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J.R.R. Tolkien Quotes

100+ of the best book quotes from J.R.R. Tolkien
01
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“Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens.”
J.R.R. Tolkien
author
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
The Lord of the Rings
books
Gimli
character
faith
concept
02
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“It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not.”
03
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“Go back?” he thought. “No good at all! Go sideways? Impossible! Go forward? Only thing to do! On we go!” So up he got, and trotted along with his little sword held in front of him and one hand feeling the wall, and his heart all of a patter and a pitter.”
04
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“It is useless to meet revenge with revenge; it will heal nothing.”
05
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“And then her heart changed, or at least she understood it; and the winter passed, and the sun shone upon her.”
06
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“All’s well that ends better.”
07
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“His grief he will not forget; but it will not darken his heart, it will teach him wisdom.”
08
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“I was talking aloud to myself. A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to.”
09
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“Hobbits always so polite, yes! O nice hobbits! Smeagol brings them up secret ways that nobody else could find. Tired he is, thirsty he is, yes thirsty; and he guides them and he searches for paths, and they saw sneak, sneak. Very nice friends, O yes my precious, very nice.”
10
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“Deep down here by the dark water lived old Gollum, a small slimy creature. I don’t know where he came from, nor who or what he was. He was Gollum.”
Gollum
Narrator
characters
water
creature
concepts
11
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″‘Stew the rabbits!’ squealed Gollum in dismay. ‘Spoil beautiful meat Smeagol saved for you, poor hungry Smeagol!‘”
12
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“Misery misery! Hobbits won’t kill us, nice hobbits.”
13
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“Curse the Baggins! It’s gone! What has it got in its pocketses? Oh we guess, we guess, my precious. He’s found it, yes he must have.”
14
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“My precious.”
15
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″‘Precious, precious, precious!’ Gollum cried. ‘My Precious! O my Precious!’ And with that, even as his eyes were lifted up to gloat on his prize, he stepped too far, toppled, wavered for a moment on the brink, and then with a shriek he fell. Out of the depths came his last wail precious, and he was gone.”
16
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“Frodo gave a cry, and there was, fallen upon his knees at the chasm’s edge. But Gollum, dancing like a mad thing, held aloft the ring, a finger still thrust within its circle.”
17
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“Gollum’s eyes glinted. ‘He doesn’t know what we minds, does he, precious?‘”
18
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“Smeagol promises to Precious, promises faithfully. Never come again, never speak, no never!”
19
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“Smeagol will swear on the Precious.”
20
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He is in great fear, not knowing what mighty one may suddenly appear, wielding the Ring, and assailing him with war, seeking to cast him down and take his place. That we should wish to cast him down and have no one in his place is not a thought that occurs to his mind. That we should try to destroy the Ring itself has not yet entered into his darkest dream.
21
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It is a comfort not to be mistaken at all points. Do I not know it only too well!
22
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“What a pity that Bilbo did not stab that vile creature, when he had a chance!” “Pity? It was Pity that stayed his hand. Pity, and Mercy: not to strike without need. And he has been well rewarded, Frodo. Be sure that he took so little hurt from the evil, and escaped in the end, because he began his ownership of the Ring so. With Pity.”
23
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Let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! For he is very wise, and weighs all things to a nicety in the scales of his malice. But the only measure that he knows is desire, desire for power; and so he judges all hearts. Into his heart the thought will not enter that any will refuse it, that having the Ring we may seek to destroy it. If we seek this, we shall put him out of reckoning.
24
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“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.”
25
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Then darkness took me, and I strayed out of thought and time, and I wandered far on roads that I will not tell. Naked I was sent back – for a brief time, until my task is done.
26
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“You cannot pass,” he said. The orcs stood still, and a dead silence fell. “I am a servant of the Secret Fire, wielder of the flame of Anor. You cannot pass. The dark fire will not avail you, flame of Udûn. Go back to the Shadow! You cannot pass.”
27
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“Deep is the abyss that is spanned by Durin’s Bridge, and none has measured it,” said Gimli. “Yet it has a bottom, beyond light and knowledge,” said Gandalf.
28
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It is not our part here to take thought only for a season, or for a few lives of Men, or for a passing age of the world. We should seek a final end of this menace, even if we do not hope to make one.
