The epigraph from Princess Irulan’s text “Analysis: The Arrakeen Crisis” reveals the success of Bene Gesserit “sowing implant-legends” throughout the worlds of the Imperium since ancient times. The Arrakeen implant-legend of the coming of a Reverend Mother and a messianic figure benefitted Lady Jessica and Paul Atreides immensely during their integration into Fremen culture. This process was helped by the expert cognitive talents of both mother and son.
Princess Irulan’s report highlights the novel’s play between concepts of prophecy and free will. Jessica and Paul manipulate implanted prophecy to gain influence and protection, but then discover that the prophecies become true—even when Paul tries to prevent his rise to Muad’Dib, the figure who inspires future violence across the Imperium. The narrator suggests that determinism governs the world of Dune.
The Atreides family have arrived to Arrakis and take up residence at the city of Arrakeen’s palace. While unpacking possessions, Lady Jessica considers her feelings of apprehensiveness and homesickness due to the move. Duke Leto appears and the two discuss ways in to make their new home feel welcoming.
Lady Jessica is anxious because she has been unable to prevent their move and knows that her Duke will be killed shortly.
While considering Lady Jessica’s great beauty, Duke Leto also ponders her mysterious heritage, as the Bene Gesserit order has deliberately kept her ancestry a secret.
The Bene Gesserit sisterhood wields great influence because of their secretive operations. Duke Leto’s reflections set up readers for great shock at the narrator’s later revelation of who Jessica’s father is.
Leto assures Jessica that he has security under control on Arrakis. He has employed a number of Fremen servants, including a head housekeeper for Jessica named Shadout Mapes. The Duke has learned that there are Bene Gesserit legends embedded in Fremen culture, which Jessica attributes to the sisterhood’s protective practice of planting prophecies throughout the Imperium’s worlds that can help the Bene Gesserit if needed.
The Fremen’s legends are extremely similar to the Bene Gesserit Kwisatz Haderach prophecy. Jessica and Paul will one day find that the Fremen legends ensure their safe escape from deadly Harkonnen forces. Therefore by implanting the legends, the Bene Gesserit sisterhood enable two of their most dangerous adversaries to gain great power.
Duke Leto leaves and Shadout Mapes approaches Jessica to introduce herself. Jessica quickly realizes that Mapes has been sent to test the concubine. The Duke’s concubine uses her impressive skills of observation and analysis, as well as the Bene Gesserit’s embedded legends, to prevent Mapes from killing her. Jessica realizes that Fremen prophecy predicts the coming of a Reverend Mother to Arrakis. After Jessica correctly identifies Mapes’s strange weapon as a crysknife, or “maker,” Mapes is persuaded that Jessica is “the One alright. […] Poor thing.”
Now well into the narrative, the narrator is still introducing many details that are left unexplained, such as the “crysknife” and “maker.” Despite having only just arrived on Arrakis and acting ethically, members of the Atreides household are already in danger. In this passage, Jessica must rely on her Bene Gesserit training to survive an assassination attempt.