Author Topic: Your favorite scenes in literature?  (Read 1788 times)

Raiden [雷電]

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Your favorite scenes in literature?
« on: November 26, 2011, 06:20:13 PM »
I decided to start this thread due to Raymond E. Feist's Serpentwar Saga. That series has one of the best displays of love I've ever seen in any kind of literature. The imagery is just very powerful, and it left a big impression on me.

The characters in that scene were Duke James and his wife Gamina. The scene takes place after they've placed naphtha in the sewers of their home city, to try and stop an invading army by blowing them up while they're within the city walls. (Btw, Gamina is a telepath and she can read the minds of people, and talk to others mentally.)

[spoiler](James) I don't want to die, but I've caused so much death and destruction. This is the only home I know, Gamina. I don't see how I can live with this.
(Gamina) Do you think I don't understand that? she asked. I hear your thoughts and I feel your pain. There is nothing you can say that I won't understand.
He looked into her eyes and smiled, and this time the smile was one of love and complete trust.
Then the world around them exploded. The six men on the other side of the gate were knocked to the ground and stunned. Three who were in the gate were shot from it like corks from a bottle and flew through the air, one breaking his neck on impact twenty yards away, the other two sustaining broken bones.
Inside the tunnel the very air turned into flames for an instant. In that brief moment, Gamina and James were linked in mind, their memories unfolding together, from the first instant they met as James swam in the lake near Stardock, first espying the love of his life as she bathed. Almost drowning, he had been rescued by this woman who looked into his mind and saw everything he was, everything he had been, and loved him, who loved him despite everything he had done since then, despite the things he had asked her to do that had caused her pain.
Everything around them was forgotten as they clung to that profound love they had shared, the love that had brought them a son who was safely away, and two grandsons they adored. For a brief instant they relived their lives together, from the journey to Great Kesh to the return to Krondor. As flames burned away the flesh from their bodies, their minds were deep within their love for one another and they felt no pain.[/spoiler]



Hydrus

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Re: Your favorite scenes in literature?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2011, 12:22:24 AM »
I really like that last paragraph.  I didn't know until I got to that point that they were actually burning (though it kind of says it prior, I'm a bit slow).  Good stuff.

One of my favorite passages ever comes from Richard Adams' Shardik.  Elleroth is giving a speech as he is about to be executed for attempting to revolt against the tribe (the Ortelgans) that had taken over the city, of which Kelderek is the leader.

[spoiler]"Restraint and courage?  My dear riparian witch doctor, I fear I am short on both--almost as short as you.  But at least I have one advantage--I haven't got to go any further.  You see, it's going to be such a terribly long way for you.  You can't realize how far.  Do you remember how you came up from the Telthearna, all slippity-slop for a spree?  You came to Gelt--they remember it well, I'm told--and then you went on.  You went to the Foothills and laid about you in the twilight and the rain.  And then your meaty boys smashed the Tamarrik Gate--do you remember that, or did you perhaps fail to notice what it looked like?  And then, of course, you got mixed up in a war with people who quite unaccountably felt that they didn't like you.  What a long, long way it's been!  Thank goodness I shall be having a rest now.  But you won't, my dear waterside wizard.  No, no--the sky will grow dark, cold rain will fall and all trace of the right way will be blotted out.  You will be all alone.  And still you will have to go on.  There will be ghosts in the dark and voices in the air, disgusting prophecies coming true, I wouldn't wonder, and absent faces present on every side, as the man said.  And still you will have to go on.  The last bridge will fall behind you and the last lights will go out, followed by the sun, the moon and the stars; and still you will have to go on.  You will come to regions more desolate and wretched than you ever dreamed could exist, places of sorrow created entirely by that mean superstition which you yourself have put about for so long.  But still you will have to go on."

(After this he picks up a burning coal from a brazier--I'll cut out a bit, don't want to make this too long.)

