Movie/TV Characters

Westley’s Guide to Manliness

Evening gents, it’s Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide here! Today is the second article in our new series about how characters from movies and TV can teach us how to be men (name of which is TBD). So today, we’re going to take a look at one of my favorite movies, and my favorite character from said movie: Westley from The Princess Bride! Now, if you’ve never seen this movie, you absolutely should, it’s wonderful! At first glance, it may just seem like your typical fairy tale with the dashing hero, but there is so much more to it. It’s got just as much for kids as it does for adults, and just as much for girls as it does for boys. Not to mention that pretty much all the characters are just as wonderful, and today, I thought it would be fun to take a look at the stereotypical dashing hero in the story, the young farmboy turned pirate, Westley, and how his actions throughout the movie can teach you young gents reading how to be better gentlemen. Now, I should’ve mentioned this with my last post about Ron Swanson, but I’ll just mention it here; not everything I say here is meant to be taken super seriously. This series is just for fun, and it would be smart to just take certain things I say in this and future posts like this with a grain of salt. So before this article turns into a full-length novel, let’s get started!

Two disclaimers: There may be some spoilers for The Princess Bride in this post, so if you haven’t seen the movie yet, you’ve been warned. Also, I do not own any of the images used in this post, and all the images used are from The Princess Bride.

1. He respects everyone he comes across

Obviously one of the most gentlemanly traits someone can have is respect, and Westley displays this trait in spades. I myself have a “live and let live” kind of nature; if you respect me, I’ll respect you, it’s that simple. And that perfectly describes Westley as well. He even holds most of his adversaries with the utmost respect, and will even compliment them (with the exception of Prince Humperdinck). For example, when Westley is engaged in a duel with Inigo Montoya near the beginning of the film, they hold a fairly friendly conversation, complimenting each other on their dueling styles and devotion to the art. And even when Westley bests Inigo and defeats him, Westley refuses to kill him, saying, and I quote, “I would sooner destroy a stained glass window than an artist like yourself.” And then, after knocking Inigo out, Westley tells him “Please understand I hold you in the highest respect.” That should just speak for itself. Later on, after besting Fezzik the giant, he doesn’t necessarily apologize for KO’ing him, but does wish that he sleeps well and dreams of large women. And when going up against Vizzini in his battle of wits, Westley even compliments him saying he has a “dizzying intellect.” So in short, whether they’re with him, or against him, Westley holds nothing but respect for almost everyone around him. If that doesn’t make him a true gentleman, I don’t know what does.

2. He’s a survivalist

I know I’ve been referencing this post a lot lately, but to those of you who read my post about my grandfather, you would know that he’s a true outdoorsman, and could essentially live off of the land if he so desired. While I can’t say the exact same thing about Westley, he still shows several times throughout The Princess Bride that he has impeccable situational awareness and can survive in several different environmental situations he comes across. When Vizzini cut the climbing rope while Westley was trying to climb the Cliffs of Insanity, not only was he able to grab onto the rocks before he fell, he was able to climb the rocks to a small extent. It may have taken significantly longer, but had Inigo not tossed down the remaining rope down to Westley to help him up, it’s my firm belief that Westley could have climbed up the cliffs by himself. Both Westley and Inigo were able to adapt their dueling techniques to the rocky terrain they were fighting on. That’s something that they specifically converse about during their duel.

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It also may have taken him a bit of time, but Westley was also able to learn the dangers and signals of said dangers in the fire swamp. He was even able to use those dangers to help defeat the R.O.U.S. that attacked him and Buttercup. When he heard the popping sounds that preceded the bursts of flames common in the fire swamp, Westley was able to roll the R.O.U.S. over to the flame burst in order to seriously injure it and kill it soon after. And f course, being a pirate, he also clearly knows his way around the seas and oceans, enough to the point where he was able to track and trail Vizzini and his crew in order to rescue Buttercup. It’s my belief that situational awareness and outdoor skills are some of the most important things for all gentlemen to know, and these are just two other things that Westley displays in spades.

3. He’s extremely devoted

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If there’s anything that can be learned about Westley after watching The Princess Bride, it’s that he loves Buttercup more than anything in the world, and will fight for her even to the point of death. Now, I’m not saying that you have to have a woman in your life to fight for to the point you’d be willing to die for her, but there should be something like that that any man should be devoted to. Whether it’s a woman, a family member, or even an idea or belief, having something to be devoted to is essentially another way of saying that you have something to live for. Even after being “mostly dead” for hours but being revived by Miracle Max, the first thing he’s able to say after Miracle Max asks him what’s worth living for, Wesley replies with just two words: “true love.” His love for Buttercup is what keeps him going, the reason he’s even alive. And as Inigo says later that very scene, “You can’t ask for a more noble cause than that.”

4. He can defend himself and others

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Now, if you’ve seen the movie or even just the thumbnail for this post, this should go without saying. This is pretty much the entire reason Westley even has a sword. The first time you see him use it, it is more or less for sport, but if the situation were to arise, he could draw his blade in order to fend off whatever he needs to. Soon after his duel with Inigo, Westley is scouting the nearby countryside and gets a rock thrown at him by Fezzik. What’s the first thing he does after Fezzik throws the rock at him? He draws his sword, preparing to fend off Fezzik. But it’s not about just defending himself. He also does what he can to defend and protect others. He does this several times with Buttercup, but he also does protect Inigo and his friends by drawing his sword against Prince Humperdinck near the end of the movie, despite how frail he was feeling. He can’t stand to see his true love and his friends in danger, and he does whatever he can to protect them.

