If you haven’t read or seen The Princess Bride, stop reading this now and do one or the other before you read this any further (spoiler alert). The book and the film are both excellent and I highly recommend them.
The Princess Bride is an epic story. I won’t go so far as to say that it has something for everyone, but it has something for a lot of people and I have yet to meet someone who has expressed an active dislike of the film (you should, of course, feel free to come to your own conclusions about it). It is, above all, a love story and in fact, one of my favorite love stories of all time and I know that I’m not alone in this.
However wonderful the story might be, it isn’t entirely perfect. I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few days thinking about the statement “As you wish” meaning “I love you.” It is a beautiful literary device for describing love and in the story it is certainly very romantic, but it also smacks of having to be able to read your partner’s mind. You have to first figure out that they love you and then that “As you wish” means “I love you.” I also think that it is much nicer to hear someone explicitly tell you that they love you rather than relying on assumptions about what it is exactly that they mean when they say something else.
One exception might be that if you talk about it, and agree on some other phrase that means “I love you” even though it isn’t explicitly those words. I’m pretty sure that Westley and Buttercup didn’t do that though. I feel that Westley could have saved both of them a lot of time and energy just by being more straightforward about his feelings in the first place. But then I guess we wouldn’t have The Princess Bride so many of us know and love.