house. He became insulted when the Revend Mother told him that the Gom Jabbar poison she held to his throat would kill only an animal, and retaliated, asking if she was calling the son of a duke an animal. His pride was turned to anger later in his life, when he was abandoned by the Harkonnens in the desert. At this point, the visions he had been having changed him into someone who was discerning and strong of character, rather than proud. His powers made him act as superior in the presence of others, even causing him to be deified. This deification made him all the more grand in scope, but eventually, after his blindness, lead him to realize his time had passed. When Paul returned as The Preacher, his personality had changed greatly. He saw himself only as a shadow of the man he once was, and acted as such. Though only forty two years old, he was crippled, blinded, and appeared many years older than he was in truth. This appearance of aged wisdom that he displayed at the time was the cause for his success as a "preacher", when setting speaking out againts Alia's reign and his own religion.


Aside from the Bene Gesserit powers of Prana-Bindu meditation Paul had been taught by his mother, he also possessed powers of foresight and prescience, allowing him to see both the now and the now to come. These powers were limited, but appeared at crucial moments, such as when Scytale appeared before him, in disguise as Lichna, and Paul was able to see through the disguise. Another show of this power came to him before his death, when he suddenly became able to see through his conscious son's eyes. Why this happened is still subject to speculation, but the bond that existed between them, infused with the Water of Life and the Spice in their blood, that made them linked, as would a Bene Gesserit Reverend Mother be linked to her predecessors at her time of rite.

Prophecy and prescience — How can they be put to the test in the face of the unanswered questions? Consider: How much is actual prediction of the "wave form" (as Muad'Dib referred to his vision-image) and how much is the prophet shaping the future to fit the prophecy? What of the harmonics inherent in the act of prophecy? Does the prophet see the future or does he see a line of weakness, a fault or cleavage that he may shatter with words or decisions as a diamond-cutter shatters his gem with a blow of a knife?

Out of-Universe Information

Kyle Maclachlan alongside Frank Herbert and Francesca Annis.
Alec Newman
Alec Newman portrays Paul in Children of Dune.
Paul Atreides was portrayed by Kyle Maclachlan in David Lynch's film, Dune, and by Alec Newman in the both the Dune and Children of Dune miniseries. In Dune, House Atreides is seen, for some reason, to have a family pug (a breed of flat-faced dog). During their trip in the Guild Heigliner, Paul is holding this dog on his lap. There is no reference to the Atreides having a family dog in any novel, and this was merely an addition that was put into the film. Shaddam Corrino IV is also seen as having many dogs in his Golden Lion throne room, suggesting that they are interpreted as a symbol of nobility and status in the Lynch vision of the Dune Universe.
Though he only appears in three of the six original Dune novels, Paul Atreides is considered by most to be the main protagonist of the entire Dune series
It is thought that George Lucas derived his Anakin Skywalker as the "Chosen One" idea after reading about Paul in Dune. Other examples of the "messiah" in science fiction include Neo in the Matrix Trilogy and the Emperor of Mankind in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Both are believed to have been inspired by Dune as well.

The Kwisatz Haderach

Ruler of the Known Universe

Mahdi of the Fremen

Followed by:


Followed by:

Alia Atreides

Followed by:


Person in question:

Paul Atreides

Person in question:

Paul Atreides

Person in question:

Paul Atreides

Preceded by:

Hasimir Fenring

Preceded by:

Shaddam Corrino IV

Preceded by:


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