I just recently finished reading “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman, and, after having been a fan of the movie for years, I must say that the book definitely surpasses the movie, wonderful though it be. I would say that about 60% of the movie is directly quoted from the book, giving the reader all of the humor of the movie, but about twice as much of it. Each character is developed beautifully, with his or her own tragic or hilarious (normally both) backstory. Plus, Goldman inserts funny and oddly-timed dialogue with his reader into the story, along with exaggerated explanations of why/ how he came to write the book. Anyhow, it’s a fabulous book.
One part in particular stayed with me after I finished it. In the book, after Wesley has died and Fezzik and Inigo are searching the forest for him, they actually don’t find the secret entrance to Humperdink’s torture chamber in the tree, but they find the fake entrance that Humperdink has arranged as a trap. This trap, designed to take intruders through the most dangerous parts of the Pit of death (housing dangerous beasts that Humperdink spends his time fighting and hunting), to kill them off before they get to the bottom level (a.k.a. where Wesley is). On the first level, they fight a giant snake. On the second level, they fight deadly bats. So on and so forth, until they reach the sixth level, and are preparing themselves to face the worst obstacle. All the torches in the winding staircase have suddenly been put out. Both the sword master and the giant are very terrified, and the knowledge that the other is just afraid as they are makes their fear all the worse. As they descend the staircase, Fezzik quivers,
“Will you draw your sword with your free hand?”
Inigo responds, fearfully…
“I already have. Will you make fist with yours?”
Inigo then responds heartily…
“Then, let’s look on the bright side: We’re having an adventure, Fezzik, and most people live and die without being as lucky as we are.”
I absolutely love this quote, because it communicates the idea that being in any sort of trouble, hardship, or uncertainty can be viewed as wondrous luck and good fortune. It’s especially significant to me, as I’m about to head into a rather uncertain fall semester: starting it out with a my first overseas trip in about 5 years (To Guatemala, to visit a good friend and her family), then leaving the job at which I’ve become part of a work family and awesome crew for two years, beginning new and more intense fall classes than normal, and beginning a new job (working 2-3 days a week tutoring college students in English and grammar, one day a week tutoring high school students in the same subject, and substitute teaching at any K-12 substitute job that is available on the other day of the week).
After nearly two years of being the experienced crew member and trainer at work, I am now going to be the newbie, facing a whole new type of work and new challenges. Plus, I’m going into my senior year of college, after spending the last 4 years in it. It is definitely going to be an adventure, and I never want to stop seeing every bump in the road as just that: a chance to draw my sword, clench a fist, and walk into dark chambers of death alongside brave companions, facing the odds for the sake of each other and our fellow humans.
So here’s to adventure: alone, or with great companions. May we never cease to stumble over adventures at every turn of our paths, and face them with thankfulness, hearty joy, and good fortune.