Frank Herbert first mentions the Honored Matres in ‘Heretics of Dune.’ After the death of the God-emperor, the Matres become one of the dominant orders in existence.
The Order of the Honored Matres – Definition
The word Matre gets pronounced as “mah-tray.” The Honored Matre is a brutal matriarchal order that emerges from uncharted space to dominate the old empire. Fleeing from an unknown enemy, the Honored Matres bring weapons of mass destruction that they use to destroy planets.
With stolen Obliterators, the Honored Matres launched a revenge campaign against the Tleilaxu; this led to the destruction of the patriarchal order. However, flaws in the Honored Matres system of intelligence led to their downfall.
The Honored Matres’ Relevance in Dune
The Honored Matres are one of the most influential orders in Frank Herbert’s novels. After Leto II dies, a massive famine causes over a trillion humans to travel into the unknown edges of space; this exodus is called the scattering, and from it rises the order of the Honored Matres. On returning to the old empire, the Matres begin a campaign of destruction and havoc. Attacking Bene Gesserit strongholds and killing anyone who stood in their path, the Honored Matres destroy many planets, including Rakis, home of the sandworms.
Though possessing great military strength, the Honored Matres’ lack of super abilities like Other Memory made them weaker against the Bene Gesserit in intelligence; this made it possible for Darwi Ordrade, leader of the Bene Gesserit, to infiltrate and destroy the order. Though she succeeds in ending the Matres’ dominance, Ordrade and Logno, leader of the Honored Matres, die.
After the death of Ordrade and Logno, Murbella, a former Honored Matre turned Bene Gesserit, becomes the leader of the Bene Gesserit. She leads a campaign that merges both orders. In ‘Hunters of Dune,’ a rebellion from a faction of Honored Matres, who refused to join the merge rise against Murbella. With Hellica as their leader, the rebellious Honored Matres try destroying the newly formed order but are unsuccessful. Finally, Hellica gets killed, and Murbella finds out she is a face dancer.
Murbella discovers that replacing Hellica and other top Honored Matres with face dancers was an elaborate plan which involved an ancient enemy; the Thinking Machines. She also finds out that the Honored Matres had fled the Thinking Machines and returned to the old empire seeking dominance.
The History of the Honored Matres
After Hellica’s death, Murbella began exploring the origins of the Honored Matres and discovered that they were a group of hybrid Fish Speakers and Bene Gesserit, who unified their ideologies with Tleilaxu females. Murbella finds out that the Axlotl Tanks used in creating Gholas were the females of the Tleilaxu, who were kept in a vegetative state and used as incubators. On realizing that they got used by the Tleilaxu as incubators, the Honored Matres swore revenge.
Traits and Physical Description of the Honored Matres
The Honored Matres were obsessed with dominating their enemies using any means necessary. They tormented and killed anyone who stood in their path. Their sexual prowess enabled them to control their male victims however they chose. The Honored Matres chose their leaders through a fight to the death between a potential candidate and the Matre superior.
Though the faction got partly formed by the Bene Gesserit, the Honored Matres did not use Melange and instead used an alternate form of the psychedelic drug, which heightened their drive to kill.
The Honored Matres possess orange eyes, a consequence of using the Melange variant created from the project Amal. A typical Matre wears a tight bodysuit with robes and animal imprints design. Suits worn by the Matres are bright in color.
Glossary Terms Associated With The Honored Matres
Here is a list of words associated with the Honored Matres:
- Hormu: Hormu is an alternate form of the Bene Gesserit’s prana-bindu. It involves hitting weak points on the body with great speed; this technique makes the Honored Matres abnormally fast.
- Obliterators: An Obliterator is a device the Honored Matres stole from their enemy, the Thinking Machines. Obliterators burn off the atmosphere of a planet, destroying it.
- Fish Speakers: Fish Speakers are the female soldiers of the God-emperor, Leto II.
- The Scattering: The scattering is an event that took place after the death of Leto II. After Leto II’s death, a severe famine causes humans to venture into space.
What chased the Honored Matres?
After the Great Scattering, the order of the Honored Matres arose and began their ruthless quest for dominance over the old empire. Having been driven into hiding by an unknown enemy, the Honored Matres moved back to the Old Empire to escape their enemy. Later, it gets revealed that the reborn Thinking Machine empire was the enemy that pursued the Honored Matres away.
What was the Honored Matres secret weapon?
The Honored Matres had a secret weapon stolen from their enemies, the Thinking Machines. An obliterator was a weapon that destroyed planets by stripping them of their atmosphere via combustion.
What happened to the Honored Matres?
Though the Honored Matres seemed indestructible, they got defeated due to their weakness in intelligence. After Darwi Ordrade plans an inner attack on the Honored Matres, she causes their destruction. Eventually, the remaining sisters of the Honored Matres merge with the Bene Gesserit to form a larger order.
Are the Honored Matres stronger than the Bene Gesserit?
Physically, the Honored Matres possess greater physical strength than the Bene Gesserit. Using an alternate version of Melange, the Honored Matres boosted their strength and speed. However, the Bene Gesserit outwits the Honored Matres.