The Princess Bride by William Goldman

★★★★★ (5/5)

You mean you’ll put down your rock and I’ll put down my sword and we’ll try to kill each other like civilized people, is that it?

A thoroughly entertaining read! William Goldman’s “The Princess Bride” is a great fantastical story of romance and adventure. Written as an abridgement to the fictional S. Morgenstern’s “Classic” (which does not exist), Goldman claims to have included only the good bits of the story in his work. The narrative tale is often punctured by Goldman as he excuses himself to explain why he cut out some excruciating details from Morgenstern’s story which he deems unnecessary.

It was all part of growing up. You got these little quick passions, you blinked, and they were gone. You forgave faults, found perfection, fell madly; then the next day the sun came up and it was over

This is a fairy tale strung with action, romance, adventure and revenge. The most beautiful woman in the world Buttercup is to be wed to a Soon-To-Be-King Prince Humperdinck of the fictional land of Florin. But she loves another man, Westley who had long been lost at sea (read dead). Princess Buttercup is kidnapped by a trio of outlaws, each notorious for the skill they possess. Their ring leader is a Sicilian criminal genius Vizzini, chief schemer of all their felonies; Inigo Montaya is a Spanish fencing master who seeks to avenge his father’s death and Fezzik is a Turkish wrestler, a giant of a man with tremendous strength but no brains at all. Together they traverse the Cliffs of Insanity, evading the Prince’s fleet at their tail. But before that, they must get rid of a mysterious man clad in a black mask who has been following them.

Nothing angered the hunchback as quickly as catching Fezzik thinking. Since he barely imagined someone like Fezzik capable of thought, he never asked what was on his mind, because he couldn’t have cared less. If he had found out Fezzik was making rhymes, he would have laughed and then found new ways to make Fezzik suffer.

The story unravels to disclose Inigo and Fezzik’s past, as to how they came to Florin and settled in their unscrupulous lives. Buttercup is rescued by her Prince but not without a blast from the past as her former lover re-enters her life. Back in Florin, Prince Humperdinck’s dark secrets are revealed and Buttercup has to make calculating choices. The writer already assures the reader of a happy ending but with a cynical note of life always being unfair, which complements the somewhat ambiguous ending to the story.

This was in the middle of Greenland, and, as everybody knows, Greenland then as now was the loneliest place on the Earth. In Greenland, there is one person for every twenty square miles of real estate. Probably the circus was pretty stupid taking a booking there, but that wasn’t the point.

A streak of humor runs throughout the book as characters undertake perilous journeys, indulge in duels to death, are poisoned, tortured, brought back to life, must escape one ordeal only to land in another, navigate the seas and land to help with the girls’ escape and so on. We have giants and dangerous territories, ridiculously large rodents, venomous snakes, miracles of death and of course a tangle of romantic passion to tie in all this together.

My preference would be to last eternity with you beside me on a cloud, but hell would also be a lark if Westley was with me

Over all, this was a fantastic read. I was immersed in its childlike imagination which is a much sought after treasure in adulthood. Published in the 70’s, this fairy-tale seems to be made up of all the elements which render it timeless. It’s simple and fun. Highly recommended!

  • There have only been eleven perfect complexions in all of India since accurate accounting began
  • This was after taxes. But everything is after taxes. Taxes were here even before stew
  • All the colors of the world were muted in her gown. Buttercup wanted to shield her eyes from the brilliance.
  • The woman who emerged was a trifle thinner, a great deal wiser, an ocean sadder
  • Don’t expect too much from life, Buttercup told herself as she rode along. Learn to be satisfied with what you have
  • Domingo was battling legend, and it was destroying him.
  • It had everything, including the marvelous Cliffs at one end, beyond which was the wonderful thousand-foot drop, always something to bear in mind when one was planning tactic
  • The logic being that since milk was so good for bones, who would know more about broken bones than a milkman?
  • Vizzini the Sicilian, am, speaking with pure candor and modesty, the slickest, sleekest, sliest and wiliest fellow who has yet come down the pike
  • He was always complimenting himself through her and today we know that hyping something too much does more harm than good, as any defeated political candidate will tell you when he pays his television bills
  • “It’s not important, believe me; the past has a way of being past.”
  • the only real problem then would be convincing your grandchildren that such a thing had actually happened and was not just another family fable
  • Edith doesn’t need the plug, seeing, like I said, as she’s no longer with us
  • “But my mind is like fine wine; it travels badly. I go from thought to thought but not with logic, and I forget things, and help me, Fezzik, what am I to do?”
  • Being tickled; I’ve come all the way back from the dead to ask you to stop

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