books All the Opening Sentences from Stephen King Books, Ranked  

Jacoby Bancroft
6.7k votes 1.1k voters 9.1k views 45 items Follow Embed
The first lines in Stephen King books set the stage for the stories that follow. Over his long career, King has written opening sentences that are funny, informative, scary, and downright odd. But which one is the best?

Is it the simple statement about 
the gunslinger following the man in black through the desert in The Gunslinger, the novel that begins his epic eight-novel fantasy cycle? Is it the more in-depth breakdown of the Boston Globe reporter's surroundings in The Colorado Kid? Is it the random gurgles and moans that kick off Misery? Or is it something else entirely?

There's certainly not a shortage to chose from. Check out the list below to view every first sentence from King's novels and vote up your favorite ones! 


list ordered by

1
+ - 560 69
The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed. The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger 

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2
+ - 368 34
The terror, which would not end for another twenty-eight years - if it ever did end - began, so far as I know or can tell, with a boat made from a sheet of newspaper floating down a gutter swollen with rain. It

3
+ - 176 44
YOU'VE BEEN HERE BEFORE. Needful Things

4
+ - 167 41
The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted. The Girl who Loved Tom Gordon 

5
+ - 160 43
On September 15th, 1981, a boy named Jack Sawyer stood where the water and land come together, hands in the pockets of his jeans, looking out at the steady Atlantic. The Talisman 

6
+ - 193 62
Jack Torrance thought: Officious little pr*ck. The Shining

7
+ - 174 53
Once upon a time, not so long ago, a monster came to the small town of Castle Rock, Maine. Cujo

8
+ - 136 35
This is the story of a lover's triangle, I suppose you'd say - Arnie Cunningham, Leigh Cabot, and, of course, Christine. Christine

9
+ - 143 39
People's lives - their real lives, as opposed to their simple physical existences - begin at different times. The Dark Half

10
+ - 148 43
Almost everyone thought the man and the boy were father and son. 'Salem's Lot

11
+ - 118 27
No one - least of all Dr. Litchfield - came right out and told Ralph Roberts that his wife was going to die, but there came a time when Ralph understood without needing to be told. Insomnia

12
+ - 148 45
This happened in 1932, when the state penitentiary was still at Cold Mountain. The Green Mile

13
+ - 115 28
Louis Creed, who had lost his father at three and who had never known a grandfather, never expected to find a father as he entered his middle age, but that was exactly what happened...although he called this man a friend, as a grown man must do when he finds the man who should have been his father relatively late in life. Pet Sematary

14
+ - 149 48
I have never been what you’d call a crying man. 11/22/63

15
+ - 133 40
On the second day of December in a year when a Georgia peanut farmer was doing business in the White House, one of Colorado's great resort hotels burned to the ground. Doctor Sleep

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16
+ - 123 35
SSDD, it became their motto, and Jonesy couldn't for the life of him remember which of them started saying it first. Dreamcatcher

17
+ - 117 33
She sits in the corner, trying to draw air out of a room which seemed to have plenty just a few minutes ago and now seems to have none. Rose Madder

18
+ - 143 49
"ASK ME A RIDDLE," Blaine invited. The Dark Tower: Wizard and Glass

19
+ - 103 32
The event that came to be known as The Pulse began at 3:03 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, on the afternoon of October 1. Cell

20
+ - 88 28
By the time he graduated from college, John Smith had forgotten all about the bad fall he took on the ice that January day in 1953. The Dead Zone

21
+ - 79 22
For want of a nail the kingdom was lost - that's how the catechism goes when you boil it down. The Tommyknockers

22
+ - 104 40
Pere Don Callahan had once been the Catholic priest of a town, 'Salem's Lot had been its name, that no longer existed on any map. The Dark Tower: The Dark Tower

23
+ - 83 27
"Wake up, genius." Finders Keepers

24
+ - 71 19
"Daddy, I'm tired," the little girl in the red pants and the green blouse said fretfully. Firestarter

