Good morning and welcome to this week’s edition of Top 5 Tuesday! Last week was a ton of fun, and this week promises to almost one-up it. The only rule for this week’s list was “No spoilers,” which I think should be relatively easy to follow. Let’s see, then.
As always, we’re hosted by Shanah @ Bionic Book Worm, and it’s always good to take a look around there and see what others have written on their blogs about this topic.
The Return of the King by JRR Tolkien
“Well, I’m back,” he said.
Is there anyone more brave than Samwise Gamgee? He gave up everything he knew in the world to follow his friend Frodo on a dangerous trip across the world to destroy the One Ring. He is the only person to have carried the Ring and given it up willingly, the only person the Ring was unable to corrupt. Tolkien himself has even said that Sam is the true hero of the story. If it wasn’t for him, Frodo wouldn’t have gotten anywhere near Mount Doom. Sam Gamgee is the type of man (er, Hobbit) that anyone should want to marry. He’s the “he” in this particular ending line, coming back to the Shire after the very end of his adventures, to live out the rest of his days with his wife and his children. It’s a very satisfying ending overall.
The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
I know there are so many people out there who don’t like The Great Gatsby. And I understand. I didn’t like it the first time I read it, when I was forced to do so for either eleventh or twelfth grade in high school. Now, though, years and years removed from that particular English classroom, I find the last line particularly striking. All we can do is try and fight against the current, lest we continue in the same matter as we always have.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
*** A LAST NOTE FROM YOUR NARRATOR ***
I am haunted by humans
Honestly, though, was there ever any doubt? I put it on the great first lines list, and therefore I had to put it here on the great last lines list. So much happened between those first and last lines, and if you have any emotions at all, they were probably wrecked in those in-between pages. Remember, the narrator of this particular book is Death itself, and if Death is haunted by humans…what does that mean?
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
“Well, I would like to make another trip,” he said, jumping to his feet; “but I really don’t know when I’ll have the time. There’s just so much to do right here.”
There are so many beautiful lines in The Phantom Tollbooth, but it’s the last line that really gets me. It shows that Milo learned something on his journey, and that something that he learned can be transferred to all the readers of his book. “There’s so much to do right here.” And there is. While your imagination is a great place to be, there is always more to do once you come back to reality. I think it’s just such a great final line.
Grendel by John Gardner
“Poor Grendel’s had an accident,” I whisper. “So may you all.”
Honestly, this one quote probably proves just how much of a nerd I am. I absolutely love Beowulf, and I was made to read Grendel my senior year of high school after finishing the original. (My teacher also told us to take a black marker and black out all the “naughty words” in the book… I did not.) It shows the story of Beowulf from the monster’s view, and ends with Grendel’s death. (Sorry, that’s not a spoiler, because Beowulf has literally been out for centuries and it’s on pretty much every school system’s required reading list.) We know what happens after Grendel returns to his swamp after his battle with Beowulf — we know what happens next. But Grendel does not know the future, and lays a curse upon Hrothgar’s hall. It’s a very interesting book, and the final lines bring it all together with the original material.
There are so many beautiful books out there, and I really didn’t know how to choose the lines I wanted. There were many, many more I wanted to add, and I’m sure that as I read through the rest of the Top 5 Tuesday posts, I’ll find more that completely skipped my mind. That’s okay, though. I attempted to put some books on this list that others probably wouldn’t think of (although I’m sure The Book Thief and Return of the King will be quoted on numerous others).
I hope this list encourages you to read to the end of your books, to discover what’s waiting just beyond that final page. There’s always more to a story, and it’s up to us to discover it.
What do you think of my list? Do you agree that these are some incredible lines, or do you have something else you would add to it? Let me know in the comments!
And as always, keep reading.
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