8

Bene Gesserit are very angry at Jessica, because she gave birth to a son instead of a daughter. Yup, thats a tough one - 10 000 years of planning for the coming of Kwizats Haderach is at risk. Things still can be saved but it looks grim...

But wait a second... what would happen if she had died? Yes, she is a Revered Mother herself, poison and most assassins have nothing on her, but there was still a distinct possibility that she could die in a traffic accident. Why then there doesn't seem to be a "Backup subject" available? Yes, I understand she might not have a sister, because its hard to imagine Vladimir Harconnen willingly cooperating in producing series of children, but what about a cousin? Why producing only one person on the Kwisatz Haderah breeding program when you can make 10 just in case?

So if Lady Jessica would die before giving birth, would it mean that the whole 10 000 years plan goes down the drain?

8

They did anticipate that see this for some sources.

"You thought only of your Duke's desire for a son," the old woman snapped. "And his desires don't figure in this. An Atreides daughter could've been wed to a Harkonnen heir and sealed the breach. You've hopelessly complicated matters. We may lose both bloodlines now0."

0Bold added

They thought about it, individual lives meant almost nothing to the BG, they had plans within plans to deal with such contingencies.

" 'I am Bene Gesserit: I exist only to serve,' " Jessica quoted.

"Truth." the old woman said. "And all we can hope for now is to prevent this from erupting into general conflagration, to salvage what we can of the key bloodlines1."

1 Italic added

Note that the bloodlines they were discussing (tangentially) were Atreides and Harkonnen, but the quote implies other plans (key bloodlines) not two, but key.

As example can be found in the failed Kwizats Haderach Hasimir Fenring

The Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy establishes that Fenring had actually been born in 10,118 A.G.; his mother, Lady Chaola or Cirni Fenring, had been a Bene Gesserit and lady-in-waiting to Habla, the fourth wife of Shaddam's father, Padishah Emperor Elrood Corrino IX, and served as wet nurse to both her son Hasimir and Crown Prince Shaddam. It is also noted that according to one source, Fenring's mother may also have been a sister to Elrood.2

2Wiki source

Slight digression. The BG breeding program was so entrenched that Leto II actually took it for his own millenia after the opening discussion in Dune:

Leto has taken over the Bene Gesserit's breeding program for himself, the same program that produced his father, the Kwisatz Haderach.

Source

A great point by Drew

One more bit of evidence is in the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam's fear, when Paul Atreides engages in combat with Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, that they might both be killed. She worries that this would "leave only Feyd-Rautha's bastard daughter, still a baby, an unknown, an unmeasured factor, and Aliya, the abomination", for them to work with for their breeding program


Great question!

  • 1
    Great answer. One more bit of evidence is in the Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam's fear, when Paul Atreides engages in combat with Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, that they might both be killed. She worries that this would "leave only Feyd-Rautha's bastard daughter, still a baby, an unknown, an unmeasured factor, and Aliya, the abomination", for them to work with for their breeding program. – Drew C Dec 9 '15 at 17:41
  • If you want, you can add that the BG used Lady Fenring (Hasimir's BG wife) to ensure the preservation of the second line, which was done after Paul's assumed death and before his revealing as Maud'dib. Presumably, she seduced and conceived in secret Feyd-Rautha's child, which is the bastard daughter referred to in your last quote. The Harkonnen's (at least the Baron, Vladmir) were very anti-BG, hence, there was no BG insider in the Harkonnen house available to them, so the Harkonnen line was already in jeopardy. The Barron wouldn't even have women, it is implied in the first novel. – fredsbend Apr 1 at 23:23

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