Please help me figure out what Herbert had in mind in the following passage:

“Wolves in the City, m'Lord?”
“Predators,” Leto said. “Wolves—to me there is no essential difference.”
Moneo gasped.
God Emperor of Dune, Page 178

Leto wants to inoculate humans against the disease of complacency and authoritarianism, as we discover over the course of the book. Moneo does not appear to understand the Golden Path yet. He is starting to figure it out with Leto’s earlier talk of predators. It seems that Leto wants Moneo to view his cruelty as a form of Darwinian selection of the species. But what the heck does Moneo figure out in this scene? Herbert seems to expect the reader to get exactly what the link is with predators and wolves and Leto’s security forces which are under attack - any idea what we are supposed to take from this scene?

  • Wolves are opportunistic, predators and specific in what they are after? Oct 23, 2019 at 15:33
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    Moneo definitely understands the Golden Path. All Atreides who have been "tested" have seen it and understand its necessity. The only thing they don't understand is how Leto's actions support the Golden Path
    – TheBatman
    Feb 19, 2020 at 14:26

1 Answer 1


Basically: the D-Wolves that Leto uses to hunt are, to Leto, not the point. They aren't some eccentric boon of a mad emperor, but a calculated token in a complicated game. He used the actual wolves (that is, the animal wolves that hunted Siona and others) as one way to inspire the rebellion that eventually led to the Scattering. Moneo believed until this point that they were just guard animals and didn't give them much thought.

In this passage, Leto is questioned by Idaho:

"Wolves in the city, M'Lord?"

Idaho is confused, since he knows that there are no actual wolves in the city. Leto is referring to his guards and (possibly) fish speakers, whom he uses to the same effect.

Remember that the Scattering happened because Leto oppressed humanity so much that they would eventually get to a point where they would never let that happen again, and where they would eventually be strong enough to ensure they could actually do it. He set up many ways in which this oppression happened. These were used the same as the D-wolves - to entice rebellion and to strengthen it. Sort of like a "come and take what you want" taunt that, eventually, your "enemy" will become strong enough to actually do.

So, they are hunting "his wolves" in the city (they are attacking his forces). Moneo is starting to understand that the entire thing was foreseen by Leto and that this is what he wanted to happen to progress the Golden Path.

A few paragraphs down, Leto says

"Moneo, the wolves are gone from my forest. They must be replaced by human wolves. See to it."

Leto knows that his "human wolves" are just further enticement to cause the eventual rebellion, and he is telling Moneo this in the passage.

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    I always felt that the subtext was that Mondeo was goggling because he could not believe that Leto did not distinguish between wolves and men. They are simply too far below him. It's one thing to think that your boss is a higher form of life and quite another to actually be confronted with that.
    – Valorum
    Oct 23, 2019 at 18:28
  • But Leto does not say something like "men, wolves, they're all the same to me". He specifically says "predators, wolves..." That he considers his forces to be "predators", not in an animal sense but in the sense of catching and eating "prey" (weaker humans), is what I think is meant here. He says something similar at the end of the chapter, that he prefers to company of predators to the prey. Oct 23, 2019 at 18:31
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    Yes, the predator is what/who strengthens you. You learn and you adapt. Predators kept you alert. Aug 2, 2020 at 21:08

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