19

I found it perplexing that the overall attitudes towards the BG were negative, yet they found themselves in the highest echelons of power through marriage.

7
  • 1
    they typically didnt marry them, they took them as concubines, and even then they were almost never full BG, just acolytes. Like Jessica pauls mother. Also typically the BG took or acquired girls from different houses as part of their genetic program, as well as to then use these girls with blood ties to ease different social tensions.
    – Himarm
    Jul 2, 2015 at 19:37
  • 4
    If you spend any time close to a Bene Gesserit, all your suspicions will mysteriously vaporise.
    – Mr Lister
    Jul 2, 2015 at 20:25
  • 14
    Simplest answer. they're hot. Jul 2, 2015 at 20:36
  • 5
    Also BG have ways of...influencing people. Seriously dudes, Paul's mother got two thugs to fall in love with her in a matter of minutes literally with her hands tied behind her back! Jul 2, 2015 at 21:37
  • 2
    Is there really a pattern of "marrying"??? Of the 3 BG cases I remember off the top of my head, Leto was taking a concubine; Count Fenring was himself a BG product; and Baron H. got blackmailed into fathering a child. Prequels had couple more similar cases. Jul 4, 2015 at 1:43

2 Answers 2

21

There are several factors in why Bene Gesserit would make perfect concubine/wife. There are also serious drawbacks to having one, as well... So it's not something that's as easy as answer suggests.

Pros:

  1. Bene Gesserit guarantees fertility
  2. Bene Gesserit guarantees perfect health of both mother and child
  3. Bene Gesserit guarantees acceptable lineage (to say the least).
  4. At the same time they are not considered House alliance material (at least not usually), allowing for political marriage to still occur.
  5. Superior training, however common knowledge falls far short of reality. But in this case think etiquette, sex, maybe economics or other household-desirables.
  6. As noted in comments - huge prestige boost.
  7. Speculation: access to some of the B.G. resources

Cons:

  1. Loyalty to the order
  2. Ulterior motives of the order
  3. Unknown lineage
  4. Political implications (sometimes severely limiting political options)

The books mention a specific breeding plan (however, no idea if its existence is known outside B.G.), which often goes contrary to given House's ambitions and/or expectations. And definitely does not imply if the Emperor's deal with B.G. came with known caveat of only daughters, for example, or for Leto Atreides, for that matter.

2
  • See also hetaira.
    – Lexible
    Oct 9, 2021 at 1:53
  • Seems like 3 and 6 of the pros are begging the question. Oct 9, 2021 at 2:51
5

The Bene Gesserit were nobles themselves. They were almost all descendants of one or other ancient noble family. In the Encylopedia of Dune, the family branches are traced and documented and many of the marriages were to early BG. History tells us that early abbeys were sanctuaries for many young women from noble families. Herbert takes this further by attributing special abilities to an Order that had endured for so long, and albeit remotely and veiled, they were enigmatic and curiously powerful. To ally ones family with the BG brought a level of respectability and an admirable practicality in one's governance. No matter the mystery that were the BG, they were suitable mates to even the highest Royals.

The ruling aristocracy also chose them because of the education that BG would impart. In Children of Dune, Farad'n nearly jumps at the chance to have a BG teacher, Jessica, even at the risk of losing his life if Ghanima was to have her way.

They were ultimately teachers, and finding a decent education for a scion of a noble house, and mate, well, they were the only game in town, so to speak. The BG singularly made themselves irresistible.

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