Tolkien Quotable Quotes

"I don't know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve." (LOTR, 29).


"A mortal, Frodo, who keeps on of the Great Rings, does not die, but he does not grow or obtain more life, he merely continues, until as last every minute is a weariness. And if he often uses the Ring to make himself invisible, he fades; he becomes in the end invisible permanently, and walks in the twilight under the eye of the dark power that rules the Rings. Yes, sooner or later--later, if he is strong or well-meaning to begin with, but neither strength nor good purpose will last--sooner or later the dark power will devour him" (LOTR 46).


"Ever since Bilbo left I have been deeply concerned about you, and about all these charming, absurd, helpless hobbits. It would be a grievous blow to the world, if the Dark Power overcame the Shire; if all your kind, jolly, stupid Bolgers, Hornblowers, Boffins, Bracegirdles, and the rest, not to mention the ridiculous Baggineses, became enslaved" (LOTR 48).


"Three Rings for Elven-kings under the sky,

Seven for the Dwarf Lords in their halls of stone,

Nine for Mortal Men doomed to die,

One for the Dark Lord on his dark throne

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.

One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,

One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them

In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie" (LOTR, 49)

"Always after a defeat and a respite, the Shadow takes another shape and grows again." (pg. 50) (Gandalf speaking of Sauron to Frodo)

"All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us" (LOTR, 50).

"It is his great hope and our great fear." (Gandalf speaking of the Ring and Sauron to Frodo) (pg. 51)

"Even Gollum was not wholly ruined. He had proven tougher than even one of the Wise would have guessed- as a hobbit might. There was a little corner of his mind that was still his own, and light came through it, as through a chink in the dark: light out of the past. (pg. 53) (Gandalf speaking to Frodo)

"I can put it no plainer than by saying that Bilbo was meant to find the Ring, and not by its maker." (Gandalf speaking to Frodo) (pg. 55)

"Many that live deserve death. And some that die deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then do not be too eager to deal out death in judgment. For even the very wise cannot see all ends. " (Gandalf speaking to Frodo) (pg. 58)

"Why was I chosen?"
"Such questions cannot be answered. You may be sure that it was not for any merit that others do not possess: not for power or wisdom, at any rate. But you have been chosen, and you must therefore use such strength and heart and wits as you have." (Gandalf speaking to Frodo) (pg. 60)

"No!" cried Gandalf, springing to his feet. "With that power I should have power too great and terrible. And over me the Ring would gain a power still greater and more deadly." His eyes flashed and his face was lit by a fire within. "Do not tempt me! For I do not wish to become like the Dark Lord himself. Yet the way of the Ring to my heart is by pity, pity for weakness and the desire of strength to do good." (Gandalf to Frodo) (pg. 60)

"What is to be my quest? Bilbo went to find a treasure, there and back again; but I go to lose one, and not return, as far as I can see." (Frodo to Gandalf) (pg. 65)

"But it is not your own shire. Others dwelt here before hobbits were; and others will dwell here again when hobbits are no more. The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot for ever fence it out." (Gildor to Frodo) (pg. 83)

"Courage is found in unlikely places." (Gildor to Frodo) (pg. 83)

"Elves seldom give unguarded advice, for advice is a dangerous gift, even from the wise to the wise, and all courses may run ill." (Gildor to Frodo) (pg. 83)

"Oh! That was poetry! Do you really mean to start before the break of day?" (Pippin to Frodo after he sang a song about leaving before the break of day, then finding out they were really going to) (pg. 104)

"There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the fattest and most timid hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow." (pg. 137) (narrative)

Sing hey! for the bath at close of day

that washes the weary mud away!

A loon is he that will not sing

O! Water Hot is a noble thing!


O! Sweet is the sound of falling rain,

and the brook that leaps from hill to plain;

but better than rain or rippling streams

is Water Hot that smokes and steams.


O! Water cold we may pour at need

down a thirsty throat and be glad indeed;

but better is Beer, if drink we lack,

and Water Hot poured down the back.


O! Water is fair that leaps on high

in a fountain white beneath the sky;

but never did fountain sound so sweet

as splashing Hot Water with my feet!

(LOTR, 99)

"But handsome is as handsome does." (Pippin to Strider) (pg. 167)

"All that is gold does not glitter,
Not all those who wonder are lost;
The old that is strong does not wither,
Deep roots are not reached by the frost.
From the ashes a fire shall be woken,
A light from the shadows shall spring;
Renewed shall be blade that was broken,
The crownless again shall be king."
(Gandalf's note to Frodo, referring to Aragorn) (pg. 167)

"May your beer be laid uder an enchantment of surpassing excellence for seven years!" said I. (LOTR 257).

'Despair, or folly?' said Gandalf. 'It is not despair, for despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt. We do not. It is wisdom to recognize necessity, when all other courses have been weighed, though as folly it may appear to those who cling to fase hope. Well, let folly be our cloak, a veil before the eyes of the Enemy! (LOTR, 262).

"At least for a while,' said Elrond. 'The road must be trod, but it will be very hard. And neither strength nor wisdom will carry us far upon it. This quest may be attempted by the weak with as much hope as the strong. Yet such is oft the course of deeds that move the wheels of the world: small hands do them because they must, while the eyes of the great are elsewhere'" (LOTR, 262).


