7 Little Known Facts About William Goldman's The Princess Bride
Happy birthday, William Goldman! The award-winning American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter turned 84 this week. To help celebrate his narrative genius, we've gathered a few surprising facts about his beloved fantasy classic, The Princess Bride.
Before Goldman began writing The Princess Bride, he told his two young daughters, "I'll write you a story. What do you want it to be about?" One said "a princess" and the other said "a bride."
2. The Princess Bride is as an abridged version of a book that does not exist.
Or at least that's what Goldman would like you to think. He presented his book as an abridged version of the "original" (i.e. fictional) Princess Bride, written by S. Morgenstern (a fictional person). The literary device let Goldman gleefully write only the "good parts" of his own story.
3. Goldman experienced an embarrassing moment of panic on the set of the film adaptation.
Because he wrote the book and the screenplay for The Princess Bride, you might think Goldman would know what to expect on set. You would be very wrong. On the first day of filming, he ruined the first few takes with a barely audible prayer chant. And then, during the scripted scene when Buttercup's dress catches on fire, Goldman panicked and screamed, "Oh my god! Her dress is on fire!"
4. The countries are named after old coins.
The Florin, where Prince Humperdinck reigns, is the name of an Italian gold coin once minted in Florence; and Guilder, the neighboring country Humperdinck was (spoiler alert?) going to murder Buttercup to start a war with, is the name of a Dutch gold coin.
5. If Princess Bride ever got a sequel, it would be called Buttercup's Baby and Stephen King would write it.
Goldman included this juicy tidbit in later editions of The Princess Bride. Unfortunately, King shot it down as a silly joke between friends on his website—but we're not so easily fooled. (Plus, we just really, really want to know what a Princess Bride tale as written by King would look like.)
6. Goldman was able to look back at the book "without humiliation."
"I [don't] like my writing," Goldman said. "I wrote a movie called Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and I wrote a novel called The Princess Bride and those are the only two things I've ever written, not that I'm proud of, but that I can look at without humiliation."
7. You can request a missing scene from The Princess Bride.
…You just won't receive it. Instead, you'll get a delightfully nutty automated response from Goldman, detailing the fictitious legal troubles surrounding the missing scene. (A Florinese lawyer named Kermit Shog is involved—you know you want this in your inbox.) "Request" your own missing scene here!
Have you read The Princess Bride? Watched the movie? Tell us what you think of Goldman's tale in the comments!
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