There are lots of stories like The Princess Bride floating around. But one of the things that sets this book apart from other children's stories is its portrayals of violence. You might start reading this thing and think, "Oh yeah, whatever. Giants and unicorns and blah blah." But the truth is that Goldman is being totally loyal to the fairytale tradition, which can often get super violent and gruesome. Just read some of the original Grimms' Fairy Talesstories and you'll see what we mean.
Questions About Violence
Were you startled by the violence of The Princess Bride when you first read it, or did you just roll with it? Why?
Do you think that the violence in this book helps or hurts the story? Why?
Where do we first get the sense that this isn't going to be a G-rated fairy tale? Does your interest in the story increase or decrease at this point? Why?
How does Goldman's use of violence affect the tone of the book as a whole? Does it make it more mature or more childish? Why?
Chew on This
In The Princess Bride, violence almost always happens just when the story is about to get boring.
In The Princess Bride, William Goldman throws violence in whenever we need to be reminded that the world isn't fair.