Stranger Things is one of those series that just keeps getting better and better. Just when you thought the series had peaked with season 2, season 3 left viewers with mouths agape and emotions running high.
With new enemies to contend with, compelling new characters like Alexei (a.k.a. “Smirnoff”) and Robin, along with an increasingly stronger Mind Flayer mutant from the Upside Down, the Netflix sci-fi horror series continues to captivate viewers.
One of the most compelling characters throughout the three seasons, and especially in season 3, is Jim Hopper, the Chief of Police in the small once quiet town of Hawkins, Indiana. A withdrawn man, he turned to alcohol following the death of his daughter and divorce from his wife. But the events that unfolded reinvigorated him as he became central to finding the missing Will Byers and protecting Eleven.
Spoiler alert if you haven’t yet binged Season 3: Hopper’s fate is unknown. While the series made it seem as though he was killed in an explosion, the after-credits scene suggests that we might have more of Hopper’s witty one-liners to come in Season 4.
And witty, they are. Here are 10 of his most memorable quotes.
10 Nothing Happens in Hawkins
You wanna know the worst thing that's ever happened here in the four years I've been working here? Do you wanna know the worst thing? It was when an owl attacked Eleanor Gillespie's head because it thought that her hair was a nest.
Way back in season 1, Hopper laughed off the idea that a child could have been kidnapped in Hawkins, much less there was some sinister underworld stuff going on. So when Joyce pleaded with him to help her find her son, he reinforced that his job mainly consisted of catching petty thieves and relaxing at his desk.
Nothing did happen in Hawkins, after all, until the fateful events when the portal to the Upside Down was opened, and it was discovered that kids were secretly being experimented on in a laboratory.
9 This Isn’t LOTR, Guys!
After school, you all go home. Immediately. That means no biking around looking for your friend, no investigating, no-nonsense. This isn’t some Lord of the Rings book.
Spoken again in the first season, Hopper had to put his dad hat on and scold the kids for wanting to conduct their own investigation into what happened to Will. Referencing a book that was iconic in the ‘80s as well, when the series is set, he urges the kids to stick to doing kid stuff and leave the police work to the police.
Despite their insistence that Dungeons & Dragons may be the key, Hopper isn’t having it. This is the real world, and Hawkins, of all places. Surely none of that could be real.
8 Looking Out for Eleven
Maybe you could help her lead, like, a normal life. One where she’s not poked and prodded and treated like some kind of lab rat, you know?
In season 2, Hopper developed a close relationship with Eleven, who became his surrogate daughter as he kept her in hiding. So, after all, was said and done, and she managed to close the portal, he asked Dr. Owens to ensure that Eleven was not put back in a lab and treated like a rat.
Dr. Owens did one better and handed Hopper adoption papers so he could officially become her dad, queuing tons of “awws” from viewers who couldn’t get enough of the father-daughter banter between the two and seeing Hopper have purpose and love in his life once again.
7 "I said three inches!"
In one of the most hilarious scenes of the new season, Hopper is lounging on the couch, munching on chips, drinking beer, and trying to focus on television while Eleven is a few feet away in her room with Mike. Of course, as teenagers, they’re doing some serious K-I-S-S-I-N-G. And Hopper knows it.
So he screams his predefined rules to Eleven: She has to keep the door open three inches at all times so he can peek inside and make sure they’re just hanging out and not swapping spit.
6 The Last Letter
I’ve been stuck in one place, in a cave you might say, a deep dark cave. And then I left some Eggos out in the woods and you came into my life. For the first time in a long time, I started to feel things again. I started to feel happy. But lately, I guess I’ve been feeling distant from you, like you’re pulling away from me or something. I miss playing board games every night, making triple decker Eggo extravaganzas at sunrise, watching westerns together before we doze off. But I know you’re getting older, growing, changing, and I guess, if I’m being really honest, that’s what scares me. I don’t want things to change. So I think maybe that’s why I came in here, to maybe try and stop that change.
An excerpt from the script Hopper wrote for his conversation with Eleven about setting boundaries, wanting to protect her, and making a comfortable atmosphere for them at home when Mike is over, it was found in the pocket of his uniform. And instead, it became what is perceived to be his final letter to his daughter.
It gives you all the feels as Hopper explains how Eleven managed to get him out of his funk and give him something to look forward to every day. As she was growing up, though, he felt that she was pulling away and it hurt. This letter/script, written in part with help from Joyce, was meant to be spoken to Eleven in an attempt to bring them back closer together.
5 Learn From Your Mistakes
Keep on growing up, kid. Don’t let me stop you. Make mistakes, learn from them and when life hurts you – because it will – remember the hurt. The hurt is good. It means you’re out of that cave. But please, if you don’t mind, for the sake of your poor old dad, keep the door open three inches.
Another excerpt from his letter/script to Eleven, Hopper drops some serious life lessons. And it’s clear that these are lessons he learned himself late in life after Eleven’s arrival. He tried to push his hurt down, and it didn’t do him any good. So he realized that you must embrace the hurt in order to get back to being yourself.
Of course in his signature humor, Hopper signs off reminding Eleven, once again, to leave that darn door open three inches. He is still her dad, after all. But we think maybe he also meant something a bit more profound this time.
4 “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.”
Prior to the disappearance of Will, the revelation of the Upside Down, the introduction of Eleven, and sudden and graphic deaths, Hopper’s days were pretty slow. There was little excitement in Hawkins, even for the Chief of Police. So, as he notes in this statement, spoken in Season 1, he liked to start his days off slow.
Mornings aren’t about getting right into the thick of work. They’re about savoring a cup of java and thinking about your days and what you will do next. Clearly, that mantra ended pretty quickly once Hopper’s life got, excuse the pun, turned upside down.
3 “You were right. This whole time you were right.”
After constantly shrugging off Joyce’s concerns as those of a frantic mother searching for her lost son, Hopper finally admits in this quote that she was right all along.
After visiting the morgue to check on the theory that the dead body they found wasn’t actually Will, Hopper discovers that it is, indeed, a fake. Admitting this to Joyce showed that Hopper was finally on board, and realized that there were sinister forces at play that he never thought possible.
2 Eggos Aren’t Real Food
I don’t want you to get hurt at all. And I don’t wanna lose you. Just make sure you heat up some real food. Not just Eggos.
After taking Eleven in and hiding her in his home, Hopper is responsible for a child, once again, and needs to handle all of the usual dad stuff, including meals. Being a typical paranoid parent, Hopper doesn’t want Eleven to leave the house for fear she will be spotted.
As he heads off to work, hopper urges her to eat something. Substantial food too, not just her favorite treat, Eggos. She needs some actual sustenance.
1 “Maybe I’ll just kill Mike. I’m the Chief of Police, I could cover it up.”
A perfectly understandable comment from a typical overprotective dad. In Season 3, Hopper contemplates a simple solution to his problem of Eleven spending too much time holed away in her bedroom with Mike.
If he just killed the kid, problem solved, right? As the Chief of Police, no one would ever know. He was, of course, joking. But Hopper’s love for Eleven, and desire to protect her from anything and everything, including growing up and teenage boys, is evident in its purest form in this otherwise creepy line.