The Princess Bride

My fifth grade teacher introduced me to this book. Every day during reading time, he’s pull this book out and read the whole class a bit of it. My attendance went up for the sole purpose that I didn’t want to miss a second of this book. Then, at the end of the year, we got to watch the movie during reading.

The_Princess_Bride_(First_Edition) The story is a romantic adventure about a young couple, Buttercup and Westley. As they grow up Buttercup amuses herself by verbally abusing Westley, only addressing him as “farm boy” and demanding he do chores for her. Westley always responds “as you wish” and after a while Buttercup realizes what he’s really saying is “I love you”. Buttercup reciprocates these feelings and confesses such to Westley, who then leaves the farm they grew up on to make his fortune so they can get married. A little while later Buttercup receives a letter saying the Dread Pirate Roberts attacked the ship Westley was one. Roberts is notorious for never leaving anyone alive, so Buttercup naturally assumes Westley is dead and, in a fit of despair, vows to never love again. Sometime later Buttercup must reluctantly agree to be wed to Prince Humperdinck. However, Buttercup makes it very clear to the prince that she doesn’t love him and never will. Before the wedding Buttercup is kidnapped by a Sicilian genius, a Spanish fencing master (Inigo Montoya who is searching for the six-fingered man who killed his father) and a giant Turkish wrestler named Fezzik. A mysterious man in black suddenly appears in pursuit of the trio. The Sicilian orders Inigo to kill the man in black. Inigo arranges a fair fight with the man, but is beaten. However, out of respect for the Spaniard, the man in black simply knocks him out. Once it is clear Inigo has lost, the Sicilian orders Fezzik to take out the man. Once the mystery man catches up, Fezzik challenges him to a wrestling match, wherein the man climbs upon Fezzik’s back and chocks him until the giant blacks out. When he reaches the Sicilian, he challenges the man to a game of wits, with two glasses of wine poisoned with iocaine powder. The Sicilian makes his guess and the two drink. The Sicilian dies. With Prince Humperdinck’s rescue party in hot pursuit, the man in black takes Buttercup and flees. The man then proceeds to taunt Buttercup, accusing her of being untrustworthy, saying she never really loved Westley and she must have felt nothing when she learned of his death. Enraged, Buttercup pushes the man down a gorge while yelling that she wishes he’d die too. The man yells back to her, “as you wish”, and Buttercup comes to the realization that the mystery man is none other than her beloved. She follows him down into the ravine and Westley tells her the true story of what happened. Roberts did raid his ship but let Westley live after he explained the depths of his love for Buttercup. Eventually Roberts and he became friends and Westley spent four years learning to fence, fight and sail. Finally Roberts secretly passed down his name, captaincy and ship to Westley, as his predecessor had done for him. After many trails, Buttercup and Westley emerge from the Fire Swamp only to be captured by Prince Humperdinck and his six-fingered assistant, Count Rugen. Before Humperdinck can have Westley killed Buttercup pleads for his life. To her face he agrees, but then he tells Rugen to actually take Westley and have him tortured and killed. While Westley is being tortured by a life sucking machine, Buttercup is having nightmares about her impending nuptials. When she tells the prince of this, he makes her a deal: he’s send out six ships to find Westley and if they can’t Buttercup must marry him. She agrees and it is then revealed, after Buttercup leaves, that Humperdinck is the one who staged the kidnapping in the first place. He wishes to start a war with a neighboring country, and decided after staging the kidnapping that Buttercup dying on their wedding night would be a better call of arms for his countrymen. The day of the wedding, Inigo and Fezzik find Westley’s mostly dead body and take him to Miracle Max (old miracle man to the king that was fired by Humperdinck). Inigo and Fezzik wish to revive Westley after learning that Count Rugen is the six-fingered man who killed Inigo’s father. They’re hope is that Westley will be smart enough to help them get to Rugen. Max agrees to revive Westley in order to get back at Humperdinck, though once revived Westley is still weak and partially paralyzed. Despite this, Westley devises a successful plan for getting into the castle. It causes a great commotion, prompting Humperdinck to cut the wedding short. It’s at this point that chaos insues. Inigo runs after Rugen, Westley is trying to find Buttercup and Buttercup has decided to commit suicide once she reaches the honeymoon suite. For the resolution, please read the book.

I haven’t got much to say other than I loved this story. It was funny, a bit fantastical and the love story was great. Buttercup grows so much from the beginning of this story until the end and I enjoyed the side characters just as much as the main ones. Surprisingly enough, the movie is one of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen. I highly recommend both. I would say people of all ages can enjoy this story, though 7 and older will probably understand it better than say a 4 year old. It would also make a great bedtime story, but it’s long, so it would take a few weeks to get through.

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