Thufir Hawat is one of the main protagonists in Frank Herbert's masterpiece Dune. He was the Mentat to Duke Mintor Atreides, his son Duke Leto I and the teacher of Paul Atreides. Many believe that he was the greatest Mentat in the history of the universe.

He was born on the planet Logi the third planet of Alpha Centauri B to Golani and Alwidi in the year 10075. His mother sought out the best Mentat teachers in the universe in general Mentat abilities but also economics, communications and military strategy.

When he was made aware of the nature of his training he decided to continue and was sent to the Mentat school on IX. There he met Anyya, a Bene Gesserit official of the Imperial court with whom he shared a happy and fulfilling relationship. This was not to last. She left Ix with a friend of Thufir's and this threw Thufir into a moroseness and resentment of all females, particularly the Bene Gesserit. This was to be a lifelong feeling and played a large part in his undoing.

Hawat was thirty-five when he joined House Atreides. Under Duke Mintor, Caladan, the Atreides home planet, was transformed into a highly profitable agricultural world. Thufir was instrumental in this transformation; he directed the construction of flood protection, better communications, schools and mines. He brought agricultural experts to the schools of Caladan and made it the agricultural envy of the universe.

Duke Leto I inderited this strong base and soon turned his attention to espionage and increasing the military power of the Atreides. Again Thufir was instrumental in this and soon gained the title "Master of Assasins". He educated the Duke's son Paul who was meant to become a Mentat before events overtook him.

Attention: Spoilers Follow. Go and read the book if you haven't.

Hawat was the prime planner in House Atreides' move to Arrakis. He became a great expert in the world and soon uncovered inconsistencies in the information on the world. He was the one who suggested that Duncan Idaho be sent ahead to gain information about the real population of Fremen. He also suspected the reason for Arrakis' lack of weather control satelites and the flow of wealth that represented.

He was also responsible for ensuring that the Palace at Arrakeen was free of Harkonnen agents. This responsibility and the hunter seeker attempt on Paul's life caused Hawat to tender his resignation. Duke Leto I refused and pointed out that it was mainly Hawat's training that allowed Paul to survive. The Baron Harkonnen's mentat Piter deVries devised a plan to trick Hawat into thinking that the Lady Jessica was a traitor. This played on his feelings about the Bene Gesserit and even after the fall of Arrakeen and his capture by the Baron he still believed this had been the case.

While captive and mentat to the Harkonnens he was involved in numerous plots within the Harkonnen household. The most notable of these plots were his plan to kill the Baron with a poisoned needle in the thigh of a slave boy and the plot to glorify (or possably kill) Feyd-Rautha, the Barons chosen sucessor by allowing an undrugged Atreides slave into the combat arena with him during one of the rare public holidays on Geidi Prime.

The Baron, fearing Hawat (and rightly so), had his guards' master introduce a poison into Hawat's food. This poison, devised by deVries, needed an antidote to be given continuously to keep the victim alive. After the fall of Arrakeen to the Fremen hordes the Emperor instructed Hawat to kill Paul, by then the leader of the Fremen. Hawat by this time was very weak, the antidote to the poison having been withdrawn but he managed to summon enough strength to spit his last words at the emperor before his death:
"See, Majesty? See your traitor's needle? Did you think that I who've given my life to service the Atreides would give them less now?"

Sources :
"The Dune Encyclopedia", Dr. Willis E. McNelly.
My memory of "Dune", Frank Herbert.

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