Some of my favorite quotes are funny, but a number of them fall in line with my #TruthInFiction philosophy, which posits that sometimes it takes a story to tell us some deep truth in a way that is more powerful and more memorable than simply saying, "This is true."
And yes, you'll notice that the Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who show up more than once. That should tell you something about them.
We're All Stories (Doctor Who)
This is one of my favorite quotes from Doctor Who, because it highlights the importance of each person's experience and choices. It seems to go well with another quote of his: "In 900 years of time and space, I've never met anyone who wasn't important."
Even the Smallest Person (Lord of the Rings)
Since I'm less than 5 feet tall, reminders that my worth is not based on my size are always welcome. We should never feel powerless or unimportant. Courage and integrity don't have a size.
But size isn't always the issue. A lot of the time, we limit our possibilities based on any number of factors. "I can't do it because I am..." Too quiet. Too loud. Too early. Too late. Too young. Too old.
My philosophy goes like this: Am I still breathing? Yes. Okay. Then I can still influence people, bless them, and give them hope. That could mean helping and serving them practically, raising awareness for an important issue, sending a note, making a phone call, or writing a book that will show life from a new perspective.
We each have the power to change the course of the future. How will you invest that power today?
The Best Weapons in the World (Doctor Who)
When the tenth Doctor and his pals find themselves fighting the shadowy Vashta Nerada in the episode "Silence in the Library," the Doctor announces that they are not without weapons.
When Abraham Lincoln met Harriet Beecher Stowe, author of Uncle Tom's Cabin, he reportedly remarked, "So you're the little one who wrote the book that started this great war." It was a bit of an overstatement--there were a lot of reasons for the Civil War--but the sense of his words had some truth.
Books change people, individually and as a society. The repressive regime burns books and stifles freedom of the press, while the lovers of truth establish libraries and promote literacy. Books truly are weapons.
The most read book in the entire world is the Holy Bible and it has literally changed history for thousands of years.
My father's whole life was changed by a book someone gave to him.
My life and philosophy was changed book by book, through my childhood and adulthood, and has given me the drive to be a writer for the rest of my life.
Want to change the world? You can do it with a book.
I Can Carry You (Lord of the Rings)
One of the most touching and powerful moments of The Return of the King is when Frodo loses heart, weakened by the Ring and unable even to crawl up the steep sides of Mount Doom to finish his quest. But Samwise was Frodo's courage, and when he saw that his friend was paralyzed by fear and weakness, he said these words:
Many times, I have watched someone I love wage a battle that took the heart right out of them. During those times, this line came to mind, and I battled with that loved one, praying for them, speaking words of encouragement to them, silently upholding them from the background until they could see hope again.
We can't carry everyone's burdens for them, but sometimes we can carry them. Who will you carry today?
I'm a Narnian (The Silver Chair)
My absolute favorite passage from the entire Chronicles of Narnia is the part in The Silver Chair when the travelers have become trapped in the Underworld, and the evil sorceress is casting enchantments to convince them that hers is the only world, and that the Overland is all a myth that they have been making up.
Puddleglum, Mr. Gloom and Doom of the company, shows sudden heroic bravery as he stamps out her magical fire with his bare foot and says this:
Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things--trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that's a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We're just babies making up a game, if you're right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That's why I'm going to stand by the play-world. I'm on Aslan's side even if there isn't any Aslan to lead it. I'm going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn't any Narnia.
This passage makes me want to shout with riotous victory. There is a Truth that is so true that it remains true whether anyone believes in it or not, and it often is seen as foolishness to those with worldly wisdom.
No matter what life throws at me, I want to have the heart of Puddleglum, the heart of a believing Narnian.
Why Should That Mean It Isn't Real? (Harry Potter)
When Harry talks with his mentor in a spiritual realm, just before Harry's climactic battle with his archenemy Voldemort, he questions the reality of the conversation itself. "Is this real? Or is this just happening inside my head?"
Dumbledore responds with this:
I love this quote because it validates everything we experience when we immerse ourselves in a story. The things that happen inside our heads do matter. They shape who we are, helps us make sense of our experiences, influence our future.
Thought and reality often become the same thing.
The Tales That Really Mattered (Lord of the Rings)
I read in an interview that Peter Jackson originally thought this scene might be too cheesy, but I'm so glad it made it through the final edit. For those of us who love stories, Samwise Gamgee speaks truth. Will your life story be a tale that really matters?
Bonus: Want more quotes? Read my past blog posts featuring:
What is your favorite science fiction or fantasy quote and what makes it special to you?