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We've just sucked one hour of your life away. Remember, this is for posterity, so be honest. How do you feel?
~ Count Rugen to Westley after torturing him.

Count Tyrone Rugen is the secondary antagonist of the 1973 fantasy novel The Princess Bride by the late William Goldman, and its 1987 live-action film adaptation of the same name. He is also known by Inigo Montoya as The Six-Fingered Man, due to having a sixth finger on his right hand.

In the film, he was portrayed by Christopher Guest who also played Ivan the Terrible in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.

Biography

Rugen is the right-hand of Prince Humperdinck, serving as the Grand Vizier of Florin. He is cruel and sadistic and has a fascination with pain; during the events of the film he claims that he is currently writing a book on the subject. He is the inventor of a massive torturing device that is a cross between a rack and a water pump, simply called "the Machine", that has the ability to drain years of someone's life from them. He is assisted in the Pit of Despair by the Albino.

Twenty years before the start of the story, Rugen visited swordsmith Domingo Montoya requesting a special sword for his six-fingered hand. When the elder Montoya completed the sword, Rugen demanded it at one-tenth of the original price. When the elder Montoya refused (not because of the money, but because Rugen did not appreciate the hard work invested in the weapon), Rugen killed him by slashing him through the heart. Domingo's then eleven-year-old son Inigo immediately challenged Rugen to a duel. Rugen bested Inigo, but decided to leave him alive, though he left scars on both of Inigo's cheeks to teach him a lesson.

Years later, Rugen helps Prince Humperdinck attempt to carry out his plan to incite a war between Florin and the enemy nation of Guilder, helping Humperdinck track down the wayward Buttercup, eventually succeeding at the edge of the Fire Swamp. Though Humperdinck promises to take Westley back to his ship, this is a lie and he actually orders Rugen to take Westley to the Pit of Despair. Westley immediately sees through this deception, prompting Rugen to knock him out.

Westley is taken to the Pit, where Rugen immediately hooks him up to the Machine and drains one year of Westley's life from him. He later asks Westley the exact sensation he felt "for posterity" (most likely for his book) in response to a whimper from Westley. Rugen fins this interesting and says he go as high as five years, but muses that he doesn't know what that would do to Westley.

Later in the film, when Inigo (who now knows that Rugen is his father's murderer), Fezzik, and a revived Westley (who was left "mostly dead" after an enraged Prince Humperdinck supposedly killed him after raising the Machine to the highest setting) storm Humperdinck's castle, Inigo corners Rugen and duels him again. Rugen has the upper hand for the beginning of the duel, but Inigo gradually fights back and defeats him.

In a last ditch effort to save himself, Rugen offers to give Inigo anything he wants if he let him live. Though Inigo appears to consider this offer, he ultimately kills Rugen, saying "I want my father back, you son-of-a-bitch." Thus, Inigo finally avenged his father after twenty years. Shortly later, Inigo questioned his future, now that he's gotten revenge on the man who orphaned him.

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Trivia

  • Despite his sadism, Rugen has at least some degree of morals in the movie, as he is visibly disturbed when Humperdinck raises the Machine to 50, though this could have been because he did not want Humperdinck to ruin his experiment, which he did.

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See Also
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