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The Princess Bride

Summary

Chapter Seven

Summary Chapter Seven

Fezzik and Inigo carry Westley to Miracle Max, who worked for the king for many years but was eventually fired by Humperdinck. Max shoos them away angrily until they explain that the man is already dead; Max is good with the dead, so he agrees to take a look. He then darts off to tell Valerie, his wife who poses professionally as his witch, that two potential customers have arrived. She hopes that he will help them, but he comes up with excuses why he cannot. Valerie persuades Max to find out why they need the miracle, and using a bellows cram he pumps air into Westley and asks why he must live. Westley replies in a low, almost-dead voice, "Tr…ooooo…luv." When Max writes it off as "to bluff," Valerie runs into the room and rails against him, calling him a liar and explaining to Inigo and Fezzik how Humperdinck ruined Max's career. This segues off into Inigo's telling Max that bringing back Westley would cause Humperdinck great suffering. Max is delighted and agrees to do it.

William Goldman interrupts here to explain that he took out a section that would remind the readers too much of The Wizard of Oz. He also explains also that if Miracle Max and Valerie sound Jewish in character, then it is because they were.

As the miracle progresses and the wedding grows closer, Max produces a golf-ball sized lump of clay that is supposed to bring Westley back to life for an hour. Meanwhile, at the castle Humperdinck has summoned Yellin and asked for even higher security, due to further Guilderian threats. Yellin is overwhelmed, knows nothing of these threats, and so decides to resign. Humperdinck refuses to let him and confides the threats are really nothing but his own cover-up for murdering his wife and declaring war on Guilder. Yellin agrees to stick around. Back at Miracle Max's, Max has just realized that he made the pill to bring Westley to life for forty minutes, not the said hour.

By this time, Fezzik and Inigo are carrying Westley along the top of the castle wall. They slide the miracle pill into his mouth and instantly he begins to speak and threaten them, an auspicious beginning. He asks a battalion of questions, and Fezzik and Inigo answer as many as they can, explaining to him that with his brains, Fezzik's strength and Inigo's steel, they must break into the castle that is now guarded by a hundred men. Westley deems it impossible and prepares to return to death, but his comrades will not let him. Finally he schemes that with a wheelbarrow and a Holocaust cloak, they just might be able to figure something out. We switch to Buttercup, who is calmly at the altar ready to be rescued by Westley, and while outside the castle a Holocaust-cloak- clad Fezzik is on fire, claiming to be the Dread Pirate Roberts as he is being wheeled toward the guards, who all flee.

Analysis

One can imagine this novel's plot being shaped like an "M". The plot coasts from deeply sad up high into excitement and promise, and then dips down to tragedy as soon as Westley is captured and killed. Then, it rises again afterward, to the high-spirited and somewhat humorous raid of the castle, to a strange and ambiguous final ending. In this chapter, the storyline is rising out of its median low, recovering from Westley's death, and allowing us to focus again on adventure, like inside the Zoo of Death, and on character quirks, like those of Max and Valerie. The tone speeds up here, resourcefulness rises again.

The jaunt through the Zoo of Death reinforces Inigo and Fezzik's dire need for each other and their jovial acceptance of this. They save each other's lives easily and willingly, forgive each other's sins and move on to the next level. Both have moments of panic, and both make it through alive. We see, however, that they do need a planner, since their deductions and schemes are not always the brightest. Once they have carried Westley to Miracle Max's house, it is fairly clear that he will come back to life.