“Kids can handle a lot more than you think they can. It's when they get to be grown up that you have to start worrying.”
“I believe that the world isn't always what we can see...I believe there are secrets in the woods. And I believe that goodness wins out...So, if someone's changed overnight - by witch curse or poison apple or were-turtle - you have to show them what's good. You show them love. That works a surprising amount of the time.”
“It’s all going to be okay. She would like to hear that now, even if it was a lie. Because some lies are beautiful. Stories do not tell you that.”
“A boy got a splinter in his eye, and his heart turned cold. Only two people noticed. One was a witch, and she took him for her own. The other was his best friend. And she went after him in ill-considered shoes, brave and completely unprepared.”
“Hazel had read enough books to know that a line like this one is the line down which your life breaks in two. And you have to think very carefully about whether you want to cross it, because once you do it’s very hard to get back to the world you left behind. And sometimes you break a barrier that no one knew existed, and then everything you knew before crossing the line is gone.
But sometimes you have a friend to rescue. And so you take a deep breath and then step over the line and into the darkness ahead.”
“Her father said she was a princess. He did not see that she was a brave knight.”
“She'd read once that if you ran into a bear in the woods you should avoid eye contact and you shouldn't run away, but all she knew about wolves is that you should never tell them how to find your grandmother's house.”
“In woods where the woodsmen told lies, maybe it was the wolves who told the truth.”
“She looked at her shelves, filled with books in which the bad stuff that happened to people was caused by things like witches who lured people into the woods. In a weird way, the world seemed to make more sense that way.”
“Now, the world is more than it seems to be. You know this, of course, because you read stories. You understand that there is the surface and then there are all the things that glimmer and shift underneath it. And you know that not everyone believes in those things, that there are people—a great many people—who believe the world cannot be any more than what they can see with their eyes. But we know better.”
“This is nothing. And you are nothing.
She took another step, and stumbled. The ground was plummeting downward now.
You are nothing. There was a starving girl. You gave her things and then left her like a beggar on the street, and for what?
There was a couple in the cottage. You could have given them something, but you left. And for what?
There was a dancing girl in the marketplace. You could have helped her, but you left. And for what?
There was a boy and his bird sister. He helped you, and you gave him nothing.
There was a swanskin, and you thought it might make you beautiful.
There were red shoes, and you thought they might make you graceful.
There was a threshold and a magical woods, and you thought they might make you a hero.
There was a boy, and he was your best friend.
Your father left you. You left your mother.
Come, the wind said, and I will blow you away.
Come, the snow said, and I will bury you.
Come, the cold said, and I will embrace you.
And so she did.”
“It snowed right before Jack stopped talking to Hazel, fluffy white flakes big enough to show their crystal architecture, like perfect geometric poems.”
“She understood. They were plastic flowers of words—but they looked nice on the surface.”
“But I can tell you this,” he continued. “The white witch doesn’t feel things the way we do, do you understand? She’s all ice. That is her whole point.”
A palace of ice and a heart to match. “I don’t understand. Why would people go looking for her? Why would they want to go with her?”
Ben sat back. He looked at Hazel searchingly, sadly. His shoulders rose and fell. “Sometimes,” he said slowly, “it seems like it would be easier to give yourself to the ice.”
“Jack believed in something—he believed in white witches and sleighs pulled by wolves, and in the world the trees obscured. He believed that there were better things in the woods. He believed in palaces of ice and hearts to match. Hazel had, too. Hazel had believed in woodsmen and magic shoes and swanskins and the easy magic of a compass. She had believed that because someone needing saving they were savable. She had believed in these things, but not anymore. And this is why she had to rescue Jack, even though he might not hear what she had to tell him.”
“It’s a plié. You do it on all the positions. It’s very good for dramatic moments.”
“Jack was the only person she knew with an imagination, at least a real one. The only tea parties he’d have were ones in Wonderland, or the Arctic, or in the darkest reaches of space. He was the only person who saw things for what they could be instead of just what they were. He saw what lived beyond the edges of the things your eyes took in. And though they eventually grew out of Wonderland Arctic space-people tea parties, that essential thing remained the same. Hazel fit with Jack.”
“I believe that the world isn’t always what we can see,” he said. “I believe there are secrets in the woods. And I believe that goodness wins out.” He gave Hazel a serious look. “So, if someone’s changed overnight—by witch curse or poison apple or were-turtle—you have to show them what’s good. You show them love. That works a surprising amount of the time. And if that doesn’t save them, they’re not worth saving.”
“She'd been to Narnia, Wonderland, Hogwarts, Dictionopolis. She had tessered, fallen through the rabbit hole, crossed the ice bridge into the unknown world beyond.”
“There were so many Jacks she had known, and he had known so many Hazels. And maybe she wasn't going to be able to know all the Jacks that there would be. But all the Hazels that ever would be would have Jack in them, somewhere.”
“Now, Hazel was not stupid. She knew that just because you see a piece of cake and a sign that says EAT ME doesn’t mean you should actually do it. And just because two giant ravens point you in the direction of a path doesn’t mean you should take it. But it was the only path she had.”
“Hazel understood. Being grown up meant doing what grown-ups wanted you to do. it meant sacrificing your imagination for rules. It meant sitting quietly in you chair while your best friend is helicoptered off for emergency eye surgery. It meant letting people say whatever they wanted to you.”
“Hazel knew her mother really meant I hope there is something you were dying to do at school today, that you are learning to love it there, and if you are not learning to love it there, can you please try harder? Because her mom seemed to think it was the sort of thing Hazel could choose to do, like she could choose to understand the rules when they weren’t even written in her language, like she could choose to make herself fit when she was so clearly shaped all wrong.”
“She didn’t know the answer. But there had to be a way. There was always a way.”
“She could have taken root. She wanted to be a Rose, somebody’s Rose, their Rose—and she would have been company for the flowers. She had new memories to give them, new people to tell them of, people who would help tend to them and keep them. But they warned her. They saved her.
Hazel was nobody’s Rose. For better or for worse.”
“People feared snowstorms once. Hazel read about this all the time. Pioneers opened their front doors and saw they’d been entombed in snow overnight. They walked across malevolent swirling whiteness and did not know if they would survive. Nature can destroy us in a blink. We live on only at its pleasure.
That was what looking at the witch was like.”
“Jack hesitated still, and Hazel wanted to say something comforting, give him some bright plastic flowers of words, but Jack would see them for what they were. Jack knew how to see things.”
“The house felt strange. Altered. Like someone had come in during the day and shrunk all the furniture just a tiny bit.”
“We’re starting with the villain,” Martin interjected. “Because they are the most fun.”
“He remembered that part like you’d remember a story someone told to you once, like you might nod in sympathy but it wasn’t like it happened to you.”
“He is a perfect genius, god and devil combined, the greatest marvel of the age.”
“Project Johnathon Lee Ashfield, AKA Sade. That answered a lot for Mercy.”
“Nothing, I had come to believe by the end, was more illusory than the idea of ending.”
“If you’re the first of November, you’re Scorpio. A large reporter of his owne Acts. Prudent of behaviour in owne affairs. A lover of Quarrels and theevery, a promoter of frayes and commotions. As wavery as the wind; neither fearing God or caring for Man.’
‘Better,’ said Lymond coldly, ‘to be stung by a nettle than pricked by a rose.”
“Mine. He was mine, and not even death would take him from me—not if I could help it.”
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