The appalling pain had twisted his face into a sickening travesty of relaxed good humor and his words, when they came, were distorted--grotesque mouthings, an approximation to speech which was nevertheless clear enough to be understood.  The sweat ran from his forehead and he shook with agony, yet still he held up the live coal in his hand and aped horribly the manner of one at ease among his comrades.
"You see--bear king--you holding live coal--" (Kelderek could smell burning flesh, could see his fingers blackening and supposed that he must be burned to the bone; yet still, transfixed by the white eyes writhing in his face, remained where he stood.)  "How long you a'le go on?  Burn you up, hobble pain, carrying burning fire."
"Stop him!" cried Kelderek to Maltrit.  Elleroth bowed.
"No need--'blige you all.  Come now, little pain"--he staggered a moment, but recovered himself--"little pain--nothing some 'flicted by 'telgans, 'sure you.  Let's make haste."[/spoiler]

Raiden [雷電]

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Re: Your favorite scenes in literature?
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2012, 05:12:17 PM »
It's all thanks to Shaina that I got into Janny Wurts. I recently started to read my copy of "The Curse of the Mistwraith" (first book in Wars of Light and Shadow). ...I fell for Arithon s'Ffalenn from the first moment they introduced him - he's just incredibly charming from the get-go. ...This is one of the first scenes with Arithon in it.

[spoiler]Arithon recovered awareness shortly afterward. Dragged upright between the stout arms of his captors, he took a minute longer to orient himself. As green eyes lifted in recognition, the first officer fought a sharp urge to step back. Only once had he seen such a look on a man's face, and that time he had witnessed a felon hanged for the rape of his own daughter.

"You should have died in battle," he said softly.

Arithon gave no answer. Flame light glistened across features implacably barred against reason, and his hands dripped blood on the deck. The first officer looked away, cold with nerves and uneasiness. He had little experience with captives, and no knowledge whatever of sorcery. The Master of Shadow himself offered no inspiration, his manner icy and unfathomable as the sea itself.

"Show him the king's justice," the first officer commanded, in the hope a turn at violence might ease the strain on his crew.

The seamen wrestled Arithon off his feet and pinioned him across the chart table. His body handled like a toy in their broad hands. Still the Master fought them. In anger and dread the seamen returned the bruises lately inflicted upon their own skins. They stripped the cord from the captive's wrists and followed with all clothing that might conceal slivers of glass. But for his grunts of resistance, Arithon endured their abuse in silence.
The first officer hid his distaste. The Master's defiance served no gain, but only provoked the men to greater cruelty. Had the bastard cried out, even once reacted to pain as an ordinary mortal, the deckhands would have been satisfied. Yet the struggle continued until the victim was stripped of tunic and shirt and the sailhands backed off to study their prize. Arithon's chest heaved with fast, shallow breaths. Stomach muscles quivered beneath skin that wept sweat, proof enough that his body at least had not been impervious to rough handling.

"Bastard's runt-sized, for a sorcerer." The most daring of the crewmen raised a fist over the splayed arch of Arithon's rib cage. "A thump in the slats might slow him down some."

"That's enough!" snapped the first officer. Immediately sure the sailhand would ignore his command, he moved to intervene. But a newcomer in a stained white smock entered from behind and jostled him briskly aside.

Fresh from the captain's sickbed, the ship's healer pushed on between sailor and pinioned prisoner. "Leave be, lad! Today I've set and splinted altogether too many bones. The thought of another could drive me to drink before sunrise."

The crewman subsided, muttering. As the healer set gently to work with salve and bandages, the s'Ffalenn sorcerer drew breath and finally spoke.

"I curse your hands. May the next wound you treat turn putrid with maggots. Any child you deliver will sicken and die in your arms, and the mother will bleed beyond remedy. Meddle further with me, and I'll show you horrors."

The healer made a gesture against evil. He had heard hurt men rave, but never like this. Shaking, he resumed his work, while under his fingers, the muscles of his patient flinched taut in protest.

"Have you ever known despair?" Arithon said. "I'll teach you. The eyes of your firstborn son will rot and flies suck at the sockets."

The seamen tightened their restraint, starting and cursing among themselves.

"Hold steady!" snapped the healer. He continued binding Arithon's cuts with stiff-lipped determination. Such a threat might make him quail, but he had only daughters. Otherwise he might have broken his oath and caused an injured man needless pain.

"By your leave," he said to the first officer when he finished. "I've done all I can."

Excused, the healer departed, and the deckhands set to work with the wire. As the first loop creased the prisoner's flesh, Arithon turned his invective against the first officer. After the healer's exemplary conduct, the young man dared not break. He endured with his hands locked behind his back while mother, wife, and mistress were separately profaned. The insults after that turned personal. In time the first officer could not contain the anger which arose in response to the vicious phrases.

"You waste yourself!" After the cold calm of the Master's words, the ugliness in his own voice jarred like a woman's hysteria. He curbed his temper. "Cursing me and my relations will hardly change your lot. Why make things difficult? Your behavior makes civilized treatment impossible."

