Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Epiphanies from The Princess Bride: The Fire Swamp

Visiting someone’s blog yesterday, I noticed that one of their favorite movies is The Princess Bride. I love that movie, so I’ve invented a dialogue to begin to explain why…

The Princess Bride? I love that movie!


Because I’ve learned so much from it?

You must be a simple guy, learning things from a movie.

You misunderstand: it’s a very deep movie.

How so?

Well, let me give you a snippet of mind-bending dialogue from the movie as Buttercup and Westley are about to enter the deadly Fire Swamp:

Buttercup: We'll never survive.
Westley: Nonsense. You're only saying that because no one ever has.

There you go: Mind-bending!


Don’t you see? Westley is addressing the concept of artificial limits. He’s summed up the philosophy of the Wright Brothers, the world record breakers (think 4 minute mile), and even I-have-a-dream Martin Luther King Jr.


Yes. He’s delusionally optimistic. He’s a shatterer of paradigms. He’s a genius! And he did it all as a fictional character. Unbelievable!

Yes, dear. Truly unbelievable.


  1. I am not super far from norwood, I am from boston. Yes, our tennis nets come down for the winter, and our pools are drained too. All the little leaves fall off our trees, which sucks for those of us who have many trees near our houses, because if we dont rake and bag the leaves, they accumulate water and moisture and start to smell. They will rot too, and they are pretty space consuming. I still think it is beautiful though.

    Thank you for your comment - I take photos every day of my life, capturing a moment in time is something that humans were not meant to do, and we have somehow found a way to make that possible. To show others what we have seen for only a split second, is something we have only recently been able to do. It makes me feel godly. I take full advantage of this.

    It's funny that you mention rats and the plague, because I am currently in the middle of reading the plague by albert camus (great writer! the stranger was good too) The plague is so interesting!

  2. Hello Don, and thank you for the shout out on your blog. I guess I am not so jaded where romance is afterall, even though my post today presented myself so, lol. How can one love "The Princess Bride" and have a jaded concept towards falling in love? Thanks for the gentle nudge to remind me that it can happen given the right ingredients, and the right people. God Bless.

  3. You're talkin' my language!

    I can't really add anything of import, you said it all and you said it best.

    If someone believes you can't learn anything from a movie, well, they have a lot of learning left to do. One of my favorite recent examples of a movie that's really trying to 'say something' is 'The Dark Knight.' Whomever wrote the script - whether it be Chris Nolan or someone else - put forth a terribly intriguing philosophy and did so without going over the top - it was a part of the story, and I'm still thinking about it (partly because I agree). I try to do that in some of my writings as well.

    Anyway, I hope we get more tidbits from 'The Princess Bride.'

  4. Cool, I like the top picture! It looks like it belongs in a bizarre place like a fire swamp. Talk about bending paradigms, if I am recognizing the plant right, those are just used for colorful annual foliage here (still barely alive in my front yard). I had no idea they bloomed!

  5. Joanna, The top picture is a Dusty Miller. It does bloom, but you Uncle Isma tells me I should cut off the flowers and just use the plant as "color." (Pine cone, unknown succulent bloom, and speed biker on horse path complete the "quartet."

  6. Hi Don,

    Why haven't I seen this film? Sounds fantastic and just the sort of thing to show to the young 'uns in school at the end of term.

    Love that quotation. It's the kind of profoundly stupid sentiment I strive to achieve in every lesson!

    Been playing around with blue screen filming today, as one of my students is making a multimedia web project for her Media Studies coursework. She's a great singer and is producing amongst other things, a music promo to go on the website. She's singing Scarborough Fair, so she rented a medieval dress and was filmed over the weekend riding bareback through some fields. Yesterday we filmed her in the dress in front of the blue screen I just bought. Now she's been blended with a dreamlike castle background.

    It's amazing how easily we can create whole new realities and perspectives thanks to digital technology now, at really affordable costs. I was reminded of this reading your post.

    Hopefully you'll be able to see it online once the project is finished.