I love Diana Wynne Jones books.
One of the things I love about them (besides the brilliant humor, the original fantasy elements, the larger-than-life-characters, and the sheer un-pigeon-hole-able-ness of the books) is the writing.
I love those times when you run across a line and have to stop reading and sit back and stare unseeing at the universe, and think: “Wow.”
I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface, but here are a mere half a dozen of those gems, which personally impacted me or which I feel have something to say about life that we should listen to. 🙂
“There goes Mig with her happy endings again,” Chris said. But I don’t care. I like happy endings. And I asked Chris why something should be truer just because it’s unhappy. He couldn’t answer.
— from Aunt Maria
This one kind of sums up my thoughts on happy endings. XD I really believe that happy endings and eucatastrophe are important in fiction. Life has enough darkness and sorrow. Fiction — especially fantasy — is the place where one can have happy endings that give hope. I’ve often seen it said that happy endings or certain good things in fiction are “unrealistic”. My response is like Mig’s. Why should something be truer just because it’s unhappy?
“When you grow up to be an author and write books, you’ll think you’re making the books up, but they’ll all really be true, somewhere.”
— from Witch Week (Chrestomanci series)
I love this one! It really makes you think, you know? It’s one of the things that really fits with my work-in-progress novel I’m writing, The Other Half of Everything. It also seems to fit in quite well with Tolkien’s idea of a “Tree of Tales”, which he wrote about in his essay On Fairy Stories. I recently read The Game by Diana Wynne Jones, and this quote seems to fit with that too, with the idea of the Mythosphere in that book, where stories are really out there and really true.
“Only thin, weak thinkers despise fairy stories. Each one has a true, strange fact hidden in it, you know, which you can find if you look.”
— from Fire and Hemlock
This one was from Thomas Lynn, one of my favorite characters. I could probably do an entire post about Tom and his sayings in Fire and Hemlock, including one I often quote, about not leaving a book open, lying on its face (the poor thing’s in torment!). But this one is one of my favorites, and I agree with it. I mean, look at the true, strange facts I find in Diana Wynne Jones’ books! I think it’s true of all really good fantasy — real fairy stories.
“Only way I can do something this frightening is to tell myself I’m not doing it!”
— from Howl’s Moving Castle
I mentioned this quote in a guest post I did, all about my writing technique, Draft Zero. But it’s not the only thing I use this “Howling myself into things” method for! I just love this one, because I can apply it to most things I don’t want to do. It really taught me something about myself when I read that. I think many of us relate to Howl on this point more than we would like to admit… Or at least, that’s the case for me! 😉
“Can’t you treat yourself with a bit more consideration?”
“Why should I?” Mordion said […]
“Because you’re a person, of course!” Ann snapped at him. “One person ought to treat another person properly even if the person’s himself!”
“What a strange idea!” Mordion said.
— from Hexwood
This is a rather complex one. It goes on to say, later: “Ann had once more put her finger on something he did not want to think about.” And I’d say, yes, it’s one of those things that, like Mordion, I didn’t really want to think about — but it made me. And that’s one of the things about Diana Wynne Jones books, is they’ll do that to you.
How often am I simply too hard on myself about things, when I would never dream of treating another person that way — only myself? Because, well… I don’t matter, so that’s silly. But… well… it’s not. Because I’m a person too, and I ought to treat another person properly, even if the person’s myself.
And when I’m reading the book, I can see exactly why Mordion feels the way he does, because (not to go into spoilers) the villains are horrendous and Mordion was brought up a certain way, which is why he doesn’t see himself as a person, and it takes Ann snapping at him to make him see this and to realize he is one after all.
But the contrast between Mordion’s terrible life and my own ordinary one, with both of us feeling the same way, is startling, because I have absolutely no excuse, and yet I can see myself saying, with Mordion, “What a strange idea!” And Ann replied: “It’s not strange, it’s common sense!”
“I think we ought to live happily ever after.”
— from Howl’s Moving Castle
Of course this has to be included, last of all! 😉 I don’t think it needs much explaining . . . I can only say that I wholeheartedly agree, Howl!
(All quote images were designed by me, using free images.)
I’m posting this in honor of March Magics 2018, hosted by Kate @ We Be Reading.
What are some of your favorite quotes, from Diana Wynne Jones or otherwise? And what do you think of these? Thanks for reading! ^_^