A while back, I posted on what my favorite first lines in literature are. Today, I decided to do something similar, only the opposite. Which doesn’t really make sense, but anyway. I was goign to list my favorite last lines of books, but there were too many, so I decided to narrow the field to fantasy only. Next week I will list my favorite last lines from fiction novels.
You have to make a good first impression, they say. That’s why first lines are so important. But what’s as equally important—or maybe even more so—is what you’re left with when you finish the book, and that is often communicated through the last line.
1) “Well, I’m back,” he said.
The Return of the King ~ J. R. R. Tolkien
Because isn’t that it’s all about, this series of darkness and danger, of magic and mystery? In the end, it’s about defending your home, saving the simple, and preserving the most mundane and most precious joys in life. Joys like light spilling from windows and the smell of a fresh-cooked meal and the sound of loved one’s laughter. Joys like coming home.
2) Darkness was everywhere. Except, of course, in a tree house, deep in the murky heart of Glipwood Forest, where the Jewels of Anniera shone like the sun.
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness ~ Andrew Peterson
So that was technically two sentences, but the last is made all the more beautiful because of the second-to-last.
3) “Bother!” said Edmund. “I’ve left my new torch in Narnia.”
Prince Caspian ~ C. S. Lewis
I just love this one. It makes me laugh out loud every time I read it, and it’s so characteristic of Lews—spin a magical, exciting adventure full of deep morals, and then end it with a grin and dose of reality.
4) So that’s it. The dragon has been reborn.
The Eye of the World ~ Robert Jordan
So blunt, so simple, and yet the ramifcations of that statement … boom. What a way to end a book.
5) And always Ender carried with him a dry white cocoon, looking for a place where the hive-queen could awaken and thrive in peace. He looked a long time.
Ender’s Game ~ Orson Scott Card
There’s just something perfect about the tone of this, as if someone from far away is looking down on Ender and watching him and making note of what he saw. It has a sense of pulling back and closure and that melancholy all endings bring, and yet there’s a hint of more to come, of further adventures—”He looked a long time” .
6) And then Thomas Hunter dreamed, and the world would never be the same.
Green ~ Ted Dekker
What a great ending. One man dreams, as we all do, and yet this man—he changes the world with dreams. So good. (Note: This is from the original ending; there is a new one, and I actually like the last lines of that one as well.)