Mark Reads ‘The Princess Bride’: Five (Part IV)

In the fourth (and final) part of the fifth chapter of The Princess Bride, Westley and Buttercup must brave the Fire Swamp and Snow Sand and R.O.U.S. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Princess Bride.


As much as I might have said in the past that romance bores me, I think that was mostly me being incredibly bitter and boring myself. I MEAN RIGHT. So insufferable! Though I still maintain that love triangles aren’t my favorite thing unless that triangle involves Sam, Frodo, and potatoes. Then it’s pure poetry and I have the science and math to prove it. Try me. So I cannot deny that a great deal of the end of this chapter is gorgeously romantic, and I love it. The thing that impresses me the most is despite the fact that both Buttercup and Westley have their little arguments and doubts, their love for one another is remarkably pure. It’s unpretentious. It’s genuine. Sure, they’re both different people than they were long ago, but that doesn’t mean they still don’t care about one another deeply. I suppose there’s also something very attractive about the idea of someone being so dedicated to you that they’ll sacrifice years of their life to make you happy.

Note that this is all consensual and not at all like what Twilight was about. I AM SORRY TO SULLY THIS REVIEW BY MENTIONING THAT, but I can’t help but think about how the same concept is completely fucking ruined by that series. It’s taking devotion to this really disgusting level because it’s not about loyalty. It’s about control, subjugation, and convenience. (PS: Can you tell I’m still bitter about reading those books? CAN YOU TELL?) I don’t feel that Westley is controlling Buttercup at all. They both want to be with one another, and I deeply, deeply support this.

It had been a while since Goldman interrupted the text, and the way that he does here is so funny to me. I mean, he interrupts an interruption, which I am now interrupting myself. Morgenstern has such a quirky way of writing because he’s constantly acknowledging that he is telling a story. He knows there is a reader, and he wants to engage with that person at every turn. Whether he’s defining whether a word is before or after its proper time, or when he’s bringing his wife’s complaints into the story, it’s they awareness that makes me laugh. I suppose I do the same thing when I’m telling stories, too! Clearly, Goldman is slightly obsessed with it as well, since he has to interrupt this section to tell us that:

1) Morgenstern’s interruption device adds nothing to the text, which means he must be oblivious to the fact that he’s doing the same thing, which makes me smile.

2) he wrote the reunion scene between Westley and Buttercup on his own, which… oh my god, how can I read this.

3) you can read this scene by mailing his publishers and costing them tons in postage

4) he also uses an asterik for the first time to notify us that you can read the reunion scene online, which I will do after I finish the book.

I also greatly enjoy that Morgenstern admits he left the scene out of the original text because his characters deserve privacy. This might be the most adorable author admission in the history of the world.

Also: syllabub. help me i am dying of cute

Is it okay to admit that large parts of the Fire Swamp scene in the film kind of terrified me for years, especially the sand? Like, the R.O.U.S were almost comical in the way they looked, but I think The Neverending Story ruined swamps of any kind for the rest of my life. I’m sorry, there are few things in film that traumatized me more than the Swamps of Sadness scene. Perhaps Mufasa’s death in The Lion King? Actually, when I first saw The Lion King, I genuinely believed for months that my father would be killed by a pack of wildebeest. I know I just typed the funniest sentence in the world just now, but I can’t even begin to explain to you how serious this fear was. Like, I was ten years old when that movie came out, and what fucking ten-year-old actually believes wildebeest are just hanging around the neighborhood? I had the strangest childhood, I swear. Did you know I was also afraid of of a volcano erupting nearby as well? I should really stop admitting these things because they’re really embarrassing once I type them.

