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Neil Gaiman Quotes

100+ of the best book quotes from Neil Gaiman
01
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“Coraline hesitated. She turned back. Her other mother and her other father were walking towards her, holding hands. They were looking at her with their black button eyes.”
Neil Gaiman
author
Coraline
book
Coraline Jones
Other Mother
Other Father
characters
fear
button eyes
concepts
02
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“Then she hugged her mother so tightly that her arms began to ache. Her mother hugged Coraline back.”
03
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“She said, ‘You know that I love you.’ And, despite herself, Coraline nodded. It was true: the other mother loved her. But she loved Coraline as a miser loves money, or a dragon loves its gold.”
04
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“A woman stood in the kitchen with her back to Coraline. She looked a little like Coraline’s mother. Only...”
05
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“From the corner of her eye she saw something bone white scamper from one tree trunk to another, closer and closer. She forced herself not to look at it.”
06
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“Coraline shook her head. ‘Why don’t you play with me?’ she asked. ‘Busy,’ he said. ‘Working,’ he added. He still hadn’t turned around to look at her.”
07
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″‘You don’t frighten me,’ said Coraline, although they did frighten her, very much. ‘I want my parents back.‘”
08
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″‘Because,’ she said, ‘when you’re scared but you still do it anyway, <em>that’s</em> brave.‘”
bravery
fear
concepts
09
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″‘We’ll see you soon, though,’ said her other father. ‘When you come back.’ ‘Um,’ said Coraline. ‘And then we’ll all be together as one big, happy family,’ said her other mother. ‘For ever and always.‘”
10
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“Coraline was too close to stop, and she felt the other mother’s cold arms enfold her. She stood there, rigid and trembling as the other mother held her tightly.”
11
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″‘In danger?’ thought Coraline to herself. It sounded exciting. It didn’t sound like a bad thing. Not really.”
12
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″‘Yes, dear. Now, I think you could do with some more hair clips, don’t you?’ ‘No.’ ‘Well, let’s say half a dozen, to be on the safe side, ‘said her mother. Coraline didn’t say anything.”
13
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“She crept back into the silent house, past the closed bedroom door inside which the other mother and the other father [...] what? she wondered. Slept? Waited?”
14
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“He had his back to her, but she knew, just on seeing him, that his eyes, when he turned around, would be her father’s kind gray eyes, and she crept over and kissed him on the back of his balding head.”
15
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“Dinner was pizza, and even though it was homemade by her father [...] Coraline ate the entire slice she had been given. Well, she ate everything except for the pineapple chunks.”
16
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″‘I’m an explorer,’ said Coraline out loud, but her words sounded muffled and dead on the misty air. She had made it out of the cellar, hadn’t she?”
17
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“Her long white fingers fluttered gently, like a tired butterfly, and Coraline shivered.”
18
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“There was nothing else there in the mirror. Just her, in the corridor. A hand touched her shoulder, and she looked up. The other mother stared down at Coraline with big black button eyes.”
19
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″‘No,’ said Coraline quietly, ‘I asked you not to call me Caroline. It’s Coraline.‘”
20
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“All alone, in the middle of the night, Coraline began to cry. There was no other sound in the empty flat.”
fear
night
crying
alone
empty
concepts
21
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“He ought to tell Crowley. No, he didn’t. He wanted to tell Crowley. He ought to tell Heaven.”
22
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“‘Of course, we knew something was going on,’ Aziraphale said. ‘But one somehow imagines this sort of thing happening in America. They go in for that sort of thing over there.‘”
23
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″‘I don’t see what’s so triflic about creating people as people and then gettin’ upset ‘cos they act like people,’ said Adam severely. ‘Anyway, if you stopped tellin’ people it’s all sorted out after they’re dead, they might try sorting it all out while they’re alive.‘”
24
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″‘... it’s not enough to know what the future ​is. You have to know what it means.‘”
25
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″‘It’s like you said the other day,’ said Adam. ‘You grow up readin’ about pirates and cowboys and spacemen and stuff, and jus’ when you think the world’s all full of amazin’ things, they tell you it’s really all dead whales and chopped-down forests and nuclear waste hang-in’ about for millions of years. ’Snot worth growin’ up for, if you ask my opinion.‘”
26
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“It has been said that civilization is twenty-four hours and two meals away from barbarism.”
27
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″‘Oh dear,’ said Aziraphale. ‘It’s him.’ ‘Him who?’ said Crowley. ‘The Voice of God,’ said the angel. ‘The Metatron.’ The Them stared. Then Pepper said, ‘No, it isn’t. The Metatron’s made of plastic and it’s got laser cannon and it can turn into a helicopter.‘”
28
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“You don’t have to test everything to destruction just to see if you made it right.”
