Study Guide

The Princess Bride Chapter 8

By William Goldman

Chapter 8


  • There is craziness everywhere at the castle gates, and soldiers are running everywhere. Inigo has Fezzik up on the Wheelbarrow and lit him on fire, using a special kind of cloak that'll keep him from burning. Now he looks like an eleven-foot monster who's on fire. As Inigo wheels him toward the castle, he keeps shouting that he is the Dread Pirate Roberts. All of the soldiers get scared and run away, which is exactly what Westley was hoping for.
  • Inigo sneaks up on Yellin and presses his sword to the guy's throat, forcing him to hand over the key into the castle.
  • Before long, they run into Count Rugen, who is running at them with four palace guards.
  • Meanwhile, an old Archdean is taking his sweet time in marrying Humperdinck and Buttercup. Humperdinck tries to get the guy to speed things along, but to no avail. Sure enough, though, the wedding ends before Westley and his merry men arrive. It's too late—Humperdinck and Buttercup are now man and wife.
  • We cut back to Count Rugen and his men. Or make that just Count Rugen, since Inigo has killed all his men before they could really take their swords out. Inigo then turns to Rugen and says, "'Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.'" It's not exactly what you want to read on one of those "Hello, my name is" nametags.
  • Count Rugen, being the standup guy he is, just turns and runs away.
  • Now that Buttercup is married, she figures that Westley hasn't come to save her after all, so she decides to kill herself in her bedroom.
  • Back to Inigo Montoya, who has set off in hot pursuit of Count Rugen. In the commotion, Inigo, Fezzik, and Westley all become separated, and Fezzik is left alone, staring down a bunch of maze-like corridors, wondering what to do.
  • Back to Buttercup's room, where the Princess presses a dagger to her chest and prepares to push. But a voice from her bed tells her to stop. She turns and sees Westley laid across her bed, unable to move.
  • Cut back to Inigo, who gets hit in the chest with one of Count Rugen's daggers when he runs through a door. It's all over for Inigo; the Count has won. Inigo takes one last chance to speak his father's name before he collapses.
  • Meanwhile, Westley lies on Buttercup's bed and hugs Buttercup as Prince Humperdinck comes into the room. Humperdinck grabs a sword and advances, challenging Westley to fight to the death. Westley answers by saying that if Humperdinck comes near him, he's in for a lifetime of pain and torture. We know he can't make good on this threat, but it works, and Humperdinck doesn't approach.
  • Meanwhile, Inigo lies dying and apologizing to his dead father as Count Rugen approaches him with a sword. At the last second, though, Inigo pulls the dagger from his chest and pushes his fist into the open wound to keep it shut. Then he sword fights with the Count and totally murders him, all the while saying, "'Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.'"
  • The Count dies of fear before Inigo even has a chance to finish him off. Now that the revenge is taken care of, Inigo wanders the hallways looking for his buds.
  • Meanwhile, Westley keeps making elaborate threats to try to scare Humperdinck into surrendering. Westley, remember, doesn't even have enough strength to get off of Buttercup's bed.
  • Humperdinck finally surrenders, and Westley commands Buttercup to tie his hands using the window curtains.
  • Once the Prince is tied, Inigo comes running in and lets slip that Westley can't move at all. The Prince freaks out and tries to break his bonds, angry that he gave into Westley's bluff. Ha.
  • At this moment, they hear Fezzik outside the window wandering around with Humperdinck's four white horses. They call to Fezzik and jump down, one by one, onto the horses. Then they all set off from the castle.
  • Goldman inserts himself once again to tell us that this is the point in the book when his father used to always say, "'And they lived happily ever after.'" But Goldman admits that this always seemed like a really abrupt ending to him. How did the four adventurers ever make it to the pirate ship? Did Humperdinck come after them? Inquiring minds want to know.
  • But the truth is that Goldman's dad was lying all the while. Goldman admits that it wasn't until he read the book himself (as an adult) that he realized this wasn't where the story ends.
  • We return to the story to hear that Humperdinck and his goons are racing after Westley and his crew. It looks like they'll make it to the pirate ship in time... but not so fast. This is when Inigo's wound reopens, Westley falls unconscious again, Fezzik takes the wrong turn, and Buttercup's horse loses a shoe.
  • Goldman admits that this is actually how Morgenstern's version ends—we're simply left with no clue as to what happens to Westley and the gang.
  • But here's how Goldman thinks the story should end: The heroes escape, but then Westley and Buttercup go on to have a realistic marriage where they constantly fight about the most insignificant things. Goldman doesn't really believe in happily ever after.
  • And there you have it. That's the end of The Princess Bride.

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