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The Princess Bride
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2010 Reads > TPB: The Sequel - 'Buttercups Baby' and the Reunion Scene

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Stan Slaughter | 359 comments What is the reunion scene and what about the Sequel Buttercups Baby ?

When you write asking for the reunion scene, this is what you get:

Dear Reader,

Thank you for sending in, and no, this is not the reunion scene, because of
a certain roadblock named Kermit Shog.

As soon as bound books were ready, I got a call from my lawyer, Charley --
(you may not remember, but Charley's the one I called from California to go
down in the blizzard and buy _The Princess Bride_ from the used-book
dealer). Anyway, he usually begins with Talmudic humor, wisdom jokes, only
this time he just says, "Bill, I think you better get down here," and before
I'm even allowed a 'why?' he adds, "Right away if you can."

Panicked, I zoom down, wondering who could have died, did I flunk my tax
audit, what? His secretary lets me into his office, and Charley says, "This
is Mr. Shog, Bill."

And there he is, sitting in the corner, hands on his briefcase, looking
exactly like an oily version of Peter Lorre. I really expected him to say,
"Give me the Falcon, you must, or I'll be forced to keeeeel you."

"Mr. Shog is a lawyer," Charley goes on. And this next was said
underlined: "_He_ _represents_ _the_ _Morgenstern_ _estate_."

Who knew? Who could have dreamed such a thing existed, an estate of a man
at least a million years dead that no one ever heard of over here anyway?
"Perhaps you will give me the Falcon now," Mr. Shog said. That's not
true. What he said was, "Perhaps you will like a few words with your client
alone now," and Charley nodded and out he went, and once he was gone I said,
"Charley, my God, I never figured --" and he said, "Did Harcourt?"* and I
said, "Not that they ever mentioned" and he said, "Ooch," the grunting sound
lawyers make when they know they've backed a loser. "What does he want?" I
said. "A meeting with Mr. Jovanovich," Charley answered.

*_The Princess Bride_ was first published in hardcover in 1973 by Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich.

Now, William Jovanovich is a pretty busy fella, but it's amazing when you're
confronted with a potential multibillion-dollar lawsuit how fast you can
wedge in a meeting. We trooped over.

All the Harcourt Brass was there, I'm there, Charley; Mr. Shog, who would
sweat in an igloo he's so swarthy, is streaming. Harcourt's lawyer started
things: "We're terribly terribly sorry, Mr. Shog. It's an unforgivable
oversight, and please accept our sincerest apologies." Mr. Shog said,
"That's a beginning, since all you did was defame and ridicule the greatest
modern master of Florinese prose who also happened to be for many years a
friend of my family." Then the business head of Harcourt said, "All right,
how much do you want?"

Biiig mistake. "_Money_?" Mr. Shog cried. "You think this is petty
blackmail that brings us together? _Resurrection_ is the issue, sir.
Morgenstern must be undefiled. You will publish the original version." And
now a look at me. "In the _unabridged_ form."

I said, "I'm done with it, I swear. True, there's just the reunion scene
business we printed up, but there's not liable to be a rush on that, so it's
all past as far as I'm concerned." But Mr. Shog wasn't done with me:
"_You_, who _dared_ to _defame_ a _master's_ characters are now going to put
_your_ words in their mouths? Nossir. No, I say." "It's just a little
thing," I tried; "a couple pages only."

Then Mr. Jovanovich started talking softly. "Bill, I think we might skip
sending out the reunion scene just now, don't you think?" I made a nod.
Then he turned to Mr. Shog. "We'll print the unabridged. You're a man
who's interested in immortality for his client, and there aren't as many of
you around in publishing as there used to be. You're a gentleman, sir."
"Thank you," from Mr. Shog; "I like to think I am, at least on occasion."
For the first time, he smiled. We all smiled. Very buddy-buddy now. Then,
an addendum from Mr. Shog: "Oh. Yes. Your first printing of the
unabridged will be 100,000 copies."


So far, there are thirteen lawsuits, only eleven involving me directly.
Charley promises nothing will come to court and that eventually Harcourt
will publish the unabridged. But legal maneuvering takes time. The
copyright on Morgenstern runs out in early '78, and all of you who wrote in
are having your names put alphabetically on computer, so whichever happens
first, the settlement or the year, you'll get your copy.

The last I was told, Kermit Shog was willing to come down on his first
printing provided Harcourt agreed to publish the sequel to _The Princess
Bride_, which hasn't been translated into English yet, much less published
here. The title of the sequel is: _Buttercup's Baby: S. Morgenstern's
Glorious Examination of Courage Matched Against the Death of the Heart_.

