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“But fate, as Merlin always taught us, is inexorable. Life is a jest of the Gods, Merlin liked to claim, and there is no justice. You must learn to laugh, he once told me, or else you'll just weep yourself to death.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Winter King: A Novel of Arthur
“Destiny is all, Ravn liked to tell me, destiny is everything. He would even say it in English, “Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom
“Don't tell me the moon is shining, show me the glint of light on broken glass.”
Bernard Cornwall
“I do understand that you can look into someone’s eyes,” I heard myself saying, “and suddenly know that life will be impossible without them. Know that their voice can make your heart miss a beat and that their company is all your happiness can ever desire and that their absence will leave your soul alone, bereft and lost.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Winter King: A Novel of Arthur
tags: love
“Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.”
Bernard Cornwell, Death of Kings
“We all suffer from dreams.”
Bernard Cornwell, Death of Kings
“The preachers tell us that pride is a great sin, but the preachers are wrong. Pride makes a man, it drives him, it is the shield wall around his reputation... Men die, they said, but reputation does not die.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom
“The bards sing of love, they celebrate slaughter, they extol kings and flatter queens, but were I a poet I would write in praise of friendship.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Winter King: A Novel of Arthur
“King Edmund of East Anglia is now remembered as a saint, as one of those blessed souls who live forever in the shadow of God. Or so the priests tell me. In heaven, they say, the saints occupy a privileged place, living on the high platform of God’s great hall where they spend their time singing God’s praises. Forever. Just singing. Beocca always told me that it would be an ecstatic existence, but to me it seems very dull. The Danes reckon their dead warriors are carried to Valhalla, the corpse hall of Odin, where they spend their days fighting and their nights feasting and swiving, and I dare not tell the priests that this seems a far better way to endure the afterlife than singing to the sound of golden harps. I once asked a bishop whether there were any women in heaven. “Of course there are, my lord,” he answered, happy that I was taking an interest in doctrine. “Many of the most blessed saints are women.”

“I mean women we can hump, bishop.”

He said he would pray for me. Perhaps he did.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom
“A leader leads,” Ragnar said, “and you can’t ask men to risk death if you’re not willing to risk it yourself.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom
“But when you have order, you don't need Gods. When everything is well ordered and disciplined then nothing is unexpected. If you understand everything,' I said carefully, 'then there's no room left for magic. It's only when you're lost and frightened and in the dark that you call on the Gods, and they like us to call on them. It makes them feel powerful, and that's why they like us to live in chaos.”
Bernard Cornwell, Enemy of God
“I am no Christian. These days it does no good to confess that, for the bishops and abbots have too much influence and it is easier to pretend to a faith than to fight angry ideas. I was raised a Christian, but at ten years old, when I was taken into Ragnar’s family, I discovered the old Saxon gods who were also the gods of the Danes and of the Norsemen, and their worship has always made more sense to me than bowing down to a god who belongs to a country so far away that I have met no one who has ever been there. Thor and Odin walked our hills, slept in our valleys, loved our women and drank from our streams, and that makes them seem like neighbours. The other thing I like about our gods is that they are not obsessed with us. They have their own squabbles and love affairs and seem to ignore us much of the time, but the Christian god has nothing better to do than to make rules for us. He makes rules, more rules, prohibitions and commandments, and he needs hundreds of black-robed priests and monks to make sure we obey those laws. He strikes me as a very grumpy god, that one, even though his priests are forever claiming that he loves us. I have never been so stupid as to think that Thor or Odin or Hoder loved me, though I hope at times they have thought me worthy of them.”
Bernard Cornwell, Lords of the North
“Fate is inexorable.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Winter King: A Novel of Arthur
“Wyrd bið ful āræd. Fate is inexorable.”
Bernard Cornwell, Warriors of the Storm
“Love is a dangerous thing. It comes in disguise to change our life... Lust is the deceiver. Lust wrenches our lives until nothing matters except the one we think we love, and under that deceptive spell we kill for them, give all for them, and then, when we have what we have wanted, we discover that it is all an illusion and nothing is there. Lust is a voyage to nowhere, to an empty land, but some men just love such voyages and never care about the destination. Love is a voyage too, a voyage with no destination except death, but a voyage of bliss.”
Bernard Cornwell, Sword Song
“There are seasons of our lives when nothing seems to be happening, when no smoke betrays a burned town or homestead and few tears are shed for the newly dead. I have learned not to trust those times, because if the world is at peace then it means someone is planning war.”
Bernard Cornwell, Death of Kings
“He tolerated his fellow Englishmen, but the Welsh were cabbage-farting dwarves, the Scots were scabby arse-suckers, and the French were shriveled turds.”
Bernard Cornwell
“Only a fool wants war, but once a war starts then it cannot be fought half-heartedly. It cannot even be fought with regret, but must be waged with a savage joy in defeating the enemy, and it is that savage joy that inspires our bards to write their greatest songs about love and war.”
Bernard Cornwell, Excalibur
“What happens to you, Uhtred, is what you make happen. You will grow, you will learn the sword, you will learn the way of the shield wall, you will learn the oar, you will give honor to the gods, and then you will use what you have learned to make your life good or bad.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom
“Life is simple," I said. "Ale, women, sword, and reputation. Nothing else matters.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Pale Horseman
“There is such joy in chaos. Stow all the world's evils behind a door and tell men that they must never, ever, open the door, and it will be opened because there is pure joy in destruction.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Pale Horseman
“We are all lonely and all seek a hand to hold in the darkness. It is not the harp, but the hand that plays it.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom
“Laughter in battle. That was what Ragnar had taught me, to take joy from the fight.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom
“Why do we fight?" he asked.

