Great Throughts Treasury

A database of quotes

J. R. R. Tolkien, fully John Ronald Reuel Tolkien

English Writer, Fantasy Novelist, Poet, Philologist and University Profess best known for The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion

"Around the corner there may wait a new road or a secret gate."

"Not all those who wander are lost."

"All that is gold does not glitter; not all those that wander are lost."

"He that breaks a thing to find out what it has left the path of wisdom."

"Courage is found in unlikely places. "

"Little by little, one travels far."

"It's the job that's never started takes longest to finish. "

"Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens."

"Every writer making a secondary world wishes in some measure to be a real maker, or hopes that he is drawing on reality: hopes that the peculiar quality of this secondary world (if not all the details) are derived from Reality, or are flowing into it."

"A shrill cry rang out in the night; and he felt a pain like a dart of poisoned ice pierce his left shoulder. Even as he swooned he caught, as through a swirling mist, a glimpse of Strider leaping out of the darkness with a flaming brand of wood in either hand. With a last effort Frodo, dropping his sword, slipped the Ring from his finger and closed his right hand tight upon it."

"A box without hinges, key, or lid, yet golden treasure inside is hid."

"A day may come when the courage of men fails? but it is not THIS day."

"A fox passing through the wood on business of his own stopped several minutes and sniffed. 'Hobbits!' he thought. 'Well, what next? I have heard of strange doings in this land, but I have seldom heard of a hobbit sleeping out of doors under a tree. Three of them! There's something mighty queer behind this.' He was quite right, but he never found out any more about it."

"A hunted man sometimes wearies of distrust and longs for friendship."

"Farmer Giles went home feeling very uncomfortable. He was finding that a local reputation may require keeping up, and that may prove awkward."

"I?ll get there, if I leave everything but my bones behind."

"A friend of mine tells that I talk in shorthand and then smudge it."

"A great dread fell on him, as if he was awaiting the pronouncement of some doom that he had long foreseen and vainly hoped might after all never be spoken. An overwhelming longing to rest and remain at peace by Bilbo's side in Rivendell filled all his heart. At last with an effort he spoke, and wondered to hear his own words, as if some other will was using his small voice."

"A large grey stone lay in the centre of the grass and he stared moodily at it or watched the great snails. They seemed to love the little shut-in bay with its walls of cool rock, and there were many of them of huge size crawling slowly and stickily along its sides."

"A man inherited a field in which was an accumulation of old stone, part of an older hall. Of the old stone some had already been used in building the house in which he actually lived, not far from the old house of his fathers. Of the rest he took some and built a tower. But his friends coming perceived at once (without troubling to climb the steps) that these stones had formerly belonged to a more ancient building. So they pushed the tower over, with no little labor, and in order to look for hidden carvings and inscriptions, or to discover whence the man's distant forefathers had obtained their building material. Some suspecting a deposit of coal under the soil began to dig for it, and forgot even the stones. They all said: 'This tower is most interesting.' But they also said (after pushing it over): 'What a muddle it is in!' And even the man's own descendants, who might have been expected to consider what he had been about, were heard to murmur: 'He is such an odd fellow! Imagine using these old stones just to build a nonsensical tower! Why did not he restore the old house? He had no sense of proportion.' But from the top of that tower the man had been able to look out upon the sea."

"A man that flies from his fear may find that he has only taken a short cut to meet it."

"A new day will come and when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer."

"A nice pickle they were all in now: all neatly tied up in sacks, with three angry trolls (and two with burns and bashes to remember) sitting by them, arguing whether they should roast them slowly, or mince them fine and boil them, or just sit on them one by one and squash them into jelly."

"A new road or a secret gate."

"A principal source of happiness to them was their shared love for their family...Tolkien was immensely kind and understanding as a father, never shy of kissing his sons in public even when they were grown men, and never reserved in his display of warmth and love."

