"And you expect me to see all your manipulating as right? And wise? Benevolent, following some master plan I'm too stupid or impatient to see? You think manipulating folk isn't the greatest evil there is?"
"Lass, lass, manipulating folk is what humans do. If ye knew of my youth, ye'd know just how much I hate mages who rule, and being manipulated... but I learned down the centuries that 'tis best to do some steering of folk before the steering is done to ye. Because, rest assured, 'twill be. I can at least be sure of my own motives, and that I've thought about them, though whether they be 'good' or 'evil' is for others to judge. The motives of others, I can never be so sure about — until I see the glee in their eyes reflecting off the bright blade aimed at my heart... as they swing it down."
— Elminster's Daughter by Ed Greenwood
My favorite three questions are, What do I want?, What do I have?, and How can I best use the latter to get the former?
"When Loki had been a youth and easily bored, he had gone exploring in the palace, and had found the library. Better than any dragon's hoard, to his mind: gold shined bright and well-forged blades were always useful, but more useful than any trinket was knowledge."
"Why fight when you can negotiate?"
— Captain Jack Sparrow, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Frank: You're very good.
Lai: What do you mean?
Frank: The moment you saw those pictures in the house you were setting me up to get involved in all this. Breakfast, giving the excuse to the cop to help me, one lie after another.
Lai: Not everything is a lie.
Frank: Name one thing that isn't.