Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Memorable Opening Lines

TTT was created by The Broke and Bookish and moved to That Artsy Reader Girl (click here for upcoming TTT topics!).

Today’s topic: Opening Lines

These are all lines that I thought of off the top of my head – so they’re definitely memorable! If not word for word, I easily recalled the sense/atmosphere these opening sentences created, and my mind always links them indelibly back to that book, play or poem.

‘Strange the Dreamer’ by Laini Taylor

On the second Sabbat of Twelfthmoon, in the city of Weep, a girl fell from the sky.
Her skin was blue, her blood was red.

‘The School for Good and Evil’ by Soman Chainani

Sophie had waited all her life to be kidnapped.

‘The Knife of Never Letting Go’ by Patrick Ness

The first thing you find out when yer dog learns to talk is that dogs don’t got nothing much to say. About anything.
“Need a poo, Todd.”
“Shut up, Manchee.”
“Poo. Poo, Todd.”
“I said shut it.”

‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ by J.K. Rowling

Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.

‘Romeo and Juliet’ by William Shakespeare

Two households, both alike in dignity,
In fair Verona, where we lay our scene,
From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,
Where civil blood makes civil hands unclean...

Just listen to Halsey reading the Prologue (I love her voice so much!):

‘The Aeneid’ by Virgil (David West’s translation)

I sing of arms and of the man, fated to be an exile, who long since left the land of Troy and came to Italy on the shores of Lavinium; and a great pounding he took by land and sea at the hands of the heavenly gods because of the fierce and unforgetting anger of Juno.

‘The Foxhole Court’ by Nora Sakavic

Neil Josten let his cigarette burn to the filter without taking a drag. He didn’t want the nicotine; he wanted the acrid smoke that reminded him of his mother. If he inhaled slowly enough, he could almost taste the ghost of gasoline and fire.

‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

‘Girl, Serpent, Thorn’ by Melissa Bashardoust

Stories always begin the same way: There was and there was not.

‘The Lady of Shalott’ by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

On either side the river lie 
Long fields of barley and of rye, 
That clothe the wold and meet the sky; 
And thro' the field the road runs by 
       To many-tower'd Camelot...
‘The Lady of Shalott’ by John William Waterhouse (1888)

I was weirdly obsessed with this poem when I was 11-ish. It still has this weird hold over me…

Thanks for reading! What openings are most memorable for you? Do we share any of the same? Let me know below!

36 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Memorable Opening Lines

  1. I’ve read and heard this Romeo and Juliet opening so often I already know it by heart 😀 That Halsey version is great too. I always tend to read the lines with a British accent so it’s fun to hear it spoken in an American accent, it kind of gives the lines a more ‘modern’ tone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It makes me endlessly happy to see P&P mentioned so many times in this TTT 😍 I also LOVE the first line of Strange the Dreamer – I rmb being hooked straight away. Laini Taylor just has a way with words 😍

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love that you included Tennyson! That’s a brilliant piece. I remember reading a lot of Tennyson when I was about 13. Got into a real poetry phase with my burgeoning hormones lol! And yup to R&J and P&P. I feel like we are almost born knowing those lines! Great ttt 😊😊😊❤️💜💖💛

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh gosh, no way can I remember titles but I do remember enjoying the themes and structures of Tennyson’s work. When I did my project (I mean I was 13 or so, it wasn’t that in depth!) but I do remember it reading in quite a different manner to the poetry of Irish poets that I was familiar with and I liked that difference

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I have an arc of Girl, Serpent, Thorn and I haven’t even read the first line! Now I’m even more excited to read it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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