Monday, July 16, 2012

Question for the Week of July 16 - July 22: Princess Bride Time Gap

Why did Westley never reach out to Buttercup before she was engaged to Prince Humperdink? His ship was raided five years earlier.
The Princess Bride is one of the best romantic comedies ever. I can't argue much when this funny, warm meta-comedy is on all-time favorites lists - great action, vivid dialogue and characters, charismatic and exceptional acting all around... I've barely watched it again, cause I don't ever want it to get old.

Peter Falk is the best. Brilliant casting, all the way.

I guess if you don't know the story, there are SPOILERS after this point.

Sure, we all know the story: Westley left Buttercup's quiet farm so he could earn money for their future. The poor kid's ship is attacked by pirates and he's reported dead. 5 years later, Buttercup gets engaged to a perfectly-dickish, sociopathic Prince - and that gets her kidnapped. A mysterious Zorro-esque man rescues her, reveals himself to be Westley's murderer, then reveals himself to be Westley.

Weird, right? If for some ridiculous reason, you haven't seen it and yet still read this - the odd story plays out very well.

The young lovers must then escape from the Prince's soldiers. While passing through a dangerous place, he reveals his past: the Dread Pirate Roberts let him live, then he became a crewmate. In time, the boss decided to retire, and Westley took over for the DPB (will this be my new rap name?).

Wes' story is great and all, but I think my question's pretty good: Why the hell did he wait so long?

To its credit, The Princess Bride does a great job of building up and telling its backstory. However, I've been in love many times, and I can't imagine:

  • traveling on a ship that's attacked by pirates
  • being taken in by them
  • earning a trusted place on the pirate crew
  • becoming the ship's new Captain

but never once even writing a g-d letter to the woman I love more than life itself. So she doesn't cry every night, or... so she waits for me, like she was already prepared to do. Y'know, stuff like that.

What was Westley waiting for? If she hadn't gotten engaged, would he have just kept pirating for a few years? Was he gonna pick her up and take on board with his crew? "Sorry, Buttercup - I was waiting for the most dramatically appropriate time to reveal I'm alive and better than ever."

You know what I'd do if "my love is like a storybook story" (to quote the closing song)? I would

  • send my chick a letter as soon as I can, for god's sake, 
  • when I've got The Dread Pirate Roberts' trust, I maybe debate earning more cash before I leave, then 
  • get back and pounce on her like I just learned I have 2 hours to live.

My storybook is a little different, I guess.


  1. Yeah, when I first saw Princess Bride, I just figured that Westley couldn't reach out while he was on "Good night, Westley. Good work today. I'll probably kill you in the morning," terms with the pirates, but you'd think that at some point between that and him actually becoming the new DPR, he'd have run across a Florinese post office or messenger service. Then again, maybe by the time he got to that point, Buttercup was already engaged to Humperdink (though that would be a pretty friggin' long engagement).

    1. Totally with you, DJ. If you feel "twue wove" for someone, feel a constant imperative to be with them. Westley definitely would've had a free minute to at least send a letter...


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