29
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“You are wise and powerful. Will you not take the Ring?” “No!” cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. “With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly.” His eyes flashed and his face was lit as by a fire within. “Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good. Do not tempt me! I dare not take it, not even to keep it safe, unused. The wish to wield it would be too great for my strength. I shall have such need of it. Great perils lie before me.”
30
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To me it would not seem that a Steward who faithfully surrenders his charge is diminished in love or in honour.
31
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“I am with you at present,” said Gandalf, “but soon I shall not be. I am not coming to the Shire. You must settle its affairs yourselves; that is what you have been trained for. Do you not yet understand? My time is over: it is no longer my task to set things to rights, nor to help folk to do so. And as for you, my dear friends, you will need no help. You are grown up now. Grown indeed very high; among the great you are, and I have no longer any fear at all for any of you.”
32
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The treacherous are ever distrustful.
33
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With a terrible cry the Balrog fell forward, and its shadow plunged down and vanished. But even as it fell it swung its whip, and the thongs lashed and curled about the wizard’s knees, dragging him to the brink. He staggered and fell, grasped vainly at the stone, and slid into the abyss. ‘Fly, you fools!’ he cried, and was gone.
34
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“There is no real going back. Though I may come to the Shire, it will not seem the same; for I shall not be the same. I am wounded with knife, sting, and tooth, and a long burden. Where shall I find rest?”
35
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″‘At last all such things must end,’ he said, ‘but I would have you wait a little while longer: for the end of the deeds that you have shared in has not yet come. A day draws near that I have looked for in all the years of my manhood, and when it comes I would have my friends beside me.‘”
36
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“But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. Éowyn I am, Éomund’s daughter. You stand between me and my lord and kin. Begone if you be not deathless! For living or dark undead, I will smite you, if you touch him.”
37
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“It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.”
38
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“And you’re with me. And the journey’s finished. But after coming all that way I don’t want to give up yet. It’s not like me, somehow, if you understand.”
39
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“But I thought I’d have a look and see how Mrs. Cotton was keeping, and you, Rosie.”
40
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“Don’t leave me here alone! It’s your Sam calling. Don’t go where I can’t follow! Wake up, Mr. Frodo! O wake up, Frodo, me dear, me dear. Wake up!”
41
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“I thought that Elves were all for moon and stars: but this is more elvish than anything I ever heard tell of. I feel as if I was inside a song, if you take my meaning.”
42
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“And people will say: ‘Let’s hear about Frodo and the Ring!’ And they’ll say: ‘Yes, that’s one of my favorite stories. Frodo was very brave, wasn’t he dad?’ ‘Yes, my boy, the famousest of the hobbits, and that’s saying a lot.‘”
43
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″... he had stuck to his master all the way; that was what he had chiefly come for, and he would still stick to him. His master would not go to Mordor alone.”
44
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“Sam is an excellent fellow, and would jump down a dragon’s throat to save you, if he did not trip over his own feet.”
45
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“What a tale we have been in, Mr. Frodo, haven’t we?”
46
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“As he gazed at it suddenly Sam understood, almost with a shock, that this stronghold had been built not to keep enemies out of Mordor, but to keep them in.”
47
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“In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped most to hold him firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him.”
48
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“Then the sooner we’re rid of it, the sooner to rest...”
49
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“‘Of course it is,‘” answered Sam. ‘But not alone. I’m coming too, or neither of us isn’t going. I’ll knock holes in all the boats first.‘”
50
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“As Sam stood there, even though the Ring was not on him but hanging by its chain about his neck, he felt himself enlarged, as if he were robed in a huge distorted shadow of himself, a vast and ominous threat halted upon the walls of Mordor... Already the Ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason.”
51
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“That’s the one place in all the lands we’ve ever heard of that we don’t want to see any closer; and that’s the one place we’re trying to get to! And that’s just where we can’t get, nohow.”
52
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“Smeagol’ll get into real true hot water, when this water boils, if he don’t do as he asked...”
53
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“But what can I do? Not leave Mr. Frodo dead, unburied on top of the mountains, and go home? Or go on? Go on?”
54
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″‘Well, what’s to be done with it?’ said Sam. ‘Tie it up, so as it can’t come sneaking after us no more, I say.‘”
55
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“This only was wanting. Now comes the night.”
56
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“Sauron was become now a sorcerer of dreadful power, master of shadows and of phantoms, foul in wisdom, cruel in strength, misshaping what he touched, twisting what he ruled, lord of werewolves; his dominion was torment.”
