Who Are The Atreides, The Descendants of King Agamemnon
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Who Are The House Atreides In Dune, The Descendants of King Agamemnon

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BY July 8, 2023

The House Atreides is one of the noble families in the universe of Frank Herbert’s novel Dune. This caste enjoys excellent popularity within the Empire due to the charisma of its Duke, Leto Atreides. The house is on the planet Caladan, a world characterized by much prosperity and based on sustainable energies. The successful management of the House Atreides makes them an example to be followed by others in the galaxy, although it also raises a lot of envy.

The Atreides House

House Atreides Accepts! (Dune, 2021) - YouTube Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

The story of the novel Dune begins with the decision of the Galactic Empire to relocate the Atreides family. It is decided that the most suitable planet for this is Arrakis, also known as Dune.

Being there, their destiny is to take over from House Harkonnen. This caste and rival of the Atreides have held control of the extraction and trade of the “melange” until now. The entry of the Atreides for the control of Dune means an increase in power and influence for this family. Likewise, it grants them a privileged position in the CHOAM, the Galactic Mercantile Corporation that controls the imperial economy.

It is to clarify that one of the primary resources to trade in Arrakis is the substance called “melange”. This species is used differently, endowing those who take it with particular sensory abilities. This characteristic allows Intergalactic Navigators to achieve high cognition. This clairvoyant oracular ability is what makes interstellar travel possible. 

All this made House Atreides one of the most powerful houses of the Empire. It was led by the patriarch of the Atreides family, who was given the title of Duke.

The origins of this Atreides family go back to Greece, on Earth. According to legends, they belonged to a distinguished noble lineage. They became important during the Bulgarian Jihad.

Members of House Atreides claim descent from King Agamemnon himself, son of Atreus, from Greek mythology. This royal house is home to many significant figures of Greek mythology in its culture.

Caladan, the Home Planet of the Atreides Family

Before the relocation of this family to Arrakis, House Atreides was on the planet Caladan. Until his last days on that planet, they were led by Duke Leto Atreides I.

Twenty generations ruled Caladan, maintaining a form of governance that resulted in a well-organized society and spiritually satisfied people.

Unlike Giedi Prime, the capital of House Harhonnen is completely contaminated. House Atreides maintained the planet as a lush and prosperous paradise, where its level of industrialization was relatively low.

Who are the Members of This Family?

The Atreides family presides over the protagonist’s house in the novel Dune. This is one of the most popular great houses of the Landsraad. This causes Duke Leto to generate much envy among his enemies, including the Emperor himself. So, soon intrigues against Leto will fill the board.

Among the members of this distinguished family are Leto Atreides I, Jessica Atreides, Paul Atreides, Alia Atreides, and Leto Atreides II.

Leto Atreides I

Dune: Oscar Isaac's Daddy Duke Leto Beard Wasn't the First Plan Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Leto Atreides I is the Duke of House Atreides and ruler of Caladan. He achieved popularity for his compassionate and impartial leadership style. His physical appearance was that of a tall man with olive skin and black hair. Leto face was narrow, full of angles and planes. His nose was high-bridged, giving him a hawk-like appearance.

After two decades of ruling the planet Caladan with Lady Jessica, he was ordered to take over the fiefdom on Arrakis. At the time of the request, the Harkonnen command predominated.

Thus, the Emperor demanded he move his house from Caladan to Dune. The same became effective, but the other noble families noticed the presence of Leto Atreides I and his family, bringing jealousy, envy and betrayal.

Although Leto knew this, he took advantage of his position and increased his popularity in Landsraad as a consequence of putting his house in danger. When arriving at Arrakis, he did something symbolic, to leave his leadership, planting a flag on the Almenas proclaiming, “Here I am, here I stay!”.

But his arrival was also accompanied by a letter from the Emperor, where he received full support from the Corrino house. The aim was to introduce him and defend the rule of the Faufreluches at all costs.

The Emperor’s Betrayal 

Unknown to Leto was that Shaddam IV was plotting his demise. Upon his arrival, Leto was well-accepted by the people of Dune. He showed innate leadership, political skill and personal charisma. This won him, followers, from the lesser houses to the Fremen.

The Emperor, soon after, gave the go-ahead to his plans. He sent Baron Vladimir Harkonnen to invade and destroy House Atreides. He went so far as to provide some of his own Sardaukar for this.

This urgency of the Emperor was well-founded. He was already aware that a small army led by Duke Leto had been formed from House Atreides. With this, they could confront, without any problems, the Sardaukar of the Emperor.

When the invasion of Dune by House Harkonnen took place, Leto was betrayed by his own private physician Suk, Yueh Wellington Yueh. Thus, he was handed over to the Harkonnens.

Yueh had given Leto a poisoned tooth to kill Baron Harkonnen, but the plan failed. So Leto died in this attempt, and Baron Vladimir survived in battle.

His son Paul recovered the remains of Duke Leto in Arrakeen, leaving them in the Desert Skull of Arrakis. His legacy did not die with him; both his son Paul and daughter Atreides Alia lived to continue his mission.

Jessica Atreides (Lady Jessica)

The House Atreides Costumes in DUNE Were Romanov-Inspired - Nerdist Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Jessica Atreides is the concubine of Duke Leto Atreides I, with whom she had a son, Paul Atreides. She is a beautiful woman of tall stature and slender build.

She has bronze-colored hair, often wearing a black ribbon tied at the crown. Her face is oval, and her eyes are green like the morning skies of Caladan. She has a small nose and a wide, generous mouth.

Jessica is the illegitimate daughter of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. She was part of the Bene Gesserit breeding program, and the mother was unknown. But Bene’s breeding lists indicate that her biological mother was Tanidia Nerus.

