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Opening Lines of Fantasy Books

The following is a collection of opening lines to fantasy stories. I like to read first lines for inspiration, so I hope this collection will help you.

I included chapter titles, when applicable, since the name of chapter one can be as significant as line one.

Beware: fantasy books often come in series, and the first line of consecutive books may contain spoilers.

 

Jump to Our top picks | Barbara Hambly | Brian Jacques | David Eddings | Emma Bull | George R.R. Martin | J.K. Rowling | J.R.R. Tolkien | L.E. Modesitt, Jr. | Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman | Robin McKinley | William Goldman

 

 

Our Top Picks

“Has the Archmage returned?”

— The Silent Tower (Windrose Chronicles #1). Barbara Hambly.

 

(Click to reveal spoiler)

— The Silicon Mage (Windrose Chronicles #2). Barbara Hambly.

 

This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.

— The Princess Bride. William Goldman.

 

Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived

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

— Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. J.K. Rowling.

 

Chapter 1: The Riddle House

The villagers of Little Hangleton still called it “The Riddle House,” even though it had been many years since the Riddle family had lived there.

— Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. J.K. Rowling.

 

 

Barbara Hambly

“Has the Archmage returned?”

— The Silent Tower (Windrose Chronicles #1). Barbara Hambly.

 

(Click to reveal spoiler)

— The Silicon Mage (Windrose Chronicles #2). Barbara Hambly.

 

 

Brian Jacques

Matthias cut a comical little figure as he wobbled his way along the cloisters, with his large sandals flip-flopping and his tail peeping from beneath the baggy folds of an oversized novice’s habit.

— Redwall. Brian Jacques.

 

 

David Eddings

Prologue

When the world was new, the seven Gods dwelt in harmony, and the races of man were as one people.

 

Chapter 1

The first thing the boy Garion remembered was the kitchen at Faldor’s farm.

— Pawn of Prophecy (The Belgariad #1). David Eddings.

 

Prologue

In the youth of the world, the evil God Torak stole the Orb of Aldur and fled, seeking dominion.

 

Chapter 1

Vo Wacune was no more.

— Queen of Sorcery (The Belgariad #2). David Eddings.

 

Prologue

At the beginning of Days, the world was spun out of darkness by the seven Gods, and they also created beasts and fowls, serpents and fishes, and lastly Man.

 

Chapter 1

Her Imperial Highness, Princess Ce’Nedra, jewel of the House of Borune and the loveliest flower of the Tolnedran Empire, sat cross-legged on a sea chest in the oak-beamed cabin beneath the stern of Captain Greldik’s ship, nibbling thoughtfully on the end of a tendril of her coppery hair as she watched the Lady Polgara attend to the broken arm of Belgarath the sorcerer.

— Magician’s Gambit (The Belgariad #3). David Eddings.

 

Prologue

Now a time came when Cherek and his three sons went with Belgarath the Sorcerer into Mallorea.

 

Chapter 1

(Click to reveal spoiler)

— Castle of Wizardry (The Belgariad #4). David Eddings.

 

Prologue

Hear me, ye Angaraks, for I am Torak, Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

 

Chapter 1

There was, Garion decided, something definitely mournful about the sound of mule bells.

— Enchanter’s End Game (The Belgariad #5). David Eddings.

 

 

Emma Bull

By day, the Nicollet Mall winds through Minneapolis like a paved canal.

— War for the Oaks. Emma Bull.

 

 

George R.R. Martin

Prologue

“We should start back,” Gared urged as the woods began to grow dark around them.

 

Chapter 1

The morning had dawned clear and cold, with a crispness that hinted at the end of summer.

— A Game of Thrones. George R.R. Martin.

 

Prologue

The comet’s tail spread across the dawn, a red slash that bled above the crags of Dragonstone like a wound in the pink and purple sky.

 

Chapter 1

At Winterfell they had called her “Arya Horseface” and she’d thought nothing could be worse, but that was before the orphan boy Lommy Greenhands had named her “Lumpyhead.”

— A Clash of Kings. George R.R. Martin.

 

Prologue

The day was grey and bitter cold, and the dogs would not take the scent.

 

Chapter 1

An east wind blew threw his tangled hair, as soft and fragrant as Cersei’s fingers.

