One of the great pleasures of writing is establishing tone at the start of the story. Your tone and your voice help the reader to settle happily into the tale you’re telling, with confidence in the point of view and your skills as a master storyteller.
But in the hands of a master, it can do more than that. For example (as I return to the Tolkien well for brilliant storytelling craft), the tone at the start of LOTR Book 1 is expansive and generous, as Bilbo with lashings of humour and irony pulls out all stops to give a birthday farewell party. This tone, when set against his selfish, ring-obsessed Gollum-like behaviour with the One Ring, sets up the same inner conflict that Frodo struggles with at the final showdown in Mount Doom all the way along at the end of Book 7.
Out of curiosity I took a look at a lot of the opening paragraphs of a well-respected First Novel Prize shortlist, and all of them have a strong opening tone, some of them going so far as to begin with “rants”, but all of them competent in authority and point of view.
Good to know.