Quotes from The Tombs of Atuan

Ursula K. Le Guin ·  180 pages

Rating: (71.1K votes)


“Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“Do you know how to read?"
"No. It is one of the black arts."
He nodded. "But a useful one," he said.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“Living, being in the world, was a much greater and stranger thing than she had ever dreamed.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“They have nothing to give. They have no power of making. All their power is to darken and destroy. They cannot leave this place; they are this place; and it should be left to them. They should not be denied nor forgotten, but neither should they be worshiped. The Earth is beautiful, and bright, and kindly, but that is not all. The Earth is also terrible, and dark, and cruel. The rabbit shrieks dying in the green meadows. The mountains clench their great hands full of hidden fire. There are sharks in the sea, and there is cruelty in men’s eyes. And where men worship these things and abase themselves before them, there evil breeds; there places are made in the world where darkness gathers, places given over wholly to the Ones whom we call Nameless, the ancient and holy Powers of the Earth before the Light, the powers of the dark, of ruin, of madness… I think they drove your priestess Kossil mad a long time ago; I think she has prowled these caverns as she prowls the labyrinth of her own self, and now she cannot see the daylight any more. She tells you that the Nameless Ones are dead; only a lost soul, lost to truth, could believe that. They exist. But they are not your Masters. They never were. You are free, Tenar. You were taught to be a slave, but you have broken free.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“The Earth is beautiful, and bright, and kindly, but that is not all. The Earth is also terrible, and dark, and cruel. The rabbit shrieks dying in the green meadows. The mountains clench their great hands full of hidden fire. There are sharks in the sea, and there is cruelty in men’s eyes.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan



“What she had begun to learn was the weight of liberty. Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“A dark hand had let go its lifelong hold upon her heart. But she did not feel joy, as she had in the mountains. She put her head down in her arms and cried, and her cheeks were salt and wet. She cried for the waste of her years in bondage to a useless evil. She wept in pain, because she was free.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“How do I know," she said at last, "that you are what you seem to be?"
"You don't," Said he. "I don't know what I seem, to you.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“To be reborn one must die, Tenar. It is not so hard as it looks from the other side.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“my heart told me incontrovertibly that neither gender could go far without the other. So, in my story, neither the woman nor the man can get free without the other.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan



“Her despair grew so great that it burst her breast open and like a bird of fire shattered the stone and broke out into the light of day--the light of day, faint in her windowless room.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“He laid his hands on her head, pushing back the hood. He began to speak. His voice was soft, and the words were in no tongue she had ever heard. The sound of them came into her heart like rain falling. She grew still to listen.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“...You have knowledge, and I have skill, and between us we have..."
"We have the Ring of Erreth-Akbe."
"Yes, that. But I thought also of another thing between us. Call it trust... That is one of its names. It is a very great thing. Though each of us alone is weak, having that we are strong, stronger than the Powers of the Dark.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“Am I supposed to feel so much awe and so on about the Godking? After all, he's just a man ... He's about fifty years old, and he's bald. And I'll bet he has to cut his toenails too like any other man. I know perfectly well he's a god, too. But what I think is, he'll be much godlier after he's dead.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“The heavy black she had worn for years was gone; her dress was of turquoise-colored silk, bright and soft as the evening sky. It belled out full from her hips, and all the skirt was embroidered with thin silver threads and seed pearls and tiny crumbs of crystal, so that it glittered softly, like rain in April. She looked at the magician, speechless. “Do you like it?” “Where—” “It’s like a gown I saw a princess wear once, at the Feast of Sun-return in the New Palace in Havnor,” he said, looking at it with satisfaction. “You told me to show you something worth seeing. I show you yourself.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan



“He was one whose power was akin to, and as strong as, the Old Powers of the earth; one who talked with dragons, and held off earthquakes with his word. And there he lay asleep on the dirt, with a little thistle growing by his hand. It was very strange. Living, being in the world, was a much greater and stranger thing than she had ever dreamed. The glory of the sky touched his dusty hair, and turned the thistle gold for a little while.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“There's a great maze of tunnels, a Labyrinth. It's like a great dark city, under the hill. Full of gold, and the swords of old heroes, and old crowns, and bones, and years, and silence.'
She spoke if in trance, rapture. Manan watched her. His slabby face never expressed much but stolid, careful sadness; it was sadder than usual now. 'Well, and you're mistress of all that,' he said. 'The silence, and the dark.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“Dragons think we are amusing. But they remember Erreth-Akbe. They speak of him as if he were a dragon, not a man.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“They have no gods. They work magic, and think they are gods themselves. But they are not. And when they die, they (...) become dust and bone, and their ghosts whine on the wind a little while till the wind blows them away. They do not have immortal souls.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“They exist. But they are not your Masters. They never were. You are free, Tenar. You were taught to be a slave, but you have broken free.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan



“You are like a lantern swathed and covered, hidden away in a dark place. Yet the light shines; they could not put out the light. They could not hide you.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“What she had begun to learn was the weight of liberty. Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward toward the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“Tenar, I go where I am sent. I follow my calling. It has not yet let me stay in any land for long. Do you see that? I do what I must do. Where I go, I must go alone. So long as you need me, I’ll be with you in Havnor. And if you ever need me again, call me. I will come. I would come from my grave if you called me, Tenar! But I cannot stay with you.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“You must be Arha, or you must be Tenar. You cannot be both.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan



