“Any ignorant fool can turn someone into a frog. You have to be clever to refrain from doing it when you know how easy it is.”
1. The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien:
And in that very moment, away behind in some courtyard of the City, a cock crowed. Shrill and clear he crowed, recking nothing of wizardry or war, welcoming only the morning that in the sky far above the shadows of death was coming with the dawn.
And as if in answer there came from far away another note. Horns, horns, horns. In dark Mindolluin’s sides they dimly echoed. Great horns of the North wildly blowing. Rohan had come at last.
2. Catching Fire, Suzanne Collins:
I don’t have my copy with me, so no quote. But I love the bit when Katniss’ dress turns into a mockingjay and all the victors hold hands.
3. The Waste Lands, Stephen King:
Roland’s hand was clamped so tightly on the chunk of wood that Eddie was momentarily afraid he might snap it in two, but the wood was strong and Eddie had carved thick. The gunslinger’s throat bulged; his adam’s apple rose and fell as he struggled with speech. And suddenly he yelled at the sky in a fair, strong voice:
“GONE! THE VOICES ARE GONE!”
He looked back at them, and Eddie saw something he had never expected to see in his life – not even if that life stretched over a thousand years.
Roland of Gilead was weeping.
4. Perdido Street Station, China Mieville:
He was falling, he realized, in love.
And now after the guilt and the uncertainty had ebbed away, after the atavistic disgust and fear had gone, leaving only a nervous, very deep affection, his lover had been taken from him. And she would never return.
5. Temeraire, Naomi Novik:
“If you would like to have your ship back,” Temeraire said, “I will let someone else ride me. Not him, because he says things that are not true; but I will not make you stay.”
Laurence stood motionless for a moment, his hands still on Temeraire’s head, with the dragon’s warm breath curling around him. “No, dear one,” he said at last, softly, knowing it was only the truth. “I would rather have you than any ship in the Navy.”
6. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows:
What she said was, “Would you like to marry me?”
I liked to die where I stood.
There was quiet – complete quiet. Nothing! And on and on it went, not a word, not a sound.
But, Juliet went on undisturbed. Her voice steady – and me, I could not get so much as a breath of air into my chest.
“I’m in love with you, so I thought I’d ask.”
And then, Dawsey, dear Dawsey, swore. He took the Lord’s name in vain. “My God, yes,” he cried, and clattered down that stepladder, only his heels hit the rungs, which is how he sprained his ankle.
7. The Second Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, Stephen Donaldson:
She was the Sun-Sage, the healer, Linden Avery the Chosen, altering the Sunbane with her own life.
It fired green at her like the sickness of emeralds. But she understood intimately the natural growth and decay of plants. The found their Law in her, their lush or hardy order, their native abundance or rarity; and then the green was gone.
Blue volleyed thunderously at her head, then lost the Land as she accepted every drop of water and flash of violence.
The brown of deserts came blistering around her, scorched her skin. But she knew the necessity of heat – and the restriction of climate. She felt in her bones the rhythm of rise and fall, the strict and vital alternation of seasons, summer and winter. The desert fire was cooled to a caress by the Staff and emitted gently outward again.
And last, the red of pestilence, as scarlet as disease, as stark as adders: it swarmed against her like a world full of bees, shot streaks of blood across her vision. In spite of herself, she was fading, could not keep from being hurt. But even pestilence was only a distortion of the truth. It had its clear place and purpose. When it was reduced, it fit within the new Law which she set forth.
8. The Bone Clocks – David Mitchell:
Experimentally, silently, I mouth, I love you, to Holly, who breathes like the sea. This time I whisper it, at about the violin’s volume: “I love you.” No one hears, no one sees, but the tree falls in the forest just the same.
9. The Last Hero – Terry Pratchett:
No quote again; it’s the penultimate picture in this book that gets me. It’s sketched in, not fully coloured; we see from the back the cast of the book, watching Leonard paint the Temple of Small Gods. And Rincewind looks over his shoulder, out of the frame, towards us; a fleeting glimpse from an unfinished painting. It feels like a goodbye.
10. Our Mutual Friend – Charles Dickens:
“A gentleman can have no feelings who contracts such a marriage,” flushes Podsnap.
“Pardon me, sir,” says Twemlow, rather less mildly than usual, “I don’t agree with you. If this gentleman’s feeling of gratitude, of respect, of admiration, and affection, induced him (as I presume they did) to marry this lady – ”
“This lady!” echoes Podsnap.
“Sir,” returns Twemlow, with his wristbands bristling a little, “you repeat the word; I repeat the word. The lady. What else would you call her, if the gentleman were present?”
(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)
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