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Dune’s Paul Atreides Has An Absurd Kill Count In The Books

If you’ve only watched Denis Villeneuve’s “” movies and not read the novels, Paul’s reason for rallying the Fremen seems pretty straightforward: He needs their strength to defeat the Harkonnens, avenge his father’s murder, and free Arrakis. But, of course, it’s not that simple. Paul recognizes that side of things for most of “Dune: Part Two,” but he still resists. He believes that they can defeat the Harkonnens without him stepping into the role of messiah. It’s only after the Water of Life awakens his powers completely that he embraces the myth surrounding him.

This isn’t just a rallying cry for the Battle of Arrakeen. In the books, we get a more complete explanation of why Paul changes his mind about the holy war. Through his visions of the future, he determines that no matter how violent the campaign may be, it’s still the best path forward for humanity as a whole in the long term. The novels dig a lot deeper into the idea of human genetic longevity – something that Paul believes the war will help address. His full vision of the future and the so-called “Golden Path” he sees through it aren’t fully explained until “Children of Dune” and “God Emperor of Dune,” however.

The caveat to all of this, as is frequently noted in the “Dune” sequels’ epigraphs, is that even for someone with Paul’s immense powers, future sight is far from a concrete thing. By the end of his life in the novels, Paul comes to deeply regret his role in the holy war and tries desperately to persuade the Fremen to abandon their faith in him.

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