25
+ - 84 28
On a very hot day in August of 1994, my wife told me she was going down to the Derry Rite Aid to pick up a refill on her sinus medicine prescription - this is stuff you can buy over the counter these days, I believe. Bag of Bones

26
+ - 94 35
"How long will the magic stay?" The Dark Tower: Song of Susannah 

27
+ - 88 31
The gunslinger came awake from a confused dream which seemed to consist of a single image: that of the Sailor in the Tarot deck from which the man in black had dealt (or purported to deal) the gunslinger's own moaning future. The Dark Tower: The Drawing of the Three

28
+ - 73 21
From two thousand feet, where Claudette Sanders was taking a flying lesson, the town of Chester's Mill gleamed in the morning light like something freshly made and just set down. Under the Dome

29
+ - 106 44
Right here and now, as an old friend used to say, we are in the fluid present, where clear-sightedness never guarantees perfect vision. Black House

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30
+ - 77 25
"Sally." The Stand

31
+ - 83 30
Somewhere, high above, the moon shines down, fat and full - but here, in Tarker's Mills, a January blizzard has choked the sky with snow. Cycle of the Werewolf

32
+ - 79 28
It was her third time with live ammunition...and her first time on the draw from the holster Roland had rigged for her. The Dark Tower: The Waste Lands

33
+ - 61 17
To the public eye, the spouses of well-known writers are all but invisible, and no one knew it better than Lisey Landon. Lisey's Story

34
+ - 72 25
umber whunn yerrrnnn umber whunnn fayunnn These sounds: even in the haze. Misery

35
+ - 73 26
News item from the Westover (Me.) weekly Enterprise, August 19, 1966: RAIN OF STONES REPORTED. Carrie

36
+ - 67 24
Jessie could hear the back door banging lightly, randomly, in the October breeze blowing around the house. Gerald's Game

37
+ - 86 39
Tian was blessed (though few farmers would have used such a word) with three patches: River Field, where his family had grown rice since time out of mind; Roadside Field, where ka-Jaffords had grown sharproot, pumpkin, and corn for those same long ears and generations; and Son of a Bitch, a thankless tract which mostly grew rocks, blisters, and busted hopes. The Dark Tower: Wolves of the Calla

38
+ - 51 16
Curt Wilcox's boy came around the barracks a lot the year after his father died, I mean a lot, but nobody ever told him get out of the way or asked him what in hail he was doing there again. From a Buick 8

39
+ - 56 21
In the northwestern part of Maine - in the area known as the Lakes Direct - the small town of Sharbot curves like a crescent around a beautiful body of water called Dark Score Lake. Dolores Claiborne

40
+ - 59 29
"Oh! Oh, Jesus! Gross!" Desperation 

41
+ - 45 21
Augie Odenkirk had a 1997 Datsun that still ran well in spite of high mileage, but gas was expensive, especially for a man with no job, and City Center was on the far side of town, so he decided to take the last bus of the night. Mr. Mercedes

42
+ - 45 21
I had a car, but on most days in that fall of 1973 I walked to Joyland from Mrs. Shoplaw's Beachside Accommodations in the town of Heaven's Bay. Joyland

43
+ - 56 32
My name is Edgar Freemantle. I used to be a big deal in the building and contracting business. Duma Key

44
+ - 38 28
Fifth Business. Revival

45
+ - 31 22
After deciding he would get nothing of interest from the two old men who comprised the entire staff of The Weekly Islander, the feature writer from the Boston Globe took a look at his watch, remarked that he could just make the one-thirty ferry back to the mainland if he hurried, thanked them for their time, dropped some money on the tablecloth, weighted it down with the salt shaker so the stiffish onshore breeze wouldn't blow it away, and hurried down the stone steps from The Grey Gull's patio dining area toward Bay Street and the little town below. The Colorado Kid