29
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″‘I told you. On his eleventh birthday. At three o’clock in the afternoon. It’ll sort of home in on him. He’s supposed to name it himself.‘”
30
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“It is said that the Devil has all the best tunes. This is broadly true. But Heaven has the best choreographers.”
31
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″‘Oh, all right,’ said Crowley wretchedly. ‘No one’s actually going to get killed. They’re all going to have miraculous escapes. It wouldn’t be any fun otherwise.‘”
32
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″‘Best not to speculate, really,’ said Aziraphale. ‘You can’t second-guess ineffability, I always say. There’s Right, and there’s Wrong. If you do Wrong when you’re told to do Right, you deserve to be punished. Er.‘”
33
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“The trouble with trying to find a brown-covered book among brown leaves and brown water at the bottom of a ditch of brown earth in the brown, well, grayish light of dawn, was that you couldn’t.”
34
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″‘A demon can get into real trouble, doing the right thing.’ He nudged the angel. ‘Funny if we both got it wrong, eh? Funny if I did the good thing and you did the bad one, eh?‘”
35
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″‘Don’t tell me from genetics. What’ve they got to do with it?’ said Crowley. ‘Look at Satan. Created as an angel, grows up to be the Great Adversary. Hey, if you’re going to go on about genetics, you might as well say the kid will grow up to be an angel. After all, his father was really big in Heaven in the old days. Saying he’ll grow up to be a demon just because his dad became one is like saying a mouse with its tail cut off will give birth to tailless mice. No. Upbringing is everything. Take it from me.‘”
36
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″‘DON’T THINK OF IT AS DYING,’ said Death, ‘JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH.‘”
37
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“Aziraphale relaxed. ‘You know, Crowley,’ he said, beaming, ‘I’ve always said that, deep down inside, you’re really quite a—’ ‘All right, all right,’ Crowley snapped. ‘Tell the whole blessed world, why don’t you?‘”
38
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“Firstly, that God moves in extremely mysterious, not to say, circuitous ways. God does not play dice with the universe; He plays an ineffable game of His own devising, which might be compared, from the perspective of any of the other players,* to being involved in an obscure and complex version of poker in a pitch-dark room, with blank cards, for infinite stakes, with a Dealer who won’t tell you the rules, and who smiles all the time.”
39
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“‘Hello? Aziraphale! For Go—, for Sa—, for somebody’s sake! Aziraphale!‘”
40
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“Crowley: the angel who did not so much fall as saunter vaguely downwards”
41
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“Childhood memories are sometimes covered and obscured beneath the things that come later, like childhood toys forgotten at the bottom of a crammed adult closet, but they are never lost for good.”
42
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“A small part of my mind remembered an alternate pattern of events and then lost it, as if I had woken from a comfortable sleep and looked around, pulled the bedclothes over me, and returned to my dream.”
43
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“What you remembered? Probably. More or less. Different people remember things differently, and you’ll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not.”
44
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“That’s the trouble with living things. Don’t last very long. Kittens one day, old cats the next. And then just memories. And the memories fade and blend and smudge together.”
45
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“Lettie Hempstock’s ocean. I remembered that, and remembering that, I remembered everything.”
46
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“I saw the world I had walked since my birth and I understood how fragile it was, that the reality I knew was a thin layer of icing on a great dark birthday cake.”
47
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“I lived in books more than I lived anywhere else.”
48
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“Growing up, I took so many cues from books . . . They were my teachers and my advisors.”
49
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“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside.”
50
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“Nothing I had ever drunk had ever tasted like that before: rich and warm and perfectly happy in my mouth. I remembered that milk after I had forgotten about everything else.”
51
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“I want to remember . . . Because it happened to me. And I’m still me.”
52
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“As we age, we become our parents; live long enough and we see faces repeat in time.”
53
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“The truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
54
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“Adults follow paths. Children explore.”
55
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“Gran always likes the full moon to shine on this side of the house. She says it’s restful, and it reminds her of when she was a girl . . . And it means you don’t trip on the stairs.”
56
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“Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.”
57
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“I became terrified of him when he was angry. His face . . . would grow red, and he would shout, shout so loudly and furiously that it would, literally, paralyze me. I would not be able to think.”
58
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“I knew enough about adults to know that if I did tell them what had happened, I would not be believed.”
59
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“Oh, monsters are scared . . . That’s why they’re monsters.”
