The Golden Compass

By

Even if you haven’t read Phillip Pullman’s book, The Golden Compass, you probably have heard some of the controversy surrounding it. So with the release of the film I thought I’d provide a few of my own thoughts on the matter.

Although I had never heard of the book before, I saw the previews for the film version some months ago and my interest was piqued enough that I decided I wanted to read it before seeing the film. At this point I knew nothing at all about the controversy around it. I was able to read it without any preconceived ideas about its take on religion, Christianity or anything else.

So what was my initial reaction to it? I loved it. The book is fabulous…mostly. It follows a young girl named Lyra on her adventure to rescue her friend from the mysterious Gobblers who along with her uncle are wrapped up in a search for a strange sort of Dust that links all human beings together. Those are the basics, but what’s to love is Pullman’s world. It is set in an alternate version of our own world in which technology and culture seem to have halted sometime during the early 19th century. There are zeppelins, and cowboys in hot air balloons, and gypsies (called gyptians) and all sorts of other wonderful flavors. Science calls itself ‘experimental theology’ and Lyra’s uncle happens to be a experimental theologian that’s off to explore the wild north. One of Pullman’s most original and interesting ideas is that in this world, a person’s soul lives outside their body. A person’s daemon, as it is called, is their closest companion and is able to shape-shift into any animal form until adulthood when it settles on a final shape that will reveal the person’s nature. A subservient person might have a dog for a daemon, while soldiers have ravenous wolves. Great stuff.

So why do I say it was “almost” fabulous? To begin with, Pullman doesn’t provide any answers, which is odd because a key part of the story is Lyra’s Alethiometer, the Golden Compass, an arcane gadget that is somehow able to tell only the truth—if a person knows how to read it. So here we have a adventure centered around an object that is able to tell the truth and yet the author doesn’t seem to be able to read it himself. Don’t take that to mean that he’s down on religious truth, that’s not what I’m talking about—yet. I mean the story lacks a resolution. None of the questions raised about a person’s soul and what it means to be separated from it, or what it means to possess the knowledge of objective truth are given any answers. The book does have some dramatic closure to it but it’s thematically open-ended, which, while somewhat unsatisfying, left me eager to move on to the final two books in the series. That’s where the trouble starts.

The first book, while imperfectly ended, is wonderful, exciting, and fresh to read. I loved every page, right up until the end. The final books in the story though are a meandering mess that are neither exciting, dramatic, nor even very coherent. And what is worse, what began as a magical adventure in “The Golden Compass” is quickly revealed in the following book, “The Subtle Knife”, to be a quest to kill God. Say what? Where did that come from? That’s right, almost out of nowhere Pullman decides that the rest of his trilogy is going to be an essay on his dislike of the Catholic Church, Christianity, and God in general. Great reading material for kids right?

What bothered me the most was the deceptive way that he tries to draw readers (kids) into accepting these ideas. As I said, the first book was wonderful, just the kind of book young people would love. It gives them a great character and a fascinating world, it lures them in with what seem to be promising images like an ephemeral city in the sky that may hold the promise of mankind’s future and engaging spiritual themes like the nature of the soul and the importance of innocence and wonder, and then, once that young reader is taken in, they are suddenly led to believe that the Church is the cause of all suffering and men can only be free when they are liberated from the hand of its Authority (the title he often uses for God).

And make no mistake, Pullman’s railing against the Church is not merely between the lines, it’s explicit. Here’s a quote from the final book, The Amber Spyglass:

…all the history of human life has been a struggle between wisdom and stupidity…the rebel angels, the followers of wisdom, have always tried to open minds; the Authority and his churches have always tried to keep them closed.

Despite what I think about Pullman’s views though, I might have respected his work had he presented his ideas well, but he doesn’t. In the end he doesn’t even have the guts to do what he’s been aiming to for three entire books; instead of actually killing God, he lets him off easy and allows him to “become one with the universe” on his own. Then of course when all is said and done Pullman apparently realizes that in the absence of God there must be some other source of the Alethiometer’s objective truth and he has to explain that away in addition to dancing around the fact that there might be some other God-like being out there that was the original creator. I can’t even begin to explain the bizarre way he deals with death and the afterlife throughout most of the final book. Truly, the last two books of his trilogy are a complete mess, whether or not you agree with his worldview.

In the end Pullman comes off almost like an angry child, yelling at a parent that won’t give him exactly want he wants, in complete denial about what he actually needs. Here’s another quote from The Amber Spyglass:

…it was the sense that the whole universe was alive, and that everything was connected to everything else by threads of meaning. When she’d been a Christian, she had felt connected, too; but when she left the Church, she felt loose and free and light, in a universe without purpose.

And then had come the discovery of the Shadows and her journey into another world, and now this vivid night, and it was plain that everything was throbbing with purpose and meaning, but she was cut off from it. And it was impossible to find a connection, because there was no God.

This longing and emptiness the character feels isn’t something Pullman is able to answer to. Reading the book I often had the impression that indeed he knows the truth but refuses to admit it. How ironic. When I finally finished the series I was left feeling almost heartbroken for an author who seems completely unconvinced of his own beliefs. Pullman has said in interviews that he considers this series of books to be an answer to the worldview presented in C.S. Lewis’s Narnia books. He is more right than he knows, I think, and that is to his own detriment artistically and spiritually.

