The Dread Pirate Roberts is a title attributed to pirate captains in The Princess Bride.
The Princess Bride
20 years before the events of the story, the first Dread Pirate Roberts marauded the seas, leading a fearsome crew of pirates on his ship Revenge. If ever they spotted a ship, they would leave no survivors.
One night, 3 years before the current events of the story, the Revenge encountered The Queen's Pride off the coast of the Carolina Colonies. After the ensuing battle, Roberts took in Westley, a Florinese farm boy who was sailing to America to make his fortune. Westley served as a valet to Roberts before the pirate captain told him the truth: the "Dread Pirate Roberts" was merely a title to pass on the legacy of the original Dread Pirate Roberts, who had retired to Patagonia 15 years prior, and left his first mate Clooney the Roberts legacy. It was soon revealed that the former Roberts would serve as first mate under the new Roberts for a short while, hiring a new crew to sail with, before retiring with their wealth.
The current holder, Felix Raymond Ryan, eventually passes the title to Westley.
In the first chapter of Buttercup's Baby (the supposed sequel to the novel), which is included in the 25th anniversary edition of the book, Goldman refers to 'Pierre', who is in charge of the pirate ship Revenge during Westley's absence and next in line to become the Dread Pirate Roberts. By the end of the chapter, Westley and his companions leave the ship again, presumably leaving Pierre once again in charge; but no mention is made of an official transfer of the title of Dread Pirate Roberts.
Holders of the title
The people who have used the title "Dread Pirate Roberts" include:
- The original Roberts, retired fifteen years in Patagonia before the current events of the story.
- Clooney, the original Roberts' first mate
- Felix Raymond Ryan
- Westley, who presumably retires shortly following the end of the novel.
- Inigo Montoya, who presumably inherits the title from Westley after the end of the movie.
- Pierre, who is in line to assume the title after Westley in the novel.
- At their first meeting, Inigo Montoya tells Westley that "There's not a lot of money in revenge.". Ironically, Roberts' ship is named Revenge, and it's implied that Inigo does become the new Dread Pirate Roberts.
- In both the movie and the novel, Westley indicates that he plans to retire after reuniting with Buttercup.
- In the movie, he suggests that Inigo Montoya might succeed him.
- However, in the novel, no mention is made as to who is to succeed Westley as the Dread Pirate Roberts.