I finished Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. Wow. I’m not even really sure what I think. It was so dense. I’ve got a few questions for the few of you that have read it. Go to the comments page to discuss…


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  1. Spoiler warning! Don’t read any more if you plan on reading the books at any point (and you should). Okay? Everybody gone?

    Alright. So first off, who won the big battle? I guess we’re to think that Asriel kinda did, since he took down the Metatron and God died and all. But I thought at one point they mentioned that God’s forces were still out there. So what’s gonna happen? I mean, it’s already been revealed that the “republic of heaven” is doomed to failure. What does it all mean?

    Also – is Mrs. Coulter redeemed or what? She talks about her love for Lyra several times, but the listener always knows that she’s lying to her core. She does try to save her from the bomb though. I guess she’s partially redeemed, but I still think that’s outweighed by all the kids she “intercised”.

    Also – what the hell is Lyra’s big moment as Eve? Is it just the fact that she recognized her sexuality and her love for Will? Why does that fix everything? And if that’s it, and that’s such a good thing, is Pullman saying that “original sin” wasn’t really a bad thing anyway? And how was Mary the temptor? Just because she told the story about liking some guy and leaving the convent? Seems to me that Lyra and Will were getting there on their own anyway.

    The whole thing just has me whirling. Maybe I need to read it again. I guess most of my issues are just with the allegory side of it. I didn’t have a religious upbringing, so a lot of the finer stuff might be flying right over my head.

    That said, I didn’t have the problems with the third book that Bill seemed to. It was a much slower tone than the first two (and the jumping around between all the storylines was sometimes confusing), but I thought it did a good job of conveying the “growing up” that the kids were doing. I was glad that so many of the characters from the first book returned (especially Iorek and Serafina). I cried at the ending. So many tragic relationships: Will and Lyra, Serafina and Farder Coram, John Parry and Will’s mother (and that witch he spurned). Like Michele said before, these are NOT books for young kids.

  2. I had all those questions (and more) as I was struggling through book 3 as well, but then I reached the end and bawled and forgot all of my questions because it was so nice to be so moved by a book. I’m such a pushover. 🙂

  3. could you give us a brief synopsis for those of us out of the loop?

  4. No! You gotta read the books! 🙂

    Actually they’re too complex to sum up. The series is called “His Dark Materials” by Philip Pullman and it’s usually located in the children’s section. The books are “Northern Lights” (or “The Golden Compass” in the US), “The Subtle Knife”, and “The Amber Spyglass”. They’re about a war against heaven and a girl and boy who are supposed to set things right. And, like, a million other things. I really recommend them. (Not least because then I can get your answers to the questions.)

  5. Hey Kris. I didn’t hate the third book, but I did set it aside for a while (it was when they went to the underworld). Now that I think about it: I did the same thing with the non-Hobbit portion of The Return of the King. Maybe I just get distracted easily?

    Anyway, I found the whole “Republic of Heaven” idea to be endlessly fascinating. But I can’t answer your questions either. Maybe after rereading the trilogy. Oh, and probably reading some Milton as well: isn’t it somewhat based on Paradise Lost?

  6. I think so. I KNEW I shouldn’t have skipped that day of freshman seminar…

  7. I just found some good quotes from Pullman himself on his views of science and religion. Interesting stuff.

  8. sounds like pretty heavy stuff for books filed in the kids section. i’m still hoping to put a dent into all the books from AP english i never got around to… 😉

  9. It shouldn’t be long, Moire. I got it in paperback here.

    Although if you think the first two were blasphemous… the third’s gonna really shock you. 🙂

  10. I liked the first and second books a great deal, but haven’t gotten around to buying the third book yet… I was waiting until it was out in paperback, since that it how I bought the first two… I found that the story got weirder and weirder as the books progressed. For some reason the whole religion aspect of the books made me highly uncomfortable. I guess maybe it was because they smacked of blasphemy. Not that I’m ultra-religious or anything, or would go out and protest at abortion clinics for extra credit (heh), but it’s hard to let go of childhood teachings and belief systems. Weird, huh?

    Anyway… So, I guess the third book is worth getting, eh? I’ll just have to hunker down and wait a bit longer until it’s finally out in paperback. 😉

  11. this trilogyis so amszing i couldn’t put it down.i first read them when i was 13. Ive never looked back!

  12. I read something about New Line making them into a movie. I really enjoyed the books though. When I read them, people had to call my name repeatedly to get my attention.

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