57
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“This doom she chose, forsaking the Blessed Realm, and putting aside all claim to kinship with those that dwell there; that thus whatever grief might lie in wait, the fates of Beren and Lúthien might be joined, and their paths lead together beyond the confines of the world.”
58
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“And thou, Melkor, shalt see that no theme may be played that hath not its uttermost source in me, nor can any alter the music in my despite. For he that attempteth this shall prove but mine instrument in the devising of things more wonderful, which he himself hath not imagined.”
59
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“Justice is not Healing. Healing cometh only by suffering and patience, and maketh no demand, not even for Justice.”
60
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“There came a time near dawn on the eve of spring, and Luthien danced upon a green hill; and suddenly she began to sing. Keen, heart-piercing was her song as the song of the lark that rises from the gates of night and pours its voice among the dying stars, seeing the sun behind the walls of the world;”
61
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“Now fair and marvellous was that vessel made, and it was filled with a wavering flame, pure and bright; and Earendil the Mariner sat at the helm, glistening with dust of elven-gems, and the Silmaril was bound upon his brow. ”
62
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“But Fingolfin gleamed beneath it as a star; for his mail was overlaid with silver, and his blue shield was set with crystals; and he drew his sword Ringil, that glittered like ice.”
63
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“...and for a great deal it seemed good to him, for in the music there were no flaws.”
64
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“Far he journeyed in that ship, even into the starless voids; but most often was he seen at morning or at evening, glimmering in sunrise or sunset, as he came back to Valinor from voyages beyond the confines of the world.”
65
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“Both, also, desired to make things of their own that should be new and unthought of by others, and delighted in the praise of their skill. ”
66
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“Justice worketh only within the bonds of things as they are... and therefore though Justice is itself good and desireth no further evil, it can but perpetuate the evil that was, and doth not prevent it from the bearing of fruit in sorrow.”
67
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“What would you here, unhappy mortal, and for what cause have you left your own land to enter this, which is forbidden to such as you? Can you show reason why my power should not be laid on you in heavy punishment for your insolence and folly?”
68
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“and the song of Luthien released the bonds of winter, and the frozen waters spoke, and flowers sprang from the cold earth where he feet had passed. Then the spell of silence fell from Beren, and he called to her, crying Tinuviel; and the woods echoed the name.”
69
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“Last of all Hurin stood alone. Then he cast aside his shield, and wielded an axe two-handed; and it is sung that the axe smoked in the black blood of the troll-guard of Gothmog until it withered, and each time that he slew Hurin cried: ‘Aure entuluva! Day shall come again!’ Seventy times he uttered that cry; but they took him at last alive...”
70
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“Therefore Morgoth came, climbing slowly from his subterranean throne, and the rumour of his feet was like thunder underground. And he issued forth clad in black armour; and he stood before the King like a tower, iron-crowned, and his vast shield, sable unblazoned, cast a shadow over him like a stormcloud.”
71
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“Then Beren looking up beheld the eyes of Luthien, and his glance went also to the face of Melian; and it seemed to him that words were put into his mouth. Fear left him, and the pride of the eldest house of Men returned to him;”
72
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“he said: ‘My fate, O King, led me hither, through perils such as few even of the Elves would dare. And here I have found what I sought not indeed, but finding I would possess for ever. For it is above all gold and silver, and beyond all jewels. Neither rock, nor steel, nor the fires of Morgoth, nor all the powers of the Elf-kingdoms, shall keep from me the treasure that I desire. For Luthien your daughter is the fairest of all the Children of the World.’ Then silence fell upon the hall...”
73
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“Thus he came alone to Angband’s gates, and he sounded his horn, and smote once more upon the brazen doors, and challenged Morgoth to come forth to single combat. And Morgoth came.”
74
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“Here ends the SILMARILLION. If it has passed from the high and the beautiful to darkness and ruin, that was of old the fate of Arda Marred; and if any change shall come and the Marring be amended, Manwë and Varda may know; but they have not revealed it, and it is not declared in the dooms of Mandos.”
75
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“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.”
76
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“Gandalf was shorter in stature than the other two; but his long white hair, his sweeping beard, and his broad shoulders, made him look like some wise king of ancient legend. In his aged face under great snowy brows his eyes were set like coals that could suddenly burst into fire.”
