What Is Your Favorite Scene?

This may be a much harder question. Favorite scene of all time, whether you or someone else wrote it. What makes you love it so much? Do you re-watch/re-read it, teary-eyed?

Movies: The first one to pop into my head, believe it or not, is the carbonite freezing chamber scene with Leia and Han in Empire Strikes Back. I love it because it’s got tension and humor. That’s difficult to carry off.

You’re going to think I’m odd, but out of all the many scenes in the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice, I love the first proposal scene and the subsequent trip home where Elizabeth remembers Darcy’s words and expressions. Her garbled feelings are conveyed through the jangle of the horses’ gait and the carriage’s instability. That was a great notion of the director/cinematographer.

Books: Oi. I really don’t know about this one. I love the scene in Gaiman’s Anansi Boys where Fat Charlie sings his way through the obstacles and saves the day. I love the scene in Tigana where Alessan, Erlein and Devin are fleeing outlaws, but by the end of the sequence, they’ve joined the outlaws against Barbadian mercenaries. The whole scene speaks to me of heroism, humor and intelligence, all mixed in with great depth of feeling. Anyone who knows me is aware of how much I value these things in literature.

My favorite scene that I wrote is as follows:

When Jie returned to bed, he slept peacefully.
“Papa!” Jun said. “Papa, wake up!”
Jie opened his eyes. Relief flooded his heart. He was home.
Jun knelt at his side. Jiao brought tea and rice porridge flavored with salt pork. Steam rose from the bowls. It reminded him of the kuei.
Jie sighed, happy because there were no kuei. Twelve years of loss had disappeared. His sons were not dead. It was a terrible dream.
Daylight tried to break through the shutters. Jun laughed and opened the windows. Birdsong rang in the courtyards. Jie wanted to spend the day with his children. A trip to town with his boys sounded wonderful.
“I’m sorry, Papa,” Jiao said. He knelt with the porridge and tea kettle without spilling. He poured the tea and gave it to his father. Jie sipped it, cradling the warm cup in his numb hands.
“Sorry for what, son?” He wanted to treat them to sweets and a night of theatre.
“I’m sorry we’re dead.”
Jie choked. His tea was bitter. The icy cup cracked and shattered. The bright morning darkened to predawn blues. The birds fell silent.
“I’m sorry this is how we have to talk.”
“We wish we could be with you, Papa,” Jun said.
Tears wet Jie’s cheeks. He wanted to tell them, “You are! You’re always with me,” but his lips were frozen shut.
“Take him with you, Papa. He’s part of the family, too.” Jiao’s lips twisted in his sad half smile. He put his hand inside Jie’s numb fingers for a moment.
Stay! Stay here with me!
“Don’t forget, Papa.” Jun said, like he used to if Jie promised him a toy.
“Don’t leave me alone,” Jie pleaded.
“You know you’re never alone, Papa.” Jiao kissed him and was gone. Jun grinned and waved goodbye.
Jie woke. A frigid blanket of air wrapped around him. His eyes were glued shut and gritty with tears, but he could hear Mei’s rustling step. A bird chirruped outside as if testing the morning. He smelled steamed rolls and bacon from downstairs.
Mei put a warm cup of tea in his hands and molded his numb fingers around the smoothed clay.
He could hear her dip a cloth in the basin. She sipped from her teacup. It was familiar and heartbreaking. She wiped the dream away from his eyes, but it stayed in his heart. He’d prayed for guidance. This was the response. He felt heavy with care and older than his years.
Mei always knew when he spoke with their boys, but she never said anything. He appreciated her willingness to wait for their children’s message. She was tender and patient while they shared the basin for washing away sorrows.






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11 Responses to “What Is Your Favorite Scene?”

  1. Christine TB says:

    I'm not sure I have a favorite movie scene because certain scenes – at certain times – evoke powerful memories.

    For instance, in Mulan, my favorite scene is when she is ordered to pick up rice, one grain at a time. There are days when I'm extremely frustrated by a daunting task, or a huge "to-do" list and I think of that scene and think "one grain of sand at a time." It's a similar concept to Anne Lamotte's "Bird by Bird" analogy.

    Or in the Golden Compass, there are so many rich scenes that captured me, but it was two that stuck with me – the first is at the climax of the book when Lyra realizes she has rescued her friend only to have delivered him to his murderer. It was that, combined with the father's initial reaction to seeing Lyra that sticks with me – so unexpected and so gut wrenching (and courageous for a children's book.) The other is the scene in which the Armored Bear dispatches with the remains of his human companion as an act of respect. Again – I love risk taking on the part of an author.

    I'm working on my own scene in which my character has been hiding something critical from her best friend and is outed. The dialogue and the reveal between the two is one I read over and over again because it's the first time I ever captured what I felt – accurately on the page.

    Scenes are enigmas. They sometimes serve an author's (or screenwriter's) purpose. But oh – they are so glorious when they evoke emotional responses in the reader/viewer and go places the originator couldn't possibly imagine.

