Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur

5/3/2004

The Princess Bride

Filed under: Books & Short Stories,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I went to Barnes and Noble alone on Saturday. When I go with Mike, I always feel rushed, so I told him that I was going to go the bookstore without him while he slept Saturday morning. He didn’t worry where I was and I didn’t feel like I didn’t have enough time to see all that I wanted to see at the store.

Ok, that’s a lie. I still felt like I didn’t have enough time to see all that I wanted to see at Barnes and Noble. I don’t think I will ever get that feeling of being literarily satiated. Unless I could walk into the store and read every single book that I had a passing interest in before for leaving, I doubt I would have that feeling. I should quit blaming my feelings of being rushed on Mike. It’s not his fault that I cannot consume the entire bookstore in one sitting.

I spent over an hour doing one thing at Barnes and Noble. I sat on a hard wooden chair and read the new introduction to The Princess Bride by William Goldman. It was the 30th Anniversary Edition and it was sitting in the bestsellers section at the front. I didn’t even get to the discount books section this time. I was accosted by a book that I already own.

I read The Princess Bride after seeing the movie and was amazed at how closely they matched. It was one of those rare occasions when the book didn’t ruin the movie for me. They were both perfect and beautiful in their own right. What was even better than seeing the movie was reading William Goldman’s description of the effort of abridging the original manuscript by <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />S. Morgenstern. What a fanciful addition to the classic story.

After reading the 30th and 25th Anniversary Introductions, I started to question myself. Maybe S. Morgenstern wasn’t imaginary. Maybe Florin and Guilder really existed. Maybe it wasn’t a fanciful addition to the classic story. Maybe it was the truth. Sitting there in Barnes and Noble, I suddenly wanted it to be the truth. I wanted there to be a museum in Florin where I could see the sword of the six-fingered man. I wanted there to be lawyers for the Morgenstern Estate. I wanted Fezzik to be a real giant and I wanted to see the mold of his fingers.

After an hour of reading the new introductions to The Princess Bride, I wanted to believe so badly. Mike called me on my cell, wondering if I was ever going to come home (for the record, I might have forgotten to come home until I had finished reading all the books in the store, so it was a good thing that he called).

“Mike, I need to you come here and bring the Barnes and Noble card because I’m going to buy a book and I want to get the discount.”

“What are you buying?”

“It’s the 30th Anniversary Edition of The Princess Bride. I know that we already have it, but this one has all this interesting stuff about Florin and The Morgenstern Museum and stuff. I guess there really was a S. Morgenstern and he’s been having all this legal trouble with the estate. There is a sequel that he wants to abridge, but the estate wants Stephen King to do it.”

“Laura, Florin isn’t real. There was no unabridged book. We’ll get a map and I’ll show you that there is no Florin on it.”

“No, Florin is now some part of Russia, I think.”

I could feel the illusion leaving me. Did William Goldman actually say that Florin was in Russia or was he just comparing their airlines to their Russian counterparts? Come to think of it, there is NO Florin in Europe. But the story seemed so real. Who would make up a story about lawyers? It was madness. No, Inigo Montoya existed and killed Count Rugen in the castle by the billiard table. William Goldman saw the spot in the castle himself. The Cliffs of Insanity are real and Andre the Giant practiced climbing them to prepare for his part in the movie. He was the kind of guy to do that. He was French. They do stuff like that over there.

“No, Mike. I’m telling you. It’s real. There really was some old book that is totally long and boring and William Goldman really abridged it and now he’s having legal trouble because of it.”

“No, Laura. It’s all part of the story. There is no such place as Florin or Guilder. He made it all up. Think about it. If there really was a book, it would be in the public domain by now and there would be no trouble with lawyers.”

“It didn’t come into the public domain until 1987.”

“That would mean the book was written in 1902. That’s a little late for a true tale of medieval history.”

I could feel the truth wash over me. There is no Florin. Inigo Montoya never lost his father to Count Rugen because neither one of them existed. Buttercup never jumped from that castle window into Fezzik’s arms. The Man in Black was never brought back from the Mostly Dead. There is no life-sucking machine in the bowels of the Zoo of Death. It was all a story. There are no lawyers preventing me from reading the sequel, Buttercup’s Baby. For one fleeting hour, I believed it all. I sat on that hard wooden chair and believed that it all had been real.

“I want it to be true.”

“That doesn’t make it true.”

I thought about Andre the Giant placing his hand in Fezzik’s finger mold. I had felt such joy thinking that the sweet man had found a cohort from the past whose hands were bigger than his. It was all gone.

“I still want it to be true. I’m going to buy this book.”

“Ok, I’ll be right over.”

If you haven’t read the two new introductions to The Princess Bride, you must read them. If you don’t own the book, buy it now. If you do own the book, go buy the 30th Anniversary Edition anyway. The mark of a brilliant writer is the ability to transport the reader into another reality. I was taken to a world where revenge really was sweet. I was taken to a world where the hero really saved the damsel. I was taken to a world where all of it and more was true and documented. There was a museum that displayed the sword and the life-sucking machine. Maybe it seemed so real because there were blood-sucking lawyers in that world.

The final nail in the coffin of the fantasy came to me Sunday night. I was still clinging to the desperate hope that maybe it was all real. I was going to write this entry leaving that question open to debate, but Mike insisted that I try to find Florin on the map. He insisted that I try to find Florin on the Internet. A Google search led me to several Florin sites in Russian. For a shimmering moment, I actually believed again.

“See, here’s a Florin in Russian. I told you it was part of Russia.”

“Go to the website.”

When I went there, I found that it was a Russian IT company. I tried The Morgenstern Museum and found one in Germany, but a translation of the website proved that it was merely about shipbuilding. The final nail came when I searched using the phrase, “Buttercup’s Baby.” Toward the end of the first page was a frequently asked questions site on Stephen King’s website. The question at hand was, “In the Princess Bride it says you’re going to write the abridgement for Buttercup’s Baby. Is that true?”

