The Two Towers

J. R. R. Tolkien

Gimli ground his teeth. "This is a better end to our hope and to all our toil!" he said.

"To hope, maybe, but not to toil," said Aragorn. "We shall not turn back here."

"Do we walk in legends or on the green earth in the daylight?"

"A man may do both," said Aragorn. "For not we but those who come after will make the legends of our time."

When the great fall, the less must lead.

"How shall a man judge what to do in such times?"

"As he ever has judged," said Aragorn. "Good and ill have not changed since yesteryear; nor are they one thing among Elves and Dwarves and another among Men. It is a man's part to discern them."

The counsel of Gandalf was not founded on foreknowledge of safety, for himself or for others. There are some things that it is better to begin than to refuse, even though the end may be dark.

Men have made [fables] as true knowledge fades.

Real names tell you the story of the things they belong to in my language... It is a lovely language, but it takes a very long time to say anything in it, because we do not say anything in it, unless it is worth taking a long time to say, and to listen to.

Sheep get like shepherd, and shepherds like sheep; but slowly, and neither have long in the world.

I do not understand all that goes on myself, so I cannot explain it to you.

But I spoke hastily. We must not be hasty. I have become too hot. I must cool myself and think; for it is easier to shout stop! than to do it.

Songs like trees bear fruit only in their own time and their own way: and sometimes they are withered untimely.

I have forgotten much that I thought I knew, and learned again much that I had forgotten. I can see many things far off, but many things that are close at hand I cannot see.

A habit of the old: they choose the wisest person present to speak to; the long explanations needed by the young are wearying.

He that strikes the first blow, if he strikes it hard enough, may need to strike no more.

I have spoken words of hope. But only of hope. Hope is not victory.

Seldom does thief ride home to the stable.

A king will have his way in his own hall, be it folly or wisdom.

In two ways may a man come with evil tidings. He may be a worker of evil; or he may be such as leaves well alone, and comes only to bring aid in time of need.

The wise speak only of what they know.

Oft the unbidden guest proves the best company.

One who cannot cast away a treasure at need is in fetters.

The treacherous are ever distrustful.

Perilous to us all are the devices of an art deeper than we possess ourselves.

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 praise of the praiseworthy is above all rewards.

It seems less evil to counsel another man to break troth than to do so oneself, especially if one sees a friend bound unwitting to his own harm.

We shouldn't be here at all, if we'd known more about it when we started. But I suppose it's often that way. The brave things in the old tales and songs: adventures, as I used to call them. I used to think that they were things the wonderful folk of the stories went out and looked for, because they wanted them, because they were exciting and life was a bit dull, a kind of a sport, as you might say. But that's not the way of it with the tales that really mattered, or the ones that stay in the mind. Folk seem to have been just landed in them, usually—their paths were laid that way, as you put it. But I expect they had lots of chances, like us, of turning back, only they didn't. And if they had, we shouldn't know, because they'd have been forgotten. We hear about those as just went on—and not all to a good end, mind you; at least not to what folk inside a story and not outside it call a good end.

"Don't the great tales never end?"

"No, they never end as tales," said Frodo. "But the people in them come, and go when their part's ended. Our part will end later—or sooner."