Tag Archives: opening lines

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

Concerning Hobbits

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

The Hobbit

 That has to be the most famous line ever scrawled on the back of a student’s exam paper. It’s such a good example of an intriguing opening line for a novel – I remember wondering just what a hobbit was, and why it lived in a hole in the ground (I was really young when I read it, but I hope I’d still be excited by it). The next line answers part of my unspoken question beautifully: “Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.”

 I am currently re-reading The Hobbit because I happened to catch of glimpse of the trailer for the new Hobbit movie. I’m thinking the movie could be really good, or ruin everything (‘cuz I don’t really remember Legolas or Galadriel in the that particular book, so I hope they have something useful to do in it). All the same, the trailer really excited me, so I had to go back and read the book over again!

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Filed under Quotables