No, it’s just the Emperor’s Sardukar. There is no central force of the Imperium besides that of House Corrino, so who would they answer to? Anyway, there isn’t any sort of alien forces to defeat. There are no intelligent aliens anywhere in the Dune universe. So who would this hypothetical army fight? And on whose behalf?


The Emperor does have the right to levy troops from other planets to support the Sardaukar. It's the closest thing they have to an pan-Imperial Army. But yeah the Sardaukar are the core. >"But the supporting levies the Emperor demands from—" >"That's what we're led to believe: they're just the Emperor's levies trained young and superbly. You hear an occasional muttering about the Emperor's training cadres, but the balance of our civilization remains the same: the military forces of the Landsraad Great Houses on one side, the Sardaukar and their supporting levies on the other. And their supporting levies, Paul. The Sardaukar remain the Sardaukar."


Not sure, all i know about the universe is from the movie, i assumed there are aliens civs my bad. As to who would they answer to, i assume like in irl empires that the Emperor has advisors/generals or whatever and he is not directly commanding all wars, maybe they answer to a council with 1 dude from each house or something


The “Empire” in Dune is actually more feudal in character than say, the real life Roman and Chinese empires. The “state” does not have a monopoly on the use of force - rather, there are still feudal lords who maintain their own private forces, who at least nominally swear allegiance to the “lord of lords” AKA the “king”, but in practice can order their forces to rebel at any time they want. Reverend Mother Mohiam describes Dune’s balance of power as such: “Don’t be facetious, girl! You know as well as I do what forces surround us. We’ve a three-point civilization: the Imperial Household balanced against the Federated Great Houses of the Landsraad, and between them, the Guild with its damnable monopoly on interstellar transport. In politics, the tripod is the most unstable of all structures. It’d be bad enough without the complication of a feudal trade culture which turns its back on most science.” The Emperor’s personal forces, the Sardaukar, are by far the strongest out of the bunch. However, even the Sardaukar cannot stand before the other Houses of the Landsraad if they unite. The main reason why Emperor Corrino destroyed the Atreides was because he was afraid that Duke Leto could lead the Houses in a revolt against his rule and seize control of the Empire. Some of the better Atreides troops were almost as good as the Sardaukar, and a few, like Gurney and Duncan, were even better. But more importantly, Leto and the Atreides brand were becoming extremely popular, in part because of their longstanding reputation for “honesty” and “decency”, in part because of Leto’s personal charisma In theory, the other “leg” of the tripod, the Spacing Guild, could seize power at any moment they wanted to because of their ability to see the future and their monopoly on FTL travel. They could amass power and influence, seize Dune and its spice supply, and rule the galaxy directly. However, being prescient, they also foresaw that their reign would be short and disastrous, and so they never dared to take this route, even though it looked like they could easily conquer everyone if they wanted to. They preferred to be parasites, leeching off of the existing feudal society, rather than killing the golden goose, metaphorically speaking The Bene Gesserit secret society could also, in theory, seize power at any moment they wanted to through superhuman abilities like the Voice, immortality, prana bindu mind body control etc. However, as explained by Jessica to Thufir, the Bene Gesserit, like the Guild, chose not to assume direct control of the galaxy because they had no need to - they could achieve their goals (breeding the ubermensch) much more easily through subtle manipulation of galactic society, rather than openly ruling over the populace, with all the complications that entailed. Of course, this careful balance of power could never have lasted much longer, and it was utterly shattered by the religious fanaticism and hydraulic despotism unleashed by Paul and his son. Previously, Dune (Arrakis) was a “neutral” zone that everyone coveted, but control of it was always carefully managed so no single party could amass too much power. The Emperor’s House, Corrino, was prohibited by the Landsraad from having Arrakis. And the Emperor would frequently change stewardship of Arrakis to various Houses that won his favour, ensuring that none of them ruled Arrakis for too long. And the Guild and Bene Gesserit were too much of a pussy to seize control of it for themselves, despite their dependence on its spice Paul broke all conventions by conquering Dune, declaring himself Emperor, unleashing religious fanaticism against a galaxy that was previously quite laissez faire and secular/indifferent towards religion, using a Fremen Jihad to murder billions and crush thousands of planetary cultures, placing himself at the head of a messianic cult of personality, monopolising spice, taking control of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood’s breeding program, and using prescience to rule, just like the Guild could have (but were too afraid to) have done In retrospect, a lot of in universe historians regarded Paul and Leto II’s ascension, or something like it , to have been almost inevitable. The rickety balance of power between the Landsraad, Empire, Guild, Bene Gesserit, CHOAM etc. was way too unstable to last for long. Someone was going to upset the balance and make a total power grab eventually, possibly triggering an apocalyptic atomic war in the process. In the end, a Bene Gesserit rogue mad science project (Paul), harnessing the previously overlooked potential of the Fremen, managed to pre-empt all of them and take control of Dune (and by extension the galaxy) before anyone else could make their move And to cut a long story short, Paul’s son Leto II took that revolution to its natural conclusion. He combined all the superhuman powers of Dune’s various factions - Bene Gesserit ancestral memory, religious manipulation and mind control, Guild prescience, Tleilaxu genetic engineering, Ixian forbidden technology, Fremen fanaticism and spice monopoly - and used them to turn himself into an immortal tyrant worm whose rule lasted for three millennia, and throwing the galaxy into a semi medieval state of technological stagnation and despotic theocracy When the Tyrant’s rule collapsed, mankind “Scattered” far beyond the reaches of the Old Imperium, freed from the taboos that had shackled them to the few light years surrounding Arrakis. (Which apparently was Leto II’s plan the whole time) The new power structure of the Old Imperium consisted of the Bene Gesserit, this time ruling openly instead of covertly, Ix, which manufactured electronic computers for FTL navigation and other high tech now that the Butlerian Jihad and Guild monopoly was abandoned, and the Tleilaxu, who figured out how to synthesise spice in their axlotl tanks and consolidated power with their Face Dancers and other genetically modified weapons. No more Emperor, no more Houses, no more Guild - the previously marginalised “secret societies” that used forbidden techniques (Ix, Tleilaxu, Bene Gesserit) rose up to take open control of the galaxy now the old taboos against computers, genetic modification and “witches” were gone. House Corrino, the Guild and the “Great” Houses still technically existed, but they were a very distant shadow of their former selves And finally, there’s the unstoppable “alien”invaders swooping in to smash everything; rogue humans returning from Scattering known as the Honored Matres, who broke the last taboos against sexual dominance mind control and all out nuclear warfare, and went on a fucking and nuking rampage across the galaxy, destroying Arrakis, the Tleilaxu, Ix, and nearly destroying the Bene Gesserit before ending up merging with them after a coup. The Honored Matres were stupid, shortsighted and impulsive, but super orgasms + super nukes > super intelligence + super politics So the galaxy in the series started with a relatively decentralised feudal authority, with power shared between the Emperor, Landsraad and Guild, then became highly centralised under Paul and Leto II, decentralised again between the Bene Gesserit, Ixians and Tleilaxu, and then centralised again under the Honored Matres


