Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya
WHY YOU SHOULD CARE
Because revenge is a dish best served bold.
By Sean Braswell
Anyone named Montoya who has ever had to introduce themselves to a group knows that there is no avoiding The Princess Bride. No chance that — once you begin with “Hello, my name is Pam Montoya” — anyone will respond with anything other than “You killed my father. Prepare to die.”
The line from the 1987 cult classic, written by William Goldman and delivered by Homeland’s Mandy Patinkin, is the meme equivalent of the Ebola virus. Yet this virus seems only to leave its victims hemorrhaging laughter. Even Patinkin himself, a Chicago Jew who got his start in musical theater before playing the vengeance-seeking Spaniard at age 34, says he never gets tired of hearing the line — and you know he’s heard it in every elevator or checkout line he’s been in for 25 years.
But the epic trope is more than the mantra of a young swordsman confronting his father’s killer after 20 years of hunting him. It is the very power of words to fortify resolve and channel action. It is the word becoming flesh. When Inigo confronts Count Rugen, the six-fingered man he has been searching for his entire adult life, the refrain is consuming, empowering and ultimately lethal. And there’s not a single one of us who does not rejoice in our gut when Rugen is run through his. We’re all fired up to see Patinkin return as Saul in Homeland’s season premiere on Sunday night – you can even binge watch all of last year’s episodes this weekend – but let’s take a moment to revel in an earlier work that may ultimately have a more lasting impact.