Jonathan Stroud quotes

  • And then, as if written by the hand of a bad novelist, an incredible thing happened.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Good Luck #Hands #Novelists

  • That did it. I'd gone through a lot in the past few days. Everyone I met seemed to want a piece of me: djinn, magicians, humans...it made no difference.I'd been summoned, manhandled, shot at, captured, constricted, bossed about and generally taken for granted. And now, to cap it all, this bloke is joining in too, when all I'd been doing was quietly trying to kill him.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Taken #Past #Differences

  • Much has happened since last we met, Bartimaeus," he went on. "Do you remember how we parted?" "No." I did. "You set light to me, old friend. Struck a match and left me burning in a copse." The crow shifted uneasily beneath the cleaver."That's a gesture of endearment in some cultures. Some hug, some kiss, some set each other on fire in small patches of woodland...
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Kissing #Fire #Light

  • Can you define "plan" as "a loose sequence of manifestly inadequate observations and conjectures, held together by panic, indecision, and ignorance"? If so, it was a very good plan.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Ignorance #Together #Panic

  • Pardon me, Highness, a women waits whithout." "Whithout what?
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Waiting #Pardon Me #Pardon

  • He was a worried man (I'm stretching the term a bit here, I know. By now, in his mid to late teens, he might just about have passed for a man. When seen from behind. At a distance. On a very dark night).
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Distance #Dark #Men

  • Hippo in a skirt: this was a comic reference to one of Solomon's principal wives, the one from Moab. Childish? Yes. But in the days before printing we had limited opportunities for satire.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Opportunity #Wife #Skirts

  • Me, I was still in the pygmy hippo in a skirt, singing lusty songs about Solomon's private life and a giant stone back and forth through the air as I climbed out of the quarry at the edge of the site.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Song #Air #Singing

  • It's the same with spirit guises; show me a sweet little choirboy or a smiling mother and I'll show you the hideous fanged strigoi it really is. (Not always. Just sometimes. *Your* mother is absolutely fine, for instance. Probably.)
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Mother #Sweet #Littles

  • Not bad in short, though the last one [understanding the language of animals], isn't half as useful as you might expect, since when all's said and done the language of the beasts tends to revolve around: a) the endless hunt for food, b) finding a warm bush to sleep in the evening, and c) the sporadic satisfication of certain glands. (Many would argue that the language of human kind boils down to this too)
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Sleep #Animal #Understanding

  • I warn you," the boy went on. "I am a magician of great power. I control many terrifying entities. This being you see before you" - here I rolled my shoulders back and puffed my chest up menacingly - "is but the meanest and least impressive of my slaves." (Here I slumped my shoulders and stuck my stomach out.)
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Boys #Slave #Shoulders

  • Then again, Solomon was human. And that meant he was flawed (Go on, take a look at yourself in the mirror. A good long look, if you can bear it. See? Flawed's putting it mildly, isn't it?)
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Mirrors #Long #Bears

  • Listen," I began, "this is an established,traditional form that-" "Traditional nothing.Where are your clothes?" "Clothes?" I said weakly. "I don't normally bother with them in this guise." "Well,you could put on a pair of shorts,at least.Your not decent." "I'm not sure they'd go with the wings..." The demon frowend,and blinked."Hold on,enough of this." "Lenderhosen would. They'd compliment the leather.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Wings #Clothes #Pairs

  • Fiftey years isn't too bad. With luck you might see it happen when your a sweet,old granny,dandling big fat babies on your knee. Actully"-he held up a hand,interrupting Kitty's cry of protest-"no,that's wrong. My projection is incorrect." "Good." "You'll never be a sweet old granny. Let's say,'sad,lonely old biddy' instead.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Lonely #Sweet #Baby

  • Most traditional ghost stories feature rather hapless protagonists, who have nasty things happen to them.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Ghost Stories #Nasty #Protagonists

  • That's usuаllу hоw thеу start, thе young оnеs. Meaningless waffle.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Waffles #Young #Meaningless

  • We grow up being told about great figures in our society, and as you get older you have to question the stories you've been told and decide if these great figures are indeed as great as you've been told.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Growing Up #Stories #Our Society

  • That's a gesture of endearment in some cultures. Some hug, some kiss, some set each other on fire in small patches of woodland
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Kissing #Fire #Hug

  • So I departed, leaving behind a pungent smell of brimstone. Just something to remember me by.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Smell #Leaving #Departed

  • Haven't you done enough for a lifetime? Think about it—two power—crazed magicians killed, a hundred power—crazed magicians saved…
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Thinking #Two #Done

  • I wanted to wake you straightaway, but I knew I had to wait several hours to ensure you were safely recovered." "What! How long has it been?" "Five minutes. I got bored.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Long #Bored #Waiting

