The Princess Bride is a book written by S. Morgenstern that was then later adapted into a shorter "Good Parts" version in 1973 by William Goldman.
|The Princess Bride|
|Slipcase cover of the deluxe first edition of The Princess Bride|
|Publisher||Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (USA)|
|Media type||Print (Hardback &Paperback)|
|Dewey Decimal||813/.54 22|
|LC Classification||PS3557.O384 P75 2003|
In a Renaissance-era world, a beautiful woman named Buttercup lives on a farm in the country of Florin. She delights in verbally abusing the farm hand Westley, referring to him as “farm boy,” by demanding that he perform chores for her. Westley's only answer is “As you wish”, which represents his great affection for her. After Buttercup realizes the true meaning of the words, as well as the fact that she returns his love, Westley leaves to seek his fortune so they can marry. Buttercup later receives word that his ship was attacked at sea by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who is notorious for killing all those whose vessels he boards. Believing Westley to be dead, Buttercup is forcibly engaged to marry Prince Humperdinck, the heir to the throne of Florin.
Before the wedding, Buttercup is kidnapped by a trio of outlaws: the Sicilian criminal genius Vizzini, the Spanish sord fiting wizard Inigo Montoya, and the enormous and mighty Turkish wrestler Fezzik. A masked man in black follows them across the sea and up the Cliffs of Insanity, whereupon Vizzini orders Inigo to stop him. Before the man in black reaches the top of the cliff, there is a flashback of Inigo's past, in which it is revealed that he is seeking revenge on a six-fingered man who killed his father. When the man in black arrives, Inigo arranges a fair fight, allowing his opponent to rest before the duel. The man in black wins their duel, but leaves the Spaniard alive. Vizzini, stunned, orders Fezzik to kill him. Fezzik, moved by his conscience, throws a rock as a warning, and challenges the man to a wrestling match. He accepts the challenge and chokes Fezzik until the giant blacks out, and then catches up with Vizzini, and proposes a battle of wits. Vizzini is tricked into drinking wine poisoned with Iocaine powder and dies.
With Prince Humperdinck's rescue party in hot pursuit, the man flees with Buttercup, and reveals that he is the Dread Pirate Roberts, Westley's murderer. Enraged, she shoves him into a gorge, yelling “You can die, too, for all I care!” only to hear him call, “As you wish!” while he is falling. She realizes at this point that he is Westley, and follows him down into the gorge to find him battered but largely unhurt. While they travel through the Fire Swamp to evade Humperdinck's party, Westley tells Buttercup that the Dread Pirate Roberts did attack his ship, but kept him alive after he explained the depths of his love for her. Westley became the Dread Pirate Roberts' valet and later his friend. Over the course of four years Westley learned how to fence, fight and sail. Eventually, Roberts secretly passed his name, captaincy, and ship to Westley, just as his predecessor had done. Upon exiting the fireswamp, after facing many trying ordeals such as snow sand and ROUSes (Rodents of Unusual Size), they are captured by Humperdinck and his menacing six-fingered assistant, Count Tyrone Rugen. Buttercup negotiates for Westley's release and returns with Humperdinck to the palace to await their wedding. Rugen, who has been secretly instructed by Humperdinck not to release Westley, but instead take him to the underground hunting arena called the 'Zoo of Death', does so. Here Westley is tortured so as to provide information by which to complete the Count's book on pain and also to satisfy Humperdinck's annoyance that Buttercup prefers Westley to him.
Meanwhile, Buttercup has several nightmares regarding her marriage to the prince. She expresses her unhappiness to Humperdinck, who proposes a deal wherein he will send out four ships to locate Westley, but if they fail to find him, Buttercup will marry him. It is revealed that Humperdinck arranged Buttercup's kidnapping and murder in order to start a war with the neighboring country of Guilder, but believes that it will inspire his subjects to war even more effectively if she dies on her wedding night.
On the day of the wedding, Inigo meets with Fezzik, who tells him that Count Rugen is the killer of Inigo's father. They seek out the man in black, hoping that his wits will help them overcome the guards. Buttercup learns that Humperdinck never sent any ships, and taunts him with her enduring love for Westley. Enraged, Humperdinck tortures Westley to death. Westley's screams draw Inigo and Fezzik to the scene and down through the many dangerous levels of the zoo of death; upon finding Westley's body, they enlist the help of the King of Florin's former "miracle man", a magician named Miracle Max. Max pronounces Westley to be merely "mostly dead" and resurrects him, although Westley remains partially paralyzed. Westley devises a successful plan to invade the castle during the wedding; the resulting commotion prompts Humperdinck to cut the wedding short. Buttercup decides to commit suicide when she reaches the honeymoon suite. Inigo pursues Rugen through the castle and kills him in a sword fight, reciting throughout the duel his long-rehearsed oath of vengeance. Westley reaches Buttercup before she commits suicide and assures her that she is not yet married as the ceremony has not been completed. Still partly paralyzed, he bluffs his way out of a sword fight with Humperdinck. Instead of killing his rival, Westley decides to leave him alone with his cowardice. The party rides off into the sunset on the prince's purebred white horses conveniently discovered by Fezzik.