In simple and plain words, my final illusion fell from me. Stephen King wrote, “No, it’s not true. That’s a little joke from Bill Goldman who’s an old friend. I admired his books before I ever met him and as a kind of return tip of the cap, he put me in that book The Princess Bride. But actually I think that that particular baby, Buttercup’s Baby, is Bill Goldman’s and if there’s ever going to be a story about Buttercup, Bill will have to write it.”

We are both men of action. Lies do not become us.  - William Goldman, The Princess Bride, 1973

So, there is the truth. For approximately 37 hours, I held the hope that it was all true in my heart. I’m buying Buttercup’s Baby as soon as it comes out. Get cracking, Bill. Don’t you dare kill Fezzik. We’ve already lost Andre. I can’t bear to lose another giant.

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77 Comments »

  1. We could have lived the same moment in time. The Princess Bride is my all-time favorite movie. I, too, bought the book years ago after seeing the movie and devoured it. Last night, while combing through bins at Barnes & Noble, I stumbled on the 30th edition of Goldman’s book. i sat on a bench and read the first few pages. I told my husbeand: “I know I have this already, but I am buying this book.” I was stunned and excited to learn of the museum and the city of Florin. I also did a Google search to have my travel plans squelched. That is how I came to your site. upon further investigating the web, I also found out there is no S. Morgenstern (it’s a pseudonym), “Willy” has no son and it’s all part of the fiction of the story. It’s still the best movie ever made.

    Nice to know, I wasn’t alone in the moment! Ciao- Donna Brown

    Comment by Donna Brown — 8/22/2004 @ 5:43 pm

  2. And here I am doing my Google search at 2am trying to convince myself that it’s all just a work of fiction … ;-)

    Comment by ryan — 10/15/2004 @ 2:51 am

  3. Oh… you’ve broken my heart. I decided to pick up the book again just the other day from the library. But instead of the same book that I had read in my Modern Lit class in high school, (some time before the movie) it was the 30th anniversary edition. I have spent all day reading or thinking about, the two “new to me” introductions and devoring Buttercup’s Baby, first chapter. I have to pick my mother up at the airport soon, but it was nagging at me so I decided to spend my last few minutes before I left, in internet research instead of a mad cleaning frnezy (as usual). I came upon your web page instantly. Hmmm… I really am sad to see that it is not true. I wanted it to be true in some aspect so badly. I knew there would have been embellishments on the story…R.O.U.S.’s? Can’t be real. Now I have to go tell my husband that I am a sucker. I just got done telling him all about how it is real. I’m never going to live this one down!

    Comment by Shiloh — 10/29/2004 @ 8:13 pm

  4. hey pick me! do you have a map of the princess bride?

    warm regards michelle marriott mickichic12@hotmail.com

    Comment by michelle — 4/13/2005 @ 2:55 am

  5. I’m with Shiloh…I’m never going to live this one down! I have had my 12 hour fleeting hope that there really was a Florin and an S. Morgenstern accompanied by a Morgenstern Museum. Here I am repeating already done searched on the internet…hoping…It is a great story! Wonderfully done movie as well.

    Comment by Val — 4/15/2005 @ 1:03 am

  6. I just got terminated yesterday and feeling pretty down about and then afterward going to this small bookstore seeing the 30th edition copy of The Princess Bride, hoping it was all true- Florin, The Fire Swamp, Rugen, Karloff Shrog-nope. Life is just not fair. Who said life was fair anyways-right? ;) Great Book!

    Comment by Cesar Martinez — 6/14/2005 @ 6:22 am

  7. The Princess Bride is my all time favorite movie, has been since i was a little kid, and when my mom got me the 30th anniversary edition i was thrilled. My sister and little brother began reading it as well, and we hoped to one day go see the cliffs of insanity, the museum, the six-fingered sword (the best since Excalibur). I knew that some things in the story had to be exaggerations, and not true, but i still hoped that there was a Princess Buttercup, a Westley, a Fezzik, an Inigo, but now that i looked up the sites (in exactly the same order as you did by the way) i began to lose hope. My sister found a site on Florin news and we got all excited, only to find that it was Florin, California. Then i stumbled upon your site and realized, there were others who felt like i did, it really was beleivable. I just hope that Goldman does with Buttercup’s Baby what he did with The Princess Bride, and i look forward to reading it as soon as it comes out. One day i will read these books to my kids, and i hope they enjoy them as much as i did.

    Comment by Brett — 7/31/2005 @ 11:22 am

  8. I love the movie, and the book. i wish to read the 30th anniversary edition of it, how much is it? and what happened to the sequel buttercup’s baby, does it exist?

    Comment by Camille — 8/1/2005 @ 11:51 am

  9. I saw the movie years ago and fell in love with it. I just finnished the 30th anniversary edition and was looking for Florin on the intenet when I came across websites that crushed my hopes of seeing the museum with the six fingered sword and fezzik’s clothes. At least i’m not the only one that thought it was real. I really wanted it to be there.

    Comment by Kirsten — 9/10/2005 @ 2:19 pm

  10. Inconceivable! The talent of Bill Goldman! It didn’t take me long to dig out the truth, I just can’t stand not knowing. I have to admit, I’m relieved. I was feeling so bad for Bill, I wanted him to be happy and satisfied with himself. I thought his home life was so bizarre, and poor Jason! I’m not at all disappointed, I love it that Mr. Goldman is so talented, he had us all going! It makes me love The princess Bride even more!!

    Comment by Marianne — 11/9/2005 @ 10:40 pm

  11. Everyone who left replies seems ok with the idea of there being no sequel and no S. Mogenstern and no Florin or Guilder. I just cannot get over what William Goldman did! I’m ok with the fact that Florin and Guilder aren’t real but he made up S. Morgenstern. That really bothers me. I can get over that pretty easily though even if there really was no unabridged version…. I mean it was part of the story. I just think that it was a very low down and mean thing to do by writing the first chapter of a sequel and not finishing it. It wasn’t even a hopeful glipse into the future to tell us that they were all right. It left off with a cliff hanger and no way to find out what happens. If William Goldman ever writes a REAL sequel then all will be forgivin and forgotten. “Life isn’t fair higness. Anyone who says it is is selling something.” Well, William Goldman was selling the all the readers of his wonderful book the idea of a sequel, and that wasn’t fair. I absolutely love the story of the Princess Bride and I hold it in the highest opinion. Unfortunately, I can not say the same thing about the man that wrote it. My opinion of him is completely changed and I really don’t think that I will ever quite get over it. He told the story amazingly well, and I, like many others, believed it was true. I admire him for that but I do not admire the way he tricked EVERY SINGLE PERSON who read the first chapter and hoped for more. All I can say is that if William Goldman wants to redeem himself, he better write that sequel.

