“Well,” said the frog, “what are you going to do about it?”
“Marrying Therandil? I don’t know. I’ve tried talking to my parents, but they won’t listen, and neither will Therandil.”
“I didn’t ask what you’d said about it,” the frog snapped. “I asked what you’re going to do. Nine times out of ten, talking is a way of avoiding doing things.”
I was given the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede years ago, and I still love them. I pick them back up whenever I want a short, light fantasy read. This quote comes from the first chapter of book one, Dealing with Dragons. Here, Princess Cimorene, our protagonist, is talking to a frog about the prince she doesn’t want to marry. (Yes, it’s a bit of a fairy-tale story, too.)
So let’s analyze! What can we learn from this quote?
1. It’s amusing. This is the first thing I think of when reading this quote. It makes the reader chuckle as well as think. If you think about it, a very effective way to portray the theme of a book (if it fits the story, of course) is to wrap it in humor. People like to laugh, right? One theme of Dealing with Dragons could be doing something to change your life if you don’t like the way it’s going right now, so this quote works as a good early introduction to the theme.
2. Do we need to know the frog’s name? Looking at this quote, something else jumped out at me. The frog is an important character, in that he prompts Cimorene to go take action to change her lot instead of just talking about it, but he doesn’t show up in the rest of the book. So, do we really need to know his name (or if he has a name or not)? Not really. He’s just onstage, as it were, for a page or two. We don’t have to put a lot of work into short-lived side characters, just enough to make them feel realistic (earlier in the conversation, Cimorene asks if the frog is an enchanted prince, and he says no, but he’s met a few and picked up a few things). The frog here is a great example of that.
What do you think? Did this quote make you laugh? Have you read the Enchanted Forest Chronicles? Do you like them? If you haven’t read them, do you think you’ll give them a try? Tell me in the comments!