Fantastical Intentions is a feature featuring Hannah and Naithin of Once Upon A Time and Jacob of the fabulous fantasy-sf blog, Drying Ink. We intermittently host between us every now and then with a new fantasy related topic. If you’d like to join in, feel free to write a post of your own and leave your links in the comments or just leave a comment. We’d love to hear from you!


When ‘quotes’ was mentioned as being the topic of choice for this week, I immediately went to my Goodreads liked quotes to find something because I have the worst memory. I came across a quote I’d forgotten:

“The best fantasy is written in the language of dreams. It is alive as dreams are alive, more real than real … for a moment at least … that long magic moment before we wake.

Fantasy is silver and scarlet, indigo and azure, obsidian veined with gold and lapis lazuli. Reality is plywood and plastic, done up in mud brown and olive drab. Fantasy tastes of habaneros and honey, cinnamon and cloves, rare red meat and wines as sweet as summer. Reality is beans and tofu, and ashes at the end. Reality is the strip malls of Burbank, the smokestacks of Cleveland, a parking garage in Newark. Fantasy is the towers of Minas Tirith, the ancient stones of Gormenghast, the halls of Camelot. Fantasy flies on the wings of Icarus, reality on Southwest Airlines. Why do our dreams become so much smaller when they finally come true?

We read fantasy to find the colors again, I think. To taste strong spices and hear the songs the sirens sang. There is something old and true in fantasy that speaks to something deep within us, to the child who dreamt that one day he would hunt the forests of the night, and feast beneath the hollow hills, and find a love to last forever somewhere south of Oz and north of Shangri-La.

They can keep their heaven. When I die, I’d sooner go to middle Earth.”
― George R.R. Martin

This one had me sitting here chanting “Yes! Yes! Yes!” And I really don’t think I need to say much else because this is a quote that really speaks for itself.

“Some humans would do anything to see if it was possible to do it. If you put a large switch in some cave somewhere, with a sign on it saying ‘End-of-the-World Switch. PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH’, the paint wouldn’t even have time to dry.”

I used to quite enthusiastically read Terry Pratchett back in the day, but there must be no less than a dozen books that I haven’t read yet by now. I really need to catch up, and it is exceptionally amusing quotes like this one which remind me of precisely why.

Picking one favourite quote amongst all the options however can’t be much less difficult than picking a favourite child. There were so many I wanted to go with, just from Terry Pratchett alone, let alone including all the other brilliant authors as well!

The reason I went with this one above all others is that not only is it rather quite amusing, but it is also managing to heap both praise and mockery upon human kind at the same time. Doing things, ‘just to see if they are possible’ has delivered us all sorts of advances over the years.

At the same time, I can very much imagine some fool doing something as silly as pressing the aforementioned button, ‘just to see’. People who do these sorts of things are probably the reason we have Darwin Awards. 😉


“Lo!” cried the demon. “I am here! What dost thou seek of me? Why dost thou disturb my repose? Smite me no more with that dread rod!” He looked at Cabal. “Where’s your dread rod?”
“I left it at home,” replied Cabal. “Didn’t think I really needed it.”
“You can’t summon me without a dread rod!” said Lucifuge, appalled.
“You’re here, aren’t you?”
“Well, yes, but under false pretences. You haven’t got a goatskin or two vervain crowns or two candles of virgin wax made by a virgin girl and duly blessed. Have you got the stone called Ematille?”
“I don’t even know what Ematille is.”
Neither did the demon. He dropped the subject and moved on. “Four nails from the coffin of a dead child?”
“Don’t be fatuous.”
“Half a bottle of brandy?”
“I don’t drink brandy.”
“It’s not for you.”
“I have a hip flask,” said Cabal, and threw it to him. The demon caught it and took a dram.
“Cheers,” said Lucifuge, and threw it back. They regarded each other for a long moment. “This really is a shambles,” the demon added finally. “What did you summon me for, anyway?”

This quote may be more of a passage, but in itself it’s enjoyably unusual – and that, for me, sums up the novel it’s from perfectly. An excerpt from the first chapter of Johannes Cabal the Necromancer, it’s also hard to see how any novel which stars as its protagonist a pragmatic, cynical necromancer wouldn’t make at least ‘unusual’. And in the case of this series? Hilarious as well. This quote really sums up Cabal’s attitude – to him, magic is just another means to an end (and one he really wishes was more scientific). And when he confronts Hell, the Dreamlands, and even an eldritch abomination or two with that same attitude – and his typical cynicism – it’s very amusing. Especially with the zebras.

This beginning neatly sets up Johannes Cabal’s personality, and the attitude of the series as a whole – and really, it was what dragged me into reading a novel I only half-heartedly picked up. I’m glad I did finish it (in fact, the series has since become one I consistently recommend) – and that, for me, is why I picked this particular quote.

That, and the amusement value.