Who are the Bene Gesserit of Dune?

Dune is full of mysterious characters and organizations, but few are as important and secretive as the Bene Gesserit order, to which Paul’s mother Jessica belongs. While the movie reveals a few of their secrets, it doesn’t get all way into the background of the all-female sect. Thankfully, Frank Herbert’s original DuneNovel has lots of information about them. If you’re interested in Lady Jessica, and her group of psychic space nuns who fuck, then this article is for you.

[Ed. note: This story contains spoilers for the Dune novel and the Dune Part 1 movie, it may also contain spoilers for sections of the unannounced second movie.]

Who is the Bene Gesserit and what are their responsibilities?

The Bene Gesserit is a group of secretive women that quietly controls and shapes political events around the world. The Bene Gesserit are gifted with psychic abilities that enable them to communicate clearly, manipulate their own biology, and command other people.

Although the Bene Gesserit has a complicated hierarchy, the two most significant roles are Sisters and Reverend Mothers. A training program is provided for the Sisters of Bene Gesserit. They also have to complete tasks such as having children with particular fathers. The Reverend Mothers are the elders and leaders of the order. They also receive special training, but they can drink an extra-strong Spice melange, which gives them additional power.

What’s the Bene Gesserit Plan?

The group’s primary goal is to save humanity from itself by pushing it forward into a new age of greatness. The Bene Gesserit has a number of long-term strategies and plans. Some are designed with the intention to aid, others just to increase power and influence.

Why does the Bene Gesserit desire Paul?

This is the most significant Bene Gesserit program, at least in terms of importance. Dune’s plot, is the Missionaria Protectiva, an ancient Gesserit plot to spread the seeds of religion and mythology to as many “primitive” civilizations as possible. To spread cultural building blocks, such as the Matriarchal Leaders of the Gesserit, and to believe that some mythical, mesianic, savior will soon appear.

Gesserit members are also trying to establish their own messianic leader, the Kwisatz Haderach. The Gesserit’s most powerful powers include the ability to see into the past and future, as well as many other abilities. However, while Gesserit only have the ability to see into their female line’s memories, Kwisatz Haderach has the capability of seeing the male line.

The Bene Gesserit started a selective breeding program to produce the perfect Kwisatz Haderach. This began over 10,000 years prior to the beginning of the history of Dune. This plan was to reach fruition when the daughter of Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) produced a son with a member of House Harkonnen, the Atreides’ sworn enemies. Jessica used her Bene Gesserit powers instead to concoct a boy out of love for Duke Leto. Paul Atreides was that boy. Dune’s protagonist and potentially the Kwisatz Haderach.

Paul has to reach into the box, so why?

At the beginning Dune Part 1 Paul is greeted by Revered Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam who is sent by the Bene Gesserit to test whether or not he was “human” — on the off chance he failed the test, then the Bene Gesserit’s plan for the Kwisatz Haderach could still go forward.

Is any of this going to be in Dune Part 2?

There is quite a bit! Paul will likely be able to see past all time during the film, for one. This newfound ability will confirm his status as the Gesserit’s Kwisatz Haderach. Even more directly, we’ll also probably get to see Lady Jessica become a Revered Mother when the Fremen’s own Reverend Mother gives her the Water of Life, granting Jessica And her little girl in her wombThe knowledge and experiences of every woman in her line. Did we mention that? DuneIs it really that bizarre?

We can only stop ourselves from seeing them all. Dune Part 2It happens.

Dune is available on HBO Max

HBO Max subscribers can get the sci-fi epic for free beginning Oct. 21.

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