Sunday, 13 February 2011

True Love

With Valentines Day nearly upon us, and this being the weekend of romantic gestures, I thought it only right and fitting to share a truly, hopelessly fairytale love story with you. You might know The Princess Bride as a film (and it is one of my favourites), but the film itself is based on the book of the same name, by William Goldman. 

The first and most important thing to note about The Princess Bride is that it is a spoof of the fairytale genre. That doesn't mean that the romantic aspect is any the less sincere, because it isn't. Goldman's writing is funny; brilliantly so. The first time I read the book, it was a train journey companion on a trip to-and-from home and university. I probably embarrassed myself by sniggering, snorting and grinning in an effort to prevent myself from fully laughing out loud.

It is the story of the beautiful Buttercup and the dashing Westley, set against a backdrop of an imaginary European kingdom. Westley is Buttercup's one true love, but because he is only a Farm Boy (as Buttercup initially calls him) he leaves her to seek his fortune on the high seas, promising to return when he is wealthy enough to marry her. Alas for Buttercup, she receives news that Westley is dead; captured by the scourge of the ocean, the Dread Pirate Roberts. Lost and empty (but still very beautiful), she is forced to enter into an engagement with sneaky Prince Humperdinck, but before he can marry her, she is kidnapped.

The story that follows is of her rescue by a masked stranger, and in the words of William Goldman, who sums it up best,
"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."

The Princess Bride is a fairytale for everyone. It manages to be touching and downright silly at the same time...naive and wise in the same sentence,
' "Don't you understand anything that's going on?
Buttercup shook her head.
Westley shook his too. "You never have been the brightest, I guess."
"Do you love me, Westley? Is that it?"
He couldn't believe it. "Do I love you? My God, if your love were a grain of sand, mine would be a universe of beaches! If your love were -"
"I don't understand that first one yet," Buttercup interrupted. She was starting to get very excited now. "Let me get this straight. Are you saying my love is a grain of sand and yours is this other thing? Images confuse me so - is this universal business of yours bigger than my sand? Help me, Westley. I have the feeling we're on the verge of something just terribly important."

"I've been saying it so long to you, you just wouldn't listen. Every time you said 'Farm Boy do this' you thought I was answering 'As you wish' but that's only because you were hearing wrong. 'I love you' was what it was, but you never heard." '

Happy Valentines, to romantics and dreamers of all ages - whether your true love is by your side or yet to be found, all that remains for me to do is to leave you with this,
"There have been five great kisses since 1642 B.C. ... (before then couples hooked thumbs.) And the precise rating of kisses is a terribly difficult thing, often leading to great controversy...Well, this one left them all behind."


  1. Great post, it had me laugh out loud! The film is really sweet, but I think they might have slightly glossed over the fact that the princess wasn't "the sharpest tool in the shed"... Happy Valentine's day to you :-) xo

  2. Hahahaha! I think they definitely did! I reccommend the book: very, very funny.

    Happy Valentines! x

  3. Now here's a fairy-tale that has it all! A timely post for me, Laura...I've been thinking fairy-tales for days now.
    I've had several occasions when I've started laughing in public while alone and just thinking about it makes me laugh again. I once had to get off a bus...and in school I often had to go stand out in the hall until I calmed down.
    Now, did I miss something? I'm afraid I don't know who 'Sarah' is. Clue me in.
    Sending you a big thumb -

  4. Okay, Laura...I'm nuts. I was half asleep. Yes, C'est moi! The Divine one!

  5. Catherine - I'm glad I'm not the only one. Laughing when you really shouldn't be is one of life's illicit pleasures. :D

    And of course, I was referring to your nickname in my comment to you...Sarah Bernhardt.

    Have a lovely day!

  6. I too love the film version but didn't realize it was also a book. No doubt the book is better than the film....I'll have to read it and look forward to some laughing out loud.
    I hope you had a lovely romantic Valentine's Day.