While watching The Lord of the Rings again, a phrase ringed in my head. It was something like...

But that's the thing about journeys, when you return, you are never the same.

(These might not be the exact words)

I believe this was in one of Tolkien's works, but upon searching his quotes on the internet, I could not find such a quote. Which of Tolkien's books contains this line?


I believe you're referring to a line of Gandalf's from An Unexpected Journey, the first part of Peter Jackson's Hobbit film trilogy, which featured quite prominently in the announcement trailer:

Gandalf: You'll have a tale or two to tell of your own when you come back.

Bilbo: Can you promise that I will come back?

Gandalf: No. And if you do, you will not be the same.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)

As best I recall, this line does not appear in The Hobbit, nor in any of Tolkien's other works. There's a faintly similar line at the end of the book, where Gandalf reflects on Bilbo's development:

Gandalf looked at him. "My dear Bilbo!" he said. "Something is the matter with you! You are not the hobbit that you were."

The Hobbit Chapter 19: "The Last Stage"

  • that's it. The first one. Thanks a lot! – satnam Mar 1 '17 at 18:19
  • I swear it's mentioned in the novels somewhere, it's on the tip of my tongue but I just can't find it – Edlothiad Mar 1 '17 at 18:23
  • I yield, I couldn't find anything. – Edlothiad Mar 1 '17 at 18:32
  • also OP's quote is a bit similar to "There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” – NKCampbell Mar 2 '17 at 18:10

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