I think we all fell in love with Paul Atreides / Muad’Dib in Dune as he’s built up throughout the book. Then in Messiah Mr. Herbert wanted to make us all dislike him?
Paul has been Emperor for about twelve years when we start Messiah. Everything he was afraid of happening has come true. He’s worshipped as a god, a religion was basically started in his name, and the Jihad has ‘killed sixty-one billion, sterilised ninety planets, completely demoralised five hundred others’. I’m not sure how Paul could’ve prevented the Jihad, and he basically mourns it throughout the book.
I also just read a review that talked about how Dune was filled with strong female characters, and it got me thinking that I don’t remember that much of Jessica in Messiah. She was a kick ass fierce female in Dune, and I legitimately can’t remember what she did in this book!
I guess it just sets up the idea that we shouldn’t have Messiahs, which I fully agree with.
There’s also an assassination plot that’s foiled, and then there’s an attack that greatly wounds Paul. As he’s Paul, it doesn’t stop him or diminish his powers. Oh duh, and Chani is pregnant. She gives birth at the end, and it’s all a big tragedy. No spoilers from me.