Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Princess Bride Readalong: Rats

This week is the second week of the Princess Bride readalong being hosted by Chrisbookarama.

In my post last week, I mentioned that I was half expecting to find a character something like Reepicheep from the Narnia novels to come bounding into the storyline. It seems like I have been having a ratty kind of week, because not only did ROUS (Rodents of Unusual Size for the uninitiated) appear in the story (nothing like Reepicheep unfortunately) but I was also reading Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents which was chock full of walking, talking, thinking rats!

For everything that I heard about this book/movie before I started reading the book, the character I had heard the most quotes from, or the most about, was Inigo Montoya, and in the fifth chapter of the novel we get to meet Inigo, along with his co-horts, Fezzik and Vizzini. Each of them got to face off against the man in black who follows them up the Cliffs of Insanity. Who is that masked man?

For the trio of characters we get to meet in Chapter 5, we learn not only of their strengths, but also their motivations and how it was that they came to be sailing towards the Cliffs of Insanity trailed not only by the man in black but also by the flotilla of ships that Prince Humperdink has gathered together.

First we meet Inigo. For years now I have been hearing the name Inigo Montoya mentioned in relation to this book. I know that Mandy Patinkin played the role in the movie despite the fact that I hadn't read the book or seen the movie. We find out about Inigo and his sword making father, and we learn of Inigo's determination to become more than a sword fighter master - he is beyond that level. He is a wizard in swordsmanship, and he has worked to achieve that level in order to be able to take revenge against the six fingered man who killed his father.

Secondly we meet the giant Fezzik. Weighing 85 pounds as a one year old, and continuing to grow and develop his strength over many years, Fezzik's family quickly worked out how to use their son's size and strength to their own advantage by putting him into the prize fighting circuit. They travelled the world forcing their son to fight against much older and more experience fighters. Fezzik isn't necessarily the brightest spark, although he does love rhymes, and he is much more sensitive than you would normally give a prize fighting giant credit for!

And then there is Vizzini, the brains of the outfit. There is probably not much that I can say about Vizzini that he couldn't say much better himself:

There are no words to contain all my wisdom. I am so cunning, crafty and clever, so filled with deceit, guile and chicanery, such a knave, so shrewd, cagey as well as calculating, as diabolical as I am vulpine, as tricky as I am untrustworthy....well, I told you there were not words invented yet to explain how great my brain is, but let me put it this way: the world is several million years old and several billion people have at one time or another trod upon it but I, Vizzini the Sicilian, am, speaking with pure candor and modesty, the slickest, sleekest, sliest and wiliest fellow who has yet come down the pike. 

This fifth chapter was very long, even with the significant abridgements that Goldman was keen to stress that he had taken out. With the structure the way it was though there were short sections within the chapter where we learnt about the three characters, plus their action with the man in black, and then the final scenes where we find out who the man in black is and what he wants with Buttercup.

If there is one character who I am having a little trouble warming up to it is Buttercup. At this stage it seems that her main merit is her beauty, and I am definitely not impressed with the choices that she made at the end of this chapter. I am sure though that she will redeem herself in due course!

So far I am having a lot of fun with this readalong. The thought did cross my mind tonight that maybe I should buy the book, and what the heck, might as well buy the movie straight away too, as I am pretty sure I am going to love it when I do eventually watch it!


  1. what a fun read-a-long. I've seen the movie many times but have never read the book. Perhaps I'll remedy that.

  2. I just want you to know - if you watch the movie, you'll like Buttercup. And it's interesting; now that I'm reading the book and reading posts from people who haven't seen the movie who are saying that they just don't really like her, I realize that well...I don't know why I do. The person she is in the book is not someone I feel like I have any reason to like at this point!

    Hopefully Goldman will redeem her later in the novel. :)

  3. Katie, I think that how you worded it is exactly how I feel - at this stage I haven't been given any reason to like her!

    Kaye, I had never done either. So far I am having a load of fun with the book!

  4. I love this book and am so glad you are having such a good time with it!