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Philip Pullman quotes (showing 1-30 of 312)

“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.”
Philip Pullman
“We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of dos and don’ts: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but Once upon a time lasts forever.”
Philip Pullman
“I think it's perfectly possible to explain how the universe came about without bringing God into it, but I don't know everything, and there may well be a God somewhere, hiding away. Actually, if he is keeping out of sight, it's because he's ashamed of his followers and all the cruelty and ignorance they're responsible for promoting in his name. If I were him, I'd want nothing to do with them.”
Philip Pullman
“You cannot change what you are, only what you do.”
Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
“I stopped believing there was a power of good and a power of evil that were outside us. And I came to believe that good and evil are names for what people do, not for what they are.”
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“I'll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you... We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams... And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they wont' just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight...”
Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials Trilogy: The Golden Compass / The Subtle Knife / The Amber Spyglass
“I write almost always in the third person, and I don't think the narrator is male or female anyway. They're both, and young and old, and wise and silly, and sceptical and credulous, and innocent and experienced, all at once. Narrators are not even human - they're sprites.”
Philip Pullman
“When you look at what C.S. Lewis is saying, his message is so anti-life, so cruel, so unjust. The view that the Narnia books have for the material world is one of almost undisguised contempt. At one point, the old professor says, ‘It’s all in Plato’ — meaning that the physical world we see around us is the crude, shabby, imperfect, second-rate copy of something much better. I want to emphasize the simple physical truth of things, the absolute primacy of the material life, rather than the spiritual or the afterlife.

[The New York Times interview, 2000]”
Philip Pullman
“I don't profess any religion; I don't think it’s possible that there is a God; I have the greatest difficulty in understanding what is meant by the words ‘spiritual’ or ‘spirituality.'

[Interview, The New Yorker, Dec. 26, 2005]”
Philip Pullman
“People are too complicated to have simple labels.”
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“All the history of human life has been a struggle between wisdom and stupidity.”
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“Oh, Will," she said, "What can we do? Whatever can we do? I want to live with you forever. I want to kiss you and lie down with you and wake up with you every day of my life till I die, years and years and years away. I don't want a memory, just a memory..."

"No," he said. "Memory's a poor thing to have. It's your own real hair and mouth and arms and eyes and hands I want. I didn't know I could ever love anything so much. Oh, Lyra, I wish this night would never end! If only we could stay here like this, and the world could stop turning, and everyone else could fall into a sleep..."

"Everyone except us! And you and I could live here forever and just love each other."

"I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I'll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again..."

"I'll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you...We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pin trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams...And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight..."

They lay side by side, hand in hand, looking at the sky.”
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“When you choose one way out of many, all the ways you don't take are snuffed out like candles, as if they'd never existed.”
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“I told him I was going to betray you, and betray Lyra, and he believed me because I was corrupt and full of wickedness; he looked so deep I felt sure he'd see the truth. But I lied too well. I was lying with every nerve and fiber and everything I'd ever done...I wanted him to find no good in me, and he didn't. There is none.”
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“There's a hunger for stories in all of us, adults too. We need stories so much that we're even willing to read bad books to get them, if the good books won't supply them.”
Philip Pullman
“It comes from history. It comes from the record of the Inquisition, persecuting heretics and torturing Jews and all that sort of stuff; and it comes from the other side, too, from the Protestants burning the Catholics. It comes from the insensate pursuit of innocent and crazy old women, and from the Puritans in America burning and hanging the witches — and it comes not only from the Christian church but also from the Taliban. Every single religion that has a monotheistic god ends up by persecuting other people and killing them because they don't accept him. Wherever you look in history, you find that. It’s still going on.”
Philip Pullman
“...But it gradually seemed to me that I'd made myself believe something that wasn't true. I'd made myself believe that I was fine and happy and fulfilled on my own without the love of anyone else. Being in love was like China: you knew it was there, and no doubt it was very interesting, and some people went there, but I never would. I'd spend all my life without ever going to China, but it wouldn't matter, because there was all the rest of the world to visit... And I thought: am I really going to spend the rest of my life without feeling that again? I thought: I want to go to China. It's full of treasures and strangeness and mysteries and joy.”
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“I'm trying to undermine the basis of Christian belief... I'm not in the business of offending people. I find the books upholding certain values that I think are important, such as life is immensely valuable and this world is an extraordinarily beautiful place. We should do what we can to increase the amount of wisdom in the world.

[Washington Post interview, 19 February 2001]”
Philip Pullman
“Iorek Byrnison: Can is not the same as must.
Lyra Silvertongue: But if you must and you can, then there's no excuse.”
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“Even if it means oblivion, friends, I'll welcome it, because it won't be nothing. We'll be alive again in a thousand blades of grass, and a million leaves; we'll be falling in the raindrops and blowing in the fresh breeze; we'll be glittering in the dew under the stars and the moon out there in the physical world, which is our true home and always was.”
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“I am a strong believer in the tyranny, the dictatorship, the absolute authority of the writer.”
Philip Pullman
“That's the duty of the old,' said the Librarian, 'to be anxious on the behalf of the young. And the duty of the young is to scorn the anxiety of the old.'

They sat for a while longer, and then parted, for it was late, and they were old and anxious.”
Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
“You are so young, Lyra, too young to understand this, but I shall tell you anyway and you'll understand it later: men pass in front of our eyes like butterflies, creatures of a brief season. We love them; they are brave, proud, beautiful, clever; and they die almost at once. They die so soon that our hearts are continually racked with pain. We bear their children, who are witches if they are female, human if not; and then in the blink of an eye they are gone, felled, slain, lost. Our sons, too. When a little boy is growing, he thinks he is immortal. His mother knows he isn't. Each time becomes more painful, until finally your heart is broken. Perhaps that is when Yambe-Akka comes for you. She is older than the tundra. Perhaps, for her, witches' lives are as brief as men's are to us.”
Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
“You speak of destiny as if it was fixed.”
Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
“Children are not less intelligent than adults; what they are is less informed.”
Philip Pullman
“I have stolen ideas from every book I have ever read.”
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“If you want something you can have it, but only if you want everything that goes with it, including all the hard work and the despair, and only if you're willing to risk failure. ”
Philip Pullman, Clockwork
“We are all subject to the fates. But we must act as if we are not, or die of despair.”
Philip Pullman, The Golden Compass
“Maybe sometimes we don't do the right thing because the wrong thing looks more dangerous, and we don't want to look scared, so we go and do the wrong thing just because it's dangerous. We're more concerned with not looking scared than with judging right.”
Philip Pullman, The Amber Spyglass
“As for what it's against - the story is against those who pervert and misuse religion, or any other kind of doctrine with a holy book and a priesthood and an apparatus of power that wields unchallengeable authority, in order to dominate and suppress human freedoms.”
Philip Pullman, His Dark Materials

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