Let’s talk about how much I love Westley when he saves Buttercup from the Snow Sand. It’s Morgenstern’s use of repetition that really does it for me. He constantly states that failure isn’t even an option. Like, that’s how much of a badass he is. He is faced with a situation that’s practically impossible, and at no time does he think, “Well, shit, this isn’t going to work.” He just does it. He saves her because he loves her and I almost said I wish that some hot dude would save me from Snow Sand, but fuck that. I don’t want to be anywhere near Snow Sand at all, even if it meant I’d have a hot guy saving my life. Did you also know that the first time I went swimming, my father just threw me in the deep end and I nearly drowned? Well, now you know that, and you know that I spent years believing I would drown to death, too. Fuck, I swear I had moments of my childhood where I wasn’t living in abject fear. Like any time I played with LEGOs!!! Wait – no, that doesn’t work either. Because I always feared stepping on that rogue LEGO I missed, but that’s a fear I feel that many of you shared as well. God, they should really make that a thing to torture people, you know? Just blindfold them and set them loose in a room with a bunch of LEGOs laying haphazardly about the floor.

I have no idea what I’ve done to this review. Just…just deal with it.

Yes, so, Westley! He is the Dread Pirate Roberts! And he didn’t die because he loved Buttercup so much! See, I can stay on topic! I do like the idea that the pirates merely keep up the appearance of being the same person, but it’s really just a name passed along over time. It was at this point in the movie where I started wondering how this was going to work. Even as a kid, I could recognize that this story was pretty damn short at this point, and getting to the Revenge, while challenging, wasn’t that difficult. While it was shocking that Humperdinck beat them to the end of the ravine, I certainly never appreciated what Morgenstern did here: he gave Buttercup a choice and he doesn’t treat her like shit because of it. Like, that’s really awesome to me now. I wasn’t thinking about such things as a kid. I just yelled at the television because HE IS YOUR TRUE LOVE WHAT ARE YOU DOING. I understand this so much more because it’s clear to see that there’s no point in Buttercup being reunited with her true love if she can’t be alive to appreciate it. It’s something Westley didn’t even think of because he’s so desperate to sacrifice himself for her. I don’t think he really thought through what that meant. If he died to keep her safe, how would that make her feel? How could she feel happy about that? Instead, she chooses to live, and she barters to keep Westley alive, too.

Oh god, the Zoo of Death. I wonder if it’ll be the same as the movie? You know, don’t tell me this one thing. I remember it being uncomfortable, but this book is a little more crude and violent than what I expected. Anyway, chapter six is rather long, so you’ll get half of it tomorrow, then the other half on Monday. After that, I’ll do one review for chapters seven and eight, and then do Buttercup’s Baby, then the reunion scene on Friday and then ENDLESS LIVEBLOGGING OF THE MOVIE HOLY SHIT.

Mark Links Stuff

– My eBook adaptations of reviews I’ve posted are on sale at MarkDoesStuff.comHarry PotterTwilight, 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 the following cities this month (click the name for the Facebook RSVP page): San FranciscoLos AngelesSan DiegoLas VegasPhoenixTucsonEl PasoAlbuquerqueDenverSalt Lake CityBoiseSpokanePortlandSeattleVancouver B.C. I still need venues/spaces in San Diego, Salt Lake City, Spokane, and Portland. Even if it’s your house, I don’t care. I’ll show up! Please let me know if you have any ideas. 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!
– Mark Watches The Two Towers will happen most likely on Sunday at 1pm PDT, which is the same as this past weekend. Y’all better break the comment record again.
– I finish Mark Reads The Princess Bride on April 13th, and then Mark Reads Sandman begins on Monday, April 16th. I will split up reviews by issue, and I will be reading the extra books/volumes. IT SHALL BE GRAND.
– I’m on Twitter (@MarkDoesStuff) and I have a Facebook page y’all can Like and flail about on. Join me!
– This is my fifth consecutive year riding in the AIDS/LifeCycle! I’m aiming to raise $10,000 this year. For every $1,000 I raise, I will make a video live reading of a community-chosen fanfic. I am not bluffing. I will read as much of it as possible, and it will be beautiful. Help me out if you can!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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1 Response to Mark Reads ‘The Princess Bride’: Five (Part IV)

  1. No! Don’t read Buttercup’s Baby! Please, save yourself! It also isn’t in my ancient edition…

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