Piter De Vries is a fictional character from the Dune universe created by Frank Herbert. He is featured in 1965's Dune, the original novel in the science fiction series, as well as the Prelude to Dune prequel trilogy (1999–2001) by Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson.
In David Lynch's 1984 adaptation of the first novel, De Vries was played by Brad Dourif. He was portrayed by Jan Unger in the 2000 Sci Fi Channel Dune miniseries.
In the service of Baron Vladimir Harkonnen, De Vries is a Mentat — a human specially trained to perform mental functions rivaling computers (which are forbidden universe-wide). De Vries is particularly useful to the Baron because he has been "twisted," or made into an amoral sadist by his Tleilaxu creators. This makes him an ideal candidate to be the Baron's torturer.
De Vries' loyalty to his master is unusual in that he continues to serve the Baron with great enthusiasm even though his Mentat abilities and great intelligence confirm his suspicions that his master plans to eventually kill him. As he says in Dune:
In Dune, it is established that De Vries had pioneered a type of toxin called "residual poison" which remains in the body for years and requires an antidote to be administered regularly. One such fatal poison is secretly administered by the Harkonnens to Thufir Hawat, the Mentat of House Atreides, in order to keep Hawat's allegiance as the only provider of the antidote (in the 1984 movie version, it is shown that Hawat has to milk a gruesome captive cat for the antidote every day).
De Vries is generally regarded as architect of the plan to destroy House Atreides, long-time enemy of the Harkonnens, while restoring the Baron's stewardship over the planet Arrakis. Wellington Yueh, the Atreides Suk doctor who betrays Duke Leto Atreides, gives the captured Leto a false tooth containing a poisonous gas. When the tooth is crushed, intended victim Baron Harkonnen escapes, but Leto and De Vries die.
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