Mark Reads ‘The Princess Bride’: Seven

In the seventh chapter of The Princess Bride, Inigo, Fezzik, and Westley scheme to end Buttercup’s wedding to the Prince. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Princess Bride.


I’ll always adore the adoration and use of logic in The Princess Bride, the way that Fezzik obsesses over words that rhyme, and the clever way that this story is told. Getting to read the original text only helps cement my love of this tale, especially because I now can see how faithful the move is to the book. (And for the record, “faithful” doesn’t mean “a perfect and identical copy.” I don’t know that it ever could be a copy, and I appreciate the two versions for what they are. Adapting a book to another medium is always going to be a complicated and challenging process because of the very specific nature of the two. There are things books can’t really do as well as films. There are things films can’t capture in the exact same way. Which is also not to say that it’s impossible, because that would be an immensely silly thing to say. If I can bring up The Hunger Games to make this point, I enjoyed the movie because it was, generally speaking, very faithful to the idea and tone of the books. Not always, but most of the time. I think the people who made that film understood what that book was trying to say, and did their best to convey the big and small moments as best they could. I’m excited to watch the movie again at the end of this because it’ll give me a chance to revisit my thoughts on it. It has been a rather long time since I’ve seen it last, and I imagine I’ll love it even more now that I’ve read S. Morgenstern’s book.)

That being said, it’s really wonderful to get some more perspective on these characters in a way the film never did. The use of the Zoo of Death (as opposed to the Pit of Despair) allows us to see Fezzik and Inigo in a new way. I admit that as the two of them descended to each level and faced off against a different creature in the Zoo, my brain went immediately to Harry Potter. It reminded me of the penultimate chapter of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, to be specific. Characters trying to get past a set of traps and using what they’re best at to do so? YEAH, IT’S TOTALLY THE SAME. Well, it seems more deadly and violent here than in Harry Potter because GIGANTIC, DEADLY SNAKE or OH MY GOD THAT SPIDER. No, seriously, the recluse scene is done so well. I know it’s not contained to just that one scene, but Morgenstern makes this part so intense through fear. It’s not our fear that fuels the tension; it’s the fact that both Fezzik and Inigo experiencing paralyzing fear at one point or another. There’s Fezzik’s fear of bats, and Inigo’s fear of the uncertain. Actually, that’s really fascinating to me, too. Inigo fears what he can’t anticipate. If he can see an enemy or hear them or smell them, he can deal. That’s what he’s good at. But absolutely none of those senses help him in that last room. There’s no way he could know that there’s a spider hiding underneath the doorknob, and now this book is going to make me obsessively check doorknobs before I use them. Thanks.

Oh god, I love Miracle Max. I LOVE HIM. Billy Crystal did such a fantastic job with the character that, like pretty much everyone else, I imagine him as the character in the book. There’s more of Valerie in the book, which is PERFECTION. They have such a hilarious chemistry with one another. Also, I’m pretty sure that Valerie screaming HUMPERDINCK over and over again at Max is what made me think it was actually HUMPADICK. Whoops? I can’t explain my brain. The scene is so much shorter in the film, so it’s fun to get more detail. Though Goldman takes away some of that by removing twenty pages because apparently he’s a bigot who hates world-building. Maybe I would have wanted to read those twenty pages. Did you ever think of that, Goldman? Of course you didn’t because bigotry. omg can we invent a new privilege checklist based solely off of this. “I can reasonably assume that I will get to read a full book without some bigoted abridger taking out the good parts.” GOLDMAN OPPRESSION.

You know, I dig that when Westley does finally wake up from death, he’s not in perfect flawless condition. Actually, he’s quite the opposite, and that makes everything so much more complicated. Obviously, it lends itself to a lot of humor during the confrontation with Humperdinck, but it’s this nice bit of realism in a moment of utter absurdity. I know saying any of this is “realistic” is ridiculous just as its own thought, but seriously! He died. (Well, mostly died, that is.) Still, it’s fun to read all three of these characters bickering over the fate of their plan because it is so beautifully in character that Inigo and Westley would do this. To be fair, Westley did die, so I’ll cut him some slack.

Fezzik is on fire and screaming at the top of his lungs while standing in a wheelbarrow at the end of this chapter. God, I love this book.

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.CI 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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