Of all the books published in the 20th century, there are some that are capable of lasting for eternity and touching the heart of everyone who reads them. And one of them is, without a doubt, The Princess Bride by William Goldman , a book published in 1973 which readapts a work by S. Morgenstern based on the parts of it that Goldman’s father selected for him during his childhood.

Synopsis for The Princess Bride

The Princess Bride is divided into two parts . The first, as a prologue, is a presentation by William Goldman himself., who through fiction, recounts his own life, specifically that childhood in which his father, an emigrant Florinian, read him every night The Princess Bride: A Classic Story of True Love and Great Adventures by S. Morgenstern. The same one that helped him introduce himself to literature and abandon an adolescence of “wasted imagination”, according to his parents and teachers. Years later, when Goldman finally established himself as a novelist, he decided to send the same book to his son, realizing shortly after that he had abandoned it after reading the first chapter. This is how the author discovers that, really, the story that his father told him was based on the most entertaining parts of Morgenstern’s book. The key that would lead William Goldman to write The Princess Bride, the second story covered by the title.

The Princess Bride itself is a story that combines different genres such as romance, adventure, fantasy, and humor . Set in the fictional country of Florin (Goldman’s father was Florinese, so it automatically leads the reader into a story both true and fictional based on the name of an ancient coin used in Florence during medieval times), The Princess Bride narrates the love story between princess Buttercup and her beloved Westley, who after dying leads Buttercup to commit herself to Humperdinck, an evil prince, in order to avoid a war. However, shortly before the wedding, a gang of robbers kidnaps the princess. The members are Íñigo Montoya, the best swordsman in the world; Vizzini, the most intelligent human being; and Fezzik, the strongest, who will not have the presence of a mysterious man in black who chases them during their escape.

Characters of The Princess Bride

Cary Elwes and Robin Wright in Rob Reiner's film

The princess bride is full of villains, princes, princesses and many other imaginable characters, the following being the main characters in the story:

  • Buttercup: She is the main heroine and in love with Westley. She is a stubborn milkmaid with fixed ideas who has become the most beautiful girl in the kingdom of Florin and, in turn, the key to avoiding a war between both sides.
  • Westley: He is the stable boy who falls in love with Buttercup, the daughter of his owner and whose house is burned down, leaving him in absolute poverty. In order to solve the situation and be able to marry Buttercup, he goes on a boat trip promising that he will come back for her. However, during the voyage, he is killed by the evil Pirate Roberts Deel.
  • Prince Humperdinck : Perfidious and wicked, Prince Humperdinck doesn’t even know who Buttercup is, Count Rugen being in charge of bringing him the most beautiful woman in the kingdom. He is an avid hunter and plans to kidnap Buttercup before she is married in order to provoke a war with the nation of Guilder.
  • Íñigo Montoya : Of Spanish origin, this character is considered the best swordsman in the world, being one of the members of the trio that kidnapped Buttercup. Like the rest of the mercenaries, he drags a past from which he cannot escape and to which the reader accesses through flashbacks throughout the story. His is the mythical phrase “I am Íñigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die” , so on the lips of young people who, in the 80s, played swordsmen emulating this character.
  • Vizzini: Of Sicilian origin, he is the most intelligent man and Prince Humperdinck’s right hand regarding the Buttercup kidnapping. He also carries various problems from the past.
  • Fezzik : Hailing from Greenladia, Fezzik is a large young man considered to be the strongest human being in the world. He often sings rhymes that get on Vizzini’s nerves and he doesn’t like dirty fighting.

The Princess Bride: The Fantasy Novel Reimagined

William Goldman, author of La princesa prometida

Adventure and fantasy novels were the ones that consumed much of the childhood of the author of The Princess Bride, William Goldman. The author who with this story sought to reinvent the genre completely allowing an a priori children’s tale to be interpreted by the adult audience. Based on humor, parody and characters that did not meet the expected standards in a typical medieval love story, The Princess Bride was published in 1973 in the United States by the publisher Harcourt Brace.. However, Goldman later insisted on adding a new scene that his publisher rejected out of hand to avoid copyright issues with Morgenstern. Let’s remember that The Princess Bride is a compendium of Morgenstern’s stories, but in no way tries to modify the existing material.

After becoming a bestseller, the book reached even higher heights thanks to the film adaptation released in 1987 . Directed by Rob Reiner and starring Cary Elwess and Robin Wright, the film was scripted by Goldman himself and became a box office success.

Thirty years after the premiere of the film (and forty of the book), The Princess Bride continues to be a classic of universal literature. A set of genres through which William Goldman reinvented the adventure novels of a lifetime, criticized the excess of European royalty, denoted the benefits of death and, ultimately, attracted the attention of hundreds of readers.

The same ones who today continue to consider The Princess Bride as one of the best books in history and proof of how a good book can engender a better one.

Have you read William Goldman’s The Princess Bride?