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Lady Anirul Sadow-Tonkin Corrino
Dune character
Anirul as featured in the cover art from Dune: House Corrino (2001)
First appearanceDune: House Atreides (1999)[1]
Last appearanceDune: House Corrino (2001)
Created byFrank Herbert [1]
TitleEmpress Consort
OccupationReverend Mother
AffiliationBene Gesserit
House Corrino
SpouseShaddam IV
  • Irulan
  • Chalice
  • Wensicia
  • Josifa
  • Rugi
RelativesFarad'n (grandson)

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Lady Anirul Sadow-Tonkin Corrino is a fictional character and member of House Corrino in the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert.

A Bene Gesserit of Hidden Rank and wife of the 81st Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV, Anirul is the mother of Shaddam's five daughters, the Princesses Irulan, Chalice, Wensicia, Josifa, and Rugi,[2] and is the grandmother of Farad'n. Anirul is referred to only three times in Herbert's 1965 novel Dune (and only once by name),[2][3][4] but is a major character in the Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy (1999–2001) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.

The Dune Encyclopedia (1984) by Willis E. McNelly provides an extensive, alternate biography for Anirul.[5] The Encyclopedia notes that Anirul had been compelled to comply with the Sisterhood's breeding program by way of a residual poison administered by Gaius Helen Mohiam, and refers to Anirul's distant, icy relationship with daughter Irulan and revulsion for the "malicious" Wensicia.[5]


In Dune: House Atreides, Anirul is described as having "short bronze-brown hair,"[6] and it is said that her "features were long and narrow, giving her a doelike face, but her large eyes had a depth of millennia in them."[6] She had taken her name from the first Bene Gesserit Mother Superior, Raquella Berto-Anirul.

Prelude to Dune[edit]

Dune: House Atreides[edit]

In Dune: House Atreides, Anirul is the Bene Gesserit Kwisatz Mother, the Reverend Mother chosen every generation to guide the Sisterhood's breeding program. The youngest Kwisatz Mother ever, Anirul had been the most qualified since the Reverend Mothers in Other Memory had revealed everything to her, while keeping the details of the program hidden from most Bene Gesserit. Anirul soon determines that the goal of the program, a male superbeing called the Kwisatz Haderach, is no more than three generations away. She calculates that a daughter of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen must produce a daughter by an Atreides; this daughter will then be bred with another Harkonnen heir, to produce the male Kwisatz Haderach.[7]

Anirul hand-selects Margot Rashino-Zea, one of the Bene Gesserit's best commandos, to infiltrate the household of Abulurd Harkonnen on Lankiveil. The Sisterhood hopes to find incriminating evidence, perhaps hidden there by the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, which they can use to coerce the Baron into participating in their breeding program.[7]

Later, Margot convinces Emperor Shaddam IV to marry Anirul:

The Sisterhood can help you secure your power base — more than an alliance with any single Great House of the Landsraad ... in these difficult times, we believe you would gain the greatest advantage by allying your throne with the power and resources of the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood ... The Bene Gesserit are quite influential, you know. We can work behind the scenes to smooth over any difficulties you currently have with the Landsraad. This would free you to perform the work of being Emperor and secure your place in history. A number of your grandfathers have done this, to good effect ... You are now the most powerful man in the universe, Sire, but your political rule is balanced between yourself, the Landsraad Council, and the powerful forces of the Spacing Guild and the Bene Gesserit. Your marriage to one of my Sisters would be ... mutually beneficial.[7]

Margot's future husband Count Hasimir Fenring adds:

Besides, Sire ... an alliance with any other Great House would bring with it certain ... baggage. You would join with one family at the risk of spurning another. We don't want to trigger another rebellion.[7]

Anirul marries the newly installed Emperor, Shaddam IV, in 10,156 A.G.; through this arrangement the Bene Gesserit seek influence over the Imperial throne by ensuring that Shaddam will never have a son.[7]

Dune: House Corrino[edit]

Anirul dies in 10,176 A.G., during the events of Dune: House Corrino, murdered by the Harkonnen Mentat Piter De Vries while trying to save the young Paul Atreides from being kidnapped. This is quite a mystery for the other Bene Gesserit, who regard Paul as a failure in the scheme to create the Kwisatz Haderach. They cannot understand why the Kwisatz Mother takes such a course of action, although it is revealed that the Empress' Other Memory had been deeply concerned with the realization that the Kwisatz Haderach might be born a generation earlier.[8]

References and notes[edit]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Though Frank Herbert refers to Anirul in 1965's Dune, she is does not appear as a character until the Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy (1999-2001) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Herbert, Frank (1965). "Appendix IV: The Almanak en-Ashraf (Selected Excerpts of the Noble Houses): SHADDAM IV". Dune. [Shaddam] had five daughters (Irulan, Chalice, Wensicia, Josifa, and Rugi) and no legal sons ... His wife, Anirul, a Bene Gesserit of Hidden Rank, died in 10,176. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  3. Herbert, Frank (1965). "Epigraph". Dune. But we denied [Shaddam] a legal son ... My mother obeyed her Sister Superiors where the Lady Jessica disobeyed. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  4. Herbert, Frank (1965). "Count Fenring: A Profile (Epigraph, Princess Irulan)". Dune. "The measure of Count Fenring's friendship may be seen first in a positive thing: he allayed the Landsraad's suspicions after the Arrakis Affair. It cost more than a billion solaris in spice bribes, so my mother said, and there were other gifts as well: slave women, royal honors, and tokens of rank." This passage suggests that Irulan's mother Anirul was alive after the Arrakis Affair, which of course took place in 10,196 when Paul Atreides was a young man; this contradicts the statement in Appendix IV that Anirul died in 10,176 (the year of Paul's birth). This date of death is supported in the prequel novel Dune: House Corrino when Anirul is murdered while trying to save a newborn Paul.
  5. 5.0 5.1 McNelly, Willis E. (June 1, 1984). "CORRINO, ANIRUL". The Dune Encyclopedia. pp. 169–172. ISBN 0-425-06813-7. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  6. 6.0 6.1 Herbert, Brian; Kevin J. Anderson (1999). Dune: House Atreides. pp. 76–77. ISBN 0-553-11061-6. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 Herbert, Brian; Kevin J. Anderson (1999). House Atreides. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png
  8. Herbert, Brian; Kevin J. Anderson (2001). Dune: House Corrino. Search this book on Amazon.com Logo.png

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