Some of [the thieves] were large men who took what they wanted by sheer force. Others were small and wiry men who stole by stealth. As Althalus approached manhood, he realized that he'd never be a giant. Sheer bulk was apparently not a part of his heritage. He also realized that when he achieved his full growth, he'd no longer be able to wriggle his way through small openings into interesting places where interesting things were kept. He would be medium sized, but he vowed to himself that he would not be mediocre. It occured to him that wit was probably superior to bull-like strength or mouselike stealth anyway, so that was the route he chose.
— The Redemption of Althalus by David & Leigh Eddings
"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.
"If you look at Hunt's operational history, and I have, he invariably favors misdirection over confrontation."
— Sean Ambrose, Mission: Impossible II
"Oh, baby, you are so talented... and they are so DUMB!"