Spanning nearly a decade of resolving conflict, developing relationships, and finding love while solving crimes, Bones is well known by its most ardent followers for its maxims. With insightful and deliberate depictions of conflict, pain and joy woven throughout 200 episodes, Bones has been boldly (and sometimes subtly) urged us to ponder our own guiding principles with their very own memorable and poignant words of wisdom. The more obvious lessons have become rote mantras etched into our minds as tenets of Bones canon. Others have seeped into our own bones surreptitiously but remain nevertheless integral to the resilient fabric of the Bones universe. Included here are 21 of the most memorable maxims which Bones fans have come to know as truth.

Sometimes the Ends Justify the Means

Booth arms himself with weapons from a secret arsenal he kept hidden even from Brennan. His intention is to do whatever it takes, legal or otherwise, to protect his family. When Booth is thrown in prison, Brennan, despite being an ardent rule-follower, resorts to blackmail to get him out, proving that sometimes you have no choice but to do something nasty for the greater good. This is only one example of many in Bones mythology.  

When You Do Something Magnificent, it Should Be Acknowledged and Celebrated

No one teaches us this lesson better than Dr. Jack Hodgins who insists upon claiming the title of “King of the Lab” whenever he’s able to crack a particularly challenging part of a case.   

Up and Forward are Only Two Directions, Science Should Look in all Directions

Brennan and company have shown us over 200 instances of the importance of finding all the facts surrounding a situation before making a judgment.   

The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants

Though Dr. Gordon Gordon Wyatt is the first to put words to the phenomenon, Bones has shown repeatedly that no matter what you do, you can’t help who you love. Booth and Brennan try to become romantically involved with other people in order to preserve their professional relationship, but in the end they have to admit that the heart knows best.  

Every Couple Should Have a Song, but Sometimes You Have to Dance to Whatever Music You’re Given

Dancing has always been a part of the Brennan-Booth relationship. Be it jamming to Foreigner’s “Hot Blooded” on a mixed tape, celebrate the wonderfulness that is Sweets, or practicing for an undercover competition, Brennan and Booth have made a habit of dancing together both literally and metaphorically as a form of celebration, solace, and confirmation that life goes on. And by the way, dancing is foreplay and can lead to kissing … which is even better than dancing.   

Some Mysteries May Never be Solved; and That’s Just the Way it Is

The Bones fairies have taught us that in the Land of Make-believe, just as in real life, sometimes you just don’t get to know the meanings of everything — be it the significance of the numbers on a clock or the contents of page 187. Sometimes those mysteries gnaw at us, but sometimes it’s the mystery in life that makes it all the more precious.  

There’s More than One Kind of Family

Through their work together, Brennan and Booth and The Jeffersonian team repeatedly demonstrate that family is made up not of blood and bone, but of abiding love and unwavering support. The Bones universe brought together an orphaned anthropologist, a deeply tormented and abused gambling addict, a bohemian artist living from hand to mouth, a pretty boy with anger management issues masquerading as a regular entomologist/conspiracy theorist, and a boy wonder sociologist who was lost without a home. What Bones developed over time was a tightly-knit family.   

A Parent Will Do Unspeakable Things to Save Their Child

Many times we’ve seen parents on Bones take the blame for their children’s actions, even for murder. Perhaps the most compelling case of a parent doing something for the love of their child was in “Stargazer in a Puddle” where a woman with terminal cancer poisoned her severely disabled child so that child wouldn’t have to live the rest of her life locked up in an institution. Closer to home, Brennan’s own father risked spending the rest of his life in prison so that he could be near his daughter. Going back even further, Brennan’s parents abandoned her and her brother in order to save their lives.  

The True Alpha Is the Quiet Man, the Invisible Man, the Man Who Is Always There for Friends and Family

As an anthropologist, Brennan knows a lot about cultural norms and societal behavior. As such she speaks about what is typical of alpha behavior quite regularly. She learns, and we with her, that there is more to being an alpha male than wearing the crown, displaying the most colorful plumage, or wearing and the shiniest baubles.   

