My favorite part of The Princess Bride is the final scene (except for the kissing at the end). Westley has somehow managed to get into Buttercup’s bedroom, though he is completely powerless. He’s had the life sucked out of him by one of the Count’s torture machines, but his two new friends, Inigo Montoya the Spanish swordsman who is trying to avenge his father’s death, and Fezzig, the dumb giant, who, with Inigo, was trying to kidnap Buttercup, and now they are helping Westley save her — carry the dead Westley to Miracle Max (Billy Crystal), who mixes up a potion that brings Westley partially back to life. He has no movement in his arms and legs, but he can think and speak, and that’s what they need him for the most — to help engineer a plan to “storm the castle” where Inigo can avenge his father’s death, and Westley can rescue the Princess.
So, in Buttercup’s bedroom, Westley reveals himself to her just in time to prevent her from killing herself over thinking she has lost him forever.
Buttercup: Oh, Westley, will you ever forgive me?
Westley: What hideous sin have you committed lately?
Buttercup: I got married. I didn’t want to. It all happened so fast.
Westley: Never happened.
Westley: Never happened.
Buttercup: But it did. I was there. This old man said “man and wife”.
Westley: Did you say “I do”?
Buttercup: Um, no. We sort of skipped that part.
Westley: Then you’re not married. If you didn’t say it, you didn’t do it. Wouldn’t you agree, Your Highness?
Humperdinck appears in the doorway.
Humperdinck: A technicality that will shortly be remedied. But first things first. Draws sword. To the death.
Westley: No! To the pain.
Humperdinck: I don’t think I’m quite familiar with that phrase.
Westley: I’ll explain. And I’ll use small words so that you’ll be sure to understand, you warthog-faced buffoon.
Humperdinck: Closes eyes. That may be the first time in my life a man has dared insult me.
Westley: It won’t be the last. To the pain means the first thing you will lose will be your feet below the ankles. Then your hands at the wrists, next your nose.
Humperdinck: And then my tongue, I suppose. I killed you too quickly the last time, a mistake I don’t mean to duplicate tonight. Moves forward.
Westley: Stopping him. I wasn’t finished. The next thing you lose will be your left eye, followed by your right.
Humperdinck: And then my ears, I understand, let’s get on with it.
Westley: Wrong! Your ears you keep, and I’ll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish. Every babe that weeps at your approach, ever woman who cries out, “Dear God, what is that thing?” will echo in your perfect ears. That is what “to the pain” means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever.
Humperdinck: I think you’re bluffing.
Westley: It’s possible, pig. I might be bluffing. It’s conceivable, you miserable vomitous mass, I’m only lying here because I lack the strength to stand. Then again, perhaps I have the strength after all. Stands and extends the sword in front of him. Drop … your … sword. Humperdinck drops it. Have a seat. He sits. To Buttercup. Tie him up. Make it as tight as you like.
She rushes over with a rope and begins to tie him to his chair.
Inigo: Where’s Fezzik?
Westley: I thought he was with you.
Westley: In that case, nngh! Falters and catches the bedpost.
Inigo: To Buttercup. Help him.
Buttercup: Why does Westley need helping?
Inigo: Because he has no strength.
Humperdinck: I knew it! I knew you were bluffing! I knew he was … Inigo brandishes his sword. bluffing.
Inigo: Shall I dispatch him for you?
Westley: Thank you, but no. Whatever happens to us, I want him to live a long life alone with his cowardice.
This scene has always made me think of the new covenant. Westley has no strength in and of himself, yet he’s going up against his greatest rival, talking big, as if he did. Indeed, walking in the power of the new covenant feels a little like bluffing sometimes, because we know we have nothing in our own strength, but only as the Lord gives us the power through His Spirit, so we act as if we do, and … lo and behold … we do. And when Westley manages to stand and pick up his sword, we know he is getting newfound strength from somewhere.
So what do you need today that you already have in the Lord? Act as if you had it, because you do — you just don’t truly know it until you need it. That’s where faith comes in.
When in the moment
You need it right away
Act as you have it
You’ll be surprised today
You will discover
You had it all along
‘Cause you’re a partaker
In the One who is strong
Live in the power
He has supplied to you
Live it each hour
It’s all there for you
By knowing the God of truth
from the song, “Live in the Power” by John Fischer