,

Robin McKinley — The Hero and the Crown (1984)

Luthe looked at her thoughtfully, cradling it in his hand. “If you bound it into your Damarian Crown, it would make whoever wore it invincible.”

Aerin shook her head violently. “And be forever indebted to the memory of Maur? Damar can do without.”

“You don’t know what you’re saying. A dragon’s bloodstone is not for good or wickedness; it just is. And it is a thing of great power, for it is its dragon’s death—unlike its skull, which your folk treated like a harmless artifact. The bloodstone is the real trophy, the prize worth the winning; worth almost any winning. You’re letting your own experience color your answer.”

“Yes, I am letting my own experience color my answer, which is what experience is for.”

,

Robin McKinley — The Hero and the Crown (1984)

She had been climbing forever; she would be climbing forever. She would be a new god: the God That Climbs. It was no more improbable than some of the other gods: the God That Isn’t There, for example (more often known as the God That Follows or the God That Goes Before), which was the shadow-god at midday.

,

Robin McKinley — The Hero and the Crown (1984)

Luthe snorted with laughter, tried to turn it into a cough, inhaled at the wrong moment, and then really did cough. “Truly,” he said at last, “the poor surka can be a useful tool. You cannot blame it for the misfortunes of your childhood. If you try to breathe water, you will not turn into a fish, you will drown; but water is still good to drink.”

,

Robin McKinley — The Hero and the Crown (1984)

“If it was so important, and the Black Dragon, even in death, so insidious, why did you not come and fetch me?”

There was a little pause, and Luthe smiled faintly. “I shan’t try to bully you again.”

“You have not answered my question.”

“I don’t wish to answer it.”

She could not help herself, and she laughed: he sounded so much like a sulky child. And her laugh rang out, clear and free, as it had not done since she had first heard the name of Maur.

,

Robin McKinley — The Hero and the Crown (1984)

Maur’s ugly black skull had been hung high on the wall of the great hall, whose ceilings were three stories tall. It had been placed there by some other direction, for she had had nothing to do with it, nor would have wanted it there had she been asked. Even in the great hall it was huge; she looked at it, and it she could see clearly, and it leered at her. I am the shape of their fear, it said, for you dared to slay me.

I am the shape of their fear, the thing said.

But I am lame and crippled from our meeting, she replied; I am human like them, for I was sorely wounded.

The thing laughed; the laugh came as a ripple of heavy silence that muffled the uncertain conversation in the hall; but only Aerin heard.

,

Robin McKinley — The Hero and the Crown (1984)

She thought: If this mess really worked, everyone would know of it; they would all use it for dragon-hunting, and would have been using it all along, and dragons would no longer be a risk—and that book would be studied and not left to gather dust. It is foolish to think I have discovered something everyone before me had overlooked. She bowed her head over her burnt twig, and several hot tears slipped down her face onto her page of calculations.

,

Robin McKinley – Spindle’s End (2000)

Rosie could feel him thinking, but he was silent for long enough that she had the opportunity to notice that he was the only one of all of them who was not blundering over his own feet. She felt him notice her noticing—there was a certain sense of “at last” about it—and then he said: The things that aren’t there are not there in different ways. Some of them are almost there and some of them are nearly not-there.

Narl said slowly, “Yes. This seems to be a—neither here nor there sort of place. And the things here are neither here nor there either.”

“Only they don’t seem to—upset Flinx’s sense of balance,” said Rosie.

“Perhaps cats are neither here nor there all the time,” said Narl, and Flinx, picking up the gist of this through Rosie, gave Narl a thoughtful look before returning to his tail.

,

Robin McKinley – Spindle’s End (2000)

…But the wing had not healed as it should, and so it was given the vaulted height of the Great Hall to live in, where no one dared trouble it, and it was fed by a falconer with a very long pole.

The merrel also knew its wing had not healed. But I could reach a great height once more before it failed me, it said. And from there I would fold my wings and plummet to the earth as if a hare or a fawn had caught my eye; but it would be myself I stooped toward. It would be a good flight and a good death. And so I eat their dead things cut up on a pole, dreaming of my last flight.