"Because we were born.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Burning Land
“Five things make a man happy,” I told him, “a good ship, a good sword, a good hound, a good horse, and a woman.” “Not a good woman?” Finan asked, amused. “They’re all good,” I said, “except when they’re not, and then they’re better than good.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Pagan Lord
“Did you become a Christian in your nunnery?' I asked her.

'Of course not.' she said scornfully.

'They didn't mind?'

'I gave them silver.'

'Then they didn't mind.' I said.

'I don't think any Dane is a real Christian.' she told me.

'Not even your brother?'

'We have many gods,' she said, 'and the Christian god is just another one. I'm sure that's what Guthred thinks. What's the Christian god's name? A nun did tell me, but I've forgotten.'

'Jehovah.'

There you are, then. Odin, Thor and Jehovah. Does he have a wife?'

'No.'

'Poor Jehovah.' she said.”
Bernard Cornwell, Lords of the North
“All those separate people were a part of my life, strings strung on the frame of Uhtred, and though they were separate they affected one another and together they would make the music of my life.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Last Kingdom
“I hated Alfred. He was a miserable, pious, tight-fisted king who distrusted me because I was no Christian, because I was a northerner, and because I had given him his kingdom back at Ethandun. And as reward he had given me Fifhaden. Bastard.”
Bernard Cornwell, Lords of the North
“If you can master me, that look seemed to say, then you can master whatever else this wicked world might bring. I can see her now, standing amidst her deerhounds that had the same thin, lean bodies, and the same long nose and the same huntess eyes as their mistress. Green eyes, she had, with a kind of cruelty deep inside them. It was not a soft face, any more that her body was soft. She was a woman of strong lines and high bones, and that made for a good face and a handsome one, but hard, so hard. What made her beautiful was her hair and her carriage, for she stood as straight as spear and her hair fell around her shoulders like a cascade of tumbling red tangles. That red hair softened her looks, while her laughter snared men like salmon caught in basket traps. There have been many more beautiful women, and thousands who were better, but since the world was weaned I doubt there have been many more so unforgettable as Guinevere, eldest daughter of Leodegan, the exiled King of Henis Wyren.
And it would have been better, Merlin always said, had she been drowned at birth.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Winter King: A Novel of Arthur
“How much of our earth has been wet by blood because of jealousy! And at the end of life, what does it all matter? We grow old and the young look at us and can never see that once we made a kingdom ring for love.”
Bernard Cornwell, The Winter King: A Novel of Arthur

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Bernard Cornwell
11,020 followers
The Last Kingdom (The Saxon Stories, #1) The Last Kingdom
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The Winter King: A Novel of Arthur (The Warlord Chronicles, #1) The Winter King
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Lords of the North (The Saxon Stories, #3) Lords of the North
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