60
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“I lay on the bed and lost myself in the stories. I liked that. Books were safer than other people anyway.”
61
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“I do not miss childhood, but I miss the way I took pleasure in small things, even as greater things crumbled.”
62
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“Kinds of behavior that work in a specialized environment, such as a prison, can fail to work and in fact become harmful when used outside such an environment.”
63
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“Call no man happy until he is dead.”
Baldur
character
happiness
death
concepts
64
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″‘Believe,’ said the rumbling voice. ‘If you are to survive, you must believe.’ ‘Believe what?’ asked Shadow. ‘What should I believe?’ He stared at Shadow, the buffalo man, and he drew himself up huge, and his eyes filled with fire. He opened his spit-flecked buffalo mouth and it was red inside with the flames that burned inside him, under the earth. ‘Everything,’ roared the buffalo man.”
65
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“Every hour wounds. The last one kills”
Baldur
character
time
death
hurting
concepts
66
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“Shadow had heard too many people telling each other not to repress their feelings, to let their emotions out, let the pain go. Shadow thought there was a lot to be said for bottling up emotions. If you did it long enough and deep enough, he suspected, pretty soon you wouldn’t feel anything at all.”
67
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“It all depends on where you are.”
68
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“The important thing to understand about American history, wrote Mr. Ibis in his leather-bound journal, is that it is fictional, a charcoal-sketched simplicity for the children, or the easily bored. For the most part it is uninspected, unimagined, unthought, a representation of the thing, and not the thing itself.”
69
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“A small boy sat inches away from the television set, a video of the Disney Hercules playing, an animated satyr stomping and shouting his way across the screen.”
70
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“We rode here in their minds, and we took root.”
Odin
character
traditions
beliefs
gods
concepts
71
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“I’m doing fine. On my festival days they still feast on eggs and rabbits, on candy and on flesh, to represent rebirth and copulation. They wear flowers in their bonnets and they give each other flowers. They do it in my name. More and more of them every year. In my name, old wolf.”
72
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“Gods die. And when they truly die they are unmourned and unremembered. Ideas are more difficult to kill than people, but they can be killed, in the end.”
73
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“There was part of him that felt gently exhilarated: he had done something.”
74
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″‘Gods are great,’ said Atsula, slowly, as if she were comprehending a great secret. ‘But the heart is greater. For it is from our hearts they come, and to our hearts they shall return . . .‘”
Atsula
character
heart
beliefs
gods
concepts
75
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“Its like bees and honey. Each bee makes only a tiny, tiny drop of honey. It takes thousands of them, millions perhaps, all working together to make the pot of honey you have on your breakfast table. Now imagine that you could eat nothing but honey. That’s what it’s like for my kind of people…we feed on belief, on prayers, on love. It takes a lot of people believing just the tiniest bit to sustain us.”
Odin
character
love
bees
beliefs
gods
prayers
honey
concepts
76
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″‘And as for keeping my word, well, these preliminary talks are being filmed and broadcast live,’ and he gestured back toward the camera. ‘Some of your people are watching as we speak. Others will see video-tapes. Others will be told, by those they trust. The camera does not lie.’ ‘Everybody lies,’ said Wednesday.”
Odin
Loki
characters
trust
lies
concepts
77
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″‘Not only are there no happy endings,’ she told him, ‘there aren’t even any endings.‘”
78
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“Rigged games are the easiest ones to beat.”
79
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“This is not a good country for gods.”
80
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“It’s true what they say, thought Shadow. If you can fake sincerity, you’ve got it made.”
81
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“Shadow was not superstitious. He did not believe in anything he could not see.”
82
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“I gain my freedom on the day the moon loses her daughter, if that occurs in a week when two Mondays come together. I await it with patience.”
Lady Una
character
patience
freedom
concepts
83
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“The chain? It binds me to the stall. I am the personal slave of the witch-woman who owns the stall. She caught me many years ago, luring me on and on in the form of a pretty frog always but a moment out of my reach, until I had left my father’s lands, unwittingly, whereupon she resumed her true shape and popped me into a sack.”
Lady Una
character
deception
slavery
concepts
84
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“The old man pulled free of his sons, and stood straight and tall, then. He was, for a heartbeat, the lord of Stormhold who had defeated the Northern Goblins at the battle of Cragland’s Head; who had fathered eight children who had killed each of his four brothers in combat, before he was twenty years old.”
85
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“While clothes do not, as the saying would sometimes have it, make the man, and fine feathers do not make fine birds, sometimes they can add a certain spice to a recipe. And Tristran Thorn in crimson and canary was not the same man that Tristran Thorn in his overcoat and Sunday suit had been.”