"Go force your little sister," Arithon said.

The first officer flushed scarlet. Not trusting himself to answer, he called orders to his seamen. "Bind the bastard's mouth with a rag. When you have him well secured, lock him under guard in the sail hold."[/spoiler]



Hallwill

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Re: Your favorite scenes in literature?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2015, 02:56:22 AM »
I recently finished James Ellroy's Perfidia and there's a short scene at the end of the novel that I greatly enjoyed as it depicts the emotions of the characters pretty well in just a few lines

Before the quote I'll had a piece of information to understand the setting (under spoiler too)

[spoiler]
Dudley Smith was stabbed several times and nursed by his friends on the spot the attack took place.[/spoiler]

[spoiler]
Dudley stirred and coughed. He raised his hands and made fists.
The whole room cheered. Ruthie winked at Claire. It was a great faux-Dudley wink.
Ashida walked back to the alley. His legs gave out. He sat on a stack of bald tires and sobbed.[/spoiler]
:seiya: " Allô Shiryu, c'est toi ?"
:shiryu: " Tu viens de composer mon numéro bourrique ! Qui tu veux que se soit !"

GVmanX

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Re: Your favorite scenes in literature?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2015, 10:18:06 AM »
The opening of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment is one of the most gripping segments in any work of fiction I've consumed, literature or otherwise.  Granted, there's few things more gripping than [spoiler]murder[/spoiler]

AriesVirgoGeminiPete

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Re: Your favorite scenes in literature?
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2017, 05:07:28 AM »
1. The suicide letter of Virginia Woolf, which is almost word-to-word featured in the movie The Hours:

[spoiler]''Dearest,
I feel certain I am going mad again. I feel we can't go through another of those terrible times. And I shan't recover this time. I begin to hear voices, and I can't concentrate. So I am doing what seems the best thing to do.

You have given me the greatest possible happiness. You have been in every way all that anyone could be. I don't think two people could have been happier till this terrible disease came. I can't fight any longer. I know that I am spoiling your life, that without me you could work. And you will I know.

You see I can't even write this properly. I can't read. What I want to say is I owe all the happiness of my life to you. You have been entirely patient with me and incredibly good. I want to say that - everybody knows it. If anybody could have saved me it would have been you. Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness. I can't go on spoiling your life any longer.


I don't think two people could have been happier than we have been.

V.''[/spoiler]

2. Also, from same movie talk between Clarissa and her daughter, also from the book The Hours, by Michael Cunningham:

[spoiler]''I remember one morning getting up at dawn, there was such a sense of possibility. You know, that feeling? And I remember thinking to myself: So, this is the beginning of happiness. This is where it starts. And of course there will always be more. It never occurred to me it wasn' t the beginning. It was happiness. It was the moment. Right then.''[/spoiler]

3. Also, this short quote by Christopher K. Shawmen:

[spoiler]''If we are forgotten we cease to exist.''[/spoiler]

4. And finally, the ending of the movie The Hours, also from a letter to Leonard by Virginia Woolf:

[spoiler]“To look life in the face, always, to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. Leonard, always the years between us, always the years. Always the love. Always the hours.” – Virginia Woolf.[/spoiler]


Seiya

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Re: Your favorite scenes in literature?
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2017, 02:00:18 PM »
Instead of a scene, I have to say that the only author  that created a world so vivid and through his descriptions makes you visualize the world as it should be. I am talking about the one and only... Tolkien and his Middle Earth. I am sure there are others but Tolkien made such a huge impression on me.

AriesVirgoGeminiPete

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Re: Your favorite scenes in literature?
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2017, 03:15:41 PM »
Instead of a scene, I have to say that the only author  that created a world so vivid and through his descriptions makes you visualize the world as it should be. I am talking about the one and only... Tolkien and his Middle Earth. I am sure there are others but Tolkien made such a huge impression on me.

If you like Tolkien, and interesting, captivating worlds, I can recommend Frank Herbert' s Dune books.
IT is sci-fi. but not your usual.
It involves a world without thinking machines, and without most kind of machines, therefore, some people are of excellent and unique abilities, like folding space with their mind, controlling body, pulse, muscles, and it is an entirely human mind and body focused to the max world in a
future world of feudalism, where everybody is dependent on spice melange, which helps their body, mind etc.