“What she had begun to learn was the weight of liberty. Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward toward the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“Ged issò la vela. Tutto aveva l'aria di essere stato usato a lungo, faticosamente, sebbene la vela rossocupa fosse rattoppata con grande cura e la barca fosse pulita e ben tenuta. erano come il loro padrone: erano andate lontano, e la vita non le aveva trattate con dolcezza.
— Ora — disse Ged, — ora siamo partiti, ora siamo liberi, siamo andati, Tenar. Lo senti anche tu?
Lei lo sentiva. Una mano tenebrosa aveva allentato la stretta che aveva serrato il suo cuore per tutta la vita. Ma non provava più gioia, come l'aveva provata invece tra le montagne. Abbassò la testa tra le braccia e pianse, e le sue guance erano umide e salmastre. Piangeva per lo spreco dei suoi anni, asserviti a un male inutile. Piangeva di dolore, perché era libera.
Aveva incominciato ad apprendere il peso della libertà. La libertà è un fardello oneroso, un grande e strano fardello per lo spirito che se l'addossa. Non è agevole. Non è un dono ma una scelta, e la scelta può essere dura. La strada sale, verso la luce: ma il viandante oberato può anche non raggiungerla mai.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“Pride kept her from confiding in the other girls, and caution kept her from confessing to the older women.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“Özgürlük ağır bir yüktür, ruhun yüklenmesi gereken büyük ve garip bir sorumluluk. Kolay değildir. Verilen bir armağan değil, yapılan bir seçimdir; bu seçim de zor bir seçim olabilir.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan


“She did feel it. A dark hand had let go its lifelong hold upon her heart. But she did not feel joy, as she had in the mountains. She put her head down in her arms and cried, and her cheeks were salt and wet. She cried for the waste of her years in bondage to a useless evil. She wept in pain, because she was free.
What she had begun to learn was the weight of liberty. Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward towards the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it.”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, quote from The Tombs of Atuan



About the author

Ursula K. Le Guin
Born place: in Berkeley, California, The United States
Born date October 21, 1929
See more on GoodReads

Popular quotes

“One of the things you'll learn, Anduin, is that sometimes you can't always do what you'd like to do. Or even do what you think is the right thing—at least not right away.”
― Christie Golden, quote from The Shattering: Prelude to Cataclysm


“common sense observations of human behavior support a similar dissociation in reasoning abilities which cuts in both directions. We all know persons who are exceedingly clever in their social navigation, who have an unerring sense of how to seek advantage for themselves and for their group, but who can be remarkably inept when trusted with a nonpersonal, nonsocial problem. The reverse condition is just as dramatic: We all know creative scientists and artists whose social sense is a disgrace, and who regularly harm themselves and others with their behavior. The absent-minded professor is the benign variety of the latter type. At work, in these different personality styles, are the presence or absence of what Howard Gardner has called “social intelligence,” or the presence or absence of one or the other of his multiple intelligences such as the “mathematical.”
― António R. Damásio, quote from Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain


“Unbeknown to the American people they are ruled with a rod of iron by the secret government, the Committee of 300. Everything is rigged to work against the American people. If we are to survive, then we must first break the stranglehold the Committee has on our government. In every election since Calvin Coolidge ran for the White House, the Committee was able to plant its agents in key positions in both political parties and in government, so that it matters not who got the top White House post. For”
― quote from Conspirators' Hierarchy: The Story of the Committee of 300


“There is no such thing as a minor operation. Any opening, incision, cut, gash or puncture in the human body not put there by God is a blasphemy and a major disaster.”
― Samuel Taylor, quote from Sabrina Fair


“It’s the beginning of wisdom when you admit you’ve gone astray.”
― John Brunner, quote from The Shockwave Rider


Interesting books

A Million Little Pieces
(194.7K)
A Million Little Pie...
by James Frey
The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
(184.8K)
The Restaurant at th...
by Douglas Adams
One Foot in the Grave
(84.3K)
One Foot in the Grav...
by Jeaniene Frost
The Lies of Locke Lamora
(153.8K)
The Lies of Locke La...
by Scott Lynch
The Witch of Blackbird Pond
(118.2K)
The Witch of Blackbi...
by Elizabeth George Speare
Exodus
(82.1K)
Exodus
by Leon Uris

About BookQuoters

BookQuoters is a community of passionate readers who enjoy sharing the most meaningful, memorable and interesting quotes from great books. As the world communicates more and more via texts, memes and sound bytes, short but profound quotes from books have become more relevant and important. For some of us a quote becomes a mantra, a goal or a philosophy by which we live. For all of us, quotes are a great way to remember a book and to carry with us the author’s best ideas.

We thoughtfully gather quotes from our favorite books, both classic and current, and choose the ones that are most thought-provoking. Each quote represents a book that is interesting, well written and has potential to enhance the reader’s life. We also accept submissions from our visitors and will select the quotes we feel are most appealing to the BookQuoters community.

Founded in 2023, BookQuoters has quickly become a large and vibrant community of people who share an affinity for books. Books are seen by some as a throwback to a previous world; conversely, gleaning the main ideas of a book via a quote or a quick summary is typical of the Information Age but is a habit disdained by some diehard readers. We feel that we have the best of both worlds at BookQuoters; we read books cover-to-cover but offer you some of the highlights. We hope you’ll join us.