Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"Fezzik, you did something right!"

The Princess Bride was on a few nights ago. Both the book and the movie are more like familiar, beloved songs than surprising storybook stories at this point, but on this in-the-background viewing, I found myself focusing on a new aspect: the Westley-Buttercup and Inigo-Fezzik relationships. In some ways, the two pairs' dynamics are remarkably similar. All involved accept that Westley and Inigo are the smarter ones, the ones better suited to make plans; Inigo may doubt that he can do as well as Vizzini, but no one ever questions his intellectual superiority to Fezzik.

[Spoilers below if PB is not like a familiar song to you.]

Buttercup and Fezzik seem fine with being the comically dumb members of their respective pairs. Both remain devoted and make contributions in their own ways, Fezzik through his strength and Buttercup through the beauty that gives her a chance to become powerful. Each does something to prove his or her growth by the end, Buttercup more so in the book than in the movie. But ultimately, I think Fezzik is a stronger character, figuratively as well as literally. Just moments after Buttercup stands calmly at the altar, assuming Westley will come for her, Fezzik makes a decision and takes an action to help Inigo, who needs a door broken down in order to continue chasing Count Rugen. Fezzik leaves the weak Westley for a moment, "because there were some things you did, no matter what, and when a friend needed help, you helped him."

Fezzik, I think you're my favorite character. And when a story features Miracle Max, that's saying something.

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