For example, super strength, jedi-like abilities, etc? Or was he just really in tune with the spice melange? (Regarding the books, not the movies.)

  • 2
    He could yell "Muad'Dib" and produce Sonic-Boom from a non-canonical weapon. Apr 3, 2014 at 2:20
  • I'll need to double check but aside from prescience I don't think he had any abilities NOT conferred on him by either standard genetics (leadership abilities from Duke Leto and soft skills from Lady Jessica); or training (Prana-Bindu from BG/Jessica and military/political from his teachers). However his prescience allowed him to achieve "supernatural" results; such as knowing the right way to put on stillsuit or being great at sandworm riding. Apr 3, 2014 at 2:22
  • 5
    Considering what is supernatural in Dune, a variation of Clarke’s Third Law comes to mind: Any sufficiently advanced biology are indistinguishable from magic.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Apr 3, 2014 at 9:05
  • 1
    He had the ability to see along future possible timelines. Even if that was his only unusual ability, I'd call it pretty "supernatural" by our standards.
    – Omegacron
    Oct 12, 2017 at 19:15

1 Answer 1


Paul-Muad'Dib Atreides was the Kwisatz Haderach. None of his powers were supernatural - on the contrary, he was the desired (though early) result of a deliberate breeding programme - but they were certainly super-normal, which I believe to be a better term. The primary reason he was bred was to be "a male who would possess absolute prescience, seeing all possible futures and thus being able to cause select threads of time to be realized through manipulation." In other words, the Kwisatz Haderach could see all possible futures, and manipulate them to the advantage of the Bene Gessirit.

Paul-Muad'Dib, while being a Kwisatz Haderach, also had other abilities which were apparently unintended by-products of the breeding programme, as well as his unauthorised training by his mother and other Atreides household staff. He had the Bene Gesserit prana-bindu control over all of his muscles and nerves, which enabled him to do things like transform poisons into drinkable substances within his body (which is a skill possessed by some Jedi, such as Vergere and Jacen Solo, in the Star Wars EU, yes), and potentially granted him eternal youth; Paul didn't use his prana-bindu training for that, but his younger sister, Alia, did in Children of Dune. This did not protect her from physical violence. He was trained by Thufir Hawat as a Mentat, which essentially makes him a human computer. He was also trained in several eclectic fighting styles such as the Bene Gesserit "weirding way" (see the prana-bindu link above) of his mother and the Swordsmaster style of Gurney Halleck and Duncan Idaho.

In the David Lynch film, Paul is shown as possessing supernatural powers, such as the ability to control the weather; he makes it rain at the end of the film. In the introduction to Frank Herbert's anthology Eye, however, Herbert explicitly states that Paul was "a man pretending to be a god, not a god who could make it rain on Dune." I have that book sitting open in my lap as I type this, but if you want a reference you can read online, I can probably track it down for you. So Herbert himself believed that nothing Paul did was supernatural.

One could argue that the ability to see the future is supernatural, but isn't it really just an extension of Paul's latent Mentat abilities? The closest thing to a supernatural event in the books is when Paul drinks the Water of Life and somehow gains knowledge of Guild heighliners and Landsraad frigates orbiting Arrakis. This might also be a simple extension of his Mentat abilities; if the ships were in orbit, they presumably cast shadows, which a non-Mentat might not pick up on, while Paul's heightened state of awareness did. Or he could be sensing his ancestor, Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, nearby; Alia did this with Reverend Mother Gaius Mohiam in Dune.

  • »Alia did this with Reverend Mother Gaius Mohiam in Dune.« – Do you happen to have a quote for this?
    – Wrzlprmft
    Apr 3, 2014 at 9:06
  • Not on me, unfortunately, as I just read Dune and have moved on to Dune Messiah at work, and therefore both books are in the office. When Shaddam - the only time he seems remotely regal in the books - introduces Alia to the Baron and Mohiam, the latter screams variations of "get out of my head!" on multiple occasions, and Alia tells Shaddam she's not telepathic, but that she can only "be with the ones who've been me," or somesuch. Incidentally, this is also the passage when Alia reveals that Mohiam is the Lady Jessica's mother, something Herbert never revealed elsewhere. Apr 3, 2014 at 9:18
  • I found the line: “Unless I’m born as you, I cannot think as you.“ – Given Hebert’s own confusion about how ancestral memory work (it works different in each of the first three Dune books), I would not regard this as definite confirmation that Alia “downloaded” Mohiam’s memory via biological heritage or other mechanisms. Even if, we cannot deduce that Mohiam is Jessica’s mother – she might also be her grandmother or even Ramallo’s mother.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Apr 4, 2014 at 10:29
  • Oh, we know Mohiam is Jessica's mother from deleted passages, which is why she is ret-conned into definitely being Jessica's mother in the nuDune books. The point is that this passage is the only mention in the original series of Mohiam being Jessica's mother. Apr 4, 2014 at 10:34
  • I can't remember where, but it's reiterated in the later books as well that Paul's prescience was "merely" (although merely doesn't really apply) an extremely exceptional use of his mentat abilities. His son exhibits the same later on. I'm sorry I don't have the books available as someone borrowed them.
    – methuseus
    May 1, 2014 at 22:40

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