What Are Paul Atreides’ Powers in Dune?

Paul Atreides (Timothée Chalamet) is the central character of Denis Villeneuve’s ‘Dune,’ which is based roughly on the first half of Frank Herbert’s 1965 namesake book. He is destined to become a messiah-like figure with incredible abilities, but the film correctly shows only a fraction of it, as this is just the beginning of his journey. With time and training, he is to become arguably the most powerful being in the known universe. If you are wondering what powers Paul Atreides has in ‘Dune,’ we got you covered. SPOILERS AHEAD.

What Are Paul Atreides’ Powers in Dune?

The Bene Gesserit, a quasi-religious and extremely powerful organization, originally sent Jessica to have a daughter with Duke Leto Atreides in the hopes that the child would grow and then mate with Feyd Rautha Harkonnen, giving birth to the Kwisatz Haderach, a human male with the prescience and other abilities of the Bene Gesserit. However, Jessica chose to have a son and brought Kwisatz Haderach a generation early, when the Bene Gesserit wasn’t prepared for him.

Image Credit: Chia Bella James/Warner Bros.

As Paul grew up, he acquired a variety of abilities and skills. Duncan Idaho and Gurney Halleck gave him weapon training and taught him warfare and combat tactics. His father taught him about statesmanship and Imperial politics. Mentat Thufir Hawat gave him lessons of his organization, vastly improving Paul’s cognitive and analytical skills. The human society in the ‘Dune’ universe has a fanatical fear of the emergence of artificial intelligence, and all the computers and similar machines were destroyed thousands of years ago after a bitter war with sentient machines. The Mentats have the ability to emulate computers and serve as replacements in their society.

From his mother, Paul learns the Weirding Way, the deadly martial art used by the Bene Gesserit. She also teaches him how to use the Voice, which allows the Bene Gesserit to order and manipulate anyone who hears them speak in a certain frequency. After Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam performed the painful Gom Jabbar test on Paul, his prescience grew several times.

Previously, he saw glimpses of the past and future in his dreams. After the test, he begins to have visions while he is awake. This further increases after arriving at Arrakis, where he is exposed to Spice or Melange, an awareness spectrum narcotic that expands prescience and other mental abilities. One time, this puts Paul’s life in danger. While trying to save workers from a rapidly approaching sandworm, Paul ends up inhaling Spice and begins to have a vision. Fortunately for him, Duncan is there and saves him.

Paul’s visions become even more vivid and disturbing after his father’s death. He sees Fremens waging war across the known universe in his name, leaving only death and ruin behind them. He has trouble accepting that aspect of his powers and blames his mother for what she did to him. During his visions, he sees a Fremen who he presumes will be his guide into the Fremen culture. Instead, he discovers that he has to kill the Fremen, whose name is Jamis, to secure a place for himself and his mother among Arrakis natives.

This makes Paul realize that what he sees in his visions is not necessarily the complete truth, and he seems to accept the idea. He subsequently kills Jamis and is accepted by the Fremens. The film ends by showing that the Fremens can ride the sandworms, which Chani, a Fremen girl who often appeared in Paul’s visions, claims is just the beginning. Again, with time and training, Paul will learn how to harness what his father called the desert power. Paul will probably drink Water of Life in the prospective future films, a potent drug that will grant him perfect prescience.

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