    Comment by Anni — 12/30/2005 @ 3:59 pm

  12. Hi! I went to the library yesterday and had noticed the 30th edition. When William Goldman mentioned the Morgenstern Museum and his trip to Florin with his grandson, I was so excited. I started planning my next trip. I decided to do some research online and (a) florin was described as a coin NOT a location, (b) I found several websites saying that S. Morgenstern did not exist and (c) William Goldman was the author of Princess Bride. I have to admit I was very dissappointed. Goldman really has a great imagination. I totally thought that what he wrote in his introduction was true. I’m not totally sure about him but I LOVE the story.

    ~ Another Florinian Believer ~

    Comment by Winnie — 1/5/2006 @ 10:22 am

  13. This movie is one of my ALL time favorites. It was part of my family’s culture – I could not say “and I mean it” to my kids without hearing a stifled “anybody want a peanut” and “as you wish” has always meant “I love you” …I checked out the book to read to my kids (I read out loud to them till they were about 13 and then we all got busy and I got divorced etc etc) and the book is NOT like the book at all! But I still loved it as I have most of William Goldman’s books. The man is a genius. I really enjoyed your blog.

    Comment by Peggi — 2/10/2006 @ 11:15 pm

  14. The light bulb just came on! Imagine entwining a work of fiction around another. That’s a pleasantly convincing, yet all-be-it deceptive, work of fiction. I too fell victom to the phenomena.

    Wouldn’t it have been nice to find out that these events actually did take place?

    Comment by Lance — 3/21/2006 @ 8:19 am

  15. my dad just suggested this to me, 22 pages into the book, though i finished the book a week ago. i completely believed that S. Morgenstern was real and everything. I even got really upset with Stephen King, sadly enough. I was like… what a jerk. but oh well, at least i was not alone. My mom also was completely convinced that S. Morgenstern was a real guy, even if we both realized that the story itself couldn’t be real.

    Comment by Cat — 3/27/2006 @ 11:08 pm

  16. i was searching for Buttercup’s baby-to see whether it has been published or not and i stumble upon this!!! i believed each and every word of that book…what a writer; i’m going to start reading it once again…right now

    Comment by Patralika — 5/6/2006 @ 9:29 am

  17. I hate S. Morgenstern.

    I still don’t believe that florin is imaginary.

    I just think morgenstern hunted down every copy of the unabridged book and burned it for fear of getting fame.

    my cousin is telling me she read the unabrdiged. I don’t know what to believe.

    INIGO, I’M COMING FOR YOU

    Comment by Sam — 10/9/2006 @ 8:52 pm

  18. sigh. me too. read the book once when I was twelve, and the other night I found a paperback copy of the 25th anniversary edition (now I want the 30th so I can see what’s up with the museum), and I too, googled. And I too, am sad. so much for the trip to Florin :(

    Comment by Kristen — 12/8/2006 @ 12:46 am

  19. just wanted to say that I have been trying desperately to find an unabridged version of The Princess Bride and until I read this I really and truly believed that Goldman was an awful editor who butted in on the “real” story way too much. I was appalled that he should think himself worthy to judge whether or not something was interesting to the general public and wanted to read about the history of Florin and all the other bits that were left out. I was especially interested in the idea that Buttercup had been to Princess School and wanted to know what sort of an education she recieved there. Who wouldn’t want to know how to be a Princess, after all. Well, I guess I will have to break the news to my boyfriend… the unabridged copy was going to be a birthday present. He will be heartbroken…

    Comment by Becca — 1/10/2007 @ 1:23 pm

  20. I can’t believe this! I am italian and I went this summer in London almost esclusively to buy the princess bride, it’s been one if my favorite movies since I was a little girl, and I finally read the book and fell in love more with the movie. After reading the book I started searching for florin, I wanted to go there next summer! I can’t believe it’s not real! :(

    Comment by Susy — 1/28/2007 @ 7:39 am

  21. Who knows, maybe somebody who shares our love for The Princess Bride and who has enough money will found a museum in the name of this story. It doesn’t have to be ‘true’ to be real.

    Comment by Sharron — 3/8/2007 @ 4:20 pm

  22. Yeah, i thought it was a real place, like prussia or a lot of other places in europe that disappeared. we’re reading it it english class, and the teacher still hasn’t told anyone that florin doesn’t exist! I believed it for quite a while, but i have one question: if Goldman has every right to publish buttercup’s baby, why won’t he write it?

    Comment by thedrtaylor — 5/19/2007 @ 9:32 pm

  23. Writing isn’t always easy. Even if you have the entire story mapped out, sometimes it’s difficult just to get the words out on paper.

    I’m sending Goldman some good writing karma right now…

    Comment by Laura Moncur — 5/20/2007 @ 7:40 am

  24. JERK! I was planning my trip already too trying to figure out why it was hard to google that stupid museum. No sequel either? I’m about to through this book across the room.

    Comment by Stephan — 6/23/2007 @ 9:59 pm

  25. Wait……how do I know this whole site just isn’t part his master plan……

    It’s like Andy Coffman all over again.

    Comment by Stephan — 6/23/2007 @ 10:03 pm

  26. I am so disappointed… Goldman sucks! (no, not really) I was seriously planning a trip with all four of my kids! Thanks for clearing up the mystery.

    I am going to start telling people that my ethnicity is Florinese.

    So… am I not supposed to believe the bit about Kathy Bates and her reaction to getting the part in Misery???

