Every so often, I have to write on a topic where it becomes difficult for me to not dissolve into a mess of sticky, nerdy joy. Sorry friends. This is going to be one of those articles. The Princess Bride was my princess movie as a wee nerdlette and earlier this week, Disney, who seems to be scooping up princesses lately, announced that they had plans to turn the story into a Broadway musical.
And I am so excited.
That’s the face I make whenever The Princess Bride is mentioned.
I mean how can you not love it? It’s got fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles (and even a few kissing scenes). It’s also given me some pretty unrealistic expectations about men (thank you, Cary Elwes).
I think I was six or seven the first time I saw the movie, but it wasn’t until I graduated from high school that I was able to get my hands on the novel. In fact, few fans of the film even know that there is a book, and that it is an excellent book. Apart from a few minor scary moments, the movie is great for kids. It has some wonderful morals, like right versus wrong and love conquering all.
The novel on the other hand is more geared towards pre-teens, although younger readers might find it enjoyable even if they don’t understand some of the more complex concepts. Like the movie, the novel is a story-within-a-story where author William Goldman is attempting to find a copy of his favorite childhood book, The Princess Bride, for his son. He discovers that, much like the grandfather in the film (played by the wonderful Peter Faulk), his own father, while reading the original novel to him as a child, would cut out the meat of the monolithic epic and only read him the exciting bits. So he has decided to write a, “good parts,” version for his son.
Of course, (does this count as a spoiler?) the secret is that there the supposedly abridged version is really the only version out there. Goldman, true to form, never confesses to this in the novel, and makes frequent allusions to the pages upon pages of history of the countries of Florian and Guilder, and how when they filmed the movie, they went to the real places in those countries where these events actually happened. Don’t worry if you were fooled. I gave the book to my dad for Christmas a few years ago. He’s been a fan of the movie since it came out and even he trusted Goldman a little too much..
He wasn’t the first.
This gorgeous illustrated version of the novel just came out earlier this month to celebrate last year’s 25th anniversary of the film’s release and 40th anniversary of the book being published. It’s on my Christmas list, and would a perfect gift for a younger reader who enjoyed the movie but might not be ready to read the book on their own, or a pre-teen reader who wants to experience the novel in a new way. An adorable excerpt and illustration can be found here.