    Hitting that "sweet spot" is the holy grail. The scene that keeps the reader hooked and wanting to continue the journey to its completion!

    Great blog topic. Gave me a lot to think about…..C

  2. Mrs. Rabbit says:

    I guess it shouldn't surprise me that your favorite scene from your book was my favorite too! It was my first thought when I saw this topic!

    My favorite scene from a movie is in Life is Beautiful. They are taking the father away and he pretends he is playing a game with them and making fun of him… protecting his son from the reality of the concentration camp.

    My favorite scene from a book is in Peter Pan. Mrs. Darling is tidying up her children's minds- the nightly custom of all mothers. I read this stretched out on a blanket with my two daughters. My youngest (three at the time)asked me if mothers really did this… I told her we do our very best to do just that. Put all the naughty thoughts folded very small on bottom and the prettier thoughts spread out on top. I think of it every night as I tuck them into bed.

  3. Anita Davison says:

    That was a lovely scene with Jie above. My favourite movie scene was in Steel Magnolias [yeah OK so it's corny, but it's such a chick film.] After Shelby's funeral, everyone keeps asking M'Lynn how she is and she snaps, 'I'm fine, I'm fine. I'm so fine I could run to Texas and back, but my daughter never could'.
    It just sticks in my head – Oh and where Dolly Parton says the only nice thing she can say about her son's girlfriend is 'All her tatoos are spelled correctly'

  4. Victoria Dixon says:

    Thanks for the input, Christine! Yes, I love it when I can FEEL a scene crystalize on the screen/page. If I cry, I know it's right. I cherish the memory of your husband reading that scene. He's the only male to have read any part of the book and it was like HEARING Jie. I recall he asked if it was supposed to make him cry. I did a jig. Not that I LIKE making people cry, but, oh hell, yes I do! LOL.

    You know, I'm embarrassed to admit I've never read Peter Pan or watched Steel Magnolias. Obviously I should as both of those examples are wonderful. (And I CALL myself a fantasy writer! Geesh.) I love the characterization implied in commenting that someone's tats are spelled correctly!

    I'll have to rent it. Thanks, Anita!

  5. Jeannie Lin says:

    Interesting question! My favorite scenes shift — I'm very fickle with my sources of inspiration.

    The last scene in Time Traveller's Wife resonated with me for a long time. It pisses some people off because it's open ended. But I like mysteries and I don't need answers to everything.

    For movies, the Han and Leia scene is a pretty good one. 🙂 I'm currently stuck on end of "Lust, Caution" where the heroine sacrifices herself by telling her target to "Go now." Then the very last scene has him sitting on her bed and he places his hand over a spot on the mattress. Darn depressing Asian films.

    For my own writing, there's the scenes that write themselves. I know they're flawed, but it's always hard for me to edit them because when I read them over, I keep seeing what's in my head instead of what's actually on paper.

  6. Victoria Dixon says:

    Oooh, now I need to see Time Traveler's Wife and Lust, Caution. I like open endings. Once you've read Tigana, we can talk loads about that topic. LOL.

  7. Dara says:

    That's a difficult question. I love so many scenes from movies and books. I think one of my movie favorites is from the movie of Joy Luck Club.

    The scene is when one of the mothers, An-Mei, is having a flashback to a defining moment in her childhood and talking to her daughter Rose. It's at the funeral of her mother, who took her life three days prior to the lunar year in order to end the suffering she and An-Mei had to face at the hands of her husband and his second wife, as well as to give her a stronger spirit.

    Her mother had been the fourth wife of a powerful man and he'd used her; therefore she chose her death right at the beginning of the lunar year because all debts must be paid or misfortune will follow.

    Because of that, An-mei and her brother were to be raised as his honored children and she was to be revered as First Wife. An-Mei in her grief tells the once cruel Second Wife that she knows everything she represents is fake and a lie and does this by crushing a fake pearl necklance Second Wife had given her under her foot. She then screams for her mother, saying that on that day, she learned to shout and make herself strong.

    It's hard to explain it all, LOL, but everytime I see that I cry my eyes out.

    There are too many scenes from books I like to even mention them. 😛

  8. Dara says:

    I found the scene on YouTube, only it's subtitled in Chinese so unless you speak Chinese, it's hard to tell what they are saying. But the scene is the same.

    Here it is in case you're curious–from about the 1:00 mark to about the 3:30 part, especially when she crushes the necklace:


    I wish I could've found a smaller clip of it, but oh well.

  9. Victoria Dixon says:

    It is a hard question! 🙂 Thanks for posting that. I loved Joy Luck Club, but it's been a long time since I've rewatched it, so I'll go take a peak.

  10. Sabrina says:

    That's the only part of your book I've read, Victoria (having only just made your acquaintance), but it's incredibly rich and moving. I maintained, but only just. My eyes were teary. The emotions are there, and they are powerful.

  11. Victoria Dixon says:

    Thanks for popping in, Sabrina! And more so for the lovely comment. I hope to see you again. 🙂

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