Top 5 Opening Lines

Being a lover of books and an English Teacher in a Secondary school means that I read a lot of opening lines!

The job of a successful opening line/ paragraph is to intrigue or entertain the reader enough that they are left wanting to read the next line or paragraph in order to reveal a little more about the character, the world or the conflict being introduced.

There are some amazing opening lines that have intrigued me, that I have listed my choice of Top 5 Opening Lines below:

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosohper’s Stone by J.K. Rowling‘Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.
    harry potter

    I love this opening because you immediately feel suspicious that perhaps they are in fact NOT normal and you just need to find out a little more, don’t you?
  2. The Declaration by Gemma Malley‘My name is Anna. My name is Anna and I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t exist. But I do.’
    The Declaration

    Such an intriguing opening right? So many questions… sense of a dystopian world waiting to be unravelled.
  3. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien‘In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort.’
    the hobbit

    Well, if that doesn’t paint the picture of a fascinating and original setting and character then who even are you?
  4. Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie – ‘All children, except one, grow up.’
    Such a magical opening line which is filled with the promise of joy, mischief and adventure.
  5. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens‘Marley was dead: to begin with.’

    A wonderful Gothic and ghostly opening to a novella about the spirit of Christmas. So unexpected that you’re hungry to discover more of Dickens’ intriguing character!

Gosh! There are so many more to choose from… Pride and Prejudice, 1984 and Bagging Alice to name but a few!

What are some of your favourite opening lines? Let me know in the comments below 🙂

Love Bex

PS. Come and chat about books over on my instagram!


2 thoughts on “Top 5 Opening Lines

  1. HA! Yes, that opener to Philosopher’s Stone tells you SO MUCH about the Durlsey’s, in relatively few words. There are dozens of incredible opening lines, of course, but one I came across recently that I loved was from Samuel Beckett’s Murphy: “The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.” Normally I hate starting with the weather, but the exhausted cynicism of that line had me in hysterics!


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