Guybrush Threepwood

From Academic Kids

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Close up portrait from The Secret of Monkey Island, CD version.

Guybrush Threepwood is the main character of the Monkey Island series of computer adventure games by LucasArts.



The Secret of Monkey Island

When Guybrush first appeared in The Secret of Monkey Island, he was an awkward teenager whose sole ambition in life was to be a pirate. (The Monkey Island games take place in the Caribbean during a deliberately vague time period; 17th century-style pirates exist alongside anachronistic objects such as soft drink dispensing machines.) Guybrush, a scrawny blonde youth with minimal amounts of courage, intelligence and charisma and whose main talent is the ability to hold his breath for ten minutes, certainly appears to be an unlikely candidate to be a buccaneer. He does exhibit plenty of persistence, however, and doggedly attempts to complete the three trials of piratehood.

In the course of exploring Mêlée Island, he meets and immediately falls in love with the Tri-Island Area's beautiful governor, Elaine Marley. Guybrush is not the only one interested in Governor Marley, however: the ghost pirate LeChuck has also become smitten with her. When the villain kidnaps Elaine, Guybrush is compelled to try to rescue her from LeChuck's lair on Monkey Island. She proves quite capable of protecting herself, however, easily escaping LeChuck's clutches (unbeknownst to the bumbling Threepwood). Guybrush, improbably enough, manages to destroy the ghost pirate LeChuck and becomes a fearsome pirate himself.

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge

As Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge begins, Guybrush has embarked on an epic new adventure: growing facial hair. He soon runs into Largo LaGrande, LeChuck's former henchman, on Scabb Island. Largo discovers that Guybrush has LeChuck's ghostly beard, which he has kept as a trophy; he steals the beard and uses it to reanimate the corpse of his former boss. Thanks to Guybrush, LeChuck is now a seriously angry zombie with voodoo powers instead of a disgruntled ghost.

The Voodoo Lady tells Guybrush that LeChuck can only be stopped by the power of the legendary treasure of Big Whoop. To find it, he must travel to nearby Phatt Island and Booty Island in search of the four pieces of a treasure map. As he completes the map, he is captured by LeChuck; while attempting to escape, Guybrush causes an enormous explosion that hurls him to Dinky Island. Coincidentally enough, this happens to be where Big Whoop is hidden. Guybrush uses dynamite to "dig" for the treasure and finds himself in a maze of underground, concrete-lined tunnels.

The remaining portion of MI2 is somewhat surrealistic: LeChuck claims that he is Guybrush's brother, in a parody of Darth Vader's "I am your father" scene with Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back. After Guybrush finally defeats LeChuck with a voodoo doll, he kneels and removes the pirate's "mask". LeChuck is revealed as Guybrush's bully older brother "Chucky". Suddenly, both Guybrush and Chucky are children at an amusement park with their parents; both games seem to have been daydreams by a young boy obsessed with pirates. Only a brief scene during the closing credits hints that this may be untrue: Elaine Marley idly wonders if Guybrush has fallen prey to some evil spell of LeChuck's. On this strange note, the game ends.

The Curse of Monkey Island

Similar to the gap between the first two games, CMI opens with Guybrush floating in the Caribbean in a bumper car, writing in a journal. He was imprisoned for five years by LeChuck's deceptive spell, he reveals, in a sinister theme park known as the Carnival of the Damned. The "revelation" that they were brothers was simply part of the evil scheme. He swiftly finds himself in the middle of a battle between the forces of Plunder Island (led by Elaine) and LeChuck's undead crew. Guybrush stumbles into LeChuck's cargo hold and finds an enormous diamond ring, which he decides to use it to propose to Elaine. Unfortunately, the ring is cursed, and immediately transforms Elaine into a statue made of solid gold.

The Voodoo Lady once again provides magical help, informing Guybrush that the curse can only be broken by replacing the ring with another containing a larger diamond. The ineffectual hero must assemble a pirate crew and sail to Blood Island and Skull Island. Eventually he manages to break the curse and restore Elaine to flesh and blood. LeChuck, who was killed in the earlier battle, resurfaces as a demon pirate and captures Guybrush.

LeChuck returns Guybrush to the Carnival of the Damned and once again transforms him into a child. Improbably, Guybrush manages to change himself back to normal and destroy the Carnival, burying LeChuck under a mountain of ice and snow. Elaine and Guybrush finally marry and sail off into the sunset together.

