21 Nov 2016

HIGH FANTASY RULES - The Princess Bride (1987)

Film genres have formulas and rules, but how well do High Fantasy films follow their formula?

The Princess Bride (1987) is the .greatest movie ever made.  And a High Fantasy low-magic child-friendly film.

The following analysis may contain spoilers for


RULE #1 - The Secondary World.

"A book?" ~ The Grandson.
"That's right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I'm gonna read it to you." ~ Grandpa.

1a.  Type:  Represented as a story book.
1b.  Faux-medieval - Faux-medieval.
1c.  Panoramic landscapes - Yes.
1d.  Impossible buildings and landmarks - Impossible/magic landscapes.
1e.  Archaic spelling/strange names - A little.
1f.  Hyper-real - Yes.

RULE #2 - There may be sex and nudity.

"They're kissing again. Do we have to read the kissing parts?" ~ The Grandson.
"Some day you may not mind so much." ~ Grandpa.

2a.  Nudity
i.  Female Nudity - None.
ii.  Male Nudity - None.
2b.  Sex
i.  Death - No sex.
ii.  Random Sex - No sex.
ii. Relationship Sex - No sex.
iii.  Rape - None.

RULE #3 - Characters.

"My brains, his steel, and your strength against sixty men, and you think a little head-jiggle is supposed to make me happy?" ~ Westley.

3a.  The Hero - Wesley.
3b.  The Hero's Parents - Not mentioned.

3c - 3i.  The Party of Adventurers
3c.  The Mentor - Mentioned (The Dread Pirate Roberts.)
3d.  The Heroine - Buttercup.  (Only a princess by upcoming marriage).
3e.  A Warrior - Fessik and Inigo.
3f.  A Warrior Woman - None.
3g.  A User of Magic - Miracle Max, not a member of the party.
3h.  A Thief - None.
3i.  A pet or other animal - None.

3j.  King - The King.
3k.  The Hag - Miracle Max.

3l.  The Dark Lord - Prince Humpadick
3m.  An evil female
i. Female Henchman - None.
ii. Member of Harem - None.
iii.  Dark Lord's Daughter - None.
3n.  Male Henchmen - Count Rugan.
3o.  Minions - Vizzini.

3o - 3q.  An Evil Person.
3o.  Grand Vizier - Count Rugan.
3p.  Evil relative - None.
3q.  The Priest - Priest.

RULE #4 - Races & Cultures.

"I do not accept excuses! I'm just going to have to find myself a new giant, that's all." ~ Vizzini.

4a.  Homogeneous Races - Humans only.

i.  Good/Evil N/A.
ii.   Magic - N/A.
iii.   Habitat - N/A.
4b.  Races.
i.  Humans - Everyone.
4d.  Societies - Only Florin shown.
4e.  Homogeneous Culture - Only Florin shown.
4f.  Rival cultures - Giulder is mentioned as their great rival.

RULE #5 - Magic & Monsters

"You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles." ~ Miracle Max.

5a.  Magical Past - Not referenced.
5b.  Low Magic Present - Yes, most of the magic can be past off as weird technology.
5g.  Spells & Powers
i.  Healing - Miracle Max creates a miracle pill to revive Wesley.
ii.  Remote Viewing - No.
iii.  Obfuscation - No.
iv.  Shape changing - No.
v.  Necromancy - Explicitly not (Wesley is only mostly dead.)
5k.  Items of Magic - Holocaust cloak.
5l.  Artifacts of Great Power - No.
5m.  Religion - There's a priest.
5n.  Mythical creatures 
i.  Dragon - N/A.
ii.  Unicorns - N/A.
iii.  Griffins, Rocs, Sphinx - N/A.
iv.  Giant Things - ROUSs (Rodents of Unusual Size).  Screaming Eels.
v.  Supernatural Creatures - N/A.
vi.  Raised creatures - N/A.
vii.  Nameless Beast - N/A.


RULE #6 - The Quest

"I was eleven years old. And when I was strong enough, I dedicated my life to the study of fencing. So the next time we meet, I will not fail. I will go up to the six-fingered man and say, 'Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.'" ~ Inigo Montoya.