Also before the events of arrakis my understanding of the balance of power was: The emperor could "easily" crush the atreides alone, but any open move to do that would trigger the landstraad to unite against the emperor, and that's why they need to finish house atreides without an open war


Yeah, open warfare between Houses is permitted under a strict set of rules known as Kanly. The Emperor used the Harkonnens as cover to crush the Atreides using his Sardaukar, framing it as the Harkonnens defeating the Atreides in a “fair” Kanly duel


You are correct. The Emperor was getting nervous because the Atreides elite soldiers were getting pretty damn close to being able to take on the Sardaukar. Individuals within the Atreides forces were already very capable of handling Sardaukar individually. And, Leto was popular enough among the Landsraad that they might actually be ok with an Atreides sitting on the throne. Previously, the reason the Landsraad didn't unite against the emperor was because they were afraid that in the ensuing power struggle someone other than their own house would take the throne - especially since if they were the obvious leaders of the rebellion they would be the most targeted by the Sardaukar and probably wouldn't have enough strength left. They were all waiting for someone else to start the thing so that family would get demolished, but also afraid that *if* anyone else started the thing then that other family might actually succeed. So the best plan was to just let House Corrino have the throne and if anyone challenges the Emperor, well, they can die by Sardaukar and that's one less rival in the Landsraad. The other factor was that House Harkonnen had squeezed an obscene amount of money out of Arrakis while they were in charge. They were by a wide margin the most wealthy of the Landsraad, and Vladimir Harkonnen was a devious, cunning bastard who knew how to leverage that wealth where he could, and employ all kinds of blackmail and torture and assassination where he couldn't. Vladimir was also planning to make a play for the throne by negotiating a marriage between his nephew Feyd Rautha and Emperor Shaddam's daughter, Princess Irulan. With that in place, he could use his wealth to push the Corrinos out. The Emperor's plan gets rid of both threats. He offered to help Baron Vlad, but House Harkonnen had to pay for *everything*. The Spacing Guild charges a *lot* of money to transport anything military. The Baron moved a lot of soldiers - both his own and the Sardaukar - and moved them all very quickly. He saved up for years, squeezing every penny that he could from Arrakis, called in basically every outstanding debt he was owed, used a ton of political favors and blackmail, and even smuggled out extra spice that the Emperor "didn't know about" (of course, the Emperor knew it was happening, but it was more than even he was aware of), took out a bunch of loans, and *still* nearly bankrupted the entire house *just* in the one endeavor to destroy the Atreides.