— A Storm of Swords. George R.R. Martin.

 

Prologue

“Dragons,” said Mollander.

 

Chapter 1

(Click to reveal spoiler)

— A Feast for Crows. George R.R. Martin.

 

 

J.K. Rowling

Chapter 1: The Boy Who Lived

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

— Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. J.K. Rowling.

 

Chapter 1: The Worst Birthday

Not for the first time, an argument had broken out over breakfast at number four, Privet Drive.

— Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. J.K. Rowling.

 

Chapter 1: Owl Post

Harry Potter was a highly unusual boy in many ways.

— Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. J.K. Rowling.

 

Chapter 1: The Riddle House

The villagers of Little Hangleton still called it “The Riddle House,” even though it had been many years since the Riddle family had lived there.

— Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. J.K. Rowling.

 

Chapter 1: Dudley Demented

The hottest day of the summer so far was drawing to a close and a drowsy silence lay over the large, square house of Privet Drive.

— Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. J.K. Rowling.

 

Chapter 1: The Other Minister

It was nearing midnight and the Prime Minister was sitting alone in his office, reading a long memo that was slipping through his brain without leaving the slightest trace of meaning behind.

— Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. J.K. Rowling.

 

Chapter 1: The Dark Lord Ascending

The two men appeared out of nowhere, a few yards apart in the narrow, moonlit lane.

— Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. J.K. Rowling.

 

 

J.R.R. Tolkien

Prologue

This is a story of long ago.

 

Chapter 1: An Unexpected Party

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.

— The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien.

 

Prologue

This book is largely concerned with Hobbits, and from its pages a reader may discover much of their character and a little of their history.

 

Chapter 1: A Long-expected Party

When Mr. Bilbo Baggins of Bag End announced that he would shortly be celebrating his eleventy-first birthday with a party of special magnificence, there was much talk and excitement in Hobbiton.

— The Fellowship of the Ring. J.R.R. Tolkien.

 

Chapter 1: The Departure of Boromir

Aragorn sped on up the hill.

— The Two Towers. J.R.R. Tolkien.

 

Chapter 1: Minas Tirith

Pippin looked out from the shelter of Gandalf’s cloak.

— The Return of the King. J.R.R. Tolkien.

 

 

L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Growing up, I always wondered why everything in Wandernaught seemed so dull.

— The Magic of Recluce. L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

 

 

Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

Prologue

Tika Waylan straightened her back with a sigh, flexing her shoulders to ease her cramped muscles.

 

Part 1: Old Friends Meet. A Rude Interruption.

Flint Fireforge collapsed on a moss-covered boulder.

 

Part 2: Night of the Dragons.

Tika wrung the rag out in the pail and watched, dully, as the water turned black.

— Dragons of Autumn Twilight (Dragonlance: Chronicles, #1). Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman.

 

Prologue

The winter winds raged outside, but within the caverns of the mountain dwarved beneath the Kharolis Mountains, the fury of the storm was not felt.

 

Part 1: White-winged ships. Hope lies across the Plains of Dust.

Tanis Half-Elven sat in the meeting of the Council of Highseekers and listened, frowning.

 

Part 2: The flight from Ice Wall.

The old dwarf lay dying.

 

Part 3: The Red Wizard and His Wonderful Illusions!

Shadows crept across the dusty tables of the Pig and Whistle tavern.

— Dragons of Winter Night (Dragonlance: Chronicles, #2). Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman.

 

Part 1: Flight from Darkness into Darkness

The dragonarmy officer slowly descended the stairs from the second floor of the Saltbreeze Inn.

 

Part 2: Spring Dawning

As the day dawned, pink and golden light spreading across the land, the citizens of Kalaman woke to the sound of bells.

 

Part 3: An Old Man and a Golden Dragon

He was an ancient gold dragon, the oldest of his kind.

— Dragons of Spring Dawning (Dragonlance: Chronicles, #3). Margaret Weis & Tracy Hickman.

 

 

Robin McKinley

She could not remember a time when she had not known the story; she had grown up knowing it.

— The Hero and the Crown. Robin McKinley.

 

 

William Goldman

This is my favorite book in all the world, though I have never read it.

— The Princess Bride. William Goldman.

 
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