Friday, January 31, 2014

Random Fridays: Opening Lines
Hey'a, all! Time for another Random Fridays post! I'm really excited about this week's theme: Favorite Opening Lines in Literature
"In a hole in the ground, there lived a hobbit. 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 eat: it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort." -The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien
It's always best to start with the classics. And the beginning of The Hobbit has got to be one of my all-time favorites. Technically, this is the first two lines, but it's still an excellent beginning. It lays out nicely the life of a hobbit, which if you ask me sounds like a very happy life, and makes you want to visit the particular hobbit in question.
"My name is Sunday Woodcutter, and I am doomed to a happy life." - Enchanted, Alethea Kontis
We think of people as being doomed to many things, but never to a happy life. Why is Sunday doomed to happiness? And why does she make it sound like it's a bad thing?
"Have you ever watched an immortal die?"- Dragonwitch, Anne Elisabeth Stengl
Technically, this isn't the first first line. There's a prologue before this, which starts out, "Let me tell you a story". That is also a lovely first line, since you probably wouldn't be reading the book if you didn't enjoy stories. However, the one I actually included is far more intriguing. After all, immortals, by nature of their name, aren't supposed to die . . . are they?
"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."- Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austin
Another classic that I of course had to include. 
"In the land of Ingary, where things such 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, Diana Wynne Jones
Seven-league boots? Cloaks of invisibility? And what's so unfortunate about the eldest of three? You know there has to be a good story coming after this line- and believe me, there is.
"Because he had once been human, King Under Stone sometimes found himself plagued by human emotions. He was experiencing one now, as he faced the mortal woman before him but it took him a moment to give it a name. After a pause, he labeled it 'triumph'."- Princess of the Midnight Ball, Jessica Day George
If he's not human, what is he now? Why does he feel triumphant? And why do we readers have such a sense of foreboding? (And yes, this is technically three lines, but the first line is quite good even on its own.)
"There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."- Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis
We finish off with one more classic that I couldn't possibly leave out. What does someone have to do to deserve a name like that? You probably know already (and if you don't, go read the Chronicles of Narnia now!), but it's still an excellent first line.

Well, that's all for this week. What are some of your favorite first lines? Feel free to tell me in the comments or to make your own Random Fridays post! Thanks for reading!
-Sarah (Leilani Sunblade)  

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  1. Oh, these are great, great lines. Thank you for sharing. I might have to do some of my own. :D

    1. Thank you, and I'm glad you enjoyed the post! You should definitely do some of your own!