It's is explained in the first "Dune" book that the Harkonnens have had the stewardship of Arrakis for 80 years before handing it over to the Atreides but who had the 'fief' before them?

  • Thief = A naughty person who takes things that aren't theirs. Fief = An estate of land under feudal control
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 14:18
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    @Valorum keeping me right again, it been a long day and predictive text not helping me much! Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 14:19
  • A race of Arraknids.
    – Paul
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 19:24

1 Answer 1


Assuming you consider the prequel books by Herbert's son to be canon, the answer is that the fiefdom of Arrakis was previously held by House Richese.

"As our ambassador has explained repeatedly to your emissaries," Calimar added.

"Since my House lost control of the spice operations on Arrakis -- you replaced us, don't forget -- we have attempted to rebuild our economic foundation." The Premier held his chin high, pretending that he still had some pride left.

"Initially, the downfall of Ix was a boon to us, removing competition. However, our finances remain somewhat . . . strained."

The Baron's spider-black eyes flashed, relishing Calimar's embarrassment. House Richese, manufacturers of exotic weaponry and complex machines, experts in miniaturization and Richesian mirrors, had made initial market-share gains against rival Ixian companies during the upheavals on Ix.

House Harkonnen: Prelude to Dune #2

  • haven't been through the Herbert Jr stuff yet but is there any reason they are not cannon other than staunch fans not accepting it? Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 17:46
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    @Seamusthedog - Well, they're supposedly based on Herbert Sr.'s notes, but in reality I suspect that they're just ghost-written using his family name and a few pages of rough outlines. Also, they're quite badly written.
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 17:54
  • Oh well, might save myself the effort and give them a pass. Do you know if there is a definitive canon encyclopaedia? Would be good to be as up to speak as possible for the Villeneuve outing Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 18:40
  • The Dune Encyclopedia is worth a read. It's no longer considered canon but it's still excellent. You'd probably also enjoy (and find useful) The Road to Dune as it contains some info about how Herbert got from the short story to the full novel and beyond
    – Valorum
    Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 18:47
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    The Encyclopedia was never canon, in fact. It's written from an in-universe perspective, post-God Emperor, and gets lots of things wrong on purpose. (There's a whole article arguing that Paul and Chani were mythological figures who didn't really exist, for example.) Commented Mar 23, 2019 at 19:28

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