    Comment by Bianca — 7/20/2007 @ 6:55 pm

  27. So here I am searching for ‘the unabriged version of the Princess Bride on google, secretly knowing that Florin can’t be a real place, but I spent twenty minutes on google searching for Florin and Guilder on google images anyway.. :( I think everyone who has read this book can’t help but believe that the book is real and that Inigo Montoya really did say “Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father prepare to die” William Goldman sucks for making me go on a world wide google quest for Florin and in this moment making me feel like a total idiot for actually believing this book was real…((okay, so he doesn’t suck, but he still could have put an afterward in there about how this book was ENTIRELY fictional.. :( but i suppose then the book wouldn’t have been such a wonderful treasure to read… sigh on the up side I just read the first chapter of Buttercups Baby, although that isn’t entirely good either concidering the devistating way the title broke my heart…

    Comment by Kat — 9/21/2007 @ 10:14 am

  28. Wow. All I can say is wow. I owe you thanks, Ms. Laura, for giving me the truth. I have just read the commentaries and was frantically searching the net, which I trust so much, and I found your website fairly quickly. I have been texting my best friend telling her that in the 30th Anniversary Edition that I purchased yesterday is telling me of this place. We are planning to study abroad next semester, our sophmore year in college, and to visit this museum would be icing on the cake. However, I have to admit I am disappointed in learning of its actual nonexistance. I would love to know of a way to tell Mr. Goldman of how seriously a great writer he is to, like you said, take us to another world, making us believe in its own reality. I, too, wanted to badly to belive that it was real! I am still in awe as I think of what great writing and the captivity he has over me. I am now going to reread the beautiful novel that it is and then watch the movie and then snap back to my reality and write an essay for English class on how this, my, generation is veiwed as being apathetic. Maybe its so. Thank you for your concern to post this. Have a wonderful week and days after. God Bless. Savannah

    Comment by Savannah Leigh — 11/16/2007 @ 7:04 pm

  29. I was just wondering is someone can get information on the morgenstern museum and where it is located. I would really appreciate that. thanks.

    Comment by Kati — 11/19/2007 @ 3:11 pm

  30. Thank you for sharing your experiences with us. After finishing the 30th Anniversary introduction,I made a mad dash to my computer to google the cliffs of insanity and came upon your website. My son gave me the BEST GIFT EVER for Christmas: The Princess Bride 30th Anniversary Collector’s Edition DVD WITH the 30th Anniversary Edition BOOK. Needless to say, he’s the favorite of my five! I still want to believe that the museum is real (I was envisioning my European vacation beginning in Florin) and reading about Andre the Giant was so bittersweet I thought maybe he WAS Fezzik reincarnated. I am saddened to learn that it is all fiction but William Goldman is now untouchable as my favorite author of all time. He is a genius and has obviously accomplished what he set out to do by the number of comments I just read.

    I will end with this thought: as Sharron commented above, “It doesn’t have to be true to be real.”

    Comment by Judi — 12/29/2007 @ 8:43 pm

  31. I started reading the book last night, and also thought it was all real. I was also so excited to learn that there could actually be a museum with “The Princess Bride” world in it. And ofcourse I got up this morning to do research about it. And I also held out hope till I read your blog.

    Comment by Zoila Anderson — 12/30/2007 @ 1:03 pm

  32. I spent several hours in a bookstore this afternoon, looking for something to buy with a gift card when I came across the 30th anniversary edition of P.B. I had never read the book, seen the movie countless times though. I started reading the forward…then sat down and went to the part about Buttercup’s Baby…I was so sure it was all true and was floored. As soon as I got home I got on the internet to look for Florin…just to find out it was all part of Golman’s spectacular tale! I was so taken in. What a great storyteller he is!

    Comment by Mary Anne — 1/1/2008 @ 4:42 pm

  33. I don’t know whether to be extremely disappointed or amused at the creativity of a master writer. You know they could actually make a museum – with all the sets from the movie :) This gives me hope for Buttercup’s Baby. Crazy Crazy man. :) Thanks for the clarification! Long live the Man in Black!

    Comment by andi — 1/3/2008 @ 3:41 pm

  34. Ah man. I have been a fan of the Princess Bride since I was little. I had only ever seen the movie, but my mom read the original book. She told me about how there was a guy (S. Morgenstern) that wrote the original boring book and how Goldman rewrote it off the memory of how his dad use to read it to him.

    Well, years later, grown up now, I talked with a friend at work about the book and movie. I tried to tell him about the REAL book… He tried to tell ME about how there IS no real book… Nope, didn’t convince me. I thought he was just getting confused or something, because I was still lost in the fantasy.

    Now imagine my suprise a year later when my mom bought the dvd and 30th aniversary book set for Christmas and I read to her about Andre and the cliffs, the museum, the sword, the fact that Inigo was a historical figure, and of course about Florin. I knew already Florin was a coin yet I dismissed that and wanted to go there. Hahaha! My mom, also interested, googled it to find this site, shattering both our dreams.

    So thanks for clearing the web of fantasy Goldman had weaved around us. And it’s a great thing to know we’re not the only ones to fall for it. ^_____^ But I must agree, they really ought to make a real museum.

    ~Ale

    Comment by ale — 1/21/2008 @ 9:28 pm

  35. Hi! I just bought the Princess Bride 30th anniersary edition, too – I’ve never read the book, though I of course have seen the movie. After reading the introductions, I immediately went to Wikipedia, only to find that Florin and Morgenstern were fictional! I was so sad, I really wanted to visit Florin and to read the unabridged version. But after I got over the sadness, I really admire the excellent writing of William Goldman for constructing the beautiful fantasy. The only problem I have: He made up his home life too! No son, no grandson, no psychologist wife. Two daughters, though. I wonder if he really got divorced? Who knows what to believe, with him?

    I am Inigo Montoya, PREPARE TO DIE! (Oh, I wish I could see the six-fingered sword…)

    Comment by Kate — 1/24/2008 @ 11:04 am

  36. I just bought the 30th Anniversary Edition of the Princess Bride and was also believing in Florin by the end of the introductions. Shows how brilliant William Goldman’s writing is!