Part of the Great Convention was that the Imperial House could not intervene in inter-House conflicts (e.g. Atreides-Harkonnen). Shaddam IV lending Sardaukar to House Harkonnen for the sacking of Atreides-controlled Arrakis would break this law, so he had them disguised as Harkonnen soldiers and expected there to be no surviving witnesses.


> monopolising spice, taking control of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood’s breeding program, and using prescience to rule, just like the Guild could have (but were too afraid to) have done The rest of it was Leto II, Paul couldn't stand the personal cost for the golden path


> The rickety balance of power between the Landsraad, Empire, Guild, Bene Gesserit, CHOAM etc. was way too unstable to last for long. I thought that rickety balance had lasted for 1000s of years. I agree it was unstable, but I thought House Corrino was successful for 1000s of years using 'active management' (deceit, treachery, etc) to keep the balance


The idea is that it *became* unstable because so long had past since the Battle of Corrin. The rise and fall of the dynasty was predicated on specific and ripe historical contexts. Faykan Butler - who later changed his surname and became Emperor Faykan Corrino I, the first emperor of the new order after the Butlerian Jihad - created the Landsraad League and since he had a lot of clout for having ended the Machine Scourge during the Battle of Corrin, he managed to put in place a political structure that bowed to House Corrino. His house had the most votes in the Landsraad and the Great Houses were chosen with enough cunning that the Corrino lineage could always secure enough additional votes to advance their political agenda. But in terms of longevity, you not only have the cunning of Faykan but you also have the emergence of The Guild very early on in the reign of his dynasty (some 80 years after he died). So The Guild (perhaps the most valuable ally of any Emperor and initially in need of the Emperor's goodwill) emerges within a political structure that is controlled by House Corrino. Early on, The Guild, the Corrinos, and the Bene Gesserit basically agree to become allies in order to create a stable and absolute galactic power center and don't feel the need to rock the boat for 10'000 years. Like any long-standing hegemon, the successors keep piling up too many backstabbings and scheming - to the point that the legitimacy of the Corrinos could be questioned. Again, this happens to coincide with the birth of Paul. The historical philosophy of Dune is always a combination of historical determinism and Great Man of History. Faykan was lucky in a historical sense (with the Jihad happening in his lifetime and The Guild becoming a thing so early into his dynasty) but he also did put the last nail in the coffin of history. Someone else would have created a stable hegemony, given the historical context and the existence of The Guild but it just happened to be the Corrinos. 10K years later, Corrinos were stumbling and the foundations of the balance of power was becoming shaky but Paul had to have been born for it to collapse. Someone else would have destroyed the balance soon enough but it just happened to be Paul, who went on to obliterate it.


>in part because of Leto’s personal charisma And, as the Atreides themselves admit, the biggest propaganda budget in the Empire.


Yeah, that’s why I put “honesty” and “decency” in quotation marks. They do have their principles, but they’re cynical enough about it to treat it like just another tool in their arsenal, and if their back is against the wall, stuff like poisoning wells is plausible for them


