Study Guide

The Princess Bride Setting

By William Goldman


The Mythical Country of Florin

William Goldman—as our fictitious narrator—would have us believe that Florin was once a real country located between present-day Sweden and Germany. But the truth is that the place never existed. Nonetheless, no one can commit to a lie better than William Goldman, who writes, "The Land of Florin was set between where Sweden and Germany would eventually settle. (This was before Europe)" (1.25). Of course, he wrote all of this before the age of Google, when it was a lot tougher to fact-check this sort of thing; there's no falling for Goldman's pranks these days.

Okay, so now we know this book takes place in a magical kingdom. And as you can imagine, the landscape is very similar to what you'd expect from a fairy tale, with lots of streams and wild grass: "As she rode through woods and streams and heather, her brain was awhirl" (5.27). Classic fairy tale countryside, right?

But also in classic fairy tale style, not everything is nice in this land. Let's not forget the fire swamp, a creepy place where the ground is constantly exploding from gas pockets and gigantic rats are around every corner. This helps keep things interesting, just as it does in any fairy tale.

In short, there's enough beauty to let us hope for the best, and enough mystery and danger to keep us on the edge of our seats.

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