Melange is a drug that defines the entire story of ‘Dune.’ From political wars to religious Jihads, Melange stirs the tides of fate through the universe.
Melange: The Spice of Arrrakis – Definition
The word Melange gets pronounced as “mey-lahnzh.” Melange as it is commonly called in ‘Dune,’ Spice, is a psychedelic drug-like substance found only on planet Arrakis, home to gigantic annelids called sandworms.
From being used by Mentats to being used by the Bene Gesserit, the Tleilaxu, the Fremen, and the members of the Imperium, Melange is the most valuable substance ever known to humanity. Melange’s value was so high that it was more expensive than planets.
The Crucial Role Melange Plays in Dune Series
Melange in Frank Herbert’s Dune
Melange is the drug that starts the story of Paul Atreides in ‘Dune.’ As a drug used throughout the Padishah empire, Melange leads to Paul’s father, Leto, leaving Caladan at the decree of the emperor. On reaching Arrakis, the home of the psychedelic drug, politics, and plots lead to Leto’s death, and the House of Harkonnen takes over Melange production; this forces Paul into the desert where he discovers he has powers that could only manifest with the intake of Melange.
Jessica, Paul’s mother, takes the Water of Life, a poisonous liquid that grants her Other Memory, and Paul becomes the Kwisatz Haderach. Leading a rebellion against the empire, Paul dethrones the emperor and assumes the throne.
In ‘Dune Messiah,’ Melange plays a crucial role in Paul’s rule as emperor. Due to him gaining total control over Melange’s production, Paul becomes the greatest emperor to have ever lived. His increasing power and hold on to the Fremen make him a Messiah. However, with his control comes a revolt from the Tleilaxu, the Bene Gesserit, and the Spacing Guild. Though the plan to make Paul abdicate the throne fails, Paul gets blinded and walks into the desert following the Fremen tradition.
In ‘God Emperor of Dune,’ Leto II, Paul’s son, has ruled the universe for 3500 years. With his plan to set humanity on a golden path, Leto II monopolizes the production of Melange. Leto II’s dominance over Melange makes him an immortal God.
Melange Post Frank Herbert’s Dune
In the ‘Prelude to Dune,’ the story of Project Amal surfaces. As Spice production increases, the Tleilaxu launch a project to create a synthetic version of Melange. Padishah Emperor Elrood Corrino IX falls in love with the project as he deciphers it will grant him more control over Spice production. However, his happiness is short-lived as he gets assassinated on the Order of Shaddam. The project continues, and the Tleilaxu create Ajidamal, a synthetic version of the high-demand Melange. Although the synthetic spice has similar properties to the original, it gets abandoned as it causes the body to fall apart.
In ‘Sandworms of Dune,’ a new type of Melange called Ultraspice gets created after a group of the Guild Navigators awaken a faulty Tleilaxu Ghola to create advanced sandworms. Ultraspice potency is so high that a tiny amount of it can make a potential Kwisatz Haderach enter a coma forever.
The History and Formation Process of Melange
There is little history to show the exact time when Melange gets discovered. However, the drug originates from planet Arrakis, a desert planet with giant Sandworms. Melange gets formed when fungal secretions of sandtrouts mix with water, creating a large amount of pre-spice. The mass comes to the surface through pressure explosions. On the surface, intense heat and air make the pre-spice become Melange.
The full description of natural spice production is documented in detail by Frank Herbert:
Then he heard the sand rumbling. Every Fremen knew the sound, could distinguish it immediately from the noises of worms or other desert life. Somewhere beneath him, the pre-spice mass had accumulated enough water and organic materials from the little makers, had reached the critical stage of wild growth. A gigantic bubble of carbon dioxide was forming deep in the sand, heaving upwards in an enormous ‘blow’ with a dust whirlpool at its center. It would exchange what had been formed deep in the sand for whatever lay on the surface.
Physical Characteristics of Melange
Melange is a blue-colored drug-like substance that gets made into many products. Melange can get processed into Spice fibers, explosives, and even Spice paper. The drug has a taste that does not remain the same, even though Lady Jessica said it tasted like cinnamon. Its flavor and uniqueness make it addictive to its user, and with the value of a planet, Melange intake became associated with power.
The drug has benefits, like mind-altering and increased life expectancy; these benefits enable the Guild Navigators to travel in deep space and grant the Bene Gesserit their powers.
Glossary Terms Associated With Melange
Here is a list of words associated with Melange:
- Ajidamal: Ajidamal is a synthetic version of Melange, produced by the Tleilaxu master Hidar Fen Ajidaca.
- Sandtrout: This is the flat and leathery larva of a sandworm.
What is the Spice Melange in Dune?
Spice Melange is a psychedelic drug-like substance found on planet Arrakis. With the source of Melange coming from gigantic annelids called Sandworms, harvesting is very difficult. Spice Melange has many health and mental benefits to its consumer.
What do blue eyes mean in Dune?
Though Melange had health and mental benefits to its user, there were also side effects. Among these side effects is the coloration of the eye. Excess Melange intake caused the eyes to turn blue. The Fremen took pride in the coloration of their eyes and would often show it off.
Do Fremen only have blue eyes?
No, blue eyes were a consequence of excessive exposure to Melange. As a result, Melange addicts had blue eyes but, they sometimes hid them using contacts.
What are the uses of Melange in Dune?
Melange is a crucial commodity in the known universe. Due to the drug’s health and mental boosting capabilities, it got used by the Guild Navigators of the Spacing Guild to guide Heighliners through the minefield of fold-space. Melange also got used to increasing lifespan.