The Neverending Story is a fantasy novel written by Michael Ende and published in 1979. It was originally published in German under the title Die unendliche Geschichte and was a great success. Given its popularity, it was later translated into English and other languages and went on to achieve worldwide fame. In this article, we’re going to explore some of the best quotes from The Neverending Story as a tribute to this fantastic work.
Many know the novel from its 1984 film adaptation. Since then, there have been dozens of adaptations for the big screen, not to mention audiobooks, plays, animated series, comics, and even both authorized and unauthorized novels.
33 of the best quotes from The Neverending Story
Michael Ende published a dozen works, although none of them achieved as much international popularity as The Neverending Story. Moreover, he was one of the most popular children’s science fiction and fantasy authors of the 20th century. In fact, his works have been published in dozens of languages and sold millions of copies.
Here are some of the best quotes from The Neverending Story as well as some curious facts about this fascinating work of fiction.
1. “There are many kinds of joy, but they all lead to one: the joy to be loved”.
The first English translation of this book was produced in 1983. This was due to the fact that the book had topped the Der Spiegel bestseller list for 113 days.
2. “Strange as it may seem, horror loses its power to frighten when repeated too often”.
The original edition was published in red and green. The details that alluded to the human world were written in red and the arguments that took place in the fantasy land were in green. The illustrations also followed this dynamic.
3. “Without a past you can’t have a future”.
The work has been published in some 40 languages and has sold nearly ten million copies.
4. “Like all true transformations it was as slow and smooth as the growth of a plant”.
There have been several movie adaptations of the book. The most popular was the trilogy first released in 1984. The first installment was a commercial success, not to mention the most expensive production in history made outside the United States and the Soviet Union.
5. “Some people risk their lives to conquer a mountain peak. No one, not even they themselves, can really explain why”.
This adaptation, the trilogy, further promoted the success of the novel among non-German audiences. The last installment of the trilogy was released in 1994. It differs from the original work.
6. “Human passions have mysterious ways, in children as well as grown-ups. Those affected by them can’t explain them. And those who haven’t known them have no understanding of them at all”.
Despite applause from both the public and critics, the author didn’t like the adaptation. In fact, he refused to have his name included in the opening credits.
7. “And joy filled him from head to foot, the joy of living and joy of being himself “.
In the movie adaptation, in the Ivory Tower scene, there are several cameos of fantasy characters. Among them are Yoda, C-3PO, Mickey Mouse, ET, and Gumby.
8. ” ‘I wonder’ he said to himself ‘what’s in a book while it’s closed. Oh, I know it’s full of letters printed on paper, but all the same, something must be happening, because as soon as I open it, there’s a whole story with people I don’t know yet, and all kinds of adventures, deeds and battles”.
Given the technological limitations of the time, many of the mythical scenes of the novel weren’t included in the movie adaptation.
9. “Wishes cannot be summoned up or kept away at will. They come from deeper within us than good or bad intentions. And they spring up unannounced”.
The German version is seven minutes longer compared to the US version. The two adaptations also vary in terms of the musical score.
10. “Some think their only hope of happiness lies in being someone else, and spend their whole lives traveling from place to place”.
The movie took a whole year to record, contrary to the three months that were planned. The production also far exceeded the initial budget.
11. “When it comes to controlling humans, there is no better instrument than lies”.
Nowadays, most of the people who read the novel are adults. In fact, the average age of its readers is between 18 to 34 years old.
12. “Humans live by beliefs, and beliefs can be manipulated. The power to manipulate beliefs is the only thing that counts”.
The album, Wooden Heart, by the American band Listener was partial inspiration for the novel, both in its characters and its plot.
13. “You must let what happens happen. Everything must be equal in your eyes, good and evil, beautiful and ugly, foolish and wise”.
Between 2003 and 2004, several sequels inspired by the characters and story, but with different plots, were released. In total, there were six novels. They were published by the AVA International publishing house.
14. “What he had hoped was his ruin and what he had feared his salvation”.
The book has been adapted all over the world and turned into stage, opera, ballet, and musical productions. The main productions were made in Canada, the United States, and Germany.