  • The Amulet of Samarkand. It was Simon Lovelace's. Now it is yours. Soon it will be Simon Lovelace's again. Take it and enjoy the consequences.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Amulets #Samarkand #Enjoy

  • The afrit batted his eyelashes with a ostentatious lack of concern. "Indeed? Have you a name?" "A name?" I cried. "I have MANY names! I am Bartimaeus! I am Sakhr al-Jinni! I am N'gorso the Mighty and the Serpent of Silver Plumes!" I paused dramatically. The young man looked blank. "Nope never heard of you. Now if you'll just-
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Men #Eyelashes #Names

  • Zealots: Wild eyed persons afflicted with incurable certainty about the workings of the world, a certainty that can lead to violence when the world doesn't fit.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #World #Violence #Fit

  • Besides, if you're going to die horribly, you might as well do it with style.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Style #Might #Wells

  • The column hung above the middle of the pentacle, bubbling ever upward against the ceiling like the cloud of an erupting volcanoe. There was a barely perceptible pause. Then two yellow staring eyes materialized in the heart of the smoke. Hey, it was his first time. I wanted to scare him. And it did, too.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Eye #Heart #Two

  • What is a gathering without unseemly drunkenness?
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Gathering #Drunkenness

  • I had a chance at him now. Things were a bit more even. He knew my name, I knew his. He had six years' experience, I had five thousand and ten. That was the kind of odds that you could do something with.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Odds #Years #Names

  • There was a loud cough from the man on the stand. I replaced My Magic Mirror carefully on his tray, gave him a cheesy smile, and went my way.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Men #Mirrors #Cheesy

  • Believe me, I know all about bottle acoustics. I spent much of the sixth century in an old sesame oil jar, corked with wax, bobbing about in the Red Sea. No one heard my hollers. In the end an old fisherman set me free, by which time I was desperate enough to grant him several wishes. I erupted in the form of a smoking giant, did a few lightning bolts, and bent to ask him his desire. Poor old boy had dropped dead of a heart attack. There should be a moral there, but for the life of me I can't see one.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Believe #Heart #Boys

  • Check out that one at the end. He's taken the form of a footstool. Weird...but somehow I like his style." "That is a footstool.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Taken #Style #Checks

  • According to some, heroic deaths are admirable things. I've never been convinced by this argument, mainly because, no matter how cool, stylish, composed, unflappable, manly, or defiant you are, at the end of the day you're also dead. Which is a little too permanent for my liking.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #The End Of The Day #Matter #Littles

  • One magician demanded I show him an image of the love of his life. I rustled up a mirror.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Mirrors #Magician #Shows

  • A dozen more questions occurred to me. Not to mention twenty-two possible solutions to each one, sixteen resulting hypotheses and counter-theorems, eight abstract speculations, a quadrilateral equation, two axioms, and a limerick. That's raw intelligence for you.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Two #Eight #Sixteen

  • Freedom is an illusion. It always comes at a price.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Illusion

  • Hey, we've all got problems, chum. I'm overly talkative. You look like a field of buttercups in a suit.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Looks #Hey #Fields

  • Minor magicians take pains to fit this traditional wizardly bill. By contrast, the really powerful magicians take pleasure in looking like accountants.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Pain #Powerful #Bills

  • Did Lovelace's forces find you? Did Jabor break in?" He spoke slowly through clenched teeth. "I went to get a newspaper" This is getting better and better! I shook my head regretfully. "You should leave such a dangerous assignment to people better qualified: next time ask an old granny, or a toddler-
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #People #Get Better #Teeth

  • The mercenary finished his coffee in a single gulp, It must have been piping hot, too. Boy, he was tough.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Coffee #Boys #Hot

  • The Hermit was known to be pretty sniffy about disciples who returned in failure. There was a wall of the institute layered with their skins- an ingenious display that encouraged vigor in his students, as well as nicely keeping out the drafts.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Wall #Skins #Vigor

  • Literature offers the thrill of minds of great clarity wrestling with the endless problems and delights of being human. To engage with them is to engage with oneself, and the lasting rewards are not confined to specific career paths.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Wrestling #Careers #Mind

  • Long ago I dreamed of being a hero in your company" Halli said Huskily "I'm sorry to say your reality disappoints me
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Sorry #Hero #Reality

  • listen, a goad's anything that provokes or incites an enemy --- let me have a go: cursed deamon! you have met your end! the shivering fire awaits you! i shall spread your vile essance across this hall like... um, like margarine, a very think layer of it... --- ye-es... im not sure he'll pick up on that analogy. never mind, keep going.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Thinking #Fire #Mind

  • Her clarity gave her purpose and her purpose gave her clarity.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Purpose #Clarity

  • Jabor finally appeared at the top of the stairs, sparks of flame radiating from his body and igniting the fabric of the house around him. He caught sight of the boy, reached out his hand and stepped forward. And banged his head nicely on the low-slung attic door.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Boys #Flames #Hands

