His manners are those of a pig: the Baron Rakan is a bloated, disgusting lout known as much for his loathsome personal hygiene as he is for his brutal manner indeed, his habit of pulling out the heartplugs of his incompetent minions is considered an act of mercy. But beneath the coarse manners is a vicious, methodical, devious mind that is more than willing to break a few pesky Guild ordinances to attain an upper hand in the war over Arrakis. While he openly flouts intergalactic law to forward the Harkonnen cause, he knows that only paranoia will insure his personal survival. Indeed, the Baron mistrusts his generals, advisers, even his heirs, and on his pollution-choked homeworld of Giedi Prime, it's a necessary frame of mind. After all, betrayal, treachery and backstabbing built Rakan's nightmarish empire.
Rakan Harkonnen is based on both Granuk Harkonnen from The Dune Encyclopedia and the depiction of Vladimir Harkonnen in the 1984 Dune film. In the Encyclopedia, Granuk was described as an "old swine" and "foul", and he had a son named Gunseng.