Why the Fremen people bid their time against the Harkonnens in Dune

13 March 2023
The relationship between the Fremen and the Harkonnens was one of oppression and resistance. The Harkonnens, who controlled Arrakis and its precious spice, viewed the Fremen as little more than pests to be eradicated. 

In response, the Fremen engaged in a covert campaign of sabotage and assassination, striking at the Harkonnens wherever they could. 

The Fremen's resistance was fueled by their fierce independence, their deep connection to the desert planet, and their dream of transforming Arrakis into a green paradise.
stilgar dune movie

There are several reasons why the Fremen didn't give the Harkonnens more trouble during their initial 80-year occupation of Arrakis:

The Fremen already had their own plan for the planet: 

The Fremen had been secretly working for years to transform Arrakis into a green and habitable world. They had been bribing the Guild, working with smugglers to bring in plants and animals, and carefully managing the planet's limited water resources. This was a multigenerational plan that required patience, secrecy, and careful planning. The Fremen believed that any direct conflict with the Harkonnens or the Imperium would jeopardize their long-term goal of transforming Arrakis.

The Harkonnens made excellent rulers from this point of view:

The Fremen believed that the Harkonnens were short-sighted and focused only on exploiting Arrakis for its valuable spice. They vastly underestimated the number of Fremen, their power, and their competence. The Fremen wanted rulers who would underestimate them and only focus on the spice -- until it was too late. In addition, the Harkonnens were brutal and violent, but they were also predictable. The Fremen knew how to work around them, how to hide from them, and how to manipulate them.

The Fremen were outnumbered and outgunned:

Despite their reputation as formidable fighters, the Fremen were vastly outnumbered by the Harkonnens and their Sardaukar allies. The Harkonnens had access to advanced technology and weapons, as well as a vast network of spies and informants. The Fremen knew that a direct assault on the Harkonnens would be suicidal, and that it would bring the Imperium down on them with full force - effectively the Harkonnen had access to masses of troops.

Overall, the Fremen's decision to remain hidden and bide their time was a strategic one. They knew that their long-term goal of transforming Arrakis would require patience, cunning, and careful planning. While they did not directly confront the Harkonnens or the Imperium, they were constantly working behind the scenes to build their power and prepare for the eventual overthrow of their oppressors.

But the most important reason?

They believe in a prophecy that a messiah, known as the Kwisatz Haderach, will come to lead them to freedom from their oppressors and bring about a new era of prosperity.

The Fremen have been waiting for the Kwisatz Haderach for generations and believe that he will possess incredible powers, including the ability to see into the future and control matter with his mind. They see him as a savior who will guide them to victory against the Imperial forces that control Arrakis and exploit its valuable resource, melange.


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My name is Jimmy Jangles, the founder of The Astromech. I have always been fascinated by the world of science fiction, especially the Star Wars universe, and I created this website to share my love for it with fellow fans.

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