6a.  The Artifact - No artifact.
6b.  Destroy the Dark Lord - An evil princess, but no powers, and he doesn't get killed.
6c.  Save the Heroine - Yes.  Twice.
6d.  Unite the races/Raise an army - Doesn't happen.
6e.  Prophecy - No prophecy.
6f.  Other events:
i.  Win a Contest - No contest.
ii.  Stop an Execution - There's an unofficial execution and it isn't stopped, the victim is just fixed.
iii.  Stop a Wedding - Major plot point, although it isn't stopped, it just fails to meet the requirements of a legal wedding.
6g.  The Hero's Journey - See below.

RULE #7 - The Hero's Journey: Departure

"And remember this, never forget this: when I found you, you were so slobbering drunk, you couldn't buy brandy!  And YOU: friendless, brainless, helpless, hopeless! Do you want me to send you back to where you were? Unemployed, in Greenland?" ~ Vizzini.

7a.  Secret Origin
i.  The Chosen One - No.
ii.  Orphaned - Wesley's parents aren't mentioned.  Inigo's father is murdered (years earlier). though.
iii.  Revenge - Wesley has a pirate ship with that name.  Inigo does have that quest, though.
7b.  Ordinary World
i.  From Earth - Is Earth.
ii.  Peaceful Lands - Seems so.
7c.  Initial Tests - None.
7d.  The Call to Adventure - Leaves to make fortune.
7e.  Refusal of the Call - No.
7f.  Supernatural Aid
i.  Meeting with the Mentor - Off camera.
ii.  A supernatural guide - No.
iii.  May be given a magic item or artifact - No.
iv.  The Party will begin to form - Eventually.
7g.  Crossing the Threshold - Yes.
7h.  Belly of the Whale - Off camera.

RULE #8 - The Hero's Journey: Initiation

"Why won't my arms move?" ~ Westley.
"You've been mostly-dead all day." ~ Fessik.

8a.  The Road of Trials - Scales the Cliffs of Insanity, faces Inigo, Fessik & Vizzini, then the dangerous of the Fire Swamp.
8b.  The Vision Quest - No.
8c.  The Meeting with the Goddess - Buttercup.  They'd already met.
8d.  Lure away from Journey - Wanted to run off with Buttercup.  Events stopped him.
8e.  A Greater Power - No.
8f.  The Ordeal - Apotheosis/Death - Count Rugen's machine.
8g.  The Ordeal - Descent into the underworld - The Pit of Despair.
8h.  The Ultimate Boon - No.

RULE #9 - The Hero's Journey: Return.

"You truly love each other and so you might have been truly happy. Not one couple in a century has that chance, no matter what the story books say. And so I think no man in a century will suffer as greatly as you will." ~ Prince Humperdinck.

9a.  Refusal of the Return - Difficulty reviving.
9b.  The Magic Flight - Escape on horses.
9c.  Rescue from Without - Inigo and Fessik do most of the work storming the castles.
9d.  The Crossing of the Return Threshold - Maybe.
9e.  Master of Two Worlds - Maybe.
9f.  Freedom to Live - It seems.

RULE #10 - Sequels/Remakes/Adaptations

"Grandpa, maybe you could come over and read it again to me tomorrow." ~ The Grandson.
"As you wish" ~ Grandpa.

10a.  Adaptation - Based on William Goldman's book: The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure.
10b.  Sequels - No sequel.
10c.  Remakes - No remake.


"Never happened." ~ Westley.
"But it did I was there; this old man said 'man and wife.'" ~ Buttercup.
"Did you say 'I do?'" ~ Westley.
"Um, no... we sort of skipped that part." ~ Buttercup.
"Then you're not married. You didn't say it; you didn't do it." ~ Westley.
  • Rules that are followed in this film:  1, 2, 7, 8, 10.
  • Rules that are partially followed, or not clear, in this film:  3, 4, 5, 6, 9.

~ DUG.

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