15. “If you don’t, you’re likely to lose your last memories, and without memory, how will you ever find your way back to where you came from?”
Several adaptations for television series have also been made in Canada. The first and most important dates from 1995, with a total of 26 episodes.
16. “Nothing is lost… Everything is transformed”.
There have also been several adaptations of video games of The Neverending Story. The first of these was released in 1985 for the Atari 800, the Commodore 64, and the Spectrum, among others.
17. “With them the individual counted for nothing. No one was irreplaceable, because they drew no distinction between one man and another…”
Michael Ende was already an established writer when he wrote The Neverending Story. His success came with his first novel, Jim Button and Luke the Engine Driver (1960).
18. “Oh, nothing can happen more than once, but all things must happen one day”.
In total, Ende published five novels and a dozen children’s stories. He also published stories for adult audiences, along with plays, poems, and essays.
19. “Maybe all the people who say ghosts don’t exist are just afraid to admit that they do.”
The Neverending Story is extremely popular in Japan, in part because the author himself was fascinated by the country. Indeed, many of his works, including this one, feature direct allusions to its culture.
20. “My will can control anything that’s empty.”
The book has been analyzed from different points of view. Religious, Jungian and even prophetic symbols have been sought.
21. “Every real story is a never-ending story”.
Despite the passing of the years, the novel remains captivating. In part, this is due to its many adaptations. In fact, they tend to serve as an introduction to the 400-plus-page book. For example, the book was adapted in 2019 for the Stratford Festival by David S. Craig.
22. “He felt very lonely, yet there was a kind of pride in his loneliness”.
Today, the book is considered to be a classic of children’s and young adult fiction. These quotes demonstrate why.
23. “He had never been willing to believe that life had to be as gray and dull as people claimed”.
In its beginnings, Ende thought the work wouldn’t exceed 100 pages and would be written in a couple of months. However, in the end, it took more than two years to write and exceeded 400 pages.
24. “Once someone dreams a dream, it can’t just drop out of existence. But if the dreamer can’t remember it, what becomes of it?”
As expected, the aesthetic details increased the production costs of the movie. Indeed, these details were maintained in almost all of the translations and added to the book’s success.
25. “What I’ve started I must finish. I’ve gone too far to turn back. Regardless of what may happen, I have to go forward”.
Very few publishers choose to publish the novel in black and white. They wanted to preserve the essence of the original edition.
26. “He longed to be loved just as he was, good or bad, handsome or ugly, clever or stupid, with all his faults – or possibly because of them”.
There were 20,000 copies of the first edition. These sold out in the first few weeks. A total of 15 editions were published during the following three years. In total, the book sold more than one million copies.
27. “A story can be new and yet tell about olden times. The past comes into existence with the story”.
Although Ende disliked the movie, he made no comment on the other kinds of adaptations of the story.
28. “Some are so bent on winning a game of chance that they lose everything they own, and some sacrifice everything for a dream that can never come true”.
When the movie adaptation was underway, Ende tried to cancel the rights contract. This was because he didn’t like the fact that the script was so far removed from the original story. However, he found himself facing a million-dollar lawsuit and chose to withdraw from the project.
29. “Only the right name gives beings and things their reality. A wrong name makes everything unreal”.
Special versions of the book have been published in Germany, Japan, and the United States. Some of these contain chapters that haven’t been translated into other languages.
30. “You wish for something, you’ve wanted it for years, and you’re sure you want it, as long as you know you can’t have it”.
The book launch received both positive and negative reviews. Some considered it a piece of art in itself, while others viewed it as too chintzy and in poor taste.
31. “Nothing is lost, everything is transformed.”
The original edition of the work was published in hardcover and not in paperback. According to the author, his intention was for the book to be as similar as possible to the book that Bastian steals from Mr. Coreander.
32. “Never give up and good luck will find you”.
Michael Ende died in 1995 from stomach cancer. The disease was diagnosed only a year before.
33. “You must live your story”.
We end our best quotes from The NeverEnding Story with the suggestion that you relive this incredible classic for both children and adults yourself and rediscover its characters and plot. Don’t be afraid to try all of its adaptations, especially the ones that aren’t so popular. After all, don’t forget…the story is never-ending.