On Arrakis the Fremen have a deep spiritual regard for the sandworms (and essentially consider them an embodiment of their view of god), but they are also collecting water and saving it, with the idea that one day they can use their water to make Arrakis a green planet again.

However, the sandworms need desert to survive and their very nature means they spread the desert area they inhabit until it covers as much of the planet as possible.

So it would seem the Fremen goal of making Arrakis green would be counter to their spiritual worship of the sandworms.

Are they aware of this and do they recognize this contradiction? Did they have plans to preserve the desert along with making part of the planet green? It seems one of their major cultural goals would be the destruction of one of the few animals they worshipped. How did they reconcile this?

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    That would have been sad, if they died off. The sandworms were splendid. Commented Dec 23, 2012 at 5:49

4 Answers 4


In Dune Stilgar describes the Fremen dream as:

"... we shall change the face of Arrakis ... We shall make a homeworld of Arrakis—with melting lenses at the poles, with lakes in the temperate zones, and only the deep desert for the maker and his spice."

So they do seem to believe that space will be left for the worms. I don't think we know whether that is what Liet-Kynes's plan actually predicted.

In Dune Messiah quite a bit of progress has been made in the planting and watering of the desert, and people are noticing that the worms stay farther out. Some Fremen are beginning to long for the old way of life, but it seems to be nostalgia for a simpler time, not a reasoned belief that the worms will go extinct.


They didn't understand until Leto II assumed control and told them what was going to happen to Dune.

In God Emperor, Leto II gives some hints that he let the transformation continue because the end result would save humanity. As later proven in the "Prequel" books.

The real contradiction is that Liet-Kynes didn't see the obvious problem with terraforming Arrakis and how that would destroy the existing ecosystem.

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    It seems plausible that Liet-Kynes did see the problem. Not being brought up with sandworm-worship like the natives, he simply didn't care. He wanted what was best for the world and the fremen, not the sandworms.
    – Tynam
    Commented Apr 19, 2012 at 14:48
  • @Tynam - you make a good point...Liet-Kynes realized the connection between spice and worm. As a planetologist he may have been so focused on the change that he didn't realize the other connection between sand-trout and water, or didn't care.
    – SteveED
    Commented Apr 20, 2012 at 0:12

The contradiction is very very small as far as time period it lasted.

The Fremen only started to collect the water and think about eco-forming Arrakis when Liet-Kynes convinced them to, and ended when Paul Atreides, Muad'Dib, became their religious leader. Most Fremen probably were so far away from the idea of a desert-less planet that they did not really associate their work of collecting water with the eventual outcome of the end of Sandworms.

I'm not aware of canon explanation, but the above seems to make sense.


I mostly agree, though the Fremen have been collecting water with wind traps for ages. The old dream of vegetation on dune preceeded Kynes though being an ecologist, he actually had the knowledge to move forward in that direction. The connection between water and the threat to the old man of the desert came quite a bit later.

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    Who are you agreeing with here? Since you posted this as an answer, it should focus on addressing the question rather than any of the previous answers or comments. When you've earned enough reputation to unlock the comment everywhere privilege, you can leave comments beneath other users' questions and answers. In the meantime, you should focus on earning reputation by posting good questions and/or answers of your own. Take the tour and visit the help center to learn more. Commented Jun 2, 2022 at 4:40
  • Oh, who can I agree with? Commented Jul 6, 2022 at 0:07

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