Escape from Monkey Island

After a three-month-long honeymoon, Elaine Marley and Guybrush Threepwood-Marley return to Mêlée Island. While the couple was gone, Elaine was declared dead; this legally means that her lifetime appointment as governor is over. The governor's mansion is scheduled for demolition and a slimy politician named Charles L. Charles is poised to take over the position. With no other choice, Elaine begins a desperate campaign for reelection against Charles (who, unsurprisingly, reveals himself to be none other than LeChuck in disguise). As Guybrush wanders around Mêlée, he finds that all the local businesses are being taken over by Ozzie Mandrill, an Australian developer who is winning the deeds in matches of Insult Arm wrestling.

Guybrush discovers that Ozzie wants to take over the entire Caribbean. Ozzie is seeking a powerful voodoo talisman called the Ultimate Insult, which he will use to turn all pirates into clean, productive members of society. LeChuck is helping Ozzie in exchange for Elaine's hand after her will has been broken by the Insult.

Once again, Guybrush must assemble a reluctant crew, sailing this time to Lucre Island and Jambalaya Island before ending up on Monkey Island. There he finds an enormous, robotic monkey and uses it to return to Mêlée. Ozzie has acquired the Ultimate Insult; he uses its power to enslave LeChuck and animate a huge statue of "Charles L. Charles". Guybrush defeats the statue with his giant monkey, and Mandrill loses control of the Ultimate Insult. The lapse frees LeChuck, who uses the statue to crush Ozzie; the power of the Insult causes an immense explosion that seemingly destroys LeChuck as well.


The voice of Guybrush is provided by actor Dominic Armato in the third and fourth games.

A dialogue choice in LeChuck's Revenge has Guybrush nearly admitting that he is nineteen years old before quickly lying that he is 21. Although the amount of time that passes between each game is vague, he can be estimated as around eighteen during The Secret of Monkey Island. During the course of The Curse of Monkey Island it is stated that he is twenty years old; however, this leads to a contradiction. At the beginning of Curse, Guybrush definitively states that he was imprisoned by LeChuck for five years; Assuming that he was actually 19 in the second game, he would be at least 24 by the time CMI begins. His age is not directly addressed in Escape from Monkey Island.

Guybrush grows a feeble beard and moustache in the second game, but is clean-shaven in the third and fourth games. However, the character's appearance changes quite dramatically between each of these games due to the use of different art and animation styles, so this is at best a minor continuity error.

It is a running joke for characters to hopelessly garble his unusual name, either deliberately or accidentally. (Some variations include "Gibberish Driftwood", "Guybrush Nosehair", and "Gorbush Threekwood".)

The origin of the name "Guybrush" comes from Deluxe Paint, the tool used by the artists to create the character sprite. Since the character had no name at this point, it was simply called 'Guy'. When the file was saved, Deluxe Paint automatically appended the extension '.brush'; the designers liked 'Guy.brush' and decided to use it as the character's actual name.

"Threepwood" was the name of Dave Grossman's RPG character and was picked through voting. The name comes P. G. Wodehouse's family of characters including Galahad Threepwood and Clarence Threepwood, 9th Earl of Emsworth.

Guybrush is able to hold his breath for ten minutes, which he mentions on several occasion. This unusual ability is a clever way of implementing LucasArts' frequent policy of not allowing players to lose the game, either by character death or placing the game in an unwinnable state. There is exactly one way, however, in all the Monkey Island games in which Guybrush can die. In The Secret of Monkey Island, he is trapped underwater; if the player takes longer than ten minutes to figure out how to escape (or simply takes no action), Guybrush drowns. At this point, the action menu (which normally consists of commands such as "Pick up", "Give" and "Talk to") is replaced with passive verbs including "Bob" and "Float".

In the third and fourth games, Guybrush mentions an inexplicable fear of porcelain. This phobia may be a humorous reference to Indiana Jones' fear of snakes. Some believe this unusual fear may originate in SMI, when a vase is smashed during an off-screen fight between Guybrush and Sheriff Fester Shinetop (LeChuck in disguise).

Other notes

Some fans draw comparisons between Guybrush and Roger Wilco, the protagonist of Sierra Entertainment's Space Quest games. Both are well-intentioned but relatively dim-witted characters who reluctantly (and often unwittingly) accomplish heroic feats.

When Guybrush tries to drink a can of grog in Escape from Monkey Island, Elaine exlaims "Guybrush Ulysses Threepwood!" It is unclear whether "Ulysses" is actually his middle name or if Elaine sarcastically using the name of the great hero of Roman mythology, since she forbids him from drinking grog until "all of his deeds are finished".

Some fans of the series believe that Will Turner, the reluctant pirate from the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, was based in part on Guybrush Threepwood. Not only is this somewhat unlikely due to possible copyright infringement lawsuits, it would be fantastically ironic: designer Ron Gilbert has admitted that he was inspired by the concept for the Monkey Island series while riding the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction at Disneyland.


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