About the Book

Book Protagonist: Leto II, Ghanima, Paul Atreides, Duncan Idaho, Jessica
Publication Date: 1976
Genre: Action and Adventure, Science Fiction

Theme and Analysis

Children of Dune

By Frank Herbert

‘Children of Dune’ became the first-ever science fiction novel to become a best seller; this success rests on the excellently crafted story.

‘Children of Dune’ draws upon the relevance of politics, family, and tradition in a world guided by the need for a commodity. Because Arrakis became the center of politics in the story, the rest of the Padishah empire faded into irrelevance. Frank Herbert’s focus on Arrakis makes the reader see how the transformation and change made the Fremen also change.

Children of Dune Themes and Analysis



Politics was the primary theme in ‘Children of Dune.’ Though the novel is a science fiction book, Frank Herbert designed the story of ‘Children of Dune’ to focus more on politics. The novel’s stark reflection on politics shows how much humans fight over control. In the novel, many forces try to regain control of the Padishah Empire after the fall of Paul Atreides. From the House of Corrino to Alia and the Bene Gesserit, the power struggle defined ‘Children of Dune.’ Though politics was the primary theme of the story, Frank Herbert mocked heroism and used Paul as a prime example of how human heroes are.


Religion is a primary theme of ‘Children of Dune.’ In the story, religion was crucial in Alia’s regency. After the preacher arose from the desert., his preaching caused turmoil in Alia’s mind as she knew that the deadliest weapon a person could have been a religious hold over the people. Religion also served as power for some characters. Jessica, who became a Reverend mother, was worshipped as a supernatural entity just like her son.; this made the Fremen fight after an attempt on her life was made by her daughter. Frank Herbert exquisitely used ‘Children of Dune’ to show how much he detested the idea of mental control using religion.


In ‘Children of Dune,’ a reoccurring theme that stands out in the story is family. In the novel, Alia’s abomination causes her to turn on her family. The author uses this theme to show that the hunger for power and control makes families turn against each other. The House of Corrino also had feudality created by politics and the want for power. Though the families of the Great Houses struggled for dominance, love also existed. Leto II loved his sister and aunt; this was evident when Leto tried to save Alia by offering to help her combat the abomination that had taken over her mind.


Ecology is a primary theme in ‘Children of Dune.’ Frank Herbert’s world-building changed the world of science fiction, and his particular interest in ecology created a sub-genre in science fiction. In the story, Arrakis had started transforming, and from the desert planet it was, it started becoming a green world with water on the surface. However, Arrakis’s new ecology created a problem as it caused the death of the sandworms. Leto II realized this and knew that if Arrakis got transformed, the sandworms would die.


Change is a crucial element in ‘Children of Dune.’ Frank Herbert shows us how each character changes for either good or bad. From Leto II becoming a superhuman to Alia transforming into the ego of her grandfather, change became an enemy and a friend to the story.

Analysis of Key Events

  1. Nine years after Paul walks into the desert, Arrakis becomes lusher and greener.
  2. Because of the Fremen Jihad, the law and religion become one, and Alia rules as regent.
  3. Jessica returns to Arrakis and discovers that Alia succumbed to the abomination.
  4. The House of Corrino begins conspiring to kill Paul’s children, Leto and Ghanima.
  5. A preacher arises from the desert and begins to preach against Alia and the fanatical followers of the Muad’Dib’s religion.
  6. The preacher meets Farad’n, son of Princess Wensicia, regent of the House of Corrino.
  7. Alia tries to kill Jessica, but she flees with Duncan’s help.
  8. Leto II and Ghanima almost get killed by assassin tigers, but they escape, and Leto uses the assassination attempt as an opportunity to seek out the preacher.
  9. Ghanima hypnotizes herself into believing that her brother got killed.
  10. Jessica and Duncan flee Arrakis to Selusa Secundus, where Jessica becomes a mentor to Farad’.
  11. Farad’n dethrones his mother and becomes the leader of the House of Corrino.
  12. Leto II gets captured by Fremen outlaws while in the desert.
  13. Leto II gets put into a spice trance, and he formulates the golden path.
  14. Leto II escapes his captors and meets the preacher, who he discovers is Paul Atreides.
  15. Duncan provokes Stilgar into killing him; this causes Stilgar to run off with Ghanima into hiding. Ghanima gets recaptured.
  16. Paul and Leto II return to the capital.
  17. Paul gets killed, and Leto II reveals himself triggering Ghanima’s memories back.
  18. Alia kills herself.
  19. Leto II declares himself emperor.

Style, Tone, and Figurative Language Used in Children of Dune

With Frank Herbert using the third-person perspective, a warning tone gets used to show the reader just how much politics and religion cause the destabilization of a government. Frank Herbert used the warning tone for ‘Dune’ to show just how much the struggle for a commodity causes unwanted aggression and killing. Figurative elements got used to accurately describe and explain events and actions carried out in the novel. The rich use of metaphors gave the story originality.

Analysis of Symbols


Water signifies ecological change. Arrakis was a barren desert with very little water in ‘Dune’ However, in ‘Children of Dune,’ the planet changed, bringing water to the surface. Though Arrakis began seeing positive change, that change negatively affected the sandworms; this soon became a problem as the sandworms were crucial to saving humanity.


The sandworms signified the regress of certain species due to ecological change. The sandworms are important organisms because their existence ensured that humanity could get governed across a massive expanse of space. However, with Arrakis becoming a lush and green world, the sandworms began dying; this shows the double edginess of change.


What is the main theme in Children of Dune?

The primary theme in ‘Children of Dune’ is politics. The novel crafted its story around the political struggle for the throne. After Paul walked into the desert, a war began on who would be the next ruler of the universe. Because Alia was already regent, she had many followers. However, other forces like the House of Corrino tried to get back in power; this led to the assassination attempt on Leto II and Ghanima’s life.

What is the message behind Children of Dune?

A prominent message Frank Herbert tries to pass across with ‘Children of Dune’ is the idea of government and religion. In the novel, Frank Herbert pointed out that religion and politics when combined are a recipe for disaster.

Are there still sandworms in the Children of Dune?

Though Arrakis saw a massive transformation from a barren desert to a lush world in ‘Children of Dune,’ there were still sandworms alive on the planet. However, Leto II discovered that Alia had succumbed to the abomination, and that made the ego memory of Baron Harkonnen possess her. Leto II realized that Baron Harkonnen wanted the sandworms gone and tried to turn Arrakis completely green.

Was water present on Arrakis in Children of Dune?

Yes, there was water on Arrakis in ‘Children of Dune.’ After Paul became the emperor, he began transforming Arrakis, and soon, the planet got water on the surface.

Joshua Ehiosun
About Joshua Ehiosun
Joshua is an undying lover of literary works. With a keen sense of humor and passion for coining vague ideas into state-of-the-art worded content, he ensures he puts everything he's got into making his work stand out. With his expertise in writing, Joshua works to scrutinize pieces of literature.
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap
Share to...