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Sports in the Dune Universe?

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 18:17
by Nameless Swordsman
So, years and years back, a friend of mine was putting together a group for an RPG (an on-line board-based one, I believe) and having just read Dune he was very interested in doing some role-play and having each member of his group play a character in that universe that goes on a journey, etc, etc.

Whilst preparing for creating his RPG, he had perused the Terminology of the Imperium section of his Dune book and was surprised to find no mention of sports or gambling at all.

So he asked me about it and as much of a busy-body as I am, at the time I was very distracted with work and schooling, and apart from Bull-fighting, I couldn't think of any mention of any sports or gambling prevalent in that universe.

We both got busy at some point later and lost contact so I never knew what became of his RPG, but in retrospect I do find it odd that the Dune Universe does not entertain a variety of sporting events. :think:

But I could have overlooked something.


So, apart from Bull-fighting (and possibly Kanly exhibitions) do you guys recall anything in the way of sporting contests and gambling?

Re: Sports in the Dune Universe?

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 18:45
by Jodorowsky's Acolyte
Shield practice, gladiatorial games, worm riding, and sex with concubines. Those are the only sports I know of in Dune.

Re: Sports in the Dune Universe?

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 23:27
by Naïve mind
Nameless Swordsman wrote:So he asked me about it and as much of a busy-body as I am, at the time I was very distracted with work and schooling, and apart from Bull-fighting, I couldn't think of any mention of any sports or gambling prevalent in that universe.


If you investigate the history of sports, you'll find that organised sports as we know them today, with tournaments, team shirts, and standardized rules, are essentially something the British upper class invented around the 18th and 19th century. Before that, we (at least, western Europe, and presumably the States) had 'games' at the village fair once or twice a year. Regular spectator sports are by no means a constant amongst human societies.

Re: Sports in the Dune Universe?

Posted: 20 Jun 2013 23:49
by Nameless Swordsman
Jodorowsky's Acolyte wrote:Shield practice, gladiatorial games, worm riding, and sex with concubines. Those are the only sports I know of in Dune.


Ah, gladiatorial games. But I thought they were practiced merely by the Harkonnen, and more for cruelty than for formal sport.

Re: Sports in the Dune Universe?

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 00:27
by Naïve mind
The Atreides used bull fighting, the Harkonnens used gladiatorial games, for much the same purpose. To show how formidable they were, and to inspire or intimidate the masses. FH may have intended these events to hint at the similarity between the two feuding families.

Re: Sports in the Dune Universe?

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 00:42
by Nameless Swordsman
Naïve mind wrote:
Nameless Swordsman wrote:So he asked me about it and as much of a busy-body as I am, at the time I was very distracted with work and schooling, and apart from Bull-fighting, I couldn't think of any mention of any sports or gambling prevalent in that universe.


If you investigate the history of sports, you'll find that organised sports as we know them today, with tournaments, team shirts, and standardized rules, are essentially something the British upper class invented around the 18th and 19th century. Before that, we (at least, western Europe, and presumably the States) had 'games' at the village fair once or twice a year. Regular spectator sports are by no means a constant amongst human societies.


Good points..

It makes me wonder what the Houses did for general recreation and entertainment, then.

And what of gambling/card-playing?

I can imagine taverns in the Dune universe where people might gamble and play cards, but I can't recall one instance of something like that actually existing. :think:

Re: Sports in the Dune Universe?

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 00:45
by Nameless Swordsman
Naïve mind wrote:The Atreides used bull fighting, the Harkonnens used gladiatorial games, for much the same purpose. To show how formidable they were, and to inspire or intimidate the masses. FH may have intended these events to hint at the similarity between the two feuding families.


Astute point.

Re: Sports in the Dune Universe?

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 05:52
by lotek
I get the feeling Frank didn't bother about that since it was not needed for the story, and also that I see the books as the top of the iceberg of the Duniverse.
Just like FH doesn't bother describing whole sections of the storyline (not like some others...), so that the reader feels empowered and considered smart enough to fill in the gaps himself (and because he does, he can).

Gambling and sports, just like other parts of everyday life are a constant in human affairs, but it's the unspoken base on which the top lies. We're shown the top, we imagine how big the base must be and FH can get on with what's important.

Also, here and there are little hints at that everyday "normal" life, to me Odrade's reminiscing of her childhood on Gammu is a good example of that.
Here's someone who will be playing a major role and yet she still remembers Sea Child.
Oh and the surfers, that's a sport rooted in everyday life when you live next to waves.

Re: Sports in the Dune Universe?

Posted: 21 Jun 2013 05:56
by Freakzilla
The Honored Matres were playing some team sport when Odrade and company went to Junction. It was of no apparent surprise to Odrade.