"As you wish."

25 December 2013

I seek magic, I seek adventure - those, I find between the pages of a book.

The Princess Bride by William Goldman has been in my to-read list for so long. Seeing that it is a cult favorite and one of the most referenced fictional works in pop culture history (most recent I've seen is the third episode of How I Met Your Mother's ninth season, Last Time in New York), I thought perhaps it would be a nice book to end 2013 with.

I finished it in less than 24 hours and I couldn't have been more right. I know I am generous when it comes to hyperboles but really, I regret not reading this earlier as it is definitely one of the most wonderful books I have ever read, even besting Neil Gaiman's Stardust in my personal list of favorite fairy tales.

What is it about, you ask? "Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles." Royalty and pirates, too. I don't want to give too much away for those who haven't read it yet, but in a nutshell it's about a farm boy named Westley and a beautiful girl named Buttercup who fight against a war-loving prince and R.O.U.S.s (Rodents of Unusual Size), all for true love. "Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches."

I was so emotionally invested that when the storyteller said that Westley has died for the second time, I literally wanted to throw my Kindle against the wall. "Like Buttercup's, my heart was now a secret garden and the walls were very high." Yes, my Kindle is one of my most prized possessions, but such was the intensity of my despair. "It was too unfair. You expected unfairness if you breathed, but this went beyond that."

Even more than the plot, I was blown away by the literary device that William Goldman used. Because of the quite lengthy and elaborate introduction and asides peppered throughout the book, he made me believe that it was originally written by S. Morgenstern and he is just telling us an abridged version that includes all the "good parts" his father used to tell him, removing all the other satirical parts Morgenstern has supposedly put in. I found out the truth soon enough, heh. Because I have the tendency to obsess over books and movies I found awesome, I read up on the subject as much as I can. That's how I found out, heh.

Today, I watched the movie adaptation. Twice.

They removed several elements (like the Zoo of Death and Fezzik's back-story) and changed some things here and there, but the essence, fun, and wit of The Princess Bride was still there. Did you know that the book was written in 1973 and the movie was shown one year after I was born? Timeless, indeed. I loved it.

Rarely does it happen that a minor character captures my interest more than the main protagonists. In both movie and book, Inigo Montoya easily became one of my ultimate favorite fictional characters. He has such a soft heart and a sad back-story that it felt really good to see him succeed in the end. I wanted to cheer every time he's in the scene.

I am so happy that I finally got to read the book and watch the movie. They certainly don't make them like they used to. Now watch me force my friends to read and see it, too recommend this to all my friends, too.

But really, who can look at Westley like this and not want to fight the world for a chance at true love? "This is true love; you think this happens every day?"

The Princess Bride has earned its rightful special place in my heart. Looking forward to more magic and adventure. On to the next book!

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