Despite it being a story filled with action sequences, duels to the death, escapes into the dessert, treachery and all out war, the core of the story is power relations; this is a book where political and social relations are described and discussed freely by the characters, where it's the action of people with power which define the action of the book, not the antics of some backwater, unknown character who is suddenly and unexpectedly thrust into the role of hero. Paul, Muad'Dib Atreides, is heir to a powerful house, and new legitimate ruler of the planet Arrakis, known as Dune, after the fall of his house to treacherous attacks by the Emperor's Sardaukar guards disguised as Harkonnen troops; he has been trained to be a Duke of the galaxy, educated in court politics and behavior and several other topics needed for ruling, and this means that behind every decision he makes is a political motivation, and this grants us a glimpse into the workings of political minds. In this book we see only a brief glimpse of the other political entities that populate this galaxy, such as the Bene Gesserit, or the guild, or the Tleilaxu.
On first glance this might seem like just another focus in different characters, but there is one key difference, and that is the scope at which characters can act; whereas the other Fremen characters, even Stilgar, can only decide on small scale tactics and actions, they lack the vision to make decisions on a planet, nay galaxy-wide, scale, such as threatening to destroy all melange, and thus holding everyone else hostage to their will. This is one of the most complex and intrigue ridden works of speculative fiction, where the focus is more often on the wider picture than on the specific actions of individuals that the reader is seeing.
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