  • He was transfixed at the sight of the lords and ladies of his realm running about like demented chickens.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Running #Sight #Lords And Ladies

  • That's usually how they start, the young ones. Meaningless waffle.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Waffles #Young #Young Ones

  • Watch where you leave your victims! I stubbed my toe on that.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Watches #Toes #Victim

  • When I write something that would have made me laugh as a 10-year-old, or would have scared me or would have excited me, I know I'm onto something.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Writing #Years #Laughing

  • We communicated with pithy, rather monosyllabic thoughts: viz. Run, Jump, Where? Left, Up, Duck, ect. (This latter was an observation I made on the edge of a lake. Nathaniel unfortunately took it as a command, which resulted in our temporary immersion.) We didn't ever quite say Ug, but it was a close-run thing.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Running #Ducks #Lakes

  • As an author, you need to keep talking to your audience to remind yourself what they like and what they don't like. You spend most of your life locked in a room, and you need to be social occasionally.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Talking #Needs #Rooms

  • The important thing about any book is that you have to have a good story and that it has to be exciting. Then it's nice to add other levels underneath that people can pick up on.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Nice #Book #People

  • When I was young, I kept a diary for about 10 years and I had to write in it every day. Even on days when nothing seemed to happen, I made myself think of something to put in it.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Writing #Thinking #Years

  • Getting that first draft out is a horribly hard grind, but that (perversely) is where the joy of it lies.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Lying #Writing #Joy

  • I read a bit of the Icelandic sagas. They're fascinating in that they are completely ordinary. The farmer will go off into the hills and fight a troll, and then go back and do ordinary things. It's an odd mix of fantasy and reality.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Fighting #Reality #Ordinary

  • And sure enough,the youth in question was not his usual dapper self. His face was puffy, his eyes red and wild; his shirt(distressingly unbuttoned)hung over his trousers in sloppy fashion. All very out of charactar: Mandrake was normally defined by his rigid self-control. Somthing seemed to have stripped all that away. Well, the poor lad was emotionally brittle.He needed sympathetic handling. "You're a mess," I sneered "You've lost it big time. What's happened? All the guilt and self-loathing suddenly get to you? It can't just be that someone else called me, surly?
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Fashion #Eye #Self

  • Ah, you coward! Look at you, running." "Actually, it's called improvising.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Running #Coward #Looks

  • Burned and squashed to death in a silver vat of soup. There must be worst ways to go. But not many.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Soup #Way #Vat

  • Oh, the boots were on the other eight feet now.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Eight #Feet #Boots

  • A typical master. Right to the end, he didn’t give me a chance to get a word in edgeways. Which is a pity, because at that last moment I’d have liked to tell him what I thought of him. Mind you, since in that split second we were, to all intents and purposes, one and the same, I rather think he knew anyway.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Thinking #Giving #Mind

  • If anyone else asked that question, O He Who Is Terrible and Great, I would have said they were an ignorant fool; in you it is a sign of the disarming simplicity which is the fount of all virtue.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Simplicity #Ignorant #Fool

  • Julius Tallow was a fool. He appeared complacent, but like a weak swimmer out of his depth, his legs were kicking frantically under the surface, trying to keep him afloat. Whatever happened, Nathaniel did not intend to sink with him.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Trying #Fool #Depth

  • In recent weeks it has come to my attention that many caravans have met with disaster; they have not gotten through." I grunted wisely. "Probably ran out of water. That's the thing about deserts. Dry." "Indeed. A fascinating analysis. But survivors reaching Hebron report differently: monsters fell upon them in the wastes." "What, fell upon them in a squashed-them kind of way?" "More the leaped-out-and-slew-them kind. (...)
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Water #Desert #Attention

  • Despite his crimped shirts and flowing mane (or perhaps because of them) I had seen no evidence as yet that Nathaniel even knew what a girl was. If he'd ever met one, chances are they'd both have run screaming in opposite directions.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Girl #Running #Opposites

  • I rather think he knew anyway.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Thinking

  • What was it that drew you back? My marvellous personality, I suppose? Or my sparkling conversation?
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Personality #Conversation #Marvellous

  • The bristling eyebrows shot up in mock surprise. Mesmerized, the boy watched them disappear under the hanging thatch of white hair. There, almost coyly, they remained just out of sight for a moment, before suddenly descending with a terrible finality and weight.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Boys #White #Hair

  • Ambition is all very well, my lad, but you must cloak it.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Ambition #Cloaks #Wells

  • As a child I was really into fantasy books with elves and goblins and swords, and I went through a phase for a few years when I was reading endless series. But in the end I became totally fed-up with all these sub-Tolkien rip-offs because they all end up doing the same old things and there's no rigour to it.
    -- Jonathan Stroud

    #Children #Rip #Book