Why is it important to the Bene Gesserit to use the blood of Noblemen in their Kwisatz Haderach breeding program? Are there no other (possibly better) candidates that they could obtain genetic material from? What makes the Noblemen's blood so special?

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    I suspect a big part of it was simply Frank Herbert saying to himself: "If the B.G. are secretly pulling strings to breed together members of two of the most powerful Noble Houses, that's far more dramatic for my readers than it would be if I said they're trying to get a Very Obscure plumber's son to marry an Equally Obscure farmer's daughter on some backwater planet where none of the upper nobility ever bother to visit!"
    – Lorendiac
    Feb 13, 2017 at 2:44
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    I would imagine that nobels are easier to control so it is other way round - they are not good candidates because they are noble but good candidates become noble in older to easier control them. Usually the marriage are for political reasons and arrange behind the scene. Common people OTOH are harder to control - both in terms of marriage (why BG are interested in obscure plumber son marriage) and control (farmers daughter eloping after 3 years of marriage is not big deal but is matter for war for nobles). Feb 13, 2017 at 2:52
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    Thats two pretty good answers in comments - why don't you put them as such?
    – Yasskier
    Feb 13, 2017 at 3:31
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    Well, in my case, because it wasn't a "solid answer" -- it was a Wild Guess about what Frank Herbert might have been thinking, with Zero Evidence to back it up. I'd feel silly calling that: "The Answer to this question!" (It also occurs to me, after reading Maciej's comment, that if the B.G. wanted their Kwisatz Haderach to become a real mover-and-shaker, they may have felt it was important to try to concentrate the proper genetic characteristics in high-level bloodlines so the KH would inherit all that power from one House or another. The new Atreides Duke or the new Harkonnen Baron?)
    – Lorendiac
    Feb 13, 2017 at 3:48

2 Answers 2


It's not as much matter of genes but matter of control:

  1. Nobles are better protected: It's much more likely that your average Commoner would get killed or raped therefore destroying the line. Same goes to the children.
  2. Nobles (at least women) don't tend to have that many illegitimate children, because they have obligation to continue their lineage and produce heirs - hence if you marry Jane Highborn to John Aristocrat you can be (almost) sure that he will be the father (not your friendly, neighbourhood postman) - it doesn't mean that they won't have lovers or bastards, just that there should be at least one TRUE heir.
  3. It would be easier for Bene Gesserit to orchestrate the desired marriage for a noble house rather than simple commoners - the former marry for political reasons, not for love.
  4. Matter of prestige - it DOES sounds better saying that your Ultimate Being is a child of noble house, rather than born from milkmaid, conceived in suspicious circumstances involving stable boy and too much beer. It would give such person much, much stronger political standing - after all the BG can't simply point a finger at someone and say "Hey, that is the guy we've been planning to create for centuries, listen to him!"
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    Also, considering how much the BG love being in control, and remembering that they've been at this for centuries (millennia?) - they could well have manipulated political events to make nobles out of any commoner bloodlines that they found and decided were worth pursuing.
    – Steve-O
    Feb 13, 2017 at 14:44

The Bene Gesserit basically believe that the cream rises to the top, so that's where they focus their genetic efforts. They pick noblemen and other leadership types because they believe that for these people to distinguish themselves by rising to the top, that implies superior genetic potential.

In Heretics of Dune, Odrade has an encounter with Albertus, the senior of Dar-es-Balat, which demonstrates Bene Gesserit thinking on their genetic choices:

Albertus cleared his throat and took a trembling breath.

Weak bones! Weak flesh!

While the thought amused Odrade, it did not reduce her wariness. Reverend Mothers always noted that sort of thing. You looked for the marks of the breeding. Such selectivity as existed in the ancestry of Albertus carried flaws, elementals that the Sisterhood would try to correct in his descendants if it ever appeared worthwhile to breed him. This would be considered, of course. Albertus had risen to a position of power, doing it quietly but definitely, and it must be determined whether that implied valuable genetic material.

That's why they select noblemen and the like. They want the very best of humanity, and they believe that's where you find them.

  • Seems like what Albertus did wouldn't be dictated by genetics, so much as political motivation.
    – Hydra119
    Feb 21, 2017 at 4:54

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