May 11, 2022

#08-209: The Princess Bride

Westley (as the Dread Pirate Roberts) and Buttercup
(from a book cover)

Note: William Golding's The Princess Bride introduced many common expressions into our conversation, including my favorite: "Inconceivable!"

Get Ready: What are the key elements of an adventure story: a hero? a villain? a love interest? What else?

One of my favorite films is 1987's The Princess Bride, based on a book by William Golding.

It's about Buttercup, a farmgirl, and Westley, the hired hand who loves her. Whenever she gives him an order he replies, "As you wish." At last, she realizes how much he loves her--that "As you wish" means "I love you"--and that she loves him, too.

Hoping they will marry, Westley sets out to seek his fortune, when his ship is attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts. When the news reaches Buttercup, she presumes Westley is dead, because the Pirate never leaves survivors.

Five years pass. Prince Humperdinck of Florin forces Buttercup into an engagement. But before the marriage can take place, she is kidnapped by a trio of outlaws: the Sicilian Vizzini, the giant Fezzik, and the Spanish swordsman Inigo Montoya.

Inigo's father had been killed by a man with six fingers, and he is set on revenge. When he meets the man, he will say: "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

The Prince sets out after the outlaws--but so does a mysterious man in black. He confronts the outlaws, besting Inigo with a sword, choking out Fezzik, and tricking Vizzini into drinking poison meant for him. (This man in black is skillful, strong, and clever!)

He flees with Buttercup who, realizing he is the Dread Pirate Roberts and that he believing that he killed Westley, shoves him into a gorge and says she hopes he dies. As he falls, he calls out in reply, "As you wish!" and, now recognizing Westley, she throws herself down after him. We learn that Westley is only the latest "Dread Pirate Roberts," a title passed down from one man to the next.

When the Prince catches the pair, Buttercup agrees to go with him if he spares Westley. He agrees--but instead has Westley tortured nearly to death by Count Rugen, a man with six fingers!

Buttercup makes the Prince angry, and he locks her up, telling her he plans to kill her to start a war with the neighboring kingdom, Guilder. (The kidnapping had been part of that plan.) Inigo and Fezzik rescue Westley, and together they storm the castle.

The Prince rushes a wedding, but Buttercup never says "I do." Westley ties The Prince to a chair; Inigo kills Rugen (and becomes the next Dread Pirate Roberts); and Fezzik helps them all escape.

And in the end, Westley and Buttercup, safely reunited, share a passionate kiss--one of the "yucky kissing parts."


Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. besting
  2. confronts
  3. gorge
  4. outlaws
  5. passionate
  6. reunited
  7. shoves
  8. spares
  9. survivors
  10. tortured

  1. punished with pain
  2. allows to live
  3. with deep feeling
  4. criminals
  5. pushes hard
  6. joined together again
  7. people who live
  8. faces directly
  9. beating; winning against
  10. a deep canyon

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for May 11, 2022

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. i; 2. h; 3. j; 4. d; 5. c; 6. f; 7. e; 8. b; 9. g; 10. a