I think you're overestimating the power of any individual faction. The Spacing Guild has a monopoly over space travel, but *only* because no one knows how they do it. If they seize power, it would quickly become clear how important Arrakis is to them, and the only reason Arrakis is important is spice. Their monopoly would end. Or, they would quickly find themselves overrun by Sardaukar and other militaries that no longer have anything to lose by seizing the ships. No matter what happens, the guild Navigators physically cannot leave space, so they are reliant on supplies brought up from the surface. The Guild could cut off the rest of humanity from interstellar travel, but the rest of humanity could cut them off from, you know...*food*. The Bene Gesserit have substantial abilities...but they don't have any substantial military power. We see in *Dune* some ways to limit their power, like the deaf guard. It didn't fully work, of course, but it definitely made it harder for Paul and Jessica. The BG have amassed their power by never letting anyone know just how much power they have. Even Gias Helen Mohaim is afraid to push the Emperor too hard to protect Paul, because she doesn't want to reveal too much about their plans and how much control she *could* have. That's why the Kwisats Haderach was so important to their plans, as someone who could step in as the messiah in their artificial religion, gain control over the people directly, and *then* depose the Emperor as the BG continue to hide in the wings as the puppetmaster of the KH. And, as stated, the Emperor only remains in power because the rest of the Landsraad hate the idea of anyone else sitting on the throne only marginally more than they hate the idea of House Corrino sitting on the throne; and, because individually the Landsraad are too afraid of the Sardaukar. The second that equation shifts, they will unite against him and deal with the fallout. Which is exactly the situation arising in *Dune*: Leto is popular enough that people might just be ok with an Atreides emperor, and Baron Harkonnen has hoarded enough wealth to buy his way to the throne. Which is all to say, you aren't wrong, but I think it wasn't simply that the factions chose not to upset the balance of power, they each knew it wouldn't work without some change. The events of *Dune* happen because each faction was trying to affect change in their own way and all of them accidentally, secretly, involved Arrakis.


I mean, everything I said was literally stated by Paul and Jessica in the first book. And I didn’t say anything different from what you described? We’re literally saying the same things - there was a careful balance of power that could have easily been upset by any of the factions, but none of them chose to for various reasons, and then Paul came along, took advantage of those imbalances and it was too late When Paul took control at the end, he addressed the Guild, telling them that they could have seized control of the galaxy, then had their moment of glory as they ruled for a few decades or centuries before the inevitable collapse, but they were too cowardly and parasitical to ever attempt it. Prescience had made them too conservative And Jessica told Thufir that the Bene Gesserit could have used the Voice and other techniques to easily seize direct control of the galaxy and rule openly if they wanted to. All they had to do was use the Voice on the Emperor and the heads of various noble forces, and they would be in control. However, they chose not to go down that path because they felt they had no need to. Later on, after their failures led to Paul and Leto II’s tyranny, the Bene Gesserit decided to just fuck it and take direct control of the old Empire, revealing the full extent of their power and controlling political and military forces directly instead of covertly. And for the most part, they did a pretty decent job, people ended up being mostly fine with the idea of being ruled by witches, and some like Miles Teg and his troops were intensely loyal to the Sisterhood


How long did the balance between Corinno, landsraad and guild last? I gathered from the book it had been a dynamically stable arrangement for hundreds of years. These systems tend to last until you add an additional element to the equation (i.e. prescience + fremen).


Roughly ten thousand years.


Frank Herbert's answer to the Fermi Paradox is that "we were first." We are the ancient primordial first sentient race who stamped the galaxy with our collective dick. Others might evolve in a few million years.


Did humanity even explore most the galaxy, in Dune? I was under the impression that, for all the Empire's grandiosity, it actually wasn't that large geographically compared to the sheer size of the galaxy.


A few hundred light-years. The whole Imperium is located within the Orion spiral arm.


Space is BIG.


Honestly, it's one of my favorite aspects of the Dune universe, compared to a lot of other popular scifi settings. Trek, SW, SG1, The Culture, 40k, etc, etc. They can't just let space be big. I love all those IP's, but it doesn't feel like there's much mystery.


I agree. 40K is particularly bad at it. Thousands upon thousands of worlds, trillions of people, but you never really get a sense of the immensity. For all their attempts to come up with various cultures, it still seems like the Imperium is less diverse culturally than a single planet would be. Dune actually has restraint. We don't see most of the empire, so it's left to the imagination. Ironically, attempting to classify all these different groups has the opposite effect than they attempt to. I do think the Culture is a bit better in that respect, with all the aliens and whatnot. Trek is obviously the worst offender, much as I love it.


Trek is bad, but SW is worse, IMO. Trek plays fast and loose with distances within the Apha quadrant a lot(beginning of First Contact for example, or ST5:FF), but it also uses galactic scale as a major plot point (DS9, Voyager). SW hyperdrive speeds are consistently absurdly fast. Hyperspace lanes, star charts, yeah yeah, I'm not trying to say they don't explain it in universe. But it still ruins the scale for if you can get from Tatooine (outer rim) to Alderaan (core) without a bathroom break.