So there it is! That’s just four (4) ways in which Westley, the humble farmboy turned pirate, is a true gentleman. His devotion to his love, his respect for all those around him, and his ability to defend himself and survive in almost any situation. Are there any other gentlemanly characters you’d like to see us talk about in the future, be sure to let us know in the comments! In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post. Please be sure to share the post, follow the blog, follow The Young Gentleman’s Guide on Facebook and Instagram, and support us on Patreon. And on that note, this is Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide, and I’ll see you next time!

Ron Swanson’s Guide to Manliness

Evening gents, it’s Max from the Young Gentleman’s Guide here! Before we get started, I just thought I should address some of the backlash that my last post has been getting as of late. I fully concede that I probably should have used more reliable sources than Prager University or Louder with Crowder, and I may have made a couple leaps in logic. That being said, as was the situation with my post about the 1950s, I still stand its original intended message, and the post is staying up. At the end of the day, I’m not going to let a couple lost followers ruin my life, and moving forward, I’ll do my best to void any political commentary like stuff like that. That was never this blog’s original intention, and for that, I apologize, and I emphasize I. Jonah had nothing to do with anything that post, it was all my idea. With that out of the way, let’s move on to something a bit more lighthearted!

So, anyone who knows me knows that on top of swing music, chocolate, and John Steinbeck novels, I also love movies and TV, and one of my favorite TV shows of all time is Parks and Recreation. For those of you who haven’t seen this fantastic show about a group of wacky people working for the local government in their wacky town, I highly recommend you do. All seven (7) seasons of the show are on Netflix right now, but it’s not necessary to understand the message of this post. One of my favorite characters in this show, and one of my favorites in TV history, is the man, the myth, the legend, Ron Swanson! One of the most iconic characters from this show, Ron has a personality that’s entirely his own, and several character traits that not only I admire, but traits that he tries to pass on to other characters on the show. So today, I thought I would aid Ron in passing on said character traits to you young gents reading today! So before this post turns into a full-length novel, let’s get started!

1. He stands up for what he believes in

For those of you who didn’t read our post about how a gentleman stands up for what he believes in, I actually quoted a line from Ron Swanson. In the Season 6, Episode 14 episode “Anniversaries”, Ron sends reviews from the Parks & Rec office to establishments he personally doesn’t like and includes his name and address with each letter. When questioned about this, he responds “If you believe something, you sign your name to it.” Throughout the course of the show, Ron displays this sentiment in spades. Ron is extremely vocal about what he believes in, including but not limited to, his distrust of the government, his advocacy for capitalism, or his love of meat and breakfast food. On top of this, he rarely, if ever deviates from these beliefs. The only time he ever seems to do so is if he’s caught in the clutches of his ex-wives. Aside from those two spawns of Hell (his words, not mine), he never backs down to anyone, and doesn’t care who he offends, or even if he offends anyone because of his beliefs. He believes what he believes, and doesn’t care who disagrees with him, which leads me to my next point.

2. He doesn’t alienate

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Anyone who’s seen Parks and Rec knows that Ron Swanson and Leslie Knope are the closest of friends that many people in the real world could only wish they had. The interesting thing is that Ron and Leslie disagree on almost everything, except for the amazingness of breakfast food. So how can they be such great friends and colleagues when in any other circumstance, they would want nothing to do each other? They simply respect each other. Specifically on Ron’s end, while he couldn’t care less about Leslie’s clearly pro-government ideas and constant need to control everything, but admires her tenacity, and get-it-done attitude. He says that he would rather work with someone who’s motivated and wants to get things done as opposed to a pushover who doesn’t do anything. He’s willing to look past Leslie’s political ideals and just sees her as a good person who just wants to do good for the people around her. And Ron seems to do this with just about every character in the show (with the exception of his ex-wives and Ron Dunn, his Parks & Rec counterpart from Eagleton). He may butt heads with other characters on the show more than once, but he does not alienate them, and in some cases, may actually help them. He pretty much follows the same philosophy that I do: if you respect me, I’ll respect you.

3. He can put up a fight

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While this picture is obviously more of a joke if anything else, Ron has shown multiple times throughout the show that he can defend himself using just about anything he has on hand, or even just his hands. And while it’s never explicitly stated, it’s implied through certain incidents across the series that he has some sort of martial arts training (my money’s on boxing) as a means of self-defense, which he’s shown to be rather good at. He even punches councilman Jeremy Jamm in the face to defend Leslie’s honor in the Season 5, Episode 14 Episode “Leslie and Ben”. So in short, if you were to tick Ron off or provoke him in any way, you’d most likely end up with some bruises and some missing teeth.

4. He likes any “manly” activity

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Now, while it is my firm belief that anyone of either gender can enjoy any kind of activity they want, practically all of Ron’s passions and hobbies are ones that men traditionally have done and/or enjoyed over the years. Among said hobbies or passions include woodworking, blacksmithing, hunting, and enjoying a neat glass of whiskey. And in reality, these can all help men become true men. I did learn quite a few of these things when I was in the Boy Scouts. Like I said in my post about my grandfather, it’s always good for a man to be handy, and be able to help in any situation (not so much the whiskey though). And that’s exactly what Ron always does. He always is able to help in any situation, whether it’s fixing April and Andy’s sink, making Leslie and Ben’s wedding rings, or fixing a park swing in the final episode of Parks and Recreation.

So there it is! Just four (4) ways that Ron Swanson is a model for the perfect gentleman! This may actually usher in a new mini-series here in the blog, similar to Jonah’s “Lessons in Manliness from the Vikings”, so if any of you would like to see how more movie and TV characters could teach you how to be real gentlemen, just let me know! In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading today’s post. Please be sure to share the post, follow the blog, and follow The Young Gentleman’s Guide on Facebook and Instagram. And on that note, this is Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide, and I’ll see you next time!

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Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the images used in this post. They are all screenshots grabbed from Parks and Recreation.