Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Princess Bride

Everyone should be familiar with The Princess Bride. If you are not familiar with the Princess Bride, you should close this window and go find yourself a copy of the movie. It should be pretty easy. It’s one of the most beloved fairy tale stories ever.

No seriously. Go.



As you are aware, The Princess Bride is a great story. The cast of characters includes the beautiful Princess Buttercup, the resourceful farm boy Westley, the clever Sicilian Vizzini, the sword master (or wizard- this is explained in the book) Inigo Montoya, the giant Fezzik, the Dread Pirate Roberts, the haughty Prince Humperdinck, and the evil Count Rugen. This book has everything you could ever want in a fantasy adventure story. I could give you a summary of the story, but I think the Grandfather in the movie does it best.

The Grandson: A book?

Grandpa: That's right. When I was your age, television was called books. And this is a special book. It was the book my father used to read to me when I was sick, and I used to read it to your father. And today I'm gonna read it to you.

The Grandson: Has it got any sports in it?

Grandpa: Are you kidding? Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles...

I naturally reside in the The-Books-Are-Better-Than-The-Movies camp, so I was pleased that this book did not break that tradition. The story itself is just as wonderful and the book has the added layer of bring a fictional abridged version of the story by Simon Morgenstern.

William Goldman has used S. Morgenstern as a pseudonym in the past and this time uses him as a sort of historian for the fictional country of Florin. The book is full of little asides by Goldman as he summarizes pieces of the story he’s cut out for time. He also tells this elaborate fiction in the introductions about being read the story as a child (his father reading “only the good parts”) and trying to find a copy of S. Morgenstern’s book for his own son. It’s wonderfully woven in to the story and is an intriguing alteration to straightforward storytelling.

I’d definitely recommend this book to anyone. There is something for everyone in its pages, especially if you are already a fan of fantasy and fairy tales.

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