At the very end of No Time to Die, M reads out a passage about the meaning of life.
***MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD***
The spy dies when he is struck by missiles, shortly after realising he can never touch his beloved Madeleine (Léa Seydoux) or their daughter again, because he’s been infected with nanobots that are lethal to them.
As the surviving MI6 colleagues raise a toast to Bond, M says: “The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
The quote was originally written by the American writer Jack London, who is known for his early 20th century books Call of the Wild and The Sea Wolf. The passage it comes from was first published in the San Francisco Bulletin in 1916 and later served as an introduction to a compilation of London’s short stories in 1956.
But this is not the first time these words have been used to describe Bond. In Ian Fleming’s novel You Only Live Twice, there is a brief moment where the world thinks Bond has died and his obituary appears in the paper. The same London quote is used as an addendum to the obituary, apparently added by his love interest Mary Goodnight.
The quote is the end of a longer passage, which is written out below in full.
“I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather that my spark should burn out in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, ever atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.”
No Time to Die is out in cinemas now.
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