From American Gods to Coraline to The Sandman comic series, Neil Gaiman’s stories have enthralled readers for decades. He’s a master of writing uncanny, fantastical tales in which his characters are so very human, juxtaposing wonder with the mundane. To read Gaiman is to submerge yourself into new worlds and ways of thinking, and for that, we are grateful.
In honor of his birthday on November 10th, we’ve rounded up eight powerful quotes from his novels and comics. Check them out below to add a touch of magic—and a whopping dose of truth—to your life.
“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.”
—The Graveyard Book
“Each person who ever was or is or will be has a song. It isn’t a song that anybody else wrote. It has its own melody, it has its own words. Very few people get to sing their song. Most of us fear that we cannot do it justice with our voices, or that our words are too foolish or too honest, or too odd. So people live their song instead.”
“You know what happens when you dream of falling? Sometimes you wake up. Sometimes the fall kills you. And sometimes, when you fall, you fly.”
—The Sandman, Vol. 6: Fables and Reflections
“It may help to understand human affairs to be clear that most of the great triumphs and tragedies of history are caused, not by people being fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, but by people being fundamentally people.”
—Good Omens (co-written with Terry Pratchett)
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
—Coraline (quote inspired by G.K. Chesterton)
“Grown-ups don’t look like grown-ups on the inside… Outside, they’re big and thoughtless and they always know what they’re doing. Inside, they look just like they always have. Like they did when they were your age. Truth is, there aren’t any grown-ups. Not one, in the whole wide world.”
—The Ocean at the End of the Lane
“There’s never been a true war that wasn’t fought between two sets of people who were certain they were in the right. The really dangerous people believe they are doing whatever they are doing solely and only because it is without question the right thing to do.”
“Everybody has a secret world inside of them. All of the people of the world, I mean everybody. No matter how dull and boring they are on the outside, inside them they’ve all got unimaginable, magnificent, wonderful, stupid, amazing worlds. Not just one world. Hundreds of them. Thousands, maybe.”
—The Sandman, Vol. 5: A Game of You