Arrakis is the heart of Dune's narrative, as important as its most precious product: the spice. Whoever dominates Arrakis must defend it and must convince us, an enterprise that is often not easy and often deadly. With the upcoming release of the Dune movie, why not take the opportunity to talk about it? Frank Herbert's works have inspired other great franchises, one of them Star Wars, and their modernity even after some time still makes them noteworthy today. The parts full of spoilers for those unfamiliar with the saga will be marked as such and absolutely avoidable.
The planet Arrakis of the Canopus system, also known as "Dune" and later Rakis, is a desert planet at the center of the political events of the saga written by Frank Herbert. It is a planet with no particular attraction, which the universe and the Empire would gladly leave in peace, forgetting about it, if it were not the only place from which the spice. The precious cinnamon-smelling drug is more than enough to make a detestable planet the center of attention of all the great houses of the Landsraad.
The desert and the sandstorms
The planet Arrakis is for the most part covered by the immense desert that composes it and its dunes, hence its nickname, but there are also mountain ranges and gigantic caves capable of hosting entire populations. There is no rain or precipitation of any kind and there are few forms of life capable of inhabiting the desert, obviously excluding the Sandworms that dominate it with their gargantuan size.
The temperature of Arrakis is around seventy degrees during the day, which makes travel difficult and dangerous for anyone who wants to cross the desert, but reaches milder temperatures during the night.
A common phenomenon of Arrakis are sandstorms, considered deadly due to the average speed of 500 km / h reached by the sand, capable of tearing meat and organs from a person unfortunately caught inside the storm.
Flora and fauna
In addition to the infamous Sand Worms, Arrakis is home to some species of flora and fauna which, the protagonists of the books reveal, can now only be found on Dune. Among these we naturally mention the desert hawk and the kangaroo mouse, called among the indigenous population of the Fremen "Muad'Dib".
Prior to the establishment of the Space Guild, a group of Zensunni travelers fleeing the planet Poritrin landed on Arrakis, initiating the principle of civilization that would later evolve into the immense Fremen community. The ancient populations of Arrakis were then joined by the Bene Gesserit Missionary Protectiva, who through the use of false myths and beliefs (called religious engineering) ensured that they could influence the population for millennia to come.
Cities and inhabited places
Given the dangerousness of the planet, it will not be surprising to know that the inhabited places are not many and can be divided mainly into two macro categories.
One of the main cities featured on Arrakis is the ancient settlement of Arrakeen, smaller and more easily defensible than the great Carthag. Arrakeen was once home to the emperor's right hand, Count Fenring, and his wife Margot. Duke Leto Atreides will decide to move the capital to Arrakeen due to its small size.
The Harkonnen family, however, had built another city called Carthag, built hastily, without elegance and with poorly made materials that allowed only a display of power and little else. To make Carthag, most likely, the Harkonnen exploited the local population from the very beginning, becoming famous for their iron fist and their brutality.
The Sietch are villages built inside caves located near mountains or other rocky structures capable of sheltering from the violence of the Dune sun. Often of natural origin or man-made, the Sietchs must be able to house an entire Fremen tribe and all the activities related to an autarchic and minimalist society.
Spoiler: The transformation into Rakis
Curiosities about our world
The star Mu Draconis, which belongs to the constellation of the Dragon, is also known as Arrakis.