An Opening to Intrigue You

The most famous beginning of all… {{PD-US-not renewed}}

In the land of Ingary, where such things as seven-league boots and cloaks of invisibility really exist, it is quite a misfortune to be born the eldest of three.

Howl’s Moving Castle (yes, again)

 I love this opening because it establishes so clearly that this novel is going to poke fun at fairy-tales. The eldest of three? Isn’t that the one who’s supposed to fail “first and worst” in all the stories you’ve ever heart?

Novel openings are so important because they are what’s going to draw you in, and tell you what kind of book this is going to be. As much as I love reading, I have to admit I’m always nervous when starting a new book. I never know if I’ll like the characters, or if I can trust the author. So an opening that invites me in and makes me comfortable is essential to me.

By the way, here’s a neat list of clever openings lines that I found online the other day. Not sure if the analysis of why the lines work is always spot on – you can’t always explain the magic of words in words – but it’s fun to read, anyway. Plus, Jane Austen makes the list.


Filed under Howl's Moving Castle, Quotables

5 responses to “An Opening to Intrigue You

  1. Alexia

    I just read Pride and Prejudice the other day, for what seems like the hundredth time, and yeah, the opening really sets the tone. And by the way I found the Camus reference in my fanfiction (well, translation but you know what I mean) ! I still can’t believe it took me this long and yes, it is relevant because it’s actually the opening line of one of his books, “The Stranger” : “Mother died today. Or, maybe, yesterday; I can’t be sure.” (found the english version on Wikiquotes). And yeah, I’ve been looking for that reference since I told you about it, I’m a little obsessive that way 🙂

    My favorite opening line is probably Peter Pan’s. “All children, except one, grow up.” It’s simple, but it pretty much says everything you have to know ^^


    • Good, you found it! I can be a little obsessive about details too, so I know what you mean. It’s an interesting first line. I like the Peter Pan opening too… that’s a book I should read someday too 🙂


  2. Alexia

    I’d like to read Peter Pan in english someday, I’ve only read the translated version and I always feel like somehow I’m missing out. Like I’m not reading the story the author actually wrote. I don’t know, is that weird ?


    • No, not weird, because a translator does put their own individual stamp on a book (after all, no two translators will translate a book exactly the same way). If the translator is good, this will affect the original author’s message as little as possible. But I think it’s always slightly different in a different language.


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