I am reading Frank Herbert's "Dune".

The Atreides have just moved to to Arrakis and are preparing for the attack of Harkonnen. They know the fact that Harkonnen forces will be extended with some amount of Imperial Sardaukar legions.

Who notified the Atreides about Imperial Sardaukar legions coming with the Harkonnen to Arrakis?


1 Answer 1


No-one notified them. It was a "mentat projection" (viz. a guess) by Hawat, based on the following facts;

  • The Harkonnen wouldn't have given up the planet if they didn't have a plan to take it back

“The Harkonnens took ten billion solaris out of here every three hundred and thirty Standard days.”
A muted gasp ran around the table. Even the younger aides, who had been betraying some boredom, sat up straighter and exchanged wide-eyed looks. Halleck murmured: “‘For they shall suck of the abundance of the seas and of the treasure hid in the sand.’ ”

  • The Emperor personally ordered them to take over Dune, suggesting his direct involvement in a plot against the Atreides Duke.

“You see, gentlemen,” Leto said. “Is there anyone here so naive he believes the Harkonnens have quietly packed up and walked away from all this merely because the Emperor ordered it?”

  • The Harkonnen don't have sufficient troops to attack the Atreides directly. Their forces have been dramatically depleted by Fremen attacks and despite their numbers, they weren't much good to begin with.

“There’s nothing definite,” he said. “They wish to observe us for a while, Duncan believes. They did, however, promise to stop raiding our outlying villages during a truce period. That’s a more important gain than it might seem. Hawat tells me the Fremen were a deep thorn in the Harkonnen side, that the extent of their ravages was a carefully guarded secret. It wouldn’t have helped for the Emperor to learn the ineffectiveness of the Harkonnen military.”

  • The Landsraat don't support the Emperor or the Baron, leaving the Sardaukar as the only forces at the Emperor's disposal.

“Our enemies have a head start—too much of a lead to overcome.”
“The Emperor,” Paul said. “That means the Sardaukar.”
“Disguised in Harkonnen livery, no doubt,” the Duke said. “But the soldier fanatics nonetheless.”

  • I think that last quote is the clincher; it's from Paul and Leto talking before they leave for Arrakis. Leto feeds Paul (a mentat in training) the basic information, and Paul concludes the Emperor is involved, and that Sardaukar will this be used; Leto the extends the conclusion to it's logical end -- disguised Sardaukar. The major twist that catches them is they didn't realize the amount which the Baron was willing to spend to win (the scale of the assult); every cent from Arrakis for 60 years was 'just barely' enough to repay the expense, per the Baron, later talking to Rabban.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 16:17
  • @K-H-W - Indeed, nor do they realise that the Guild is willing to extend easy payment terms as an incentive for an overwhelming assault
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 16:19
  • And as I've understood showing Sardaukar in front of Landsraat is the fact of involving Emperor and it is enough for Landsraat to start judging Emperor? Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 16:22
  • 7
    @NikitaLapkov - Yes. The Emperor isn't supposed to use the Sardaukar against any members of the Landsraat, only as a defensive force against rogue elements. If they hauled a few "false flag" troops up, the Emperor's position would be untenable.
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 29, 2016 at 16:26
  • 1
    @RogerLipscombe - Precisely. Paul suggests that they go to the Landsraat. His father points out that until the trap is sprung, all that'll do is harm their case. "If we put this before the Landsraad it’d only create a great cloud of confusion. The Emperor would deny it. Who could gainsay him? All we’d gain is a little time while risking chaos. And where would the next attack come from?”"
    – Valorum
    Commented Aug 30, 2016 at 8:10

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