    Comment by Heidi — 2/5/2008 @ 11:47 am

  37. YES I WAS ALSO FOOLED.But i really really wanted to be fooled damn you bill goldman and the tangled webs we weave. but make no mistakes kill off fezzik and you will have to die, it will be princess bride meets reservoir dogs for you bill.

    Comment by eddie-joe young — 2/5/2008 @ 1:30 pm

  38. Hi, thanks for clearing some things up. I really felt all of it was fictional but the lawyer stuff threw me for a bit, I mean, why write about lawyers fictionally in a truly memorable and fantastic book? I suppose it was to dupe all of us who prefer to believe in the reality of this romantic epoch! It makes me wonder WHY in the world he hasn’t written Buttercup’s Baby. It would be a hit before it was ever completed.

    Comment by Angie — 2/26/2008 @ 2:19 am

  39. The first book in 14 years that I have read in it’s entirety. I was absolutely devistated that there is no S. Morgenstern, and no history of Florin. I knew the story of the Princess Bride couldn’t have been real. However, Bill really took me by suprise bringing lawyers, the Morgenstern museum, his ‘family’, and Mr. King into this – then all of it turned out to be completely false!. At least the cliffs are real! WOW! The wool was clearly pulled over my eyes. I feel saddened, betrayed. Although, I do give Goldman credit for writing one of the best stories known to the modern world. The Princess Bride will always be my favorite story – no matter how ticked I am at this man for out-witting us all. Great job, Bill.

    Comment by laura — 2/27/2008 @ 8:49 am

  40. I’m reading the Princess Bride for the first time for my Lit of Adventure Stories class in college. I’ve seen the movie a few times, my roommates own it! I too was convinced that there was a Florin, a long boring version of the book, and Will’s son, and there being a Morgenstern. However I never thought for a moment that the story was true or the characters in it. In the intro Goldman says that the long version was a about the politics of Florin. So it seems plausible that the story was fictitious and the ideas presented were true. Sadly we are mistaken. But wow what an example to live up to as a writer with an imagination that clear and functional! I can only hope and work hard to become like that as well in the my descriptions in writing.

    Comment by Amanda — 4/21/2008 @ 9:41 am

  41. Me too, kids, me too. And of course, I didn’t bother Googling it until AFTER I told all my friends about how it was all real and how wonderful it was that they all actually LIVED those events. I’m such a sucker. I had my doubts while reading it, especially in the more fantastical parts, but Goldman managed to just barely ride the line between believable reality and total fairy-tale fiction – just enough so that, if you wanted to believe, you could rationalize the more magical stuff (Resurrection Pill! I can’t believe I fell for that! And really, this guy, who’s native language is “Florinese,” was savvy enough in the English language to write all that? Please. I can’t believe I fell for that!) But I totally fell for it, ’cause I wanted to, dammit, ’cause the world needs a little more magic and humor and impossible escapes and, most of all, true love in it. So, yeah, Goldman’s a jerk for being so damn good at what he does, but he also kicks ass for being able to transport all of us like that. I want to write like that.

    Comment by Samia — 5/10/2008 @ 11:29 pm

  42. sigh I just finished reading it and I’m so disappointed after hearing there is no unabridged version. I was such a hopeless romantic when I was younger and became cynical after many failed relationships. This book brought so much of that romantic back into me, but now I feel a little sad. I wish Goldman would write an unabridged version just for us hopeless romantics.

    Comment by April — 5/16/2008 @ 4:55 pm

  43. i believed there was a museum and an S. Morgenstern until now…. i read the book almost 2 motnhs ago and just strated looking everything up on he net now. i was gunna go on vacation and see the museum.. im deeply sadned by this. i LOVED the movie growing up, always been my fav! the book was fantastic and i agree, didnt take away from the movie… but im saw that i cant see the 6 fingered sward!

    Comment by Stacy — 8/13/2008 @ 6:07 pm

  44. I borrowed the 30th anniversary edition from a friend and was all excited like others that it was real. I told my husband all about it and said I had a new quest, to find the Morgenstern and visit Florin before I die. I then told my mother-in-law excitedly this afternoon before I attacked the internet to find the original book. Three minutes later I am telling her that I have been hoodwinked. Embarassing. At least all the leagal mumbo-jumbo is ficticious. Peace.

    Comment by Jacinta — 9/21/2008 @ 11:46 am

  45. I stumbled upon the 30th anniversary edition and stayed up late into the night infatuated with the introduction. I full on believed that all of the events William Goldman described were real although various things were puzzling to me, i.e., Andre the Giant climbing the cliffs of Moher and fighting groups of people for research? That dude could barely walk.

    Anyways, I came to work this morning and was let down easy by a coworker on all of the fictitious elements. I am more depressed about William Goldman’s father reading him stories while recovering from Pneumonia than I am about the Stephen King/ Andre the Giant fictitional elements of the introduction. I would watch this movie while staying home sick from school and I swear it seemed to aid my recovery. All in all it was fun to read the introduction and has added to the overall imagination that William Goldman ingeniously cooked together. I work in a creative field but have never written more than a school paper has required of me. His introduction and the story itself has inspired me to start writing, hopefully something worth reading.

    William- what’s with only writing one chapter of a sequel? “I’M WAITING!”

    Comment by Knucklehead McSpazitron — 9/24/2008 @ 12:13 pm

  46. I was so convinced all this was real. I spent all day today on the internet searching for the unabridged version because it is like my favorite book of all time and I wanted to hear about Buttercup’s princess training. I was so upset when I found out it was all made up. I was ready to get on a plane to Florin and see the six fingered sword, then I found this website. Thanks SO much for telling me the truth. I would have gone around forever looking for all these places. Even though i know it’s not real I’m still keeping hope alive!!

