Count Rugen


“My mind said, Mandy, if you get that part, and you play that guy, and you get that six-fingered man, and you get him, that’s cancer, and if you get him, your dad will come back.” —Mandy Patinkin (Inigo Montoya) [x]

Hold It, Is This a Kissing Article?

On deck for quite a long time now is a color pie article about the characters from The Princess Bride. The film’s wit, action, humor, and drama has cemented it as a staple family film for decades. It goes without saying that today’s article will contain plenty of spoilers, so stop now if you haven’t seen the film and don’t want the burden of knowledge.

And if you have seen The Princess Bride, you probably don’t need me to introduce much up here. And you probably just want to read the talky-color-pie parts. And you probably want to skip all the kissing.

As you wish, reader.

Westley/The Dread Pirate Roberts

Westly is a humble farm boy who is deeply in love with the woman he works for, Buttercup. His devotion and loyalty make him the perfect servant, a fact that Buttercup gets frustrated with until she realizes his motives. They smooch and it’s all happy. Westley leaves to get enough money to marry Buttercup, because his life is all about her. This is some hardcore Red stuff right here.

Westley’s Red devotion to Buttercup is the driving force of the film. He ventures back from near death (twice!) to rescue her from a false marriage. Everything he does in the film is to end up living happily ever after with his one true love.

But that isn’t the totality of Westley’s character. His motives are certainly Red, but what about the means? This is where his Blue side shines.

You see, Westley is a master of deception. He takes on the persona of the Dread Pirate Roberts for years in order to return home, even maintaining that disguise in front of Buttercup until she pushes him down a hill. He outwits Vizzini, a noted smartypants, and creates a plan of disguise to storm Humperdinck’s castle. Even when his body is broken he feigns strength to intimidate Humperdinck himself. Westley is clever in the way that only Blue is, solidifying him as a Blue/Red protagonist.


Despite being the titular character of the film, Buttercup doesn’t actually do a whole lot. She loves Westley a bit before getting mopey upon hearing about his death (He’s not really dead.) Then she gets kidnapped, rescued, kidnapped again, and locked away in a castle to be wed to Prince Humperdinck. In that time she basically can’t stop talking about her love for Westley. She has her doubts, but is ultimately prepared to take her own life rather than marry another man.

Seem overly dramatic?

Yeah, Buttercup is mono-Red. Whether she’s peachy in love or wallowing in despair, she is a woman who wears her emotions on her sleeves, belt, shoes, and has a whole set of emotion-laden eveningwear in her closet.

Prince Humperdinck

Prince Humperdinck is the main antagonist of the story and a classic jerkface. Let’s make a list of all the terrible things he does in the film:

  • Kidnaps Buttercup in order to force her to marry him.
  • Plans to get his fiancé killed, blame it on another kingdom, and use the event to justify a war.
  • Has megalomaniacal aspirations to rule the world.
  • Kidnaps Buttercup in order to force her to marry him again.
  • Turns Westley over to a torture enthusiast.
  • Renders Westley mostly dead on a torture machine.
  • Still plans to kill his fiancé just so he can be king and boot his dad out of power.

You don’t need to know a whole lot about the color pie to recognize Humperdinck as a Black villain. The story isn’t even transparent about it (It doesn’t have to be. Part of the fun of The Princess Bride is how on-the-nose it gets with fantasy and romance tropes.) So boom, the evil Prince Humperdinck fulfils his destiny as a mono-Black evil doer.

Inigo Montoya

Inigo is out for revenge.

But not the “you hit me now I hit you back” kind of revenge. That’s more Black. Rather, Inigo is engaging in the, “I want my father back, you son of a bitch,” kind of revenge. That’s more Red.

We don’t learn a whole lot about Inigo during the story, just that he loved his father very much and has taken up the blade to avenge his death. He may be acting as a hired sword for now, but Inigo is always moving forward in his plan. Every job has him questioning new people about the mysterious six-fingered man that killed his father.

Equally Red is Inigo’s empathy for Westley. Despite their duel, Inigo wishes the lover well in his search for his true love. They become allies as the story progresses, and he becomes quite moved by Westley’s dedication to Buttercup.

Loving revenge and empathy? Inigo Montoya is a certified mono-Red character.


When we first meet Fezzik, he faces off against Westley in a match of brute strength. Fezzik is shown to be a strong brute, but he is ultimately outwitted and defeated by the much smaller man. This already nudges Fezzik towards being a Green character, but that hypothesis is confirmed as we learn more.

Despite this first meeting Fezzik is largely a gentle giant. His natural size and strength make him a good fighter, but otherwise he’s calm, honest, and generally wants to see people be happy. He keeps the good-guy team together when in dire straits. These are all traits befitting a Green character, and I think Fezzik is a great example of how well the color pie was aligned to existing ideas about characters and their motivations.


The final member of the motley crew of mercenaries is the astounding Vizzini. Where Inigo brandishes steel and Fezzik flexes flesh, Vizzini’s realm is the mind. Short, round, and bald, this is not an imposing man.

In order to defeat Vizzini, Westley must face him in a challenge of wits. Whoever drinks the poison chalice will die and lose. Which chalice could the poison be in? Vizzini will surely defeat puny Westley in this mind game!

(He doesn’t.)

Vizzini’s small stature and logical puzzles make him a fairly straightforward Blue character.

Count Tyrone Rugen, the Six-Fingered Man

Finally, there is Count Tyrone Rugen, and I bet most of you didn’t even know he had a name. He’s mostly referred to as “the six-fingered man,” as we hear Inago talk about him often.

So Rugen killed Inigo’s pop. We don’t know why, but we can infer that it’s because the Count is a downright horrible person. The guy has a torture chamber called the Pit of Despair where he’s built a machine that sucks the life out of someone. Yikes.

What colors does this fall under though? His sadistic streak points to Black or Red, but I think it’s a little bit of both. Rugen clearly enjoys his painful pursuits and is generally excited to experiment on Westley. Ty also expresses a great deal of power as Humperdinck’s right-hand man, which is more Black.

Underneath it all, however, he is quite methodical. He takes detailed notes of his victims’ reactions, carefully ramping up The Machine little by little. In a way he’s sort of a scientist, albeit a terribly unethical one.

I think each of these idiosyncrasies meld together to make the six-fingered man a Grixis character who revels in the systematic torture of others.

Andrew, Maybe You Could Come Over and Write More to Me Tomorrow

No. Thursday’s my day off, Fred Savage. Go back to bed.

I don’t think it’s very surprising that the bad guys in a fantasy story skew Black and the lovey-dovey heroes are Red. Like I said earlier, The Princess Bride likes to be cheekily on-the-nose about things, so this is kind of an easy film to read with regards to the color pie. But I hope that didn’t stop you folks from enjoying this article.

Until next time, planeswalkers, may your homes stay free of R.O.U.S.’s.

The Princess Bride’s Count Rugen: Why Daylight Savings Time “Sucks”

“As you know, the concept of the suction pump is centuries old. Really that’s all this is except that instead of sucking water, we’re sucking time. We’ve just sucked one hour of your life away.  We might one day go as high as five, but we really don’t know what that would do to you.  So, let’s just start with what we have.  What did this do to you?  Tell me.  And remember, this is for posterity so be honest.  How do you feel?”

(via The Princess Bride’s Count Rugen: Why Daylight Savings Time “Sucks”)