Piter de Vries (d. 10191 AG) was a twisted mentat developed by the Bene Tleilax. He served House Harkonnen under the Baron Vladimir Harkonnen. De Vries was an ambitious and impatient sadist whose evil rivalled that of the Baron. The only mistake in his calculations he ever made was that Lady Jessica would bear Duke Leto a daughter, not son.
Piter De Vries was a short, slender man with effeminate features. He had inky blue-within-blue eyes, red lips due to consumption of sapho juice, a pointed chin and frizzy hair.
Life and works
A devious, cunning individual, de Vries was responsible for discovering how to break the Imperial Conditioning of a Suk doctor of never taking a life. He discovered that if he held a loved one of the Suk doctors to ransom, he could control their behaviour any way he wished. This was demonstrated by the betrayal of House Atreides by Dr. Wellington Yueh.De Vries had kidnapped Yueh's wife, murdered her, and convinced Yueh that she was still alive. De Vries had promised that he would return his wife to him if he were to do the Harkonnens' bidding. This effectively broke Yueh's Imperial Conditioning, and led to the death of Duke Leto Atreides.
De Vries was killed by Leto when he mistakenly perceived de Vries to be the Baron Harkonnen. In a drugged state, Leto bit down on a poison gas tooth imbedded in his head by Yueh just before Leto was captured during the invasion of Arrakis. The Baron narrowly escaped, but de Vries was killed. In this way, Yueh managed to exact vengeance on the man that killed his wife.
Images of Piter de Vries
Behind The Scenes
An unpublished scene from Dune, included in The Road to Dune, finds Piter de Vries describing a scene from when he was five years old to Baron Harkonnen. De Vries recalls witnessing his mother, a concubine, falling from a balcony to her death in the courtyard in which he was playing. He uses the event as a metaphor for Duke Leto's fate - that a person falling is already dead. De Vries believes that the only point in the fall that is of importance is the toppling, since it is then when one can push or rescue the person about to fall. He mentions that the Duke is already falling, due to his inclusion in the plots of House Harkonnen and House Corrino.
In Other Media
In the 1984 Dune movie, Piter de Vries is portrayed by Academy Award nominated actor Brad Dourif.
The mentat mantra he recites in the film is as follows:
"It is by will alone I set my mind in motion. It is by the juice of Sapho that thoughts acquire speed, the lips acquire stains, stains become a warning. It is by will alone I set my mind in motion."
Jan Unger portrayed Piter in the Frank Herbert's Dune miniseries.