    Comment by Amanda — 1/8/2009 @ 8:32 pm

  47. I stumbled across your website crying because i was hopeing to fin at it was true. I wanted to triple check that an Author didn’t lie to me. Itrusted him s completey introductions don’t lie The Goverenator totally wanted to play Fezic I beleived all of It i beleveid that more firmly than i beleived in santa clause. Now i’m siting here crying over my keyboard because the thing I wanted most was to be sure that people uderstand the line between cruelty and creativity. He tok the beuty of an introduction away from us. Are we ever going to be able to trust an introduction again? How will we ever beleive it. I am so very terribly sad that S Mogenstern doesn;t exsist and I wish he did however I hve a plan to save stop writers from lyeing to us. Im goign to write a speec for forensics and do so well that i cna take it to nationals and then the whole world will know that WIlliam GOldman lied adn other authers wll have a heart and save our hearts so they donlt break

    Comment by Madeleine — 1/18/2009 @ 5:17 pm

  48. I was duped too! I was so excited that these people exsisted. I was sure that a lot of the story was fictionalized but a MUSEUM?!? I made an ass out of myself at work telling some of my co-workers how these people were real and there really are fire swamps and blah blah blah. I even hunted down a way to contact William Goldman so I could write him a letter blubbering how The Princess Bride changed my life! Thank God I didn’t mail it. Now I feel like such an ass.

    Comment by Jamie — 2/3/2009 @ 10:22 pm

  49. I was reading it the whole time going, nah, it can’t be real. But, maybe … I had to go online to research things just to double check … sigh He writes in such a way that you almost believe him. Glad you posted this. :)

    Comment by Army of Mom — 3/5/2009 @ 9:34 pm

  50. Man!! Well I guess everyone has the same story lol. I walk into borders after school to check out the magical world of books. Then i come across the 30th anniversary of princess bride, I read both introductions (the 30th and 25th which are both included in the book)and read about goldman’s legal problems and his trip with his charming grandson to the S. Morganstern’s museum. I totoally believed it! There did seem to be some exaggerations, which i thought were funny, but other than that the story seemed lagitamite. I was soo excited! I raced home to find the fare and location of this museum on the internet, only to find this site. I’m glad you posted this because believe me… I would have been ranting and raving about this new discovery to all my friends then to enevitably get the reputation of a dilerious psycho. Thanks! :)

    Comment by katherine — 3/9/2009 @ 4:08 pm

  51. btw chill out madiline (comment 47)it was a joke. I thought it was funny plenty of authors do it, it gets the readers mind working and adds whistfullness to the story.

    Comment by katherine — 3/9/2009 @ 4:19 pm

  52. i read the ‘abridged’ version 3 times before the movie was put out. i was sick, home for a week, about 13 yrs old (so early 80′s), and had asked my mom to go to the library and get me the book “lord of the flies” by william golding. she went to the library, came back with “the princess bride”, the abridged version from william goldman, because “lord…” was check out, and “princess…” was right next to it (william golding, william goldman…go figure).

    i fell in love. i was so captivated by my first reading, i read it 2 more times. then the movie came out. i couldn’t believe it was almost as good as the book. i decided to try and read the unabridged verion. IT WAS HORRIBLE!!!

    honestly…terrible. i could NOT get through all the dozens of detailed pages of the palace…i gave up about 200 pages in and before it ever even got good.

    thank GOD for goldman. he truly was an artist to parse out the great parts of this amazing story. and shame on morgenstern’s editor, if he had one.

    and for anyone that says ‘there isn’t an unabridged version’, well, i had it in my posession, and tried to read it personally, so you are wrong. there is one. i wish i’d kept it, but some 20 years later unfortunately they have both been lost in my shuffle.

    you are NOT MISSING OUT ON ANYTHING. i don’t remember ‘the politics of Florin’ so much as the TAPESTRY DESCRIPTIONS OF THE PALACE (like, 10 pages worth alone).

    so my advice, READ THE ABRIDGED BOOK and then SEE THE MOVIE, or vise versa, it doesn’t matter. you will want to do BOTH a million times.

    Comment by April Pierson — 3/30/2009 @ 2:39 pm

  53. The clincher for me was discussing the movie or book (I’d read & seen both long before, & this was a cult-classic type discussion) way back in 1992 with a veterinarian I worked with who said she’d read Morgenstern’s version in highschool & found it much better, though long winded, & that Goldman’s omissions & commentary disturbed her. She was a very serious person in nature, & I still can barely even imagine that she intentionally pulled the wool over my eyes. A long while after that I had inquired in a bookstore about “The Morgenstern” & was told quite seriously by a matronly book shop employee who checked on the computer that it was “out of print”. I stumbled across the 30th Anniversary Edition (& I do mean stumbled! I live in north east MI. There aren’t many shopping opportunities of ANY kind here, but we do have The Family Bookshelf in Fairview. Thank goodness!), & set aside a copy for my boys & kid whose birthday would be coming in the spring. I put one copy in my younger son’s Easter basket. I hadn’t even flipped the cover open before that, because I figured it would be an exact reprint of my original copy ( less the not really appropriate wording on the back cover of my DelRay Book copy…which rather galled me the first time a bought it as a 1st, paper, wedding anniversary gift for a friend. By the time I gave it to my brother on his 1st anniversary, I knew to write a disclaimer about it on my card! Buttercup never actually marries Humperdink anyway. …Yes, I find the few references to him as her husband at the end of the book disturbing. She “didn’t say it;” ” didn’t do it”, just like Westley points outto her.). Sunday afternoon I picked it up, discovering the differences. …Of course, in my quest to locate Florin ( Yep, I knew it was a coin. …named for that long lost country, perhaps?) & determine how much I needed to save to get there; I made the same discovery as all of you. Bummer Yet… what a tale!

    Comment by Buffy — 4/14/2009 @ 9:10 am

  54. I am super bummed. I can’t belive I thought it was all real. I wanted it all to be real so bad. How could Goldman do that to us!!!! You live and you learn. Just so bummed. I wanted it to be real…

    Comment by Amber — 4/24/2009 @ 7:50 am

  55. I love this entry and I love that we were all fooled by such beautiful foolishness. I believed and now I wonder how but I’m glad I did. What fun. Goldman’s a pretty smart dude.