Our Children Need to Know that What We Do is Important

When Brennan returns to work after her maternity leave, she struggles through the emotional transition and separation as many of us do. However, she and Booth both remind us that parents are the first role models for their children. Sometimes that means parents have to make difficult choices for the greater good.  

Sometimes We Have to Do Irrational Things to Show That We Love Someone

Brennan is all about rationality. That’s part of the reason she struggled so desperately in her decision to take a chance on love with Booth. Booth invites her to live a full life with him, and in doing so she learns that some of the most irrational things is life are what make living worthwhile.  

When You are in Pain, Sometimes it’s Best to go Home so You Can Be Surrounded by People Who Love You

Though society may label it as weak or juvenile, sometimes the best thing for us is to allow others to take care of us while we heal. As Brennan, Booth and Sweets’ relationship developed into a close friendship and eventually family, they welcomed him with open arms when he needed it the most.  

If You Love Someone Enough to Risk Your Life for Them, You Should Also Be Willing to Risk Your Happiness for Them

Throughout the first five seasons of Bones, Brennan fears allowing her happiness to be dependent upon another’s happiness, thinking it can only lead to pain and disappointment. In seasons 7 and 8, she grapples with the vulnerability of an intimate and interdependent relationship with Booth. In season 9 she comes full circle in her speech to Booth about how he nurtures her and has become her life to the point where he has become part of her, her home.  

Making Love Is about so Much More Than Chemicals, Hormones, Physical Attraction, or Sex Games … it’s about Defying the Rules of Physics. It’s about the Miracle

In a world where casual sex is rampant, Booth still believes the intimacy of love-making is the ultimate joining of two people in the miraculous. No one explains it better than Booth.  

Science and Psychology Can Be Dead Wrong

What is the weight of love? There may be a mathematical equation or golden ratio to determine the degree of a person’s beauty, but they can’t predict or define affinity or compassion. When it comes to matters of the heart, brain scans and warnings filled with psychobabble don’t mean squat.  

Live in the Moment and Love Every Day

Brennan tells Booth that there’s nowhere and no other time she’s rather be in than the present. She says she has everything she’s ever wanted. Booth, as well, asserts that he loves every day.   

Brennan Is One of the Most Beautiful Women That Ever Lived

Temperance Brennan is a beautiful and intelligent woman, through and through. She exudes the guileless purity of Audrey Hepburn, the poise of Grace Kelly, the independence and moxie of both Katharine Hepburn and Lauren Bacall, and the classic beauty of all four women combined.   

Booth Can Speak More with a Penetrating Glance Than Most Men Will Ever Say to the Woman They Love

I love you. I need you. I want you. You dazzle me and you belong here. Let’s go experience the miraculous together. Booth delivers these sentiments better than anyone else; and sometimes he says it best when he says nothing at all.   

Sometimes When Things Look the Worst, You Just Have to Have Faith in Each Other, in Your Relationship and in Your Ability to Endure Whatever Life Throws at You

Just about every hardship gets thrown at Brennan and Booth during their time together, yet they continue to come back to each other both physically and emotionally. They have learned that one of their greatest strengths is their faith in each other, and that is what gets them through.   

You Could Love a Lot of People in This World, But There’s Only One Person That You Love the Most

The road may be long and rocky with many a U-turn or hairpin switchbacks, but in the end it’s worth it all if you find your way back to the one who was made just for you. Bones makes it abundantly clear that some people just belong together.  

Everything Happens Eventually

While this maxim is inaccurate – ‘everything’ presents a multitude of possibilities which one lifetime can never encompass – the Bones fairies want us to know that they believe in happily ever after. With faith and a little patience, maybe the least that will happen is what is supposed to happen. And that can be very, very good.  

Catherine Cabanela

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV