Sword Master for House Atriedes until his death during the Harkonnen Invasion of Dune. Reincarnated as a Bene Tleilaxu Ghola numberous times through-out the reign of Leto II, God Emporer. Also during the scattering by the Sisterhood of the Bene Gesserit.

A man who adamantly refuses to just go away. Well, actually he really has little say in the matter. The only character to appear in the whole Dune series by Frank Herbert (as well as the new Dune: House Atreides and Dune: House Harkonnen). Ironic, because it seems he dies at least once in every book. Serves the Atreides family semi-faithfully for several thousand years, consecutively and sometimes concurrently. He's a real tool. While the Dune universe slides perpetually into sexual perversion, Duncan Idaho stays pretty much the same.

In the David Lynch movie that only I seem to enjoy, Mr. Idaho is played by character actor Richard Jordan. Although he does not fit the profile 100%, he dies suitably dramatic.


Actually, Duncan Idaho does not stay pretty much the same throughout the Dune saga. During the final known times in the Dune story (Chapterhouse: Dune), when the Bene Gesserit and the Honored Matres became one sisterhood, Duncan Idaho was a wildly capable being.

This last known Duncan Idaho ghola was a mentat, a male sexual imprinter and also had a limited form of Other Memory just like the Bene Gesserit had. This Duncan Idaho was created using cells from all past incarnations of Duncan Idaho, and was trained by the dirty Tleilaxu to be a male master at sexual bonding. In fact, when Murbella, a talented Honored Matre tried to sexually bond Duncan Idaho, Duncan managed to sexually bond her too, creating a mutual sexual addiction.

In the end, this Duncan Idaho took a no-ship and scattered to a random location in the universe.

Within the original, Frank Herbert Dune series, Duncan Idaho seems to embody the second of two continuity errors (see my writeup for the tleilaxu). Within the space of one page (in book IV, God Emperor of Dune, Herbert seems to demonstrate an inconsistency.

"I died defending Paul and his mother in a cave-sietch beneath the sands of Dune. I have been returned to that planet, but Dune is no more. Now it is only Arrakis."
  -Chapter 7 (P45 in the ACE BOOKS paperback)

Duncan heavily implies that this is his last memory - the memory of his death. This conclusion is also supported by the conversations between him and the Bene Gesserit in book V, where they discuss the oddity of mixing cells from multiple lifetimes.

However, on the very next page, we are told that:

"Idaho remembered a strange child - twins, really..."
  -Chapter 7 (P46 in the ACE BOOKS paperback)

These twins (Leto II and Ghanima were not born until the end of Book II, and although there was a Duncan Idaho who witnessed their lives, he was the ghola Hayte. It seems illogical that the Tleilax would mix the original cells with the primary ghola.

Of course, it is possible that the many Idahos ordered by the God Emperor were gholas of the primary ghola Hayte, but if this is the case, why did Leto desire this, and why was such a fuss in the Vth and VIth books made of Idaho's 'multiple memories'?

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