Thursday, November 4, 2010

Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week five

The Princess Bride readalong is hosted by Chrisbookarama. Thanks, Chris, for hosting this readalong. I've really enjoyed it. To see Chris' week five post, click here. The reading assignment for week five was Buttercup's Baby. I think this story is well-known enough that spoilers aren't really an issue, but if you're worried, you might want to skip my posts on this readalong.

Hmmm, I'm not sure how I feel about Buttercup's Baby. It's primary purpose seems to be to reassure the reader that Westley's motley crew escapes Prince Humperdinck. I have to admit I was uneasy from the beginning. I mean, the only chapter Goldman was "allowed" to abridge is titled "Fezzik Dies."

Before you get there though, Goldman provides a lengthy explanation of why he only abridged the first chapter of Buttercup's Baby. It's pretty amusing actually. Prominently featured are Goldman's fictional son, Jason, what I assume is also his fictional grandson, Willy, Karloff Shog, and Stephen King (yes, that Stephen King). The Shogs, who represent the Morgenstern estate, have chosen King to abridge Buttercup's Baby. Goldman is devastated and goes to see King, who eventually gives Goldman permission to abridge the first chapter.

Aside from the awful thought of Fezzik dying, Buttercup's Baby returns us to the end of The Princess Bride and describes the escape from Prince Humperdinck and their exile on One Tree Island. We learn, of course, that Buttercup has a baby, specifically, a daughter named Waverly. She and Fezzik have a special bond and his possible death is precipitated by the actions of a horrible madman / kidnapper who steals Waverly. There is also a short interlude where the reader is taken back to a time when Inigo found true love himself but gave it up to pursue his quest for vengeance. All in all, a choppy chapter with a lot of interruptions from Goldman.

In the end, I think I could have done without this single chapter of Buttercup's Baby. I always believed that Westley, Buttercup, Fezzik and Inigo would survive. I always believed there was a happily ever after for them all. Despite Goldman's reassurances that Fezzik couldn't possibly die, I didn't need the thought, the worry, put in my head. Perhaps I would feel differently if Buttercup's Baby was a fully formed story, but it's not.

I happen to be reading the 30th Anniversary Edition of The Princess Bride. At the very end of the introduction to this edition, Goldman promises that we will have the complete Buttercup's Baby by the 35th anniversary. Well, he's missed his self-imposed deadline. Of course, if Goldman ever finishes his "abridgement," I'll be forced to read, if only to know Fezzik's true fate. I will say this for Mr. Goldman. He sure knows how to build his readers' attachment to his characters.

I would definitely recommend that you read The Princess Bride, but if you're edition doesn't include the Buttercup's Baby chapter, don't fret. You can do without it.

Related Posts:
Readalong : The Princess Bride
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week one
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week two
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week three
Readalong : The Princess Bride : Week four


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