Our list of the best quotes from HBO’s fantasy romantic drama TV series, The Time Traveler’s Wife, based on the novel of the same name by Audrey Niffenegger. The story follows the marriage of Clare and Henry (Rose Leslie and Theo James), which is complicated by time travel.
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1. Episode One'You have two things to do with your time on this Earth. One, find the love of your life. Two, die as slowly as possible.' - Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Clare Abshire: Why is love intensified by absence?
Henry DeTamble: How does it feel? How does it feel? Normal. You know. Like nothing. Like your attention wandered for a moment, and suddenly the book you’re reading is gone, your coffee’s gone, the room is gone, and you’re ankle-deep in a ditch. Or in the middle of a highway. Or in a field full of cows. And of course, you’re naked. Back in time, and naked.
'Two people trying to be the person the other one already thinks they are. Love, basically.' - Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Clare Abshire: The bedsheets will go slack. Or the shower will keep running. Or the bacon will keep frying. Or you’ll hear a coffee cup smash on the floor, and you realize, he’s gone. It’s happened again. He’s just a pile of clothes. And then it starts. The waiting.
Henry DeTamble: Time travel. It’s not a super power. It’s a disability. It’s what’s wrong with me. I can’t keep hold of the current moment. I just slide off. And I fall back in time.
'The future is the scariest thing in the world. Because suddenly, you are all in. No choice. Anyone can stand any kind of torture, except hope.' - Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Clare Abshire: When he’s gone, I wait, and I worry. I wonder where he is, when he is. If he’s in danger.
Henry DeTamble: Sometimes you ping straight back to where you were. You know, to your book, to your coffee, and it’s fine. It’s nothing. Five minutes, a nap. Sometimes it’s days, weeks, months, and you have to survive. Now, three things I got good at. Running, fighting, and stealing. You have to be good at those, when wherever you go, you’re naked.
Clare Abshire: He can go anywhere in time. The past, the future, usually within his life span. Usually, but not always.
Henry DeTamble: I can’t help it. I can’t control it. You know, time travel just happens to me.
Clare Abshire: It’s dangerous, of course.
Henry DeTamble: Sometimes it’s fine, you know? You cope. Sometimes it’s hard.
Clare Abshire: But the danger isn’t the worst.
Henry DeTamble: Christmas is the worst.
Clare Abshire: There are times and days he keeps going back to. I mean, he doesn’t mean to, he can’t help it. One day in particular. When he comes back from there, I always know. As soon as I see him, by his face.
'It is better to be happy for a little while, just a brief time, even if you know you're going to lose it, than to be just “okay” for your whole life.' - Annette DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Henry DeTamble: It’s like gravity. It works like that. You know, the larger something is, the more gravitational pull it exerts. And it pulls smaller things to it, and they orbit around, and around, and around.
Henry DeTamble: I’ve had big days in my life, like most people. Pivotal moments. The difference for me is, I keep going back.
3. Episode Three'Your life, whatever it is, is entirely built from the choices that you make. The future, fixed or not, is what you choose. You are what makes it fixed.' - Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Clare Abshire: Being old is like being very young. Boring.
Clare Abshire: They say it’s a magical time, childhood. But people’s memories are so selective. It’s mainly just waiting. When you’re little, everything is waiting.
'There's only one thing worse than not knowing what you're waiting for, and that's knowing.' - Clare Abshire (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Young Clare Abshire: Can I play with you?
Young Mark Abshire: No.
Young Clare Abshire: Why not?
Young Mark Abshire: It’s because of your personality.
Young Clare Abshire: Mom, Mark says I’ve got a personality!
Lucille Abshire: Everyone’s got a personality, Clare.
Clare Abshire: There’s only one thing worse than not knowing what you’re waiting for, and that’s knowing. Because I’ll tell you something. No one should meet their soul mate when they’re six years-old.
'All futures end in a brick wall. That's why you don't want to know what's coming. Because what's coming is a brick wall.' - Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Clare Abshire: I’ve told you some of this story before, but what you have to understand is that this is not a story about a time traveler. It’s the story of the time traveler’s wife.
Clare Abshire: I remember him so clearly. How he looked, how he talked. This impossible man who said he came from the future. I wanted to know everything. What you don’t understand when someone so bright comes into your life, is that something else comes with them. Absence. Their absence, like a shadow on your days.'There are very few things in this world more harmful than the lies of decent men.' - Clare Abshire (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Clare Abshire: I didn’t choose Henry, and Henry didn’t choose me. We just happened to each other, in the wrong order.
Henry DeTamble: People talk about agency. All the time, everybody’s got to have agency. Well, let me tell you something. When it comes to falling in love, nobody has any agency. That’s why they call it falling.
'You don't take decisions, decisions take you. Hold tight and call it a plan.' - Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Clare Abshire: Are you in love? I hope so. But ask yourself this. When it happened, did you choose who? When? How?
Henry DeTamble: Is this person that now owns a huge part of your life anything like you thought they’d be? Did they arrive when they were supposed to?
Clare Abshire: Is any of it anything like you planned?
Henry DeTamble: You don’t take decisions, decisions take you. Hold tight and call it a plan.
'Time happens once. You don't get a second go. You can't change anything.' - Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Clare Abshire: I mean, it’s not that I can’t cook. It’s that I choose not to.
Clare Abshire: The only difference with Henry and me is that it’s all mixed up. And that means, now and then, we know what’s coming.
Henry DeTamble: Bits and pieces, not everything. A few bends in the river.