And then we crush the xeno filth.


Or the planet where the proto-next-intelligent race was gifted to one of the great houses and the *smart apes* were hunted for sport. They never rose because they were wiped out before they could.


There sort of **are** aliens. Iirc it's shown an ancient Alien temple was made, and the Worms are definitely not naturally occurring. In one of the future prophecies they are shown to be implanted on Arrakis long before Humanity rose as a power.


Non-sentient species, yes. Arrakis has several species unique to it, as does the Atreides homeworld of Caladan (several types of fish, aquatic leviathans, seaweed, and sea birds). But it is questionable how sentient the Sand Worms are, and aside from them >!there are no other known alien species outside of the sentient robots that were driven off and plotting to one day return and destroy all mankind. And technically we built them, so it's even debatable if they count as alien or not.!<


Isn't it heavily implied that the sand trout are not natibe to Arrakis, and thus were brought there millenia ago when the world was a jungle planet. I soppose it could have been pre-butlerian (or older humans) but the feeling I got was aliens.


Sea leviathans?


One of the various books on Dune mentions Caladan is a fishing planet noted for the kelp/algae and fish it exports (among other things). Fishing is dangerous due to the large sea creatures that live there. It mentions whale fur at one point.


Leto II built that temple.


One of the coolest things about Dune is how there are no aliens, this is just humanity having colonized the universe in the distant future. I feel like the movie didn't do a good enough job at driving this point home.


It is mentioned in the book that atomics are kept by the houses in case of an encounter with a non-human civilization


No, they were leftover from the jihad against the machines... and much like today,the check and balance against other houses and their nukes. The 'rules enforcement' of Dune is piss off enough.of the houses amd they band together, pay the apacing guild a literal shitton of spice, orbit the planet(s) of the other house and nuke them into oblivion. MAD *in spaaaaace* The other thing to rember is Dune's limited resource is travel; with FTL only possibly via the guild and spice,,very rarely is travel big. You have to pay, in spice (aka immortality and superpowers) for every person and object you ask the guild to move. So huge armies are.for defense on planets you have been on already. The whole Atredies moves to Dune is a crazy exception, and thats why the Harkonen reinvasion was so crazy (and Emperor fueled) - it was way bigger than considered possible. The Harkonen had been stealing spice for a very long time from CHOAM to have a war chest to fund leaving Dune and reinvading. Like centuries of planning.


I'll have to find the quote, but I'm 100% positive it is mentioned that they're kept in case humanity encounters a rival alien intelligence. *Edit* “They were undoubtedbly sincere in subscribing to the argument that nuclear weapons were a reserve held for one purpose: defense of humankind should a threatening 'other intelligence' ever be encountered.” - Children of Dune chapter 19


I wonder if that means aliens or if they were still paranoid about the sentient machines still being out there somewhere.


Yeah that was my belief, mainly from how they use "intelligence" in the quote.


That doesn’t necessarily indicate that that’s why they were kept. It indicates that someone (“they”) is sincere in *believing* that’s why they were kept. Who is speaking, who they are speaking to, and who they are speaking of?


This quote was from Alia's thoughts, and the "they" is great houses who hold Atomics. Just using it to point put that there was an in-universe mention of contingencies against possible non-human intelligent races.


Given that Dune humanity lives in fear of another war against artificial intelligences, I read that paragraph as fear of AI, not aliens.


> There are no intelligent aliens anywhere in the Dune universe. This is true, but it also comes up as one of the reasons why the houses still all maintain nuclear stockpiles. They claim that it is in case they do run into an external force. It's only a few throwaway lines though and not really relevant.


>There are no intelligent aliens anywhere in the Dune universe. So who would this hypothetical army fight? And on whose behalf? The great houses each have nuclear weapons with the agreement that those nuclear weapons should only ever be used against some alien force. The use of the Atreides nukes in the first book is a huge controversy in the book because it was used in a "war" against the Emperor. Though the argument on the Atreides side is that it was used to remove a geologic barrier and not against people.


