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Bravely

Maggie Stiefvater

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Some storms make a lot of noise but move no rooftops.”

“You will heal," he said, and then he put his hand on her cheek. There was no feeling of dread, just the feeling of Feradach's hand on her. "You will always be impossible," he added, and he put his other hand on her other cheek. There was still no sense of doom; of what might be to come. "You will still be Merida of DunBroch," he said, and he kissed her. Neither the mortal nor the god had ever been in love before. It is not every day or every week or every month or every year that one person meets another who is their perfect foil, and it is not even every century that the pairing is a mortal and a god. It's more than simply love when it is a pair like this: it is balance, perfect balance, the push-pull of opposite forces that require each other. It is a sort of love that never grows old.Magic, magic, magic.”

“This is your dog?" the Dásachtach asked. "He was a gift," Harris answered in his distant way. "Do you not think a dog's behavior reflects its master?" "I do." "And do you think this dog reflects you well, boy?" It was a critique, and Harris did not generally take critique well unless he respected the giver very much, but all he said was, "He will.”

“The long warm light that came just before the night shimmered like water. As fall approached, the sounds of bellowing red stags punctuated the woods, fierce as bears. The leaves were not yet changing, but there was something substantial and weighty to them, a fullness that could be heard when the breeze lifted them. Summer was building, building, until it had to collapse into fall, and the effort was breathtaking to watch.”

“The holy well was before them. If it hadn't been marked as special, the place where the water came to the surface, fresh and clean and clear, would have been easily missed. But long ago, someone had built a stone border around it and added a vertical font with a woman's worn face on it. Water poured from her open mouth into the pool below. Little white moss flowers grew all around it. A few yards away was a craggy standing stone. The stone was twice as tall as Merida and covered all over with carved spirals. On the first day of spring solstice, the sun lit up a perfect trail of light along the stone as it rose; quite magical. Merida used to ride Angus to the stone when she was first learning all the wilds of DunBroch; it was so impressive that it had taken her several visits to realize that the holy well, not the stone, was the reason this path was kept clear.”

“The first god, the Cailleach, was very old. In fact, one of her other names was the Old Woman of Scotland, although most humans never saw her in that form. Instead, those with the Sight merely felt her invisible presence in a wild storm or a rushing waterfall or even in the melted snow that pools in fresh-plowed spring fields. The Cailleach was a goddess of creation. She made trees bud. Grass thicken. Calves grow inside cows. Fruit ripen on the vine. Her work was the ancient business of making and renewing.”

“The Cailleach, on the other hand, was old enough to have preferences. Biases. Favorites. This meant that sometimes, even when ruin was perfectly merited, she wanted her side to win instead.”

“Does the prince play?" asked the lute player. "Hamish is a wee beast with all stringed things," Fergus said. "Pity those wolves didn't have strings." Immediately, the woman passed the lute to Hamish. He didn't move his arms in time to take it, so she simply plopped it down in his lap. "I'll trade you a tune for your dish of pears." Hamish sat there, a frozen little creature with big eyes. Pinned to the bench by fear and by the lute. How badly Merida wanted him to be able to play fearlessly for this group. Not for their benefit, but for his. How was it that his sense of fun had been replaced by a sense of fear? She whispered to him, "You could play 'Crosses and Squares.'" Still he was frozen. Maldouen said, "Don't you think you owe Ol' Flower a tune for saving your life?" Maldouen was being playful, but he had, without realizing, hit upon the only way Hamish perform: obligation. Hamish let fear rule him, but not at the expense of other people. Hamish whispered, "All right," and then added, to the dog, "Ma'am," which made the entire table laugh uproariously. Hamish began to play. The villagers began to clap in time with him. Hamish played faster. They clapped faster. Hamish played little riffs and twirls, and the villagers got up and danced along with the well-known tune. With the lute in his hand and the tune ringing out strongly, it was almost possible to believe Hamish wasn't afraid, but Merida knew better. This was how it always went. When Hamish played for other people, he always looked like a different person. Straighter, surer. More like Hubert or Harris. This was part of a good show, after all, and he felt obligated to give Ol' Flower a good show.”

“This year, Merida saw rashers, poached eggs in a fragrant sauce, canceled wedding buns spread with a bit of dripping butter, boar meat made into warm, onion-scented drinking broth. Tarts golden and fragrant with cheese and scraps of pastry, mushrooms simmered in broth and browned with leeks in goose fat. Preserved pears in bowls, figs soaked in whisky, even little biscuits with rabbits stamped on them. Their private feast was always all the bits and bobs and failed experiments left over from preparing the public one. If this was the odd-ends, Merida could only imagine what the proper feast would be like later. Cranky Aileen was a wonder.”

“This story belongs to the Princess Merida. Merida was less like the mannered royal you're imagining and more like a struck match, although matches did not yet exist. Red hair, keen eyes, quick brain, built to start fires but not to put them out. She was an absolute wizard with a bow and arrow. For over a decade, before the wee devil triplet princes arrived, she'd been the only child, and where other children might have had friends, Merida had her bow. She practiced her archery breathlessly, automatically, in every moment her mother hadn't scheduled her for lessons in embroidery, music, and reading. There was a stillness to archery she couldn't get anywhere else. Whenever she had a problem she couldn't solve, she went out to practice. Whenever she had a feeling she didn't understand, she went out to practice. Hour upon hour, she collected calluses on fingertips and bruises on forearms. At night, when she dreamt, she still sighted between trees and adjusted for strong highland winds.”

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Book Keywords:

scottish-fiction, well, harris, merida, approaching, princess, natures-beauty, stone, leftovers, deep-love, feast, playing-music, pastries, lute, old-woman, holy, hamish, monuments, autumn, renewal, outdoorsy, scotland, divine-being, little-brother, sunset, archery, opposites-attract, scottish, stubborn, christmas, smart-mouth, natural-beauty, obligated, cailleach

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