The epigraph from Princess Irulan’s text “In My Father’s House” describes her father, the Padishah Emperor. At the time of Duke Leto’s death, the emperor was 72 years of age but looked no older than 35. He wore his Sardaukar uniform and a decorative military helmet in public as an explicit reminder of where his power lies. Irulan describes the way that he could “radiate charm and sincerity” but knows this was an act. She reveals that he was a man who was fighting to escape a feeling of entrapment and emasculation due to his lack of a son in the face of the ancient House Corrino dynasty. The Princess draws a distinction between her Bene Gesserit mother and Lady Jessica, with the former obeying her superiors’ orders to produce daughters while Jessica rebelled.
Princess Irulan reveals details about her parents who have so far remained distant figures in the novel’s events. She reveals that the Padishah Emperor, a powerful man capable of feigning persuasive charm, feels emasculated by his failure to produce a male heir in the vein of many generations before him. Meanwhile Irulan’s mother is a clever but submissive woman who obeys her Bene Gesserit superiors in all of their commands. This description gestures to Lady Jessica’s unusual actions in denying Bene Gesserit command by giving birth to Paul, and Duke Leto’s luck in receiving a much-desired son.
Near nightfall, Jessica awakens in the cave. She notes that her deep sleep shows her new sense of security within the Fremen’s company. Jessica observes Paul across the cave, remembering the way that her son earlier seemed strange and private. She guesses that the spice is affecting him, perhaps enhancing his future forecasting abilities.
Jessica continues to worry about the changes that her son is experiencing as he transforms into the Kwisatz Haderach.
Stilgar appears and Jessica notes the Fremen leader’s tension. She becomes abruptly aware that this tension is spread throughout those in the cave. It transpires that Jamis has challenged Jessica to combat, as is his legal right. She can provide a champion, but Jamis slyly remarks that she should not need Fremen to fight for her. He wants to duel Paul to undo the shame he feels at being bested by the young stranger on their first encounter.
Jamis will not relent in his desire to kill Paul, and it will prove the Fremen’s undoing—Paul is his superior in fighting form and strategy due to his intensive childhood training from elite teachers.
Jamis is also angry that the Paul and Jessica carry a wealth of water to the Fremen, but that it is undervalued by Paul and Jessica, who are still learning about Arrakis and its hardships. Jessica gifts the water to the Fremen, stating that she intends the abundance of liquid to save life. Jamis still wants to fight Paul, and although Stilgar is unhappy it, he allows it because it is a Fremen’s right. Jessica tries to persuade Jamis to fight her, then threatens him using the Bene Gesserit Voice. When Jamis invokes the right of silence on her, she must step back and watch her son fight, without interfering. She can sense that the rest of the Fremen are unhappy with Jamis too.
Jamis is a man who dishonors his fellow Fremen through his actions in challenging Paul Atreides, despite Stilgar’s promise of protection and despite the fact that Paul is likely the Fremen’s prophesized Mahdi.
Paul steps forward to try to talk to Jamis, but the Fremen is too worked up to let him. Paul feels calm in believing that he can best Jamis again, although the recent visions of his death in many possible futures unnerves him slightly. Chani gives him a crysknife, and Paul matches Jamis’s actions in stripping off his stillsuit before stepping forward, weapon ready. Chani has also whispered advice about Jamis’s fighting technique, including a small weakness in defense that Paul may be able to take advantage of.
Paul is mostly calm and confident in reacting to this new risk, which is a testament to his training. Meanwhile, Chani’s actions suggest that she favors Paul beyond friendship.
Except for the fact that he is used to fighting with a force shield, Paul feels confident in his training from Gurney Halleck as he and Jamis circle one another. But after watching the whipcord of a man before him, Paul is suddenly overcome with fear. No foresight can help him in such a moment on the edge of death. He calms himself by reciting the Bene Gesserit litany against fear.
Despite his sudden terror, Paul’s Bene Gesserit training once more serves him well, and he exerts a mental toughness to discipline his fear. His use of the Bene Gesserit litany against fear echoes his gom jabbar trial; he triumphed then and believes he can do so now.
Paul and Jamis spar, with Paul clearly having greater skills than Jamis. His fighting is beautiful in its deadly grace, but his timing on attack is off because of his shield training—instead of trying to get through the shield. Paul needs to be “slow” and “deceptive.” Finally, Paul lands a blow to Jamis’s knife hand. He asks Jamis to yield but the Fremen cannot as per his people’s laws. Jamis starts to feel afraid, now, and Paul circles him warily, remembering Duncan Idaho’s advice to let time turn an opponent’s fear to terror.
Paul’s training gives him an edge over Jamis during his fight. Paul tries to encourage an injured Jamis to back out but is unsuccessful, as Fremen custom precludes it, and Jamis is an ardent follower of such laws.
Jamis reaches a point of desperation in his fear and leaps at Paul, trying to outwit him by changing his knife to his left hand. Thanks to Halleck’s training and Chani’s advice, Paul is aware of the danger. Jamis’s leap brings his body straight down onto Paul’s swiftly moved blade. The Fremen falls to the floor, dead. Some of the tribe hurry to bear his body away to reclaim its water, while Jessica approaches her son. Paul has killed another human for the first time, and she wants to ensure he does not grow to enjoy such a win, especially when the two fighters were unevenly matched in skill.
The fight ends abruptly—Jamis’s foolhardy final charge at Paul during combat reflects his foolishness in constantly challenging Paul against his tribe’s wishes. The Fremen value of water is evident in their customs surrounding death. This ritual once again shows that everything they do is for the good of the community—even death provides nourishment for the group.
The rest of the Fremen look at Paul with varying emotions—admiration, fear, even loathing. Jessica and Paul realize that the Fremen do not understand Paul’s shield training and believe he was sadistically toying with Jamis rather than ending the fight quickly and cleanly. Stilgar and his Fremen are shocked to learn that Paul has never killed a man before and that he did not want to kill Jamis. They understand and respect his actions now, with Stilgar bestowing the honor of a Fremen name on Paul—Stilgar’s sietch will know the young man by his secret name “Usul,” meaning the strength at the base of a pillar.
Paul’s skills and compassion afford him even more respect from the members of Stilgar’s sietch. The young Duke has earned a Fremen name, showing his success in penetrating Fremen society.
As per Fremen custom, Paul is then asked to choose a name for himself that all Fremen may call him openly. He chooses the name “Muad’Dib” in the manner of the desert mouse. This is the name he predicted long ago, and it reminds him of the terrifying visions he has had of Fremen troops crossing the universe in a violent religious crusade in Muad’Dib’s name. Therefore Paul amends his choice to Paul-Muad’Dib, having not seen this in any vision and hoping that he can change his fate. But he still feels the terrible danger that surrounds his growing power. Stilgar’s invoking of funeral rites for Jamis grows Paul’s sinking feeling of an unavoidable and catastrophic future war.
Paul’s chosen Fremen name pays homage to the humble yet powerful desert mouse who thrives in arid landscapes. Although Paul tries to alter his future by altering his name, it is an insignificant change and he still feels trapped by a predetermined fate.