5. Episode Five'You hang on to things from the past, like the past matters any more. You worry about the future, and it's not even here yet, when the only time is now. That's the only time there ever is. Now.' - Henry DeTamble Click To Tweet
Henry DeTamble: The thing about living with time travel, it’s never your only problem.
Clare Abshire: You get all the normal problems too.
Henry DeTamble: Like, for instance, her friends.
Henry DeTamble (28): You’ve always given me funny looks.
Gomez: You’re a time traveler.
Henry DeTamble (28): I’m aware.
Gomez: You’re the first interesting thing that ever happened to me. I mean, I’m a lawyer. I’d literally get paid to prevent interesting things from happening. And now look at me. I’m friends with a time traveler.
Henry DeTamble (28): Are you though?
Gomez: Am I what?
'There's nothing special about old. Old is what happens to new stuff, if you wait around long enough.' - Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Henry DeTamble (28): You and me, are we actually friends?
Gomez: Well, according to you we are.
Henry DeTamble (28): According to me, what does that mean?
Gomez: Well, not you you, you from the future.
Henry DeTamble (28): What does he know?
Gomez: Hell of a lot more than you.
Henry DeTamble (28): You know, it just doesn’t seem like we’ve got a lot in common, you know what I’m saying? Yeah. I mean, apart from the obvious.
Gomez: The obvious?
Henry DeTamble (28): Yeah. Apart from the fact we both want to f*** Clare.
Gomez: No! No, no. That is in no way true.
'The past is what didn't kill you. The future is what definitely will. And in between is the only thing that matters.' - Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Gomez: [referring to his feelings for Clare] I want you to understand that that is no way true.
Henry DeTamble (28): It’s fine. It’s fine. I get it. Alright. I mean, do anything about it, and I’ll tie a knot in your windpipe. But short of that, I graciously accept the tribute of your debilitating envy.
Gomez: You should apologize!
Henry DeTamble (28): You should sit back down on your a** before it starts talking again.
'When you're young you see only what you want to see. Nothing gets in the way of the fairy tale. When you grow up, your vision clears, and you see so much less.' - Clare Abshire (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Gomez: I recognized you.
Henry DeTamble (28): Where from?
Gomez: See, if we had been having a pleasant drink, maybe I’d have told you!
Henry DeTamble (38): [referring to Clare’s drawing of him] Can I see it?
Clare Abshire: Not yet.
Henry DeTamble (38): I hope you remember I’m wearing clothes.
Clare Abshire: How did you know?
Henry DeTamble (38): Well, I’ve seen the finished picture.
Clare Abshire: That’s cheating.
Henry DeTamble (38): Well, so is drawing me without any clothes.
6. Episode Six'We're getting married. Not going on a hot date, or a vacation, or a weekend away somewhere. But, actually, getting married.' - Clare Abshire (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Henry DeTamble: I hate video. Most people love nostalgia. That’s why they love video. But, you know, I’m just thinking maybe you don’t even know what video is. Maybe these are nostalgia for you now. Nostalgia for a time traveler is a bear trap.
Richard DeTamble: [referring to the time he found Henry in bed with Henry] Henry, I don’t care if you’re gay! I’m a professional musician, everybody’s gay. There were two of you.
'Happiness is suddenly having an opinion about a future. Which is a mistake. - Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Richard DeTamble: [after Henry’s told him he’s a time traveler] Why can’t you just tell the truth?
Henry DeTamble (16): You kissed her in the rain. Mom. The very first time. You stood outside of her apartment block. And when she walked inside, you did a little dance. You didn’t think anyone could see you. You were wrong. I could see you. I danced too. I’m a time traveler, and I saw my parents first kiss.
Clare Abshire (20): You hate what? What does that even mean, you “hate video”? Everyone has a wedding video.
Henry DeTamble (28): Oh, okay. Let’s be everyone. What an ambition.
'Love is what gives meaning to life, and is the single best thing that could happen to a human being.' - Clare Abshire (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Clare Abshire (20): The video. It’ll be nice to look back.
Henry DeTamble (28): I don’t need to look back, Clare. I go back.
Clare Abshire (20): I don’t.
Gomez: I’m so bored that I’m growing new parts of my brain to be bored in.
'Love is what gives hope to mortals. It's the cruelest thing I know.' - Henry DeTamble (The Time Traveler's Wife) Click To Tweet
Clare Abshire (20): We’re having a video. You don’t have to watch it.
Henry DeTamble (28): Do I have to be in it?
Clare Abshire (20): Well, there has to be a groom. I’m increasingly open to suggestions.
Henry DeTamble (28): [referring to Richard] When he looks at me, all he sees is his wife not there. And when I look at him, I’m just thinking where the hell Mom is. That’s not the basis for a relationship. It’s the basis for a drinking habit.
'It's like setting sail into a storm. And you know for a fact, you both won't make it out the other side. You cling on for as long as you can, because you know, that this is as good as anything ever gets.' - Clare Abshire Click To Tweet
Clare Abshire (20): You never thought of seeing a doctor? Getting yourself examined?
Henry DeTamble (28): Christ, no.
Clare Abshire (20): Why not?
Henry DeTamble (28): It’s that word “examined”. It’s a little too close to “dissected”.
Henry DeTamble (28): I’m the only time traveler on the planet. They’d never let me go home again.
Clare Abshire (20): Yes, they would.
Henry DeTamble (28): Why?
Clare Abshire (20): Because I’m here now. And because I’m who you come home to, and I’m not ever going to let anyone keep you away from me. Fact. Look at my face. Fact. That was, “I love you,” but in more words.