77
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“Indeed in nothing is the power of the Dark Lord more clearly shown than in the estrangement that divides all those who still oppose him.”
78
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“It is perilous to study too deeply the arts of the Enemy, for good or for ill.”
79
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“Where there’s life there’s hope, and need of vittles.”
80
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″‘Not this way, master!’ he pleaded. ‘There is another way. O yes indeed there is. Another way, darker, more difficult to find, more secret. But Sméagol knows it. Let Sméagol show you!‘”
81
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“Short cuts make delays, but inns make longer ones.”
82
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“Let him not vow to walk in the dark, who has not seen the nightfall.”
83
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“And he that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.”
84
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“Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise.”
85
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“Do not meddle in the affairs of Wizards, for they are subtle and quick to anger.”
86
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“Don’t adventures ever have an end? I suppose not. Someone else always has to carry on the story.”
87
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“The prime motive was the desire of a tale-teller to try his hand at a really long story that would hold the attention of readers, amuse them, delight them, and at times maybe excite them or deeply move them.”
88
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“Many of the Ents are younger than I am, by many lives of trees. They are all roused now, and their mind is all on one thing: breaking Isengard. But they will start thinking again before long; they will cool down a little . . . But let them march now and sing! We have a long way to go, and there is time ahead for thought. It is something to have started.”
89
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“Only a small part is played in great deeds by any hero.”
90
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“Home is behind, the world ahead, And there are many paths to tread Through shadows to the edge of night, Until the stars are all alight.”
91
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“Do not trouble your hearts overmuch with thought of the road tonight. Maybe the paths that you each shall tread are already laid before your feet, though you do not see them.”
92
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“News from afar is seldom sooth.”
93
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“Yet do not cast all hope away. Tomorrow is unkown. Rede oft is found at the rising of the Sun.”
94
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“Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear.”
95
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“Yet a treacherous weapon is ever a danger to the hand.”
96
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“Not all those who wander are lost.”
97
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“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”
98
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“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.”
99
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“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
100
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“Deserves it! I daresay he does. Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgement. For even the very wise cannot see all ends.”
101
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“It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.”
102
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“I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”
103
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“Do you wish me a good morning, or mean that it is a good morning whether I want it or not; or that you feel good this morning; or that it is a morning to be good on?”
Gandalf
character
humor
concept
104
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“War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend.”
105
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“Courage is found in unlikely places.”
106
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“It’s the job that’s never started as takes longest to finish.”
107
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“May it be a light to you in dark places, when all other lights go out.”
108
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“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”
109
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“A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it.”
110
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“May the wind under your wings bear you where the sun sails and the moon walks.”
Gandalf
character
life
concept
111
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“Where there’s life there’s hope.”
112
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“I warn you, if you bore me, I shall take my revenge.”
113
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“In this hour, I do not believe that any darkness will endure.”
114
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“In sorrow we must go, but not in despair. Behold! we are not bound for ever to the circles of the world, and beyond them is more than memory.”
115
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“Oft hope is born when all is forlorn.”
116
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“And he took her in his arms and kissed her under the sunlit sky, and he cared not that they stood high upon the walls in the sight of many.”
117
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“The Road goes ever on and on Down from the door where it began, Now far ahead the Road has gone, And I must follow, if I can.”
119
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“The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out.”
120
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“Never laugh at live dragons...”
121
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“Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.”
122
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“Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised.”
123
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“Sorry! I don’t want any adventures, thank you. Not Today. Good morning! But please come to tea – any time you like! Why not tomorrow? Good bye!”
124
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“Bother burgling and everything to do with it! I wish I was at home in my nice hole by the fire, with the kettle just beginning to sing!”
125
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“We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner! I can’t think what anybody sees in them.”
126
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“Victory after all, I suppose! Well, it seems a very gloomy business.”
127
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“Farewell, King under the Mountain! This is a bitter adventure, if it must end so; and not a mountain of gold can amend it. Yet I am glad that I have shared in your perils – that has been more than any Baggins deserves.”
128
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“So comes snow after fire, and even dragons have their ending!”
129
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“Then Bilbo fled [with the cup]. But the dragon did not wake – not yet – but shifted into other dreams of greed and violence, lying there in his stolen hall while the little hobbit toiled back up the long tunnel. His heart was beating and a more fevered shaking was in his legs than when he was going down, but still he clutched the cup, and his chief thought was: ‘I’ve done it! This will show them. ‘More like a grocer than a burglar’ indeed! Well, we’ll hear no more of that.‘”
130
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“All that is gold does not glitter, Not all those who wander are lost.”
