Goldman, William. The Princess Bride. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973.
The Princess Bride
Written By: William Goldman
Reviewed By: Michael Biedermann
Recommended Audience: High School
The novel starts off with the two main protagonists, Buttercup and Westley sharing moments filled with sexual tension. Buttercup always commands things of Westley even though they are in love. He always simply responded with, “As you wish.” When they both finally confess their love for each other, Westley leaves so he can make some money so they can marry each other. A long while after Westley departs, Buttercup receives news that Westley has been captured by a Dread Pirate who is known for killing the crew of the ships he comes in contact with. Buttercup is torn up inside after thinking she lost Westley, but she finally agrees to the marry the Prince of Florin, Humperdinck, knowing that she will never feel the way she felt about Westley ever again. However, before her wedding, Buttercup is kidnapped by three men. One is a genius, Vizzini, a sword fighter, Inigo Montoya, and a giant, Fezzik. The author then cuts to show that a man in black is following the three men and Buttercup. The man in black talks to Inigo, and Inigo tells him about how he learned to fence so he could eventually avenge his father who was killed by a six-fingered man. The man in black beats Inigo and Fezzik in a fight, and then outwits Vizzini into committing suicide by drinking a cup full of poison. Buttercup resists him at first, however, she shortly realizes its Westley after he says, “As you wish.” Westley reveals to Buttercup that he was indeed captured by the Dread Pirate, but he was able to swindle his way out of being killed with his amazing speech skills. The two lovers adventure through the Fire Swamps fighting all the creatures that are inside. Even though the two lovers survive all the trials in the Fire Swamps, they are captured by Humperdinck’s search party upon exiting. The leader of the party is a six-fingered man named Count Tyrone Rugen.
Buttercup is still arranged to marry Humperdinck despite having reconnected with Westley. She says that she will marry Humperdinck as long as Westley is freed. Humperdinck claims that Westley had already been released and that he would send search ships out to find him. However, Humperdinck was lying to Buttercup. He had been secretly holding Westley in his torture chamber the whole time. Angered by Buttercups’ undying love for Westley, Humperdinck goes down to the chamber and tortures Westley to the point of him dying. Inigo hears his cries of pain and death and goes and finds Westley lying dead in the torture chamber. He enlists the help of the local miracle man who is able to revive Westley with his magic powers. While escaping with Westley, Inigo finds the six-fingered Count Tyrone Rugen that he has vowed vengeance on his entire life. He recites his oath “my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die” over and over again throughout the entire fight with the Count. Inigo eventually gets a killing blow that he has been waiting for his entire life. The group then goes and finds Humperdinck. Westley is able to swindle his way out of a fight with Humperdinck because he was so weak after being revived. Humperdinck runs off and looks like a coward. The novel ends with Inigo, Westley, Buttercup, and Fezzik riding off into the sunset on horses that Fezzik conveniently found.
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