In Children of Dune, unlike Alia, Leto II is able to command his Other Memories. What did he do differently or how did he do it?

1 Answer 1


Leto II himself doesn't really do anything; the key difference is that Leto and Ghanima are protected from their ancestors by the memory sets that belonged to their parents at the time of their conception, the twins suspect it from an early age:

"...And he quoted from the Bene Gesserit Azhar Book: “It is with reason and terrible experience that we call the pre-born Abomination. For who knows what lost and damned persona out of our evil past may take over the living flesh?”
“I know the history of it,” Ghanima said. “But if that’s true, why don’t we suffer from this inner assault?”
“Perhaps our parents stand guard within us,” Leto said.

Paul defends Leto II from their ancestors, particularly "the maternal grandfather who must not be named", the one who eventually takes over most of Alia's mind. Chani takes the same role in Ghanima's mind. Chani and Paul are stronger voices in the horde within their children's minds than any of the others, while in Alia's case Jessica's father drowns out all the other voices once Alia experiences contact with him:

"...I had only to ask myself what the Baron would've done. And he answered me."

As I recall there is some indication that Jessica's shade may have been able to provide similar aid to Alia but because of the strained relationship between them in the waking world Alia rejects her but that is an impression gather from a number of small things in the story rather than something I can point at a single source for.

The children also play a game where they call up their parents memories to take possession of them so they can learn things from them in a way that is otherwise, for reasons that are never explained, impossible. Paul is, usually, easily able to resist the temptation of staying in control since he had already seen the future and understood his role, and death, before the twins were conceived which makes the game relatively easy and safe for Leto. Chani never had any prescient visions and her death was a hard and unexpected one which makes the game far more dangerous for Ghanima because her mother finds letting go once she is in possession that much harder. The last time they play it takes hours and pleas and outright threats from Paul, Leto II and Ghanima to persuade Chani to retreat from possession of her daughter.

he said. “My father will despise you.”
“I will!”
The sound was jerked out of his throat without his volition and it carried all the old overtones of Voice which Paul had learned from his witch mother.
“Don’t say it,” she moaned.
“I will despise you!”
“Please . . . please don’t say it.”
Leto rubbed his throat, feeling the muscles become once more his own. “He will despise you. He will turn his back on you. He will go into the desert again.”
“No . . . no . . .”
She shook her head from side to side.
“You must leave, mother,” he said.
“No . . . no . . .” But the voice lacked its original force.
Leto watched his sister’s face. How the muscles twitched! Emotions fled across the flesh at the turmoil within her.
“Leave,” he whispered. “Leave.”
“No-o-o-o . . .”
He gripped her arm, felt the tremors which pulsed through her muscles, the nerves twitching. She writhed, tried to pull away, but he held tightly to her arm, whispering: “Leave . . . leave . . .”
And all the time, Leto berated himself for talking Ghani into this parent game which once they’d played often, but she had lately resisted. It was true that the female had more weakness in that inner assault, he realized. There lay the origin of the Bene Gesserit fear.
Hours passed and still Ghanima’s body trembled and twitched with the inner battle, but now his sister’s voice joined the argument. He heard her talking to that imago within, the pleading.
“Mother . . . please—” And once: “You’ve seen Alia! Will you become another Alia?”
At last Ghanima leaned against him, whispered: “She has accepted it. She’s gone.”

  • 1
    A really good answer, but missing quotes to back it up
    – Valorum
    Dec 10, 2021 at 9:14
  • @Valorum There are two really good reasons for that, 1. I'm bad at using enough of a quote without giving away too much of the story. and 2. I think, especially in the case of Dune, and similar works, that people really need to read it for themselves and see what they take away from it, very few passages, or even whole chapters, that I could use as quotes make sense without the context of everything that goes before them.
    – Ash
    Dec 10, 2021 at 9:32
  • @Valorum not sure if that makes any more sense.
    – Ash
    Dec 10, 2021 at 10:10
  • 3
    A substantial improvement, especially the first quote where Leto is speculating why he and Ghanima don't have the same problems.
    – Valorum
    Dec 10, 2021 at 10:13
  • 1
    @DylanSp Not enough of one to make an impression on me but that doesn't mean they don't the Dune series is extremely complex and deeply philosophical and I'm yet to meet any two people who get the same things out of a reading of it.
    – Ash
    Dec 11, 2021 at 1:56

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