Literary Quotations
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MARION ZIMMER BRADLEY QUOTES


The Mists of Avalon (1983)

If you seek to avoid your fate or to delay suffering, it only condemns you to suffer it redoubled in another life.

--Book One, Chapter 2

They tell us in the temple that true joy is found only in freedom from the Wheel that is death and rebirth, that we must come to despise earthly joy and suffering, and long only for the peace of the presence of the eternal. Yet I love this life on Earth, Morgan, and I love you with a love that is stronger than death, and if sin is the price of binding us together, life after life across the ages, then I will sin joyfully and without regret, so that it brings me back to you, my beloved!

--Book One, Chapter 4

From the talk she heard in the hall before they went, she knew he was hoping to ambush Uther's invading army as it came down from the moors into the valley. And all this for what he called honor; he would deprive all Britain of her High King, leave the land naked like a woman to be ravished by the Saxon hordes--all because he was not man enough for his wife and feared that Uther would be.

--Book One, Chapter 7

What good are dreams, except perhaps to you ladies in your great houses, not much good to those of us who wander the roads in the fog.

--Book One, Chapter 7

In sleep the soul left the body and went to the country of dreams, where all was illusion and folly, and sometimes ... truth.

--Book One, Chapter 7

The magic of Avalon never changes ... The mist and the reeds and the cry of water birds ... and then the barge, like magic, gliding from the silent shore ... I know there is nothing for me here, and yet, somehow, I always return.

--Book One, Chapter 12

With beasts you always know precisely what they think, for they cannot lie, nor pretend to be other than they are.

--Book One, Chapter 12

[Gwenhwyfar] was young and dazzlingly pretty; she seemed all white and gold, her skin pale as ivory just stained with coral, her eyes palest blue, her hair long and pale and shining through the mist like living gold. She wore a long white dress which she was trying unsuccessfully to hold out of the water. And somehow she seemed to shed tears without any ugly distortion of her face, so that, weeping, she only looked prettier than ever.

--Book One, Chapter 12

The common people's beliefs about the face of the Gods were symbols which these people at the current state of their evolution, needed to visualize the great truths. Some day all men and women would know the inner truths, but now they needed them not.

--Book One, Chapter 14

Whatever we may do to try to shape our destiny, the end is with the Gods.

--Book Two, Chapter 6

It makes no difference what words we use to tell the same truths.

--Book Two, Chapter 6

He held her gently against him, still stroking her. "Hush, no, hush, Morgaine, wait, no more now--I do not want to hurt or dishonor you, never think that--here, lie here by me, let me hold you, I will content you..." and in despair and confusion she let him do what he would, but even while her body cried out for the pleasure he gave her, a curious anger was growing. What of the flow of life between their two bodies, male and female, the tides of the Goddess rising and compelling them? Somehow it seemed to her that he was stemming that tide, that he was making her love for him a mockery and a game, a pretense. And he did not seem to mind, it seemed to him that this was the way it should be, so that they were both pleasured ... as if nothing mattered but their bodies, that there was no greater joining with all of life. To the priestess, reared in Avalon and attuned to the greater tides of life and eternity, this careful, sensuous, deliberate lovemaking seemed almost blasphemy, a refusal to give themselves up to the will of the Goddess.

--Book Two, Chapter 8

Religions may come and go, as the Romans found and no doubt the Christians will find after them.

--Book Two, Chapter 10

A king must protect his people from outsiders, from invaders, and lead his people to defend themselves--a king must be the first to thrust himself between the land and all danger, just as a farmer stands to defend his fields from any robber. But it is not his duty to dictate to them what their innermost hearts may do.

--Book Two, Chapter 15

Morgaine took off the headcloth with which she covered her hair, and Gwenhwyfar thought suddenly that Morgaine was beautiful. Morgaine was older than Gwenhwyfar- she must be past thirty; but she looked no older than when Gwenhwyfar had first seen her... it was no wonder all men thought her a sorceress! She wore a fine-spun gown of dark blue wool, very plain, but colored ribbons were braided into her hair, which was looped about her ears and fastened with a gold pin. Next to her, Gwenhwyfar felt dull as a hen, a simple housekeeping woman, even though she was High Queen, and Morgaine only a heathen duchess.

--Book Two, Chapter 17

Royal blood alone makes not a king, but courage, and wisdom, and farsightedness.

--Book Three, Chapter 1

Knowledge was like a mouthful of dust.

--Book Three, Chapter 2

There seems to be a deep change in the way men now look at the world, as if one truth should drive out another--as if whatever is not their truth, must be falsehood.

--Book Four, Chapter 7

She turned her face toward the guesthouse. Should she go there and breakfast with the nuns, speak perhaps of the old days at Camelot? Morgaine smiled gently. No. She was filled with the same tenderness for them as for the budding apple tree, but that time was passed. She turned her back on the convent, and walked down to the Lake, along the old path by the shore. Here was a place where the veil lying between the worlds was thin. She needed no longer to summon the barge- she need only step through the mists here, and be in Avalon. Her work was done.

--Book Four, Chapter 17