YA Book Quotes Galore: The Bear and the Nightingale By Katherine Arden

YA Book Quotes Galore: The Bear and the Nightingale By Katherine Arden


The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden has been something that I have been wanting to read for a long time. So yesterday, after canceling the hiking trip that I was supposed to go to––because I am a lazy cinnamon roll––I decided to write the whole day off and spend it reading instead to make me feel less like a slob and more like a productive human being.

Since late 2019, your girl has been on this quest to broaden her knowledge and pump her brain up––for whatever reason––thus I haven’t been reading a lot of fiction novels and went all hardcore, knees deep into non-fiction novels. But now that I have the gung-ho non-fiction phase under control, your girl is slowly crawling back into non-fiction again.

Personally, I am glad that I decided to give this retelling of the Russian folklore––The Bear and the Nightingale––a try because it has been a while since I was able to read a book that entranced me from the beginning till the end. I mean, your girl loved it so much that I basically swallowed the book whole in under 6 hours time.


bear the nightingale quotes Katherine arden


And now, since I am still excitedly blazing through the series––and would love to share my love for this series with you, I will list out all my favourite quotes from the first book of The Winternight Trilogy and hopefully you can enjoy reading it as much as I do writing it.



Feel free to press play:



“Nothing changes, Vasya. Things are, or they are not. Magic is forgetting that something ever was other than as you willed it.”


“And what is your work, Batyushka?” said Vasya. 



“To save souls,” he said. He could count the freckles on her nose. If ever a girl needed saving, it was this one. The blackberries had stained her lips and her hands.



Vasya half-smiled. “Are you going to save us, then?”



“If God gives me strength, I will save you.”



“I am only a country girl,” said Vasya. She reached again into the blackberry bush, wary of thorns. “I have never seen Tsargrad, or angels, or heard the voice of God. But I think you should be careful, Batyushka, that God does not speak in the voice of your own wishing. We have never needed saving before.”



bear the nightingale Katherine arden



“Hush,” he said. “Do not be a fool; you are making yourself frightened.”



She laughed again. “You are right,” she said. “I am foolish. I was born for a cage, after all: convent or house, what else is there?”



“You are a woman,” said Konstantin. He was still holding her arm; she stepped back and he let her go. “You will accept it in time,” he said. “You will be happy.”


I would walk into the jaws of hell itself, if it were a path of my own choosing. I would rather die tomorrow in the forest than live a hundred years of the life appointed me.



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“Are you a devil?”


There was a small pause.
“I don’t know. Maybe. What is a devil?” The little creature had a voice like the whicker of a kindly horse.


Vasya reflected. “A great black creature with a beard of flame and a forked tail that wishes to possess my soul and drag me off to be tortured in a pit of fire.”


She eyed the little man again.
Whatever he was, he did not seem to fit this description. His beard was quite reassuringly white and solid and he was turning round and examining the seat of his trousers as though to confirm the absence of a tail.


“No,” he answered at length. “I do not think that I am a devil.”





“We who live forever can know no courage,

nor do we love enough to give our lives.”





He is full of desire. Desire and fear. He does not know what he desires, and he does not admit his fear. But he feels both, strong enough to strangle.



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“I gave everything for you, Vasilisa Petrovna.”



“Not everything,” said Vasya. “Since clearly your pride is intact, as well as your illusions.”


She is not afraid, Konstantin thought dourly. She does not fear God; she fears nothing. He saw it in her silences, her fey glance, the long hours she spent in the forest. In any case, no good Christian maid ever had eyes like that, or walked with such grace in the dark.





“Go wary of the living ones, synok, because they are dangerous.”





“Sasha looked at his sister. He had never thought of her as girlish, but the last trace of softness was gone. The quick brain, the strong limbs were there: fiercely, almost defiantly present, though concealed beneath her encumbering dress. She was more feminine than she had ever been, and less. Witch. The word drifted across his mind. We call such women so, because we have no other name.” 


“It is a cruel task, to frighten people in God’s name.”


“Vasilisa Petrovna,” he said. “Your brother said you were beautiful. You are not.” She stiffened, and his smile deepened. “You are magnificent.”


“Do not go, Vasya,” he said. “When you stay, I remember my strength, and I remember that I am not afraid.”



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“Why would I choose to die?”



“It is easy to die,” replied the bannik. “Harder to live.”





“I do not like half-answers.”



“Stop asking half questions, then,” he said, and smiled with sudden charm.





“I go to church, Father,” she replied. “Anna Ivanovna is not my mother, nor is her madness my business. Just as my soul is not yours. And it seems to me we did very well before you came; for if we prayed less, we also wept less.”



bear and the nightingale quotes



“I told Father this was a bad idea,” said Alyosha in her ear.



“What? And why?” said Vasya, preoccupied by the horse.



“To marry you off so soon. Because blushing maidens are supposed to look covetously upon the lords that vie for their hands, not upon the lords’ fine horses.”


“The boar came for me,” said Kyril. “Its hooves shook the earth. I commended my soul to God—”



And died there with blood in your mouth, Vasya thought in disgust. I should have been so fortunate.


“Am I a child? Always someone else must decide for me. But this I will decide for myself.”





“You are too attached to things as they are,” said Morozko, combing the mare’s withers. He glanced down idly. “You must allow things to be what best suits your purpose. And then they will.”





“Where am I?”



He shrugged. “Back of the north wind. The end of the world. Nowhere at all.”


“Blood is one thing. The sight is another. But courage—that is rarest of all, Vasilisa Petrovna.”



bear and the nightingale quotes



“East of the sun, west of the moon,” said Morozko. “Beyond the next tree.”





“Sleep is cousin to death, Vasya. And both are mine.”





“All my life,” she said, “I have been told ‘go’ and ‘come.’ I am told how I will live, and I am told how I must die. I must be a man’s servant and a mare for his pleasure, or I must hide myself behind walls and surrender my flesh to a cold, silent god.”


“I will be no one’s bride, neither of man nor of God. I am going to Kiev and Sarai and Tsargrad, and I will look upon the sun on the sea.”


His voice was steady against her ear. She felt the years in him, and the strength. “All will be well.”



bear and the nightingale quotes



“You are mad, Vasya.”



She laughed, but the tears blurred her sight. “Entirely,” she said. “But I will have my freedom, Alyosha.”





“Now hear me. Before the end, you will pluck snowdrops at midwinter,

die by your own choosing, and weep for a nightingale.”





“You left me this mad girl, and I love her well. She is braver and wilder than any of my sons.”



bear and the nightingale quotes



“If this is the last decision I can ever make, at least it is my decision.”


“It is time to put aside dreaming. Fairy tales are sweet on winter nights, nothing more.”





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