It’s the medical feudal system moved forward to space. If the Emperor needs troops, he has his troops for immediate need while he calls up other houses. Refusing such a call is probably a major offense, but in actual practice I bet a lot of Nobles play games like “well you asked for 10,000 men, but I can give you 5,000 and some extra rations or something.” The Crusader Kings games simulate this reasonably well: aside from a small “Retinue” you have to call up troops when there’s a need. It’s not Civilization where you build an archer in 1,000 AD and keep him around forever but more complex. Consider the minuses: the Emperor doesn’t have to support the bulk of the army but the troops are at arm’s length. They’re trained to often vague specifications by each noble. One noble might bring a force of well-trained professional specialists while another might send a mass of poorly trained conscripts. One might be armed with well-made, standardized, arms and equipment while the other might have troops bring their own gear. I’d assume the fringes of the Dune civilization are probably smaller domains but the nobles controlling those worlds pay less taxes, but instead are called upon to run patrol missions and such.


Patrolling for what?


Threats, real or imagined?


Does house Corrino have a standing army in addition to the sardukar?


No, their standing army *is* the Sardukar.


Jumping in to point out, this specific reason, the alien issue, is why each house is allowed to keep their atomics.


well... there is the AI...


The Imperium is a feudalistic society. The Padishah Emperors of House Corrino control their personal military unit, the Sardukar. This they would do whether they were Emperors or not. The Houses of the Imperium all control their own separate military forces at the same time, independent of each other. Atreides and Harkonnen, for example, wield their own military forces to guard their fiefdoms and control their space. Each House military is funded by that House, and so invariably the greater houses, with more profitable fiefs and greater shares in the CHOAM corporation, wield larger militaries. The use of military forces is strictly regulated by the Landsraad, the council of great houses. They control the use of nuclear weapons, and decide whether to allow the deployment of military force to resolve disputes. At the same time, they also guarantee defense to Houses attacked without justification, which is a weight of power even the Emperor cannot withstand. ​ So, if the Emperor wished to amass a large army to campaign against a rebel lord, he would need to seek the approval of the Landsraad, which would decide whether to allow such an undertaking. If they allow the Emperor to launch the military campaign, the Great Houses of the Landsraad, the Imperial House included, would then spend time marshalling their forces before setting off to war. ​ The only way to make war besides defying the Landsraad through treachery, such as the plot to eliminate the Atreides, is through assassins. Each House made extensive use of assassins and spies to wage shadow campaigns against each other for power.


What I remember from the books is that the Sardaurkar are stronger than any individual Great House but that the Emperor couldn't defeat the combined armies of all the Great Houses. In this way a balance was maintained. The Spacing Guild generally stayed out of politics and the Bene Gessserit were doing something most people didn't understand. The Harkonnen reconquest of Arrakis was what all the Great Houses feared. The Emperor picking one House to ally with meaning he could pick off each individually because with the Emperor picking sides no Great House could trust any of the others not to betray them to the emperor.


\>In this way a balance was maintained. Until the crazy witches decided to create a precog God and fuck up the entire civilization Dune truly was sci fi Breaking Bad.


The Bene Gesserit are perfectly balanced with no exploits.


It really is quite the magic trick when they flip the entire thing to show you that the guys you've been cheering for are basically going to get to manipulate humanity to do whatever they want for the following thousands of years. I'm glad I didn't read that Herbert quote about charismatic leaders before reading the series, it would have spoiled the trick.


I mean, it would have worked had Jessica given birth to a daughter.


Yeah in not so sure the entire "oh man Jessica is such a rebel" thing was as random as the book makes it out to be. Everything else they do seem calculated to such a comical extent that it wouldn't surprise me one bit if the intion was to eventually reveal that Paul was born when he was by design.


I've often wondered about that. The Jihad Paul starts seems to be part of a plan, maybe? I honestly don't know what to think half the time reading those books. But the Bene Gessserit are so planned out over such enormous time scales if I was betting I'd say Jessica was supposed to bear a son or it was built into some back up plan to the back up plan.


Not to mention I really get the impression that if they honestly didn't want Paul to take on that role there are dozens of ways he could 'have an accident' before he ever got to arrakis


Unlikely, as the deaths of billions and the loss of all political power is a terrible plan.


Depends on your ultimate goal.


Paul’s spice is 99.1% pure.


