October 2, 2010

The Princess Bride Readalong, Milestone 1

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Welcome to The Princess Bride Readalong! We will be discussing Milestone 1 this week. Please see this post for the full schedule. If you haven't read up to this point, remember beyond this paragraph there may be spoilers.

I'm in love with this book already! First the introduction, how much is fact and how much is fiction? William Goldman is a Hollywood screenwriter who has written the movies Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and The Stepford Wives, that part is true. He wife's name was Ilene not Helen and he has 2 daughters not an only son. The biggest fib in the introduction though is S Morgenstern, the writer of The Princess Bride.

Goldman claims that his father brought The Princess Bride from Florin (not a real place) where he was born and read the book to him while he was sick. Goldman only heard the good parts from his Dad, the original was a book full of unnecessary details. As an adult, Goldman wanted to abridge this book to just those good parts to make it readable for everyone else. Here's the thing- Morgenstern is actually Goldman; there is no original novel which was 'abridged'. It's all an elaborate lie. Why do you think he did this? Does it make the reader more engaged with the story?

Despite the confusion, I think it's very clever. It makes Goldman a character in his fictional story. I like the 'sitting around the campfire telling a whopper' feel to it. It's more storytelling than novel writing.

Finally, we get to the good parts, the story Part 1, The Bride, and meet a few of the principal characters, most importantly Buttercup and Westley. We find out that Buttercup isn't the prettiest girl in the world but she's up there. Westley works on her father's farm and only says, "As you wish." Swoon! He's handsome and muscular and it takes a fit of jealousy for Buttercup to realize that she loves him. He promptly leaves and dies.

I love the characters in the story so far. Buttercup's parents argue but really love each other. Tomboyish Buttercup has no idea she has such an effect on the males around her. Westley is somewhat of an enigma. He doesn't say much other than "As you wish" and "I love you." Now it appears that he is dead (or is he?), murdered by the Dread Pirate Roberts. And what are the Count and Countess up to anyway?

Part 2, The Groom, Part 3, The Courtship and Part 4 The Preparations, all of what, 10 pages? We see more of Prince Humperdinck and it's not good. He keeps a Zoo of Death where he has animals waiting to be hunted by him. Here's a foreboding passage:
Once he was determined, once he had focused on an object, the Prince was relentless. He never tired, never wavered, neither ate nor slept.

During The Courtship, we meet King Lotharon and Queen Bella. What a perfect combination; he mumbles and she interprets- in her own way. We also find out about the relationship between Florin and Guilder, constantly at war. Unsuccessful at matching Humperdinck to Guilder royalty, they try their own backyard: Buttercup. She's completely heartbroken and won't marry for love because she has no love to give. Faced with death or marriage, she chooses marriage to the Prince. All "The Preparations" tell us is that 3 years have passed. What will happen next?

So, what are your thoughts so far? Are you enjoying The Princess Bride as much as I am? Leave your thoughts in the comments section or leave a link to your own blog post. I will post them in the body of the post as they arrive.

Here are some other thoughts on Milestone 1:

Leeswammes' Blog
Col Reads 
The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader 
Reading Through Life 
The Bookkeeper
Reader for Life

14 comments :

  1. Hey Chris, I am not reading along, but I've read the book twice and seen the film more times than I can count.

    You are in for such a treat!

    IDK about you but, I pretty much melt every time Wesley says 'As You Wish'.

    I do remember knowing the whole time about the whole S. Morgenstern being false, but, I liked it, because it felt like I was in on the joke.

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  2. Wow! While I've been in love with this movie for years, I only read the book once, when I was in high school. I just purchased the book for this read-along (I can't believe I waited this long to buy it) and am absolutely in love.

    However...I spent all of the two introductions (mine has the 30th anniversary introduction in which he discusses his visit to the S Morgenstern museum) entirely confused!! After some Internet browsing I figured out that a) I was not alone and b) it was, as I originally thought, all fiction.

    Back to the story. I was surprised that Humperdinck didn't seem quite as evil yet; yes, he has the Zoo of Death, which is just creepy, but he is only marrying because he "must," in the royal tradition. At least, that's all Goldman has shared yet. I feel like his true personality only shows at the very end of Part 4, but that it is still lacking!

    Looking forward to this read along very much. :)

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  3. Here is my post about the first milestone, Chris: http://leeswammes.wordpress.com/2010/10/02/the-princess-bride-read-a-long-week-1/

    I enjoyed it quite a bit and loved it that some of the introduction wasn't real. But I didn't realize quite how much of it was made up until I read your post!!

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  4. Hi, everyone! Here's my post about the first part of The Princess Bride: http://colreads.blogspot.com/2010/10/princess-bride-milestone-1.html

    I was a bit antsy through the Introduction, and I'm happy we've finally gotten to the "high adventure." Thanks so much for hosting, Chris.

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  5. I reread this book when I saw you were doing a readalong -- but it was lots of fun on reread! I hope you have a blast.

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  6. April- I love when he says that too!

    Katie- Humperdink doesn't seem real evil to me either, but definitely heartless.
    I spent days online looking for the 'unabridged' version until I finally clued into the truth.

    Leeswammes & Col- I've added your links to the post. Thanks!

    Rebecca- It's been enjoyable so far!

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  7. Hello I'm joining in re -reading this book. The first time I read it was before seeing the film. I'm enjoying re reading it. My favourite bit so far? 'As you wish' Thank you for clarifying the whole 'Is any of this story true or is it all fiction?'

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  8. Thank you so much for hosting this, I'm having so much fun already! I just posted my thoughts for this milestone.

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  9. I didn't really like to introduction. I didn't mind the intended fabrications, but it made it so I didn't like the "narrator". The flirting with the girl at the pool, comments about his wife, and being disgusted with his son for being fat. So I'm wondering, did he want the reader to dislike him, or is it just me? Does his mid-life crisis tie into the theme of the story later?
    What an ideal man Westley is! If only that was all my husband would say.

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  10. I haven't read the book, but I am so enjoying the readalong posts! A print edition of THE PRINCESS BRIDE might have to find its way to my holiday wish list (I know it's early to think about the holidays -- the store displays are killing me!)

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  11. My thoughts on the first part of the book are here

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  12. Joan- "As you wish" makes me melt!

    Shelley- I'm not sure either. Maybe it's to emphasize the sweetness of the love story.

    Dawn- Definitely add it to your wish list!

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  13. Here is my post: http://www.rikkidonovan.com/index.php/2010/10/05/the-princess-bride-readalong-part-1/

    The introduction is BORING! And I have to admit that I don't particularly like Buttercup so far.

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  14. Thanks for hosting this readalong, Chris! I'm loving the book so far. Here's my post for week one: http://iubookgirl.blogspot.com/2010/10/readalong-princess-bride-week-one.html.

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