I'd never heard of it, naturally, but there's a Ph.D. candidate in Florinese
Lit up at Columbia who's going through it now. I'm kind of interested in
what he has to say.

(signed) William Goldman


I'm really sorry about this, but you know the story that ends, "disregard
previous wire, letter follows?" Well, you've got to disregard the business
about the Morgenstern copyright running out in '78. That was a definite
boo-boo but Mr. Shog, being Florinese, has trouble, naturally, with our
numbering system. The copyright runs out in _'87_, not '78.

Worse, he died. Mr. Shog I mean. (Don't ask how could you tell. It was
easy. One morning he just stopped sweating, so there it was.) What makes
it worse is that the whole affair is now in the hands of his kid, named --
wait for it -- Mandrake Shog. Mandrake moves with all the verve and speed
of a lizard flaked out on a river bank.

The only good thing that's happened in this whole mess is I finally got a
shot at reading _Buttercup's Baby_. Up at Columbia they feel it's
definitely superior to _The Princess Bride_ in satirical content.
Personally, I don't have the emotional attachment to it, but it's a helluva
story, no question.

Give it a look-see when you have the chance.
-- August, 1978


This is getting humiliating. Have you been reading in the papers about the
trade problems America is having with Japan? Wll, maddening as this may
be, since it reflects on the reunion scene, we're also having problems with
Florin which, it turns out, is our leading supplier of Cadminium which,
it also turns out, NASA is panting for.

So all Florinese-American litigation, which includes the thirteen lawsuits,
has been officially put on hold.

What this means is that the reunion scene, for now, is caught between our
need for Cadminium and diplomatic relations between the two countries.

But at least the movie got made. Mandrake Shog was shown it, and
word reached me he even smiled once or twice. Hope springs eternal.

-- May, 1987

Sandi (Sandikal) | 1212 comments A lot of the side-stuff in The Princess Bride is inside jokes about the publishing industry. There never was a real sequel called "Buttercup's Baby", just a "sample" in the back of the book. It's a good thing because "Buttercup's Baby" really, truly sucks. I think it sucks on purpose though.

I didn't try to write for the reunion scene, but I knew that the reply was something like what you just posted. It's all part of the joke too.

Frankly, I was really annoyed by all those inside jokes because I truly love the story of "The Princess Bride" and I suspect that the story wasn't really the main thing the author was trying to write about.

message 3: by Stan (last edited Oct 01, 2010 08:47AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Stan Slaughter | 359 comments I read the book 15 years before the movie was made, so my perspective is likely different than yours.

The jokes are what made the book so darn funny to me, even when I read it as a young pre-teen.

The whole book is about

******** SEMI-SPOILER ********
******** SEMI-SPOILER ********
******** SEMI-SPOILER ********

Convincing you this is a real book. A dusty dry old history book being being read to a sick child by a somewhat stiff, older father.

It's about how the the narrator has to make it interesting to the child that the funniest bits come from.

This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.

"Has it got any sports in it?"

"Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles."

******** END SEMI-SPOILER ********
******** END SEMI-SPOILER ********
******** END SEMI-SPOILER ********

Note: Buttercups Baby started as a Joke, a humerus bit of epilogue at the end of the 25th Anniversary issue of the story.

Strangely enough it started evolving into something a little bit more. A bit of fiction becoming reality? Seems fitting for the kind of book it is:

The 30th anniversary edition of The Princess Bride included hints to the sequel's plot, and a promise to have the full version completed before a 35th anniversary edition (2009).

In a January 2007 interview, Goldman admitted that he is having difficulty coming up with ideas for the story:[4]

MPM: I hear you're working on a sequel to The Princess Bride called Buttercup's Baby.
William Goldman: I desperately want to write it, and I sit there and nothing happens and I get pissed at myself. I got lucky with The Princess Bride the first time, and I'd love to get lucky again.[4]

terpkristin | 3656 comments As I said in the "overrated" thread, I really didn't like Buttercup's Baby. It kind of took away from the main part of the story for was only in the introduction and then at the end of the book, and I felt forced to read it instead of enjoying the book from cover to cover (er first Kindle page to last Kindle page?). I loved Goldman's asides in the actual text, but this BB stuff just wasn't on the same level.

AndrewP (AndrewCa) | 2165 comments I wonder how much, if at all, Stephen King was involved in creating the narrative? It just seems to me that it's the sort of thing two authors would come up with while having a few drinks at the pub.

Firstname Lastname | 488 comments AndrewP wrote: "I wonder how much, if at all, Stephen King was involved in creating the narrative? It just seems to me that it's the sort of thing two authors would come up with while having a few drinks at the pub."

Ssssssshh! That's how we got Scientology.

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