The Princess Bride is presented as Goldman's abridgment of an older version by "S. Morgenstern", which was originally a satire of the excesses of European royalty. The book, in fact, is entirely Goldman's work. Morgenstern and the "original version" are fictional and used as a literary device. Goldman carried the joke further by publishing another book called The Silent Gondoliers (explaining why the gondoliers of Venice no longer sing to their passengers) under S. Morgenstern's name. Goldman's personal life, as described in the introduction and commentary in the novel, is also fictional. In The Princess Bride, Goldman claims to have one son with his wife, a psychiatrist. In reality, Goldman has two daughters, and his wife is not a psychiatrist. The commentary is extensive, continuing through the text until the very end. The book's actual roots are in stories Goldman would tell to his daughters, one of whom had requested a story about "princesses" and the other "brides". Goldman describes the earliest character names from the "kid's saga" as "silly names: Buttercup, Humperdinck". The countries are both named after coins: the florin, originally a silver coin minted in Florence, and the Dutch guilder, also known as florin. In the novel's commentary, Goldman writes that he added nothing to the "original" Morgenstern text, although he comments that he did write one original scene, a loving reunion between Buttercup and Westley, but claimed that his publisher objected to this addition. He invited any reader who wanted to read the "Reunion Scene" to write to the publisher (formerly Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; now Random House) and request a copy. Many readers wrote in to the publisher and did receive a letter, but instead of an extra scene, the letter detailed the (obviously fictitious) legal problems that Goldman and his publishers encountered with the Morgenstern estate and its lawyer, Kermit Shog. This letter was revised and updated periodically; the 1987 revision mentioned the movie, while the 25th Anniversary Edition publishes the letter with an addendum about Kermit's lawyer granddaughter Carly. The 30th Anniversary Edition has a footnote at this point saying that you can now find the three pages of the reunion scene online (www.PrincessBrideBook.com). However, if one goes to the website detailed in the footnote, all they receive via email is the text of the three letters.
The epilogue to some later editions of the novel, notably the 25th anniversary edition, mentions a sequel, Buttercup's Baby, that was "having trouble getting published because of legal difficulties with S. Morgenstern's estate". This sequel seems to be just as fictional as S. Morgenstern's unabridged edition, though later editions actually reprint Goldman's "sample chapter". The chapter consists of a disjointed assemblage of stories about the quartet's escape to "One Tree Island", and the eventual kidnapping of Waverly, Westley and Buttercup's daughter, by a skinless-faced "madman" who eventually throws her off a mountainside. The chapter ends with Fezzik, Waverly's appointed babysitter, leaping off the mountain to save her, and then cradling her to preserve her from the impact that seems certain to spell at least Fezzik's doom. Also noteworthy is a flashback to Inigo's past, his training as a swordsman, and his one-time romantic love interest. The 30th anniversary edition of The Princess Brideincluded hints to the sequel's plot, and a promise to have the full version completed before a 35th anniversary edition (2009). In a January 2007 interview, Goldman admitted that he is having difficulty coming up with ideas for the story:
MPM: I hear you're working on a sequel to The Princess Bride called Buttercup's Baby. William Goldman: I desperately want to write it, and I sit there and nothing happens and I get pissed at myself. I got lucky with The Princess Bride the first time, and I'd love to get lucky again.
Goldman partnered with Adam Guettel to create a musical version of the story with Goldman writing the book and Guettel writing the music but the two parted ways on the project when Goldman demanded 75% of the author's royalties. Guettel's score was nearly complete, but it is unlikely that it will be heard beyond an orchestral suite that was performed at the Hollywood Bowl in 2006.
In 2008 Toy Vault Inc. announced they were working on a Princess Bride-based card game due for release in the 2nd quarter of 2008. They also announced that they are working on a board game, the second ever produced for this movie, after a simple board game included with some VHS releases. Also in 2008, the production company Worldwide Biggies released a computer game, The Princess Bride Game. Several actors from the movie provided voices for their video game counterparts, including Mandy Patinkin as Inigo Montoya, Wallace Shawn as Vizzini, and Robin Wright Penn as Buttercup.