Near the beginning of The Princess Bride, when Vizzini, Inigo, and Fezzik have kidnapped Buttercup and have her on their ship, they are surprised to find themselves pursued:

INIGO: You are sure nobody's following us?
VIZZINI: As I told you, it would be absolutely, totally, and in all other ways, inconceivable. No one in Guilder knows what we've done, and no one in Florin could've gotten here so fast.

For once Vizzini's logic appears to be correct: their abduction was well planned, and it does seem inconceivable that anyone would have discovered it already and be pursuing them. However, as Inigo points out immediately after the above quote, they do have a pursuer: the Man in Black.

How did he know that they'd kidnapped the princess in order to find them so quickly?

(This question was inspired by our Princess Bride movie night on Tuesday in Mos Eisley.)

  • True love showed him where Buttercup was? – Bellerophon Sep 1 '16 at 21:01

Unless the book expands on this, the only explanation would be that Wesley had already returned to Floren, and had been watching Buttercup before she was kidnapped. After all, once he became the Dread Pirate, he had no other desires other than her, so why not return? Granted he could have intervened before they took her to the ship, but how else would he get the time to speak with her, being she is now royalty?

  • I dont think the book does; if my memory serves, the entire chase sequence is the part least changed, with some dialogue nearly verbatim. – Radhil Sep 1 '16 at 21:50
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    Actually, thinking through it, there's two pieces that support this. (a) Westley is already ready to retire, so he would have been on his way back regardless, and (b) Humperdinck offhand command later "The Dread Pirate Roberts is always close to Florin this time of year." suggests he does regularly check in on her. – Radhil Sep 2 '16 at 13:22
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    I've been able to confirm that in the book, Westley is indeed watching her from a tall tower during the engagement announcement as she walks among the people. She's kidnapped right after, so he's immediately in pursuit. – Radhil Sep 6 '16 at 23:21

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