'"This is the hour of the Shire-folk, when they arise from their quiet fields to shake the towers and counsels of the Great. Who of all the Wise could have foreseen it? Or, if they are wise, why should they expect to know it, until the hour is struck?'" (LOTR, 264).


"The treacherous are ever distrustful"

(LOTR, 568)

"War must be, while we defend our lives against a destroyer who would devour all; but I do not love the bright sword for its sharpness, nor the arrow for its swiftness, nor the warrior for his glory. I love only that which they defend: the city of the Men of Numenor; and I would have her loved for her memory, her acientry, her beauty, and her present wisdom. Nor feared, save as men may fear the dignity of a man, old and wise (LOTR, 656)

"'Don't trust your head, Samwise, it is not the best part of you'" (LOTR, 723).


"Yet suddenly for Farmir his heart was strangely moved with a feeling that he had not known before. Here was one with an air of high nobility such as Aragorn at times revealed, less high perhaps, yet also less incalculable and remote: one of the Kings of Men born into a later time, but touched with the wisdom and sadness of the Elder Race. He knew now why Beregond spoke his name with love. He was a captain that men would follow, that he would follow, even under the shadow of the black wings" (LOTR, 792).

"Let us remember that a traitor may betray himself and do good that he does not intend. It can be so, sometimes" (LOTR, 797)

"Work of the Enemy!" said Gandalf. "Such deeds he loves: friend at war with friend; loyalty divided in confusion of hearts" (LOTR, 833).

"Would that there were kings in Gondor, as there were once upon a time, they say! For it is said in old lore: The hands of the king are the hands of a healer. And so the rightful king could ever be known" (LOTR, 842).

"'Well now! Who would have believed it?' said Ioreth to a woman that stood beside her. 'The weed is better than I thought" (LOTR, 847).

"It is best to love first what you are fitted to love, I suppose: you must start somewhere and have some roots, and the soil of the Shire is deep. Still there are things deeper and higher; and not a gaffer could tend his garden in what he calls peace but for them, whether he knows about them or not. I am glad that I know about them, a little" (LOTR, 852)

"Oft Hope is born when all is forlorn" (LOTR, 859).

"Follow what may, great deeds are not lessened in worth" (LOTR, 859)

"'Hardly has our strength sufficed to beat off the first great assault. The next will be greater. This war then is without final hope, as Denethor perceived. Victory cannot be achieved by arms, whether you sit here to endure siege after siege, or march out to be overwhelmed beyond the River. You have only a choice of evils; and prudence would counsel you to strengthen such places as you have, and there await the onset; for so shall the time before your end be made a little longer'" (LOTR, 860).

"I said this would be prudent. I do not council prudence. I said victory could not be achieved by arms. I still hope for victory, but not by arms" (LOTR, 860)

"Other evils there are that may come, for Sauron is himself but a servant or emissary. Yet it is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule" (LOTR, 861).

"If this be jest, then it is too bitter for laughter." (LOTR, 864).

"Then he drew Anduril and held it up glittering in the sun. 'You shall not be sheathed again until the last battle is fought,' he said" (LOTR, 864).

  "Already the Ring tempted him, gnawing at his will and reason.  Wild  fantasies arose in his mind; and he saw Samwise the Strong, Hero of the Age, striding with a flaming sword across the darkened land, and armies flocking to his call as he marched to the overthrow of Barad-Dur.  And
then all the clouds rolled away, and the white sun shone, and at his command the vale of Gorgoroth became a garden of flowers and trees and brought forth fruit.  He had only to put on the Ring and claim it for his own, and all this could be. In that hour of trial it was the love of his master that helped most to hold him firm; but also deep down in him lived still unconquered his plain hobbit-sense: he knew in the core of his heart that he was not large enough to bear such a burden, even if such visions were not a mere cheat to betray him.  The one small garden of a free gardener was all his need and due, not a garden swollen to a realm; his own hands to use, not the hands of others to command" (LOTR, 880-881).

"The lembas had a virtue without which they would long ago have lain down to die. It did not satisfy desire, and at times Sam’s mind was filled with the memories of food, and the longing for simple bread and meats. And yet this waybread of the Elves had a potency that increased as travelers relied on it alone and did not mingle it with other foods. It fed the will, and it gave strength to endure, and to master sinew and limb beyond the measure of mortal kind" (LOTR p. 915).

"'Come, Mr. Frodo!' he cried. 'I can't carry it for you, but I can carry you and it as well. So up you get! Come on, Mr. Frodo dear! Sam will give you a ride. Just tell him where to go and he'll go'" (LOTR, 917).

"But," said Sam, and tears started in his eyes, "I thought you were going to enjoy the Shire, too, for years and years, after all you have done."

"So I thought too, once. But I have been too deeply hurt, Sam. I tried to save the Shire, and it has been saved, but not for me. It must often be so, Sam, when things are in danger: some one has to give them up, lose them, so that others may keep them" (LOTR, 1006).

"He drew a deep breath. "Well, I'm back," he said. (LOTR, 1008).

© Hank Edmondson 2012