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From Frank Herbert's original series, some suggestions why this might be the case -

Mainly:

  • In Heretics of Dune, Lucilla is described as resembling his biological mother, and Lucilla resembles Darwi Ordrade (an Atreides) who apparently resembles Lady Jessica

Supporting reasons:

  • He is from Geidi Prime originally
  • He is employed in the breeding programs of Leto II and the Bene Gesserit repeatedly.
  • The Bene Gesserit program valued the Harkonnen genetic line, while Leto II describes Idaho as more Atreides than the Atreides (and the Atreides have Harkonnen blood via Jessica)
  • He has the black hair and green eyes that Paul Atreides has
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2 Answers 2

While it is possible that Idaho is a distant descendant of a Harkonnen, there is no canon reference to this being so. Nor are there any real hints; I'm honestly surprised you read it that way, though it is an interesting possibility. Leto II merely means that Idaho takes the Atreides notions of morality more seriously than the Atreides themselves did, and the use of him in the breeding program is explicitly described as a "wildcard" by Leto II himself in God-Emperor of Dune, introduced specifically due to its unpredictability when combined with the relatively well-traced Atreides line.

The black hair and green eyes are hardly uncommon - I have them myself - and are probably due to the fact that Idaho was originally supposed to be from Caladan. Herbert seems to have forgotten which of his two Swordmasters was which in later novels.

This is a very good first question.

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In House Atreides, it said his parents were murdered in front of him. His parents were slaves of the harkonnens, but I don't recall it saying their bloodline.

from wiki Meanwhile, the young Harkonnen slave boy no. 11368, Duncan Idaho, is trying to escape the forests of Giedi Prime, where the na-baron Glossu Rabban is trying to kill him as a part of a game he and his friends are playing. Duncan finally manages to escape the planet, boarding a heighliner en route to Caladan.

if his parents had been harkonnen, would they have been slaves? I think not.

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