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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 (simply known as Tyrone Rugen) is the secondary antagonist of the 1987 live action fantasy film, The Princess Bride (despite having a major role in the film). He is also known by Inigo Montoya as "The Six-Fingered Man", due to having a sixth finger on his right hand.

He was portrayed by Christopher Guest.

History

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.

20 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 11-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 Wesley back to his ship, this is a lie and he actually orders Rugen to take Wesley to the Pit of Despair. Wesley immediately sees through this deception, prompting Rugen to knock him out.

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

Later in the film, when Inigo (who now knows that Rugen is his father's murderer), Fezzik, and a revived Wesley (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 20 years.

Trivia

  • Although he is the secondary antagonist, Rugen turned out to be more dangerous than Humperdinck.
  • Despite his sadism, Rugen has at least some degree of morals, as he is visibly horrified 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).