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Casino Royale | Quotes

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1.

Both of these organizations would doubtless be delighted to take over the scheme.


Head of S., Chapter 2

To win approval for the operation to bankrupt Le Chiffre, the Head of S. mentions the United States and France would both jump at the chance to take the lead in humiliating the Soviet Union. This touches upon the unspoken rivalry between Britain and the other two nations as they jockey for supremacy in their anti-communist alliance.

2.

They got in the way and fogged things up with sex and hurt feelings.


Narrator, Chapter 4

Bond doesn't like to work with women because he believes they make things unnecessarily complicated, particularly when sexual attraction is involved. Yet it is Bond, not Vesper, who is guilty of these things. His desire to sleep with her, and later marry her, blinds him to the fact she's a Soviet spy. Though he would never admit it, her betrayal cuts him deeply. He spends more time thinking about bedding Vesper than he does ensuring the success of the mission—which nearly ends in his death.

3.

He was quite honest to himself about the hypocrisy of his attitude toward her.


Narrator, Chapter 5

Bond initially hates the idea of having a woman as his partner in the field, but he changes his mind as soon as he sees her. He finds her attractive and immediately decides he will sleep with her after the mission. The fact he makes no excuses for his initial prejudice or his change of heart shows his lack of emotional depth.

4.

Bond had always been a gambler.


Narrator, Chapter 7

The narrator is speaking literally here—Bond has a long history of gambling—but readers can also interpret the narrator's words metaphorically. Bond gambles in every aspect of his life, often with his life. Every mission is a game of odds, and there's no knowing whether they will run in his or his target's favor. Though he may initially be hesitant in taking on work that seems riskier than normal, he can't deny the thrill he gets from coming out on top and dominating, as in sex.

5.

I would love a glass of vodka.


Vesper Lynd, Chapter 8

Though Bond doesn't realize it, Vesper is more than his equal. Before their dinner at the casino, he tells Vesper they will drink vodka before dinner. She gives him a reproachful look, and he quickly amends his statement to include cocktails. He feels rankled she questioned him. Yet when they are seated in the restaurant, Vesper goes ahead and orders vodka anyway. She's teasing him about being so controlling while also letting him know his suggestion was a good one.

6.

I have no lucky numbers.


James Bond, Chapter 10

Bond is trying to keep his distance from Vesper when he tells her he has no lucky numbers, but he's also telling the truth. Bond knows better than to believe in luck. He only bets on "even chances," when the odds are 50/50 either party will win. Bond doesn't like to be at a disadvantage, and he doesn't like relying on an intangible, possibly imaginary force to achieve success. He relies on himself and nothing else.

7.

But then, Bond reflected, she knew nothing of the game.


James Bond, Chapter 12

Bond automatically assumes Vesper has no idea what she's doing in the field. When she doesn't look upset following his bankruptcy, he thinks she doesn't understand what's going on. However, Vesper does understand—she knows Felix Leiter is arranging the funds Bond needs to proceed. Bond's continual underestimation of Vesper causes him even more problems as their time together progresses.

8.

And now for this to happen ... just when the job had come off so beautifully.


Narrator, Chapter 15

James Bond is egotistical and self-centered, and that's nowhere more apparent than when Vesper is kidnapped. Instead of thinking about Vesper's fate, he cares only how the situation affects him. He sees the kidnapping as something that was done to him, not her.

9.

The game of Red Indians is over, quite over.


Le Chiffre, Chapter 17

Le Chiffre treats Bond like a child once he's tied to the seatless chair. He's insinuating Bond is nothing more than a little boy playing games while the adults handle the real business of changing the world. This sticks with Bond throughout the rest of the book, and it's one of the reasons why he decides he should leave the Secret Service.

10.

SMERSH is only merciful by chance or by mistake.


SMERSH agent, Chapter 18

The SMERSH agent who kills Le Chiffre lets Bond go free, but it's not because he wants to. Bond lives only because the agent wasn't instructed to kill him. This speaks to the exacting nature of SMERSH and how tightly controlled its agents are. It also tells Bond he may not be so lucky next time.

11.

The villains and heroes get all mixed up.


James Bond, Chapter 20

Bond questions everything about his choice of career following his torture by Le Chiffre. He had always thought he was fighting for what was right, but now he realizes the other side thinks they're right, too. Everyone is the hero and everyone is the enemy—it all just depends on the individual's perspective. That's a lot for Bond to handle. He doesn't feel qualified to make the decision about who's right and who's wrong at this point in a changed world.

12.

Surround yourself with human beings, my dear James.


Mathis, Chapter 20

Mathis thinks part of Bond's problem is he's a loner. He has no family or other personal relationships (at least as far as Mathis and readers know), so he has no one to protect. Fighting for loved ones is much easier than fighting for an enormous, faceless empire.

13.

However close they are, they're really quite separate.


Vesper Lynd, Chapter 24

On their first night at the inn, Vesper notes Bond doesn't know anything about her and remarks every person is an island—separate and therefore unknowable. Bond thinks she's being maudlin, but she's really trying to tell him she's not who she seems to be. She wants Bond to discover her secret, but he doesn't take the bait.

14.

The real enemy had been working quietly, coldly, without heroics, right there at his elbow.


Narrator, Chapter 27

After learning Vesper was a double agent for the Soviet Union, Bond realizes Le Chiffre was right. He had been "playing Red Indians," dashing around the world and carrying out splashy missions, while the Soviets were methodically infiltrating the governments of Britain and other Western countries. He feels foolish for not seeing the truth of this earlier, and he vows to rectify his mistake by going after the source of the spies—SMERSH.

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