131
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″‘What have I got in my pocket?’ he said aloud. He was talking to himself, but Gollum thought it was a riddle, and he was frightfully upset.”
132
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″‘The Eagles! The Eagles!’ he shouted. ‘The Eagles are coming!‘”
133
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“I came from the end of bag, but no bag went over me. I am the friend of bears and the guest of eagles. I am Ring-winner and Luckwearer; and I am Barrel-rider.”
134
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″‘I will give you a name,’ he said to it, ‘and I shall call you Sting.‘”
135
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″‘Very well!’ said Bilbo very downcast, and also rather annoyed. ‘Come along back to your nice cells, and I will lock you all in again, and you can sit there comfortably and think of a better plan-but I don’t suppose I shall ever get hold of the keys again, even if I feel inclined to try.‘”
136
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″‘If ever you are passing my way,’ said Bilbo, ‘don’t wait to knock! Tea is at four; but any of you are welcome at any time!‘”
137
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″‘It will not be long now,’ thought Bilbo, ‘before the goblins win the Gate, and we are all slaughtered or driven down and captured. Really it is enough to make one weep, after all one has gone through. I would rather old Smaug had been left with all the wretched treasure, than that these vile creatures should get it, and poor old Bombur, and Balin and Fili and Kili and all the rest come to a bad end; and Bard too, and the Lake-men and the merry elves. Misery me! I have heard songs of many battles, and I have always understood that defeat may be glorious. It seems very uncomfortable, not to say distressing. I wish I was well out of it.‘”
138
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“I beg of you,” said Bilbo stammering and standing on one foot, “to accept this gift!” and he brought out a necklace of silver and pearls that Dain had given him at their parting. “In what way have I earned such a gift, O hobbit?” said the king. “Well, er, I thought, don’t you know,” said Bilbo rather confused, “that, er, some little return should be made for your, er, hospitality. I mean even a burglar has his feelings. I have drunk much of your wine and eaten much of your bread.” “I will take your gift, O Bilbo the Magnificent,” said the king gravely.
139
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“All the same, I should like it all plain and clear,” said [Bilbo] obstinately, putting on his business manner (usually reserved for people who tried to borrow money off him), and doing his best to appear wise and prudent and professional and live up to Gandalf’s recommendation. “Also I should like to know about risks, out-of-pocket expenses, time required and remuneration, and so forth” – by which he meant: “What am I going to get out of it? and am I going to come back alive?”
140
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“I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”
141
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″‘I am old, Gandalf. I don’t look it, but I am beginning to feel it in my heart of hearts. Well-preserved indeed!’ he snorted. ‘Why, I feel all thin, sort of stretched, if you know what I mean: like butter that has been scraped over too much bread. That can’t be right. I need a change, or something.‘”
142
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“One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them, One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.”
143
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“Some who have read the book, or at any rate have reviewed it, have found it boring, absurd, or contemptible; and I have no cause to complain, since I have similar opinions of their works, or of the kinds of writing that they evidently prefer.”
144
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“Hill. Yes, that was it. But it is a hasty word for a thing that has stood here ever since this part of the world was shaped.”
145
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“This is the Master-ring, the One Ring to rule them all. This is the One Ring that he lost many ages ago, to the great weakening of his power. He greatly desires it — but he must not get it.”
146
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″‘And it is also said,’ answered Frodo: ‘Go not to the Elves for counsel, for they will say both no and yes.‘”
147
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“Oft in lies truth is hidden.”
148
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“Valour needs first strength, and then a weapon.”
149
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“Indeed I have not seen them roused like this for many an age. We Ents do not like being roused; and we never are roused unless it is clear to us that our trees and our lives are in great danger.”
150
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“The praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards.”
151
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“Such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere.”
152
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“Let them march now and sing! We have a long way to go, and there is time ahead for thought. It is something to have started.”
153
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“The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater.”
154
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“But do not despise the lore that has come down from distant years; for oft it may chance that old wives keep in memory word of things that once were needful for the wise to know.”
155
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“The wise speak only of what they know.”
156
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“To crooked eyes truth may wear a wry face.”
157
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“Oft the unbidden guest proves the best company.”
158
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“The hasty stroke goes oft astray.”

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