Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Book Quotes

"'Three things very dull indeed.' That will just do for me, you know. I shall be sure to say three very dull things as soon as ever I open my mouth, shan't I? (looking around with the most good-humoured dependence on every body's assent.) Do you not all think I shall?"

Emma could not resist.

"Ah! ma'am, but there may be a difficulty. Pardon me, but you will be limited as to the number,—only three at once."

No, that's not one of my favorite quotes. It's just that I fear I myself will have trouble being 'limited as to the number.'

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish! Do come join the fun...

The other difficulty is how long many of my favorite quotes are. Sorry about that. Also, I couldn't come up with a good way to include the entire last canto of Dante's Paradiso, so I left it off. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the top ten most beautiful pieces of art in existence. Anthony Esolen's translation is my favorite.

Difficulties aside, here are ten of the book quotes I love best.

"There is a room in the Department of Mysteries," interrupted Dumbledore, "that is kept locked at all times. It contains a force that is at once more wonderful and more terrible than death, than human intelligence, than forces of nature. It is also, perhaps, the most mysterious of the many subjects for study that reside there. It is the power held within that room that you possess in such quantities and which Voldemort has not at all. That power took you to save Sirius tonight. That power also saved you from possession by Voldemort, because he could not bear to reside in a body so full of the force he detests. In the end, it mattered not that you could not close your mind. It was your heart that saved you."
—Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling

"And his knowledge remained woefully incomplete, Harry! That which Voldemort does not value, he takes no trouble to comprehend. Of house-elves and children's tales, of love, loyalty, and innocence, Voldemort knows and understands nothing. Nothing. That they all have a power beyond his own, a power beyond the reach of any magic, is a truth he has never grasped."
—Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling

"The beauty of the female is the root of joy to the female as well as to the male, and it is no accident that the goddess of love is older and stronger than the god. To desire the desiring of her own beauty is the vanity of Lilith, but to desire the enjoying of her own beauty is the obedience of Eve; and for both it is in the lover that the beloved tastes her own delightfulness."
—That Hideous Strength, C.S. Lewis

"I stand in Minas Anor, the tower of the sun, and behold! The shadow has departed! I will be a shieldmaiden no longer, nor vie with the great riders, nor take delight only in the songs of slaying. I will be a healer, and love all things that grow and are not barren."
—The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien

"You forget," said Mr. Meredith, with a flash of his dark eyes, "that an infinite power must be infinitely little as well as infinitely great. We are neither, therefore there are things too little as well as too great for us to apprehend. To the infinitely little an ant is of as much importance as a mastodon."
—Rilla of Ingleside, L.M. Montgomery

"We can drag our patients along by continual tempting, because we design them only for the table, and the more their will is interfered with, the better. He cannot 'tempt' to virtue as we do to vice. He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never in more danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys..."
—The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis

"Mr. McCabe thinks me a slave because I am not allowed to believe in determinism. I think Mr. McCabe a slave because he is not allowed to believe in fairies."
—Orthodoxy, G.K. Chesterton

"Nothing is so hard on the world as the world.  Nothing is more inhuman than humanity itself to human habits, affections, or weaknesses, when they happen to be unpopular for particular reasons at a particular moment; and they are likely to be more ruthlessly treated by a craze than by a creed."
—The Resurrection of Rome, G.K. Chesterton

"Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.
For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone;
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come,
and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land;
The fig tree putteth forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grape give a good smell.
Arise, my love, my fair one, and come away."
—Song of Songs

"Where can I go from Thy Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Thy presence?
If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.
If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Thy hand will lead me,
And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
And the light around me will be night,”
Even the darkness is not dark to Thee,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to Thee."
—Psalm 139

What are some of your favorite quotes?


  1. I think I could write an entire Top Ten list of my favourite Harry Potter quotes. Actually, I probably couldn't. That would be agonizing to choose.

    1. Ah, yes, I had that problem, too. I had to restrain myself. :P

  2. I'm rather annoyed with this blog post because favorite book quotes to me invariably brings up Till We Have Faces, of which said quotes inevitably cause me to break down in joyful heart rending crying. So, here are a few:

    “Are the gods not just?'
    'Oh no, child. What would become us us if they were?”

    “When the time comes to you at which you will be forced at last to utter the speech which has lain at the center of your soul for years, which you have, all that time, idiot-like, been saying over and over, you'll not talk about the joy of words. I saw well why the gods do not speak to us openly, nor let us answer. Till that word can be dug out of us, why should they hear the babble that we think we mean? How can they meet us face to face till we have faces?”

    "I ended my first book with the words no answer. I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice? Only words, words; to be led out to battle against other words. Long did I hate you, long did I fear you. I might--"

    1. I thought you might come up with Till We Have Faces. Knew there were some good ones in there, and just didn't remember them offhand. :)

      Sorry about the crying bit, though! Here, quick, have some funny Harry Potter quotes!

  3. Oh, these quotes are wonderful, a balm to me today! Seriously, I have to read Chesterton. A hole in my education. And I loved what Mr. Meredith said about infinite power.

    Here are two:

    [He] knew just enough Scripture to be annoying but not enough to be transformed.

    --Philip Gulley
    Home To Harmony

    A book is a wonderful present. Better than a mirror, I think. Though it may grow worn, it will never grow old.

    --Girl In A Cage
    Jane Yolen


    1. HA! That Philip Gulley quote is the best. Indictment. Ever. I like the Yolen one, too.

      Mr. Meredith is wonderful, one of the great old fictional preachers. I love him to death. :)

  4. You can't really scratch the covers of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings without finding a good quote. Your one above was great too, Jenna. But to save time, I'll just give a representative quote for each book.

    The Hobbit: "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit."

    The Lord of the Rings:

    "Three Rings for the Elven-kings under the sky,
    Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their halls of stone,
    Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,
    One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne,
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie,
    One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them,
    One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
    In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie."

    1. Way to go with the first lines. :D Seriously, I love that opening poem to LotR, and can usually pull it up from memory without making too many mistakes.

      Yes--Tolkien has ever so many good quotes. And half the reason there aren't more here is because I just decided it would take too long to look them all up and pick my favorites. ;)


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