Tristran
character
86
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“I swore, by the compact of the Sisterhood, that I would do you no harm. Had I not so sworn I would change you into a black-beetle, and I would pull your legs off, one by one, and leave you for the birds to find, for putting me to this indignity.”
87
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“There is something of the dormouse in him still. Sometimes I wonder if she transforms people into animals, or whether she finds the beast inside us, and frees it.”
88
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“The wind blew from Faerie and the East, and Tristran Thorn suddenly found inside himself a certain amount of courage he had not suspected that he had possessed.”
Tristran
character
courage
concept
89
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“His coat was thin, and it was obvious he would not get his kiss, which he found puzzling. The manly heroes of the penny dreadfuls and shilling novels never had these problems getting kissed.”
Tristran
character
kissing
heroes
concepts
90
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“But there are so many places we have not yet seen. So many people still to meet. Not to mention all the wrongs to right, villains to vanquish, sights to see, all that.”
91
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“If only we knew where the truth path was even a serewood couldn’t destroy the true path. Just hide it from us, lure us off of it.”
92
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“Because,” she told him, her voice taut, “now that you have saved my life, you are, by the law of my people, responsible for me, and I for you. Where you go, I must also go.”
Tristran
Yvaine
characters
law
duty
concepts
93
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“Tristran Thorn, at the age of seventeen, and only six months older than Victoria, was halfway between a boy and a man, and was equally uncomfortable in either role; he seemed to be composed chiefly of elbows and Adam’s apples.”
Tristran
character
age
maturity
concepts
94
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“But the youth of today were a pasty lot, with none of the get-up-and-go, none of the vigor and vim that he remembered from the days when he was young”
95
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“If I but had my true youth again why, in the dawn of the world I could transform mountains into seas and clouds into palaces. I could populate cities with the pebbles on the shingle. If I were young again...”
youth
concept
96
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“Say,” said a small and hairy voice in his ear, “but would you mind dreamin’ a bit quieter?”
dreams
concept
97
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“They left the inn behind them, the howls of the witch-queen ringing in their ears. They were underground, and the candlelight flickered from the wet cave walls; and with their next halting step they were in a desert of white sand, in the moonlight; and with their third step they were high above the earth, looking down on the hills and trees and rivers far below them.”
magic
travel
concepts
98
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“There was once a young man who wished to gain his Heart’s Desire.”
Tristran
character
desires
heart
concepts
99
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“Because,” announced Tristran, “every lover is in his heart a madman, and in his head a minstrel.”
Tristran
character
love
concept
100
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“Tristran stared at her in honest puzzlement. “But I have no wish to be a lord of anywhere,” he told her, “or of anything, except perhaps my lady’s heart.” And he took the star’s hand in his, and he pressed it to his breast and smiled.”
Tristran
character
love
heart
concepts
101
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“What power would Hell have if those here imprisoned were not able to dream of Heaven?”
102
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“You get what anybody gets - you get a lifetime.”
103
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“Death is before me today: Like the recovery of a sick man, Like going forth into a garden after sickness.”
104
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“I only have two kinds of dreams: the bad and the terrible. Bad dreams I can cope with. They’re just nightmares, and the end eventually. I wake up. The terrible dreams are the good dreams. In my terrible dreams, everything is fine. I am still with the company. I still look like me. None of the last five years ever happened. Sometimes I’m married. Once I even had kids. I even knew their names. Everything’s wonderful and normal and fine. And then I wake up, and I’m still me. And I’m still here. And that is truly terrible.”
105
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“As I wouldn’t wear a costume, I couldn’t imagine him wanting to wear one. And seeing that the greater part of my wardrobe is black (It’s a sensible colour. It goes with anything. Well, anything black)[...].”
106
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“I will be a wise and tolerant monarch, dispencing justice fairly, and only setting nightmares to rip out the winds of the evil and the wicked. Or just anybody that I don’t like.”
107
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“Approaching the state of Delaware, the dreamer is a small dog, dreaming impatiently of a past life, long forgotten, when he sailed tall ships across uncharted. The salt spray of the ocean stings my face.”
108
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“Have you ever had one of those days when something just seems to be trying to tell you somebody?”
109
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“I think I’ll dismember the world and then I’ll dance in the wreckage.”
110
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“She’s realized the real problem with stories -- if you keep them going long enough, they always end in death.”
111
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“You can know anything. It’s all there. You just have to find it.”
112
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“Never trust a demon. He has a hundred motives for anything he does ... Ninety-nine of them, at least, are malevolent.”