    Comment by Brian — 5/8/2009 @ 7:15 pm

  56. i just recently got a hold of the 30th anniversary edition of the princess bride…the movie is without a doubt my favorite and it always will be. I am 17 years old, i have seen the movie a million times and if you gave me a quote from the movie, any quote, i could finish the scene for you. id always hoped that there really was an original book by s. morganstern….and for fathers day i wanted to get it for my dad, the man who loves the movie as much as i do….but i couldnt find it anywhere. all i found was william goldmans “good parts” version. that sounded like a cheap rip of to me….”how can you just tear scenes from a book and paste them together like that?” i thought. “its like cutting out information.” i said. but i got it anyway, and now im reading it. i just got through the 25th anniversary intro thing, and i searched the internet for hours with the same hopes and goals. to find out if florin was real, if it all actually happened, if morganstern actually had a museum…..and in my search i found this entry…..yea it kinda crushed me a little, but now i know that i actually do have the original version of the book…even if the cover says otherwise, even if william goldmans beging story seemed so convincing….im glad i found this, thank you

    Comment by Ellie — 6/4/2009 @ 4:04 pm

  57. Ah yes, I’m feeling really gulible! I even bagan telling my friends that the book was based off of real Florin history, and that there really was a Fezzik. I started googlng for pictures too.

    I think our desire to want it to be real let us follow along… I’ve been punked!

    Comment by Feeling gulible! — 8/28/2009 @ 8:57 pm

  58. I fell for it too! I was telling my husband how it was based on a true story… I am glad I discovered the truth before I talked about it at book club!

    Comment by Meg — 11/19/2009 @ 9:35 pm

  59. He had me going, I wanted to go to the museum, too! I fell for it until the part where his grandson took the diary illegally to the hotel room. Then I started to think how dumb it would be to publish that his grandson had committed a crime, and began to doubt. Then I did a couple Google searches and found your site. Thanks for solving the case. :)

    Comment by Em — 11/21/2009 @ 8:49 pm

  60. Look how long people have been on this site. I just read the 30th anniversary edition, and I was searching google for Buttercup’s Baby—-and maybe a copy of the unabridged book for “the Princess Bride”—oh my goodness, this is all part of the story!? Wow, I was had— loved the book, now I will watch the movie. I zipped through this book in one day, a little disappointed that all of this wasn’t real. No Florin, no Buttercup, no Morgenstern??? ‘Inconceivable’!!

    Comment by Sue — 12/28/2009 @ 10:04 pm

  61. …I’m heart broken. For one wicked hour I wanted it to be true… embellished but true. Damn.

    Comment by FilthyRotten — 2/23/2010 @ 8:42 pm

  62. Wow, I completely fell for it. I was so convinced that Inigo, Fezzik, Westly, Buttercup were real. I was so excited to go to the museum and told all my friends that the story was true! But today I looked up S. Morgenstern only to find that he doesn’t exist. Don’t I feel foolish. While I am ticked off at Goldman for tricking me, I have to admit that he is one talented writer for doing so. Just one question: when is the sequel coming out?

    Comment by Duped — 2/28/2010 @ 8:38 pm

  63. Like someone else said, I have watched The Princess Bride more times than any other movies I’ve seen combined. (That statement coming from a Treky/SW fan too.. ) I adore the movie/book so much that The Princess Bride is even going to be brought into my upcoming wedding in a couple of ways.

    1. My bridal walk will be ‘Storybook Love’. A live version put together with some college music friends.
    2. The officiant will start the ceremony off the EXACT same way as the Clergy Man in the movie – ‘Mawwiage, mawwiage is what bwings us togever today…” True Story. :)

    That Said:

    I too was searching for the truth of this abridgment. I wasn’t quite sure if he was speaking truth, or telling a lie in such a way as to confuse the truth. I found your site through my search. Thank you for sharing and know that yet another soul was caught up in the moment.

    Cheers :)

    Comment by Cheryl — 3/7/2010 @ 2:53 am

  64. man this reeks i really really NEED there to be an unabrigded version… william gold man is sooo tricky telling people to write in for the reunion part and all when it was just him the whole time! i really want to know how westly became the Farm Boy too. but in a way this is good for me too. i have gotten too wrapped up in a lot of books but this time was the most convinsingly real!

    Comment by Kt — 7/31/2010 @ 3:10 pm

  65. . There’s an abridged version?! In English? Thank God. My grandfather’s original edition is falling apart and it is much too heavy to take with me when I take my daughter hiking next week. I’d promised I’d read it to her again when we were in our campsite each night.

    . How does the abridged compare to the original? I was nervous skipping ahead the first time I read it to her. I always thought I’d miss something that would come up later. But if the new version doesn’t leave anything essential out, I’d much take Goldman’s version and keep the Morgenstern safe at home, so someday I can read at least part of the story to my grandchildren, whenever I have some, from the old leatherbound copy with my grandfather’s name written inside the front cover.

    Comment by Tim — 8/7/2010 @ 10:34 pm

  66. SO I feel like crying): i totally grew up on the movie and got the book this weekend, and I’ve been reading it being all like “OMG IT’S ALL REAL!!” Telling everyone how it all happened and how there’s a museum and stuff and I got on to look at pics and stuff, and when I didn’t see any i went to search it up and found this): I feel cheated, and upset, and angry…But at the same time I want Buttercup’s Baby… I wanna cry..

    Comment by Olivia — 10/21/2010 @ 3:43 pm

  67. Tim, I grew up having an original edition read to me also. When I went to read it to my children, I noticed my grandmother had bookmarked all kinds of pages throughout the book.

    Well half of her marks were of pretty interesting parts and the other half were of the most boring sections imaginable. I read through the boring sections at first, thinking she must have marked them for a reason, and I was going out of my mind waiting for something to happen, and nothing ever did. I didn’t remember ever hearing the boring sections when she read it to me. Then I noticed the boring sections and the interesting sections seemed to alternate one after the other. That’s when I noticed the boring sections all had blue bookmarks and the interesting ones all had yellow bookmarks. Guess I should have noticed that before.

    When I thought, “Hey I could use her blue bookmarks to know what to skip when I read it to my kids.” And then, “OHHH! That’s what she was doing!” She used the blue bookmarks to let her know where to skip a section, and the yellow ones to let her know where to start up again. Basically she’d done a lot of the same work Goldman had done when he edited the original Morgenstern.