The empire doesn't have any rivals...there are no known aliens and it contains all human settlements of any significance. But if it did need a larger military force, the emperor would call on his nobles to lead their troops as a part of a larger army


The Imperium’s military are exclusively made up of the different private armies of the houses of the Landsraad and the Sardaukar are meant to be of equal power to all of the other armies combined. The way it works is there’s always a perfect balance between all of those noble armies and the emperor’s Sardaukar so he could never attempt to destroy the other families and become a tyrant or other families could unite to forcefully remove him. That’s actually one of the reasons why what Shaddam and Baron Harkonnen did was so bad: he conspired with a house to eliminate another house and thus breaking the rules of the Landsraad. That’s why the Sardaukar he sent had to be disguised as Harkonnens because if people found out the emperor now had the power to wipe out any house he didn’t like none of them would see a reason to follow him and it would basically destroy the foundation of the imperium.


Great video about the Sardukar https://youtu.be/wJFwBTHuQhU


that's just how feudalism works. the expense of space travel means you can't realistically administer much more then a few planets, so to have a military larger then a few planets worth of resources can support is not possible; so you have to ask the houses to support you to do anything on any scale.


If im not mistaken, the first emperor came from the sardaukar peoples when they were a civilization of hardened, sparta-like warriors. the implementation of prisoners into the society is a relatively recent thing, ie sardaukar are not just prisoners who survived training, but prisoners who survived training by born sardaukar and thus are accepted into the ranks. in short, the sarduakar are the empires forces, but answer only to the emperor, who is sardaukar through lineage


No, They have their own guards, i guess in theory if there was an outside threat they could call on the individual houses to form a unified army.


Not really. House Corrino has ruled the empire for millennia, so the line between their family property and state property is basically nonexistent.


There is no State. A state is a third party through which the rulers exert power over the the ruled. It outlasts particular rulers, and may be used as a lever against them. It has rules to which all are bound (in varying degrees), but more importantly it has independent means of enforcing those rules. There is no court into which the Corrino Emperor could be dragged. The emperor does whatever he sees fit to do with whatever he can lay his hand upon, until and unless he is compelled by the power of other players to do otherwise. Those other players are likewise unbound. They may choose to exert their strength and influence over the emperor, or they may choose not to - whichever suits their own whims and motivations at the time. House Corrino maybe the most visible house, and they may wield out-sized power compared to other houses, but ultimately the entire arrangement is an uneasy alliance between powerful players who place their confidence in their own ability to maneuver and compel rather than in a body of independent laws that constitute what we would consider a “state”.


> There is no court into which the Corrino Emperor could be dragged. False, he could be brought before the Landsraad and the High Council.


Yes he can be brought before the Landsraad, but there are no space police to arrest him and drag him there. Either he shows of his own volition or the great houses use their military force to effectively kidnap him.


Debatable what the difference is between space police and military force in a feudal society.


Who they answer to is a strong indicator.


Those other players I mentioned? That’s not a court. That is not an independent institution.


No, government is too decentralized. If Houses are in a dispute that interferes with the general business of the Imperium the Emperor will send his troops to intervene. As for defense from outsiders… what outsiders?


No. If someone wanted to conquer a new planet they would ask the Emperor for permission. He'd charge them a fee or deny them. Assuming they got his permission, they would use their army to do the job. There is no external force sufficient that the Empire needs an army. If there was, he would call to the houses to bring together their armies to fight it along with his own units. This is very much setup like a feudal liege lord and his bannermen.


Nope. The nobility are expected to have their own armies, and they form the Empire's army. I gather this is similar to how it was in Europe several centuries ago.


It is a feudal system. Each house is sworn to the emperor and can be called upon to bring troops. Houses can have a standing army and or draft levies.


The Emperor *is* the Empire.


The Emperor and the Empire are practically synonymous in this setting, and this is by design: That separation of power allows the Emperor to have a terrifying but relatively small force in the Sardaukar, but forces him to rely on the support of other houses for large military actions. It also gives the Houses a chance to check the Emperor, as long as they are united and react like the mutual defense pact that they're supposed to be. As a result the Emperor could crush any individual house if he wanted to (albeit at a high cost if he attacked a major house in their stronghold like the Atreides on Caladan or the Harkonnen on Geidi Prime) but the Sardaukar couldn't take on an alliance of multiple houses.


Nah, just the Sardukar. It's structured more like a medieval army where each lord, or house, had their own private army that gets drafted into a bigger one by order of the regent


The Lansraad Guard was parlance to a sort of NATO Force. They weren’t objectively all that powerful, but they were a composite force from all of the Houses of the Lansraad.