113
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“Some things are too big to be seen; some emotions too huge to be felt.”
115
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“The universe knows someone is missing, and slowly it attempts to replace him.”
116
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“And I am far more terrible than you, sister.”
117
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“I am anti-life, the Beast of Judgment. I am the dark at the end of everything. The end of universes, gods, worlds…of everything. And what will you be then, Dreamlord?”
118
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“You say I have no power? Perhaps you speak truly... But — you say that dreams have no power here? Tell me, Lucifer Morningstar... Ask yourselves, all of you... What power would hell have if those imprisoned were not able to dream of heaven?”
119
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“It is as natural to die as it is to be born.”
120
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“I watched him even then as he fell, his face undefeated, his eyes still proud.”
121
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“Some skills can be attained by education, and some by practice, and some by time. Those skills will come if you study. Soon enough you will master Fading and Sliding and Dreamwalking.”
122
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“It was as if some people believed there was a divide between the books that you were permitted to enjoy and the books that were good for you, and I was expected to choose sides. We were all expected to choose sides. And I didn’t believe it, and I still don’t. I was, and still am, on the side of books you love.”
123
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“Mrs. Owens bent down to the baby and extended her arms. “Come now,” she said warmly. “Come to mama”″
124
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“I have not always done the right thing. When I was younger...I did worse things than Jack. Worse than any of them. I was the monster, then, Bod, and worse than any monster.”
125
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“Well, there’s a girl I used to know, and I wasn’t sure if I should find her and talk to her of if I should just forget about it.”
126
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“Kiss a lover, Dance a measure, Find your name And buried treasure. Face your life, It’s pain, It’s pleasure, Leave no path untaken.”
127
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“It’s like the people who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, but who learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you. If you see what I mean.”
128
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“Fear is contagious. You can catch it.”
129
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“You weren’t selfish. You need to be among your own kind. Quite understandable. It’s just harder out there in the world of the living, and we cannot protect you out there as easily. I wanted to keep you perfectly safe,” said Silas. “But there is only one perfectly safe place for your kind and you will not reach it until all your adventures are over and none of them matter any longer.”
130
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“In the graveyard, no one ever changed. The little children Bod had played with when he was small were still children; Fortinbras Bartleby, who had once been his best friend, was not four or five years younger than Bod was, and they had less to talk about each time they saw each other; Thackeray Porringer was Bod’s height and age, and seemed to be in much better temper with him;...”
131
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I’ve learned that this tale is conceived with help from the kids of the Gaiman and McKean. Maddy Gaiman has a nightmare of wolves scratching the walls of their house. Gaiman helped Maddy cope with this fear by storytelling, making strategies to escape from the wolves or something like that—and these plotting became a part of the story.
132
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Nobody believes her…until the wolves do plunge out of the walls, invading the house and rendering the family homeless. Lucy is the one who acts to glue the family together. With a Coralinesque bravery and a simple strategy, she goes back to save her stranded toy, Pig Puppet, and in the process they are able to get their house back.
133
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The story falls flat on the scare factor as the wolves are only perceived as the usual unwelcome guests in the family’s home and the story is slow-paced as it took time for the family to decide to rush back to their home.
134
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It’s the art and the illustration that will actually creep you out. Like a damn nightmare you cannot come out of. They are gory. Not the black and white or blood red gory but gory.
135
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Lucy knew that trouble was about to begin and tries to warn her family of the danger of staying in the house, even though her family do not believe her at first.
136
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This is a great story about parents not listening to their daughter and said daughter saving their home. It also has wolves...in the walls! It is just the kind of story that should be read aloud, too, full of the rhythms and repeated refrains that fit with oral story telling.
137
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Basically the story revolves around Lucy (aka the girl who cried wolf), who tells her family about the wolves lurking behind the wallpapers. Her relatives however dismissed her fears as a product of her overactive imagination, and they are actually too engrossed into their own worlds to deal with Lucy: her mother (like any mother) is a personification of domestic order, her oblivious father plays tuba, and her annoying brother plays video games.
138
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A great example of an image where the wolves display both terror and humor is in the image of the wolves being shown in creepy shadows as they are watching television and are laughing their heads off.
139
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The book is so intuitive and allows so much expression and voice intonation. The characters are distinct individuals and I could instantly find their voice. The art is simply amazing
140
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Dave McKean’s illustrations are both haunting and hilarious at the same time. The wolves are portrayed as drawings made by a child, as it is implied on the front cover of the book. The wolves are also drawn in both a frightening and humorous way throughout the book.

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