Saturday, March 24, 2018

Top 3 Fictional Castle Escapes (Lizzie)

Everyone loves a daring escape. Here are three (plus a bonus) of my favorite escapes from castles. Warning: There are spoilers in these descriptions.

3. The Fall from The Princess Bride 

I don't like heights, so even if a gentle giant is waiting below my window to catch me, I'm not sure that I wouldn't opt for bed sheets tied end to end. However, when Buttercup smiles confidently down at the giant who'd once kidnapped her and then lets herself be dropped out the castle window, it does make for a good scene, especially with her dress fluttering as she falls. Add to that four white horses for them to gallop away on, and it makes for a great getaway.

It should be noted, however, that fictional women were not the only ones to escape castles. Empress Maud (also called Empress Matilda), during The Anarchy (1100s) in England, was battling for England with her cousin King Stephan when she became trapped in Oxford Castle. On a stormy winter night, she was let down from the castle via a rope and escaped over the snow-covered ground wearing a white cloak to hide her from the surrounding troops.

2. Riding Through the Front Gate: Disney's The Story of Robin Hood and The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh

After the Sheriff of Nottingham's disreputable deputies try to incriminate Robin Hood and his Merry Men by attacking the Queen dressed in Sherwood green, Robin Hood and his men find and don the defeated soldiers' real clothes and head to Nottingham Castle. There, they rescue Maid Marian and then ride out through the front gate and across the drawbridge to safety. Robin Hood, however, having stayed behind to see the others safely out, has a more dramatic escape--over the quickly closing drawing bridge into the moat with the sheriff on his tale.

With disguises, a bold entrance and exit in plain view of the guards, plus the dramatic rush over the drawbridge, it's a great castle escape. I love the daring of a disguise and open entrance or exit as much as the slyness of a secret removal.

The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, Dr. Syn.
Another great example is from Disney's The Scarecrow of Romney Marsh, which tells of a priest (aka, The Scarecrow) in Cornwall who leads his parishioners in a smuggling ring (keeping them safe--they'd get caught if he didn't lead them--and giving money to the poor, of course, to make it right). When some men in his care are thrown into the castle dungeon, the Scarecrow and some trusted friends disguise themselves as a press gang and walk the prisoners out right under the commander's nose. Until realizing who the press gang members were, the prisoners probably preferred the dungeon over the fate of those forced into His Majesty's Navy.

1. Gandalf and the Eagle from LOTR

I admit not liking heights, but Gandalf's escape from Saruman's fortress is breathtaking. He jumps off the top of a tower, seemingly into thin air, and then soars away on the back of a giant eagle. It's a fantastic visual image. Dramatic, unexpected, brilliant.

Bonus: Getting yourself marched out and shot: The Scarlet Pimpernel

Sir Percy Blakeney
I forgot this one until I had already decided on my Top 3, but once I remembered it, I couldn't not mention the climax of the 1982 version of The Scarlet Pimpernell. The agent of the French Revolutionists have discovered that the supposed slow-witted dandy Sir Percy Blakeney is really the Scarlet Pimpernel, the daring leader of a group of young Englishmen who rescue French nobles right from under the guillotine, carrying them away in brilliant and sometimes, terrifying, disguises. Sir Percy and Marguerite are trapped in a castle on the French coast, Percy is marched outside and shot by the revolutionists. Marguerite is distraught ... until Percy walks back in, revealing his men had "persuaded" some of the revolutionists to swap clothes and that it's the revolutionists who are trapped.

There are dozens of fantastic escapes, but these are some of the first that came to my mind. What are some of your favorite escapes?


  1. Great post, Lizzie! I love #3 & #1, too -- super choices.

  2. Fun post! Gandolf's fall is definitely a top way of escaping:)

  3. Those are some great choices. Love 1 & 3. One of my favorite escapes is the prison break in Guardians of the Galaxy.

  4. Ooh, how fun! I liked the castle escape in Shrek where Fiona is shocked they hadn't dealt with the dragon yet :)


Please note that your comment hasn't gone through unless you see the notice: "Your comment will be visible after approval." We apologize for any difficulties posting comments or delays in moderation.