Laura Parkinson (stormfeather) wrote,
Laura Parkinson

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Parasha: The Princess Bride wrap-up

Hrm, what to say about the Princess Bride? It is too long, I will sum up.

The main story really seems quite similar to the movie, with a few notable differences: we get more fleshed-out detail in the book, due to space (and narrative language), there are a few bigger scenes that got cut from the movie (such as the backstory on Inigo and Fezzik, which was interesting and fun to see, and the Zoo of Death sequence, and at least some mention of how Fezzik got that bloody cloak). And, of course, the framing device.

Really I think the device used for the movie worked for that quite well - it was still reflected in the book in the idea of Goldman's father reading the story to him when he was sick, and obviously the editorial bits wouldn't have worked in the movie. Plus we got Peter Falk, which is always good.

That said, I think both the book and movie are rich experiences, each not to be missed if you're a fan of the other. The movie had a great cast that really brought some of the details of the book to rich wonderful life, while the book with its whimsical text and added detail is in many ways richer, deeper, and even more humorous.

Of course, this is a book reading type thing, so I should talk about the book itself, as opposed to the book against the backdrop of the movie. But it's just damned difficult to do, since I was so familiar with the movie before I even tried the book, for a change.

But to attempt it: the book is.. great? Hrm, not a very promising start. The book is an interesting exercise in meta-storytelling, if that makes any sense... and usually while I might admire the craftsmanship in such a work, I don't *enjoy* it all that much per se. But this book is quite enjoyable despite its quirky nature (or in part because of it), and I think that says something about Goldman's skill as a writer.

Either that, or he just got lucky.

The characters aren't always as likable when you get down to it as they seem on first blush, since I didn't remember disliking the characters before. But breaking it down as we have and looking deeper, Buttercup comes across as a bit dim and selfish, and Westley really doesn't carry himself off very well at some points. Fezzik and Inigo are of course flawed (they're kidnappers at the start for crying out loud!), but are still generally delightful, and at least we're not *supposed* to like the Count or the Prince. But I was surprised at how little well the main two characters withstood the scrutiny. Oh well! Luckily this isn't the type of book that's carried along by the fact that you Love and Adore the protagonists.

I would still love to know why Goldman is making himself out to be such an ass in the framing device. I can't figure it out! I can figure out possibilities - that he really is an ass and doesn't realize how badly he's painting himself, that he's commenting even there on the nature of love and relationships, that he's hoping people figure that if he's painting himself so badly, in reality he must be a Swell Guy... I just don't know, though. Hrmph.

Anyhow I may or may not have more to say later in comments. But hopefully this should be enough at least to kick off any discussion y'all may want to get underway!

A reminder, for any that may have missed it: next month (*glances at calendar* er... this month) will be a "down month" and we shall hopefully be hashing out books here shortly.
Tags: books, parasha, parasha_princess_bride
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