Mark Reads ‘The Princess Bride’: Three

In the third chapter of The Princess Bride, Prince Humperdinck decides who to marry to give his father an heir to the throne after himself. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Princess Bride.

THREE: THE COURTSHIP

I’m going to agree with Professor Bongiorno of Columbia University: nearly everything in here is one of the most effective satires I’ve ever seen. But I refuse to accept that just because The Princess Bride is highly satirical, that means it cannot be genuine, sincere, and touching. Indeed, a lot of what happens later is some of the most romantic and emotional shit I’d ever seen in a movie. (I’m assuming that the plot of this book doesn’t deviate too far from the movie, though that’s about the only thing I could be “spoiled” for. Which… don’t do it intentionally, but you’re welcome to talk about such things without rot13 in the comments.) I appreciate the layers here, no matter what sort of meaning they have. For me, the royalty in Florin is viciously criticized by the text in a number of ways. Morgenstern, firstly, paints them as shallow fools who are detached from any sense of reality that we’re familiar with. Even the way that they talk is just unreal. It’s as if they are merely going through the motions out of pure necessity. I don’t think any of these people even like each other, but they put up appearances for the sake of… well, what? No one else is there. They’re not putting on a show. Why act so proper and prim?

Also:

…the Tuna Fish Discrepancy, which had almost bankrupted both nations…

my god i will never not love capitalizing mundane and strange things.

I also couldn’t help but point out that a lot of the list summarizing I’ve done in the past, and most especially during Mark Reads Twilight, may have also been ripped off from The Princess Bride. I mean, just the idea of it, I guess, as I sort of developed it into my own thing rather quickly. But I’m reading Goldman’s summary of the packing and unpacking for the trip to Guilder, and it’s just one of the most beautiful things ever. WHO OWNS THAT MUCH STUFF? I guess I’m biased here; I learned how to live out of a duffle bag when I was maybe seventeen, so when I see folks bringing a giant suitcase on a weekend trip, my brain just stops working. What could you possibly need?

I think the dissolution of any sort of alliance between Florian and Guilder is a thousand times funnier because Morgenstern narrates it in seconds. It’s a sign of just how absurd these people are that things could go so terribly wrong in so little time. But I also think there’s a subtle criticism of this whole process evident in the scene; it feels like Morgenstern is pointing out why this sort of arrangement for seeking out a marriage could never truly work. Well, I suppose I mean that in terms you and I understand. When Humperdinck gives up on Noreena because she’s bald (I happen to like women who are bald or who shave their head THANK YOU VERY MUCH), his pursuit of Buttercup is based entirely on the notion that marriage is a political contract. I guess it works out in her favor, too, since she has no desire to fall in love herself. A marriage devoid of love? Sounds perfect for her. (Oh god, she is so delightfully witty here as well. TRUE LOVE, Y’ALL.)

It’s making me have all these feelings about marriage and what it means to our society and to me as a gay dude who grew up believing it would always be impossible. But then I realize I’m reading The Princess Bride, and for once, I believe I’m taking things too far. Things are going to get even more amazing quite quickly, too. I LOVE THIS STORY.

(A note about next week. I’ll stick chapters four and five together because there is no way I’m going to make a single post about a chapter that’s two pages long. I haven’t read all of chapter five, but I know it’s quite long. I’ll figure out the split as soon as possible and post the anticipated schedule in the Mark Links Stuff in the footer.)

Mark Links Stuff

- My eBook adaptations of reviews I’ve posted are on sale at MarkDoesStuff.com. Harry Potter, Twilight, and Firefly books are priced from $2.99 to $3.99 a piece, and are available in ePub (iBook, iPod, iPad, Nook), Kindle, and PDF files.
- I now have a Lulu storefront, where you can purchase physical copies of all of my previously released books, including a full Mark Reads Twilight book that includes all four sets of Twilight reviews.
- I am going on tour in April and May across the western half of North America! Please check this post for tour dates and to see which cities I still need help finding venues in. You can RSVP for any date by clicking on the city name and using the Facebook page for it, or you can just leave a comment! If you have access to a venue, know of a good book store or coffee shop that hosts events, or would be willing to host an event at your house or work (I DON’T CARE WHERE, I WILL SHOW UP), please comment on that post to let me know. I can also be reached at markreadsandwatches [at] gmail [dot] com.
- I am presenting for three days at Ascendio 2012! Come hang out and have the best weekend ever in July!
- Liveblogs for Game of Thrones season 2 start on April 1st. For the time being, there will be no proper reviews, just liveblogs.
- Since Legend of Korra has now been released, I’ll review the first two episodes over the course of the next week or two; once the show starts back up again, we’ll do weekly liveblogs and I’ll have reviews of it up on Sunday.
- Mark Watches The Lord of the Rings films starts on March 31st. Each consecutive Saturday, I’ll watch the three LOTR films in order and host a liveblog; I’ll post a loose review of them on Sunday morning!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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One Response to Mark Reads ‘The Princess Bride’: Three

  1. Indigo Sto Helit says:

    Mark, I think you’ve run across the Inverse Theory of Vacationing: the longer the trip lasts, the less the vacationer will pack. Conversely, and confusingly, the shorter the trip is, the more will be packed. Someone is more likely to pack two suitcases and a duffel bag for a quick trip to another state, and a single backpack for a month hitchhiking across Europe.

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