"A pathetic and shadowy medley of half-remembered traditions and mutilated beliefs. ~On the Church of England"

"A real taste for fairy-stories was wakened by philology on the threshold of manhood, and quickened to full life by war."

"A ruler who discerning justice refuseth to it the sanction of law, demanding abnegation of rights and self-sacrifice, will not drive his subjects to these virtues, virtuous only if free, but by unnaturally making justice unlawful, will drive them rather to rebellion against all law."

"A safe fairyland is untrue to all worlds."

"A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities."

"A red sun rises. Blood has been spilled this night."

"A sister they had, Galadriel, most beautiful of all the house of Finw‰; her hair was lit with gold as though it had caught in a mesh the radiance of Laurelin."

"A small oversight, but it proved fatal. Small oversights often do."

"A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo's heart: a glimpse of endless unmarked days without light or hope of betterment, hard stone, cold fish, sneaking and whispering. All these thoughts passed in a flash of a second. He trembled. And then quite suddenly in another flash, as if lifted by a new strength and resolve, he leaped."

"A sword rang as it was drawn. Do what you will; but I will hinder it if I may. - Hinder me? Thou fool. No living man may hinder me! Then Merry heard of all sounds in that hour the strangest. It seemed that Dernhelm laughed and the clear voice was like the ring of steel. But no living man am I! You look upon a woman. owyn I am, omund'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."

"A time may come soon, said he, when none will return. Then there will be need of valour without renown, for none shall remember the deeds that are done in the last defense of your homes. Yet the deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised. She answered: All your words are but to say: you are a woman, and your part is in the house. But when the men have died in battle and honor, you have leave to be burned in the house, for the men will need it no more. But I am of the House of Eorl and not a serving-woman. I can ride and wield blade, and I do not fear either pain or death. What do you fear, lady? he asked. A cage, she said. To stay behind bars, until use and old age accept them, and all chance of doing great deeds is gone beyond recall or desire."

"A tree there tower Tall and branching That house upholding The hall's wonder Its leaves their hangings Its limbs rafters Its mighty bole In the midst standing."

"A thousand years this city has stood, now at the whim of a madman it will fall."

"A wild light came into Frodo's eyes. 'Stand away! Don't touch me!' he cried. 'It is mine, I say. Be off!' His hand strayed to his sword-hilt. But then quickly his voice changed. 'No, no, Sam,' he said sadly. 'But you must understand. It is my burden, and no one else can bear it. It is too late now, Sam dear. You can't help me in that way again. I am almost in its power now. I could not give it up, and if you tried to take it I should go mad."

"A traitor may betray himself and do good he does not intend."

"Above all shadows rides the Sun and Stars for ever dwell: I will not say the Day is done, nor bid the Stars farewell."

"A year shall I endure for every day that passes until you return."

"A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to."

"About her feet in wide vessels of green and brown earthenware, white water-lilies were floating, so that she seemed to be enthroned in the midst of a pool. ?Enter, good guests!? she said, and as she spoke they knew that it was her clear voice they had heard singing. They came a few timid steps further into the room, and began to bow low, feeling strangely surprised and awkward, like folk that, knocking at a cottage door to beg for a drink of water, have been answered by a fair young elf-queen clad in living flowers. But before they could say anything, she sprang lightly up and over the lily-bowls, and ran laughing towards them; and as she ran her gown rustled softly like the wind in the flowering borders of a river."

"Absurdly simple, like most riddles when you see the answer."

"Advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run i'll."

"Adventures only make you late for dinner."

"Adventures are not all pony-rides in May-sunshine."

"After some time he felt for his pipe. It was not broken, and that was something. Then he felt for his pouch, and there was some tobacco in it, and that was something more. Then he felt for matches and he could not find any at all, and that shattered his hopes completely."

"After all, I believe that legends and myths are largely made of 'truth', and indeed present aspects of it that can only be received in this mode; and long ago certain truths and modes of this kind were discovered and must always reappear."