This gives added creepiness to that brief snapshot we get of their homeward on Salusa Secundus where men look to be “trained” while being crucified upside down, and as some gravelly-voiced figure provides a deeply unsettling religious chant from on high.
If you’ve never read Herbert’s 1965 novel or any of the Dune sequels, trust us, the Sardaukar are so much worse than you realize.
How Sardaukar Are Made
In truth, Sardaukar are not from the planet Salusa Secundus; or at least their ancestors weren’t. Many centuries ago, Salusa Secundus was the home of House Corrino, the royal family which has ruled the Known Universe for thousands of years under the crown of the Padishah Empire. From the brutal living conditions of Salusa Secundus, House Corrino consolidated its power as the greatest and most dangerous family in the universe.
However, after the Corrino House moved to a more glorious planet on Kaitain, they transformed their former homeworld into a prison planet. Think where Sigourney Weaver winds up in Alien 3—or really just the penal colony of Australia. Anyone whom House Corrino decreed seditious or vile was sentenced to live out their remaining days in vicious conditions.
But what happened to them after they were exiled to the Imperium’s best known hellhole? It is unclear because the Padishah Emperor forbade any sort of survey or open records to be kept of the occurrences on Salusa Secundus. That’s because the Corrinos’ victims were not only sentenced to suffer: convicts, and convicts’ children, and their children’s children, and so on for eternity were sentenced to be assimilated and brainwashed into a warrior culture’s cult. Like the Spartans of the old earth, the weak were filtered out from the strong at birth, and the healthy from the sick.
It is said six out of every 13 children born on Salusa Secundus die before the age of 11 due to the unforgiving and fanatical training regiment of their forefathers, who were in turned raised by their fathers to have a religious-like deference toward all members in the House Corrino. In the royal family’s favor, they’re raised to be peerless swordsmen and warriors (and to have a decent middle class lifestyle, apparently), to the point where one wonders if they influenced the Unsullied in George R.R. Martin’s “A Sword of Ice and Fire” as much as they did Stormtroopers in Star Wars.