Journey to the centre of a novel: Great middle lines – 1

In the middle of a novel, a few lines often show the reader that a character’s world is about to become unfamiliar and unsafe.  It can be a turning point, a point where a journey begins and when the action starts.

I’d like to share some of these lines with you.  I’ll go to the half-way point of a novel, give or take a page, and scan it for something I wish I’d written myself.  Today I picked up The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien, turned to the opening page, p. 13, then the last page, p. 253, and calculated the rough centre would be at about p. 120.  I read the page and found these admirable words, which indeed are the point where a journey begins:

“There are no safe paths in this part of the world. Remember you are over the Edge of the Wild now, and in for all sorts of fun wherever you go. Before you could get round Mirkwood in the North you would be right among the slopes of the Grey Mountains, and they are simply stiff with goblins, hobgoblins, and orcs of the worst description. Before you could get round it in the South, you would get into the land of the Necromancer; and even you, Bilbo, won’t need me to tell you tales of that black sorcerer.”

*****

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