The entire 34,000-year DUNE timeline explained in one 10-minute video

Interesting how people (including producers, directors, casting directors, etc) envision fiction characters differently. As a reader, I always assumed the Dune universe to be about as diverse as the real world.

Atreides were Italian-ish because they were descended from the Romans and I pictured Caladan something like Malian or Tuscany with mountains, rivers and agriculture. Eagle crest, etc.

Fremen were Arabic because of the customs and language used (hospitable people, religious, used arabic like words, lived in the desert, etc).

Sardaukar were Japanese because of the similarities to Samurai (swordsmanship, knives, darts, etc).

Baron Vladimir Harkonnen was Slavic to me since the name Vladimir is rarely used outside of Slavic families.

I originally envisioned Shaddam Corrino as Middle Eastern because the names looked like Saddam and sounds Jewish, but later changed it to more French when Herbert described him as as having sharp features dominated by cold eyes and the descriptions of his daughters and their names being sorta French sounding, etc. (I think this was intended to be a Jewish stereotype but I missed it)

The Bene Gesserit were interracial since breeding for genetics was more important than keeping a house lineage together. I mostly saw them as sorta like Latino and Catholic.

Ixians were Chinese since they made everything.

Duncan Idaho was Native American - no idea why I saw that even when he was described as being more Anglo - perhaps Idaho is Native American land in my mind.

Harkonnen were basically like space vikings since they shared a similar tortuous way (e.g. blood eagle). Nordic people all the way.

Tleilaxu were sorta amorphic to me - like odd looking Santa elves.

People of African decent were just kinda mixed into the crowd in my mind (like some of the smugglers, part of crowd of Alia worshippers, etc), but I never saw a prominent group being distinctly described in Hubert’s books as African. Such is the all to often fate of Africans in science fiction I guess…


I had the Atreides as Greek and the Harkonnens as Finnish. I also basically projected Lawrence of Arabia Bedouins onto the Fremen. Maybe a lack of imagination.


I thought Afghanistan (because of when I read it as a kid) for the Fremen so ready mixed up and not Arabic, though that may be mixed in.

As has been pointed out before here the Sabres of Paradise which is about the Caucasus is a key source, and like Arrakis was important for trade and cultural interchange.

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I read an interesting deep dive over on Tor about how much influence Dune takes from Islamic and MENA cultures and it goes into a bit about how the adaptations just don’t commit to this like they should, the new film doesn’t seem to be reversing that trend either which is a massive disappointment.

There has been much critique of the lack of MENA casting in each of the Dune adaptations, including the forthcoming film. I wholeheartedly agree. But just as egregious is the paucity of Muslim and MENA creatives behind the cameras. Spaihts, one of the 2021 film’s screenwriters, admitted that no such creatives participated in the making of the film.


I personally stopped reading at the sixth book, and still think it was a bit of a wasted effort: the first three hold up well, the rest shows signs of being a tired, spiritless continuation. Still, it was in the ancient, pre-Internet times so books were all.
The Atreides if I remember correctly were supposed to be of Greek origin: house of Atreus, brother of Thiestes, father of Agamemnon and Menelaus, now that’s a fine passel of tragedies to draw on. At a certain point, in a certain book (no spoily), one of the characters is channeling a rather indignant Agamemnon.
And I am still pissed that NEL, the series’ publisher in the UK, dropped the Bruce Pennington covers after the fourth volume. Grrrrr.

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I absolutely hated the book when I read it years ago. Just can not stand Herbert’s prose. But there’s so much fascinating weird in it I stayed interested anyway, and I’ve always really liked the Lynch movie for it’s almost kinda works ness.

I do not want to read Dune. But I will almost always read about Dune. And I don’t seem to be the only one.

That says something about how worth it is to poke with a stick. That even people who actively dislike the work itself still walk away with a sticky sorta fondness.


The spice must flow!

This notion of addictive insistence didn’t register when I first read all the books, I was a kid and knew nothing of the world.

Now I get it. The Spice MUST flow…

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I didn’t notice any pronunciation differences, but did notice the flat monotone he used when speaking, though I’m guilty of the same at times. A flat tone and measured speech are helpful for listening comprehension.

I also spend the bulk of my waking hours interacting with people from around the world for whom English is a second or third language: China, Nepal, India, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Burkina Faso, Mali, Malawi, Cameroon, Mozambique, Portugal, Cuba, El Salvador, Colombia, Dominican Republic… and that’s just the people at the office. I don’t really notice pronunciation anymore, since I’ve learned to adapt to a variety of different accents, stresses, and cadences.


I’ll wait for the real-time 34,000 year timeline video, then binge it on weekends.


What if we split the difference and went with Jose Ferrer?


I had a Russian instructor tell me he learned English from books during a ten-year in a gulag. “I was very shocked when I heard the real language for the first time and I am not sure if I yet got it right.”


And oddly enough, the Empire seemed to be based on slavery.

An excellent point!

Seth Meyers Lol GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers


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