There never was a better time for writers to band together than now. We threaten as much as inspire greatness. We are a force to be reckoned with.
As a writer, and a citizen, and an intellectual, I am comfortable accepting the consensus that the greatest book ever written must be “The Great Gatsby” though, with equal conviction as a father, a friend, and human being, I believe that honor belongs to William Goldman’s “The Princess Bride”. I know so many lines from that movie, that if you can say any random one, I can say the next. If you post a line on social media, even by accident, you will start a frenzied Quote-athon that cant even be stopped with, “No more rhymes, now, I mean it.”
Just two months ago I gave my niece, Monkey McMahan, a copy of that book with an inscription inside so she would know how much it meant to me, and now William Goldman is gone. Not only did he write the perfect novel, he fought forever to maintain its integrity.
In a time where they have done sequels to everything but the Titanic, this master has refused a sequel and what could have been the biggest payday he surely would have ever imagined. The movie starred an all star cast that would command a staggering commission by today’s standards. However, Goldman’s argument against it was how could he follow the perfect story? Everybody lived.
The story not only had a happy ending that personified the human spirit and involved ninjas, pirates, true love, revenge, and rodents of unusual size, it was an epiphany that WE could win too! It was a message that no matter how many people were guarding the castle walls, how smart Vizzinni was, or how long Inigo studied sword play, not even death could stop true love! All it could do was delay it awhile.
We honor William Goldman by endeavoring to write engaging stories that stand the test of time. May we stick to our guns and our artistic expression, making good judgement calls for the betterment of society. Most of all, may we always believe in the good guys, in true love, and in ourselves.
Goldman did in fact want to write a sequel and did in fact publish the first chapter of it in later editions of TPB. He just was never able to complete it to his satisfaction.