So I got the idea for this post by the abundance of “Not all those who wander are lost” tattoos I’ve seen popping up for years now. I see tattoos like that and I feel like Inigo Montoya, “You keep saying that sentence, I do not think it means what you think it means”. So, I decided to take some common misquotes and explain, either what the quote actually is, or what it actually means, because I’m sure it’s not what some of you think.
- “I took the road less traveled…” I’m going to be quick because people should know by now, but in case you don’t go read through that poem again. The roads are exactly the same by Robert Frost’s own description. Basically what it’s actually saying is that choosing a path is useless, Frost was a pessimist.
- Star-crossed Lovers Used to describe people who have a difficult love life ahead of them. People described Romeo and Juliet this way and they assumed it meant that these two were destined to be together but the road would be hard…actually, star-crossed means destined to die. Stop saying this about others…it’s creepy.
- “’tis love that makes the world go ’round” Said in Alice in Wonderland by the character The Duchess, who was a vile villain, and possible child murderer. In fact she says this right after condoning the beating of her baby because the poor thing sneezed. The statement was meant sarcastically and in stark contrast to the character’s actions, not to be taken to heart.
- “Luke, I am your father.” This is also one people should know by now. Luke accuses Vader of killing his father, because that’s what Obi Wan told him and Vader counters with, “No, I am your father.” and the whole theater died from shock.
- “Elementary, my dear Watson.” Never has Sherlock said this phrase in any of Doyle’s books. In fact the four words were used at the beginning of The Crooked Man, but the “…my dear Watson.” appears first and after a few lines of dialogue, Watson exclaims something and “Elementary” is the reply, but that is as close as these four words ever come to each other in the books.
- “With great power comes great responsibility.” This has been both misquoted and misrepresented. Uncle Ben does not say this in his last lecture to Peter, during the origin story of Spiderman. Do not misunderstand, it is a quote used in the last panel of the origin story, but it is merely end narration, not spoken by any characters. Also, the actual quote is, “With great power there must also come great responsibility.”
- “Not all those who wander are lost.” I’m not even going to lie, I could see how if you’d heard the quote out of context you might think it’s ridiculously boho and about finding your way in life or whatever, but it’s really not even a little about that. The original line appears in a poem in The Lord of the Rings that alludes to very important plot points. It actually is a description of the life of the character Aragorn, but it’s been taken out of context for so long it has lost its original meaning. I think it is also quoted in the movies…but then Gandolf was referring to a hoard of killer orcs (don’t hold me to that, it’s been a bit since I’ve seen all three movies) so…you know, not really what you thought it meant. Also, just as an after thought, I’ve seen the tattoo say “Not all who wander are lost” but that’s technically a misquote, missing the word “those” between “all” and “who”.
So there you go, tell your friends, because some of these things are very far away from what people think they mean now. Some of these are just little tidbits of knowledge though, so enjoy!