So, before she was Duke Leto’s concubine, she was known as Jessica Nerus. From birth, Bene Gesserit raised her with the heir of House Atreides.

This led to Jessica receiving the most intense and advanced education and training from the Bene Gesserit. She was conceived for one purpose: to sire Feyd Rautha Harkonnen to produce the Kwisatz Hadarach.

The Bene Gesserit

Dune: The Sisterhood Series Sets Johan Renck to Direct First Two Episodes Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Talking about the mythology of Dune, it is essential to stop to talk about the sisterhood of the Bene Gesserit. This group is a religious, political and social force whose members have trained for years. The goal is to condition themselves physically and mentally to obtain powers and abilities out of the ordinary. 

Everything in Jessica’s life was premeditated by the Bene Gesserit order from its conception. Initially, the relationship between her and Duke Leto Atreides was going well. Soon, she became the Duke’s official concubine, allowing her to marry. But this arranged relationship soon turned into real love.

This made her disobey Bene’s orders, giving birth to Duke Leto’s son, Paul Atreides. This would make him the heir son of the House of Atreides, which ruined Bene’s plans.

When the Emperor ordered the move, Jessica settled in the fief Arrakis next to Leto and his son Paul. However, this rule was short-lived due to the plan orchestrated by Emperor Shaddam Corrino IV and Baron Vladimir Harkonnen.

Upon the death of Dule Leto Atreides I and the takeover of House Harkonnen, Jessica and Paul became part of the renegades, leading them to escape into the deep desert, eventually joining the Fremen. Jessica was pregnant with their daughter Alia Atreides.

Paul Atreides

The Evolution of Paul Atreides in the 'Dune' Series - The Fantasy Review Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

One key family member is Paul Atreides, son of Duke Leto Atreides I and his concubine Jessica Atreides, older brother of Alia Atreides. He is also known as The Prophet and Muad’Dib. He was born on the planet Caladan.

Paul married Bene Gesserit, with whom he had no descendants. With his Fremen concubine, Chani Kynes, he had twins Ghanima and Leto Atreides II, the God Emperor. Of House Atreides, he was the last Duke.

He became the Fremen’s leader and was the Atreides Empire’s first ruler. For many, Paul was the Kwisatz Haderach for demonstrating his skills, thus becoming the longed-for product of Bene’s genetic program.

He grew up on Caladan, full of privileges for being on a water-covered planet. He did not grow up with peers of his own age and was tutored by high insignia teachers such as Doctor Yueh, Duncan Idaho, and Thufir Hawat.

Paul accompanied his parents when the Emperor ordered them to move from Caladan to the desert world of Arrakis. He lived through the treachery and deception of Emperor Shaddam IV and Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. After his father’s death, this led him to flee to the desert with his mother, joining the Fremen.

There he proved to the desert men that he was worthy to be among them. He assumed the name Muad’Dib. The union with the Fremen, plus exposure to the Spice Blend, led to his prophetic abilities.

In a short time, he became the leader of the Fremen and showed himself to be the Kwisatz Haderach. He fought the House of Harkonnen and the Sardaukar forces, defeating them and becoming the Emperor of Arrakis.

Alia Atreides

Alia 'Dune: Part 2': Who is Alia Atreides? Paul Atreides' Sister, Explained  | The Mary Sue Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Alia Atreides is the posthumous daughter of Duke Leti Atreides I and his concubine Jessica Atreides. She is known as Saint Alia of the Knife and was born on Arrakis. She is the younger sister of Paul Atreides.

Alia was susceptible to abomination from before she was born. This is because her mother, Jessica, drank the Water of Life when she was barely in the womb. She lived many years with the Fremen and witnessed when her brother conquered the palace of Arrakeen.

It was she who, during the invasion, poisoned Baron Vladimir Harkonnen with a Gom Jabbar. And she murdered her water soldiers who were already dying, hence her nickname Saint Alia of the Knife.

After the death of her older brother, Alia went from being a princess to the Imperial regent of the Atreides Empire. While in power, she was corrupted and established a cult of personality.

What made her fall into an abomination was being secretly tormented by the living personalities of countless ancestors. One of these was Vladimir Harkonnen, who tried to use her to claim power while dead.

His death was so imminent that this was the only cure against the abominations for the Fremen. Alia commits suicide after ordering the murder of her beloved brother, The Preacher.

Leto Atreides II

Leto Atreides II was the second son of Paul Atreides and his Fremen concubine, Chani Kynes. He is best known as the God Emperor. He is a twin with his sister Ghanima.

After the death of his aunt Alia Atreides, Leto Atreides II proclaimed himself Emperor of the Atreides Empire. His rule lasted approximately 3500 years, and he guided humanity with an iron fist to survive.

Both Leto and his twin sister Ghanima were born on the planet Arrakis, where their father, Paul Atreides, was the Emperor. Their mother died when she gave birth to them due to multiple complications that arose during childbirth.

After their mother’s death and their father’s presumed death, their aunt, the regent Alia, took them. They were given a good education but little attention. This was because the abomination possessed their aunt.

The House Atreides, Descendants of King Agamemnon

Dune – House Atreides and House Harkonnen explained | The Digital Fix Image: Warner Bros. Pictures

Frank Herbert’s story is again captured in a film of the same name, Dune. Thus, intrigues, passions and betrayals are the order of the day. From director and screenwriter Denis Villeneuve, the second part of this plot is expected on November 3, 2023.

With a cast that includes Zendaya, Timothée Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, and Dave Bautista, among others, fans are waiting for what this movie will bring. Knowing how controversial its characters are, it is not surprising that there is intrigue in the approach to it.

Featured Image Via Warner Bros. Pictures

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