Six Degrees: From Sir Percival Blakeney to Westley
In the last installment of Six Degrees, Jenelle once again came up with a book I haven’t read, The Scarlet Pimpernel. But that really is one of the fun things about this game. It’s like a group of friends talking in a library about their favorite books. You tell me about one, and then I get to share one you might like. If it’s new to you, great, you’ve discovered a new possible read. If not, you’re still a winner because you get to recall the characters from a great book you’ve already read.
I was strongly tempted to put The Scarlet Pimpernel on my short list of books after reading Jenelle’s post. I love adventure books, especially the older ones and I must confess that due to its rather frumpy sounding title, I’d never given that book so much as a second glance. But with the French Revolution still fresh on my brain from Tale of Two Cities I’m very keen on dipping my toes once again in those turbulent waters.
But I digress. What character from the Pimpernel did I pick for Six Degrees? I chose Westley from The Princess Bride. Ok, so from the sound of things, the French Revolution was a much more dramatic backdrop than the machinations of Humperdink and Vizzini in the kingdom of Florin, but I saw a lot of similarities. A man in disguise, rescuing a princess from certain death, behind the scenes skulduggery from corrupt royalty and equally corrupt commoners.
I know Jenelle knows the story of The Princess Bride backwards and forwards, but for the benefit of those poor unfortunate souls who have not had a chance to sample either the book or the movie (both of which are equally grand, though I slightly prefer the movie), I’ll run through a few of the major characters.
Westley’s true love in the story is Princess Buttercup, a beautiful and rather innocent and trusting farm girl who is elevated to royal status through her betrothal to the nefarious (though at first pleasant seeming) Prince Humperdink. Though Humperdink is a master hunter and excellent swordsman, he mostly has others do his dirty work. Chief among his accomplices is Count Rugen, the infamous six-fingered man. A black-hearted villain if ever there was one, the notorious count has been responsible for more than his fair share of misery in his life. But that’s not the only help the prince enlists to carry out his scheme of murdering the princess and framing his enemies as a pretext for going to war. The brilliant criminal mastermind Vizzini is also brought in to assist in the shenanigans. He and his two henchmen kidnap the princess on the eve of her wedding night to smuggle her across the eel-infested waters near Florin.
But the story is not entirely peopled by criminals. There are heroes galore! An unlikely source for these comes from Vizzini’s cohorts. The simple and yet enormous Fezzik is the muscle of the band, but he seems to have a heart to match his enormous frame and it’s clear that he is not the bruiser he outwardly appears to be. Vizzini’s right-hand man (though sometimes he fights left-handed) is the unforgettable Spaniard Inigo Montoya. His sword-fighting skills are rivaled only by Westley’s, but his devotion to find his father’s killer knows know equal.
Hilarity ensues as this madcap adventure unfolds. Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles… This book has a little bit of everything. In fact, it’s so good, some might say it’s inconceivable!