    I’ve never gone through and compared, but she did make some pretty similar edits. I’ve bought Goldman’s edition, but I still read to my kids from Morgenstern’s work. Just the feel and weight of the book brings back memories and puts me in the mood for adventure.

    Comment by Pete — 12/8/2010 @ 8:58 pm

  68. oh my word. that just broke my heart. i have spent the past few weeks pretending that i was buttercup’s descendant and i was a secret princess in florin. i am the worlds biggest morgenstern fan. i am near tears right now. i mean, i figured that a bit of it was just folk lore but i thought just maybe some of it was based off of something…? im going to go cry now.

    Comment by justme — 1/16/2011 @ 6:54 pm

  69. I have loved the Princess Bride since I was a kid, and have passed the passion onto my kids. I once memorized a monolog from the movie to try out for a high school play. I just decided to read the book a few months ago. I was SO excited to think that it ALL might be REAL! I wanted it all to be true. I wanted to read the unabridged version and learn every detail about Florin History, and nobility parties and Indigo’s soliloquy. I wanted to visit the cliffs and the museum. I feel sad. I feel like a child and I just found out that Santa Claus doesn’t exist. I feel grown up.

    Comment by ambrepie — 5/9/2011 @ 12:32 am

  70. Sigh, so sad. I was out of town at the beach for my brother’s wedding when I picked up the 30th anniversary edition. I spent most of the day in amazement, telling those around me that The Princess Bride was based on a true story and that there was even a museum that housed artifacts from the historical events. Now I feel so stupid. I don’t know if I should be mad at Goldman for being such a liar, or to shake his hand for incorporating the prolouge into the novel itself. I wonder if anything that he wrote about was true… probably not and since Andre is no longer with us, he can get away with it :(

    Sad and apparently way too gullible…

    Comment by Sally — 6/1/2011 @ 1:31 am

  71. Pete and Tim, I have a Czech translation of the original Morgenstern. It’s ancient, but I’m not sure how old it is since the title page doesn’t have a date. I’ve been looking for some help with some phrases that either I don’t understand or were poorly translated. I’ve posted on other message boards for help, but most people seem to think that Goldman’s highly edited edition is all that is out there! Would either of you be able to help me see how the English version compares?

    Comment by Kermit — 6/6/2011 @ 8:13 pm

  72. A little part of my world just washed away. When my twin baby brothers were born, I was 11 and as they grew, I told them the story of The Princess Bride in installments for a bedtime tale. When they were mature enough to see the movie, oh how they jumped and cheered! That happened to be the year before the 30th anniversary, so I bought them the book when it came out and we read it together. We were so excited to find out it was all real and we could go see Inigo Montoya’s sword and Fezzic’s handprints someday.

    I have to tell my now 13 year old brothers their sister was fooled like a chump and we will never get to take a family vacation to the Morgenstern Museum.

    Comment by LaurelCrownedLady — 9/26/2011 @ 2:45 pm

  73. Came across this when I just had to make sure that I wasnt thinking something completly wrong. I own 3 copies of princess bride and just started rereading one so I picked up the 30th anniversary. I was so confused that I googled it and thought I would cry when I came across all the reasons it could not be true. But that glimmer of hope lives on that it is. I will admit florin and fezzik will live on in my imagination.

    Comment by liz — 9/7/2012 @ 11:18 pm

  74. I too know this feeling. I am 17 and have loved the movie since I was little. I know every line and can tell you every fact about the story it self. But I have not yet read the book. I decided to pick up the 30th Edition for a monologue I planned on writing for my forensics class that had to do with different types of princesses. Being my favorite of all time princess I decided to display Buttercup first. I only started reading it a few days ago and just finished the introduction today (I’ve been very busy) Thinking my favorite fairy tale was a real event I decided to do a little research. This post was one of the first things I came across. It really sort of crushed my hopes (I don’t blame you) as soon as I read the part about the Morganstern Museum I was convinced I had to go. But finding that it is not a realistic place and that Morganstern himself is not real soon put a damper on that. I now wish to find a way to contact William Goldman and tell him that putting lies in his book was unfair and mean to his readers.

    Comment by Carly Locke — 4/2/2013 @ 8:24 pm

  75. I just saw this as I was searching google for the “unabridged” version of The Princess Bride. I cannot BELIEVE William Goldman did all that! The entire time I was reading the introduction to Buttercup’s Baby, I felt so sad for William Goldman and why couldn’t he write the sequel. I was surprised when I thought Florin was real. He got to go there.

    And now none of it is true. I’ll never get to find out Westley’s past, or anything else he “skipped”. Good parts version.. I have never been so disappointed or angry at an author before.

    Comment by Belinda — 7/2/2013 @ 11:10 pm

  76. The amazing thing about this book was somewhere in the back of my mind I think I had heard Goldman made up Morgenstern. But, the 30th Anniversary forward still got me believing for awhile. The details were all great and sucked you in, the fake Florin Morgenstern scholars, the museum, the lawyers (the woman one though was to strange a parallel to the bikini girl in 25th), etc. However, he kept leaving clues such as his notes to research the characters noted history, non existent places such as the museum. The writing style of “Morganstern” should have been a dead give way as well since it was 1) way to similar to Goldman’s, 2) the supposed author would have needed to written this prior to 1900 (this also does not jive with the copyright ending period) for it to have been a classic known to his dad in 1941 at the time of sickness, the style just to “modern”.

    There are also anachronism all over the place and it is impossible to nail the time down (he even cruelly notes it at some point).I also have spent some time studying history and could believe a country such as Florin could have existed at one point (did not remember one though), but since he refused to state what country it is now part of I guess that should have done it. The helicopter over the “the many century old standing whirlpool protecting the island” finally crushed my last string of self conjured suspension of disbelief. Since that is just physically impossible.

    Comment by Jack — 8/21/2013 @ 9:12 am

  77. Maybe it doesn’t matter if its true. I take it as a symbol of possibilities beyond reason. Physics has shattered many logical ideas. Quantum is a even more dramatic example. Why can’t the soul do the same.

    Comment by Monte — 10/20/2013 @ 5:36 am

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