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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

Favorite Fictional Characters, #47: Inigo Montoya


The Princess Bride is terrific. Let me, it is too much. Let me sum up: Goldman's book is a brilliant romp that evokes and skewers fantasy tropes, and the wonderfully cast and acted classic film deftly honors it in tone, story, and execution. The performances are great across the board, especially considering how young and relatively green Elwes and Wright were at the time, but my favorite is Mandy Patinkin's obsessive and kinetic Spaniard, Inigo Montoya.

Montoya is a man of honor and no small ability with the blade, but his quest for revenge in pursuit of his father's killer has gone stale, leaving him drowning his honor in drink and renting his talent to lesser lights. Montoya's story is one of eroding drive, of a life's purpose slipping away as the clock ticks. He is a brooding, tragic figure, and yet he radiates energy and charisma when in situations that present true challenges to the steel in his soul. The arrival of Westley in his life gives him someone he can admire, and something pure to chase, and it inspires him.

Finally able to realize his obsessions and expiate the onus he took upon himself as a child, Montoya's animation leaves him, and he has no idea what to do next. When the greyhound catches the rabbit at the racetrack, it never runs again. Or, as Spock might tell us, having may not be so pleasing a thing, after all, as wanting. What to do next when we accomplish our dreams?

Since I know you've seen the movie, read the book if you haven't. And pick up Cary Elwes' bio, As You Wish. He goes into detail about the filming of the movie, and the lengths to which he and Patinkin went for the dueling scene are great fun to hear about.

I still can't believe Buttercup married both Spicoli and Underwood.

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