The Bene Gesserit are a secret and mysterious school of mental and physical training for women. Those who complete the training possess almost superhuman powers of psychological manipulation, as well as combat and survival skills.

Although they present themselves as a sort of religious order who exist "only to serve", the Dune universe is not one where a claim like that could be taken at face value. It seems to be common knowledge that they have an agenda of their own, and the fact that they are often called "witches" suggests that people do understand that they have unusual powers, and that there is a degree of fear and distrust as a result.

In the Dune universe, doctors require supposedly unbreakable psychological conditioning before they can be trusted not to become assassins. Wouldn't the noble houses and the emperor want a similar guarantee before allowing the Bene Gesserit to become counsellors, or intimate life partners?

  • The Bene Gesserit are basically the equivalent of their own noble house. They have their own planet, schools and etc. Doctors, on the other hand are just hired (albeit honoured) servants
    – Valorum
    Feb 2, 2023 at 23:26
  • That is similar to the way the first universities were on equal status with feudal estates in the Middle Ages. But it doesn't explain how readily the ruling classes accept them into their lives, despite clearly being potentially dangerous.
    – Batperson
    Feb 3, 2023 at 0:24
  • 2
    Withe the Bene Gesserit there's a strong chance of being bred. With Doctor assassins a strong chance of being dead. Which is better? Feb 3, 2023 at 3:14
  • The BG were popularly believed to have (unspecified) powers. But the extent of what they could actually do was not known: even Thufir Hawat, spymaster and mentat, was shocked when Jessica revealed it to him. Feb 3, 2023 at 8:15
  • 2
    @lucasbachmann Better bred than dead.haha - your comment got an upvote
    – Danny Mc G
    Feb 3, 2023 at 17:36


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