So what of the movie? I’m looking forward to seeing it. The first book was very well written and should translate wonderfully to the screen (although early reviews say otherwise). I cannot even imagine, however, how the rest of the series could translate to the screen, it lacks almost any dramatic structure, and once again, the truly troubling thing about it is that if the first film is good, it will entice people to watch the second, which is where it really gets into troubled water.

Would I recommend the books or movies to kids? Definitely not. I would recommend them to discerning adults though on the basis of being well-informed during the coming weeks when there are sure to be at least a few picket lines seen on the news. Frankly though, the books aren’t worth the time or energy of the people that are making a stink about them. Good art will rise to the top and it won’t take long for this body of work to settle on the bottom.

Pete Peterson is the author of the Revolutionary War adventure The Fiddler’s Gun and its sequel Fiddler’s Green. Among the many strange things he’s been in life are the following: U.S Marine air traffic controller, television editor, art teacher and boatwright at the Florida Sheriffs Boys Ranch, and progenitor of the mysterious Budge-Nuzzard. He lives in Nashville with his wife, Jennifer, where he's the Executive Director of the Rabbit Room and Managing Editor of Rabbit Room Press.


36 Comments

  1. Ron Davis

    This is the first review of The Golden Compass that wasn’t a “don’t see it because he hates God” review. I was glad to read this.

    Thanks, Pete.

  2. euphrony

    This was the first review I’ve read from someone who has actually read the books, and includes a description of the overall story beyond “kill God”. Thanks for the good review.

  3. Tom Bubb

    Thank you for this thoughtful well stated review Pete! I also really enjoyed the first book in this series but once the concept of killing God was introduced it just went off the rails for me and I couldn’t finish the second book. After reading your thoughts and the excerpts from the books I’m glad I jumped ship when I did. Thanks again for sharing!

    In Christ,
    Tom

  4. Dan K

    I have read 1.5 books into the trilogy and got the same general feeling. I started reading when I heard they looking to make the movie (I wanted to be ahead of this trilogy instead of playing catchup like LOTR). I quickly lost interest during the 2nd book for the reasons you mentioned. I felt it was a different story (disconnected, within itself and from the 1st book) and went in a direction where my attention didn’t follow.

    Thanks for the insight on the rest of the story. I’m glad my attention moved onto better things when it did.

  5. Jim A

    Fantastic review Pete and I completely agree with Ron’s statement. You and I had bantered this about a bit in the comments of your review of the Potter series and I was hoping to get a full and proper review of the series from you.

    Why this review is good and important:
    Over Thanksgiving this year the movie’s trailer was on during the football games and a family member had done there “Christian duty” of warning me not to take my girls to see it. I had to laugh because, they are almost 2 and 5 and I haven’t let even the oldest watch Narnia (yet) because it’s pretty scary/intense in some places for a 4 year old to watch even with the good story it carries and awesome cinematography. I think some day they will both have the narnia series read to them because it’s an awesome story that I enjoyed as a kid growing up and i’ll probably pull out the DVD and watch it with them.
    The funniest part was that for this family member their age and the Compass’ PG-13 rating and intensewasn’t part of the reason for not taking them, just the fact that the author was an atheist! Directing people to a review like this is much more likely to be taken seriously by Christians and non-Christians alike.

    Thanks again Pete for the honest and well thought out review.

  6. Jim A

    Oh yeah, and to intentionally belabor the point, your insight into the author’s beliefs and un-beliefs seem to me to be right on the money.

  7. Pete Peterson

    @pete

    Interesting that some of you also enjoyed the first book but didn’t make it far into the second. In a way it’s tragic because I really think Pullman created something magical in his first book but he allowed his own agenda to overpower his creative spark in the rest of the trilogy. The result is a very broken work.

    Pullman deals a lot with the Garden of Eden story in the books, going so far as to develop Lyra as the Eve of a new world who ‘heroically’ falls again to temptation and delivers the fruit to her ‘Adam’ in the form of her own sexual awakening. Pullman sees the Fall as the greatest moment in human history. I find it ironic then that in his first book he created something beautiful and full of childlike wonder and potentially filled with truth and real insight but instead of heeding the divine spark he chooses to indulge himself. The result is that his story, like Eden, loses its inspiration, its sense of wonder and innocence, its divine presence and it could not be more clear to the reader that the true power behind the storyteller has withdrawn from the scene.

  8. Arthur

    I came to this website for this exact review though I didn’t know it had been written yet. I assumed there would be good discussion going on over here and I was right.

    I do have a question. I have a friend who would immediately put Harry Potter and The Golden Compass in the same category. I see them as totally different. This maybe a silly question, but could you compare the two?

  9. Pete Peterson

    @pete

    One of my first thoughts about the Golden Compass books while reading them was shock that people would bother to get worked up about Harry Potter but leave this series relatively unknown and uncriticized. Sure, there is a lot of talk about it now that it’s a movie but I don’t think many people had heard of it before that, I hadn’t anyway.

    Harry Potter has nothing negative to say about God, religion or Christianity and in fact can very easily be argued to support all those things whereas Pullman’s second and third books are actively intent on subverting any sort of religious thought.

    It might be a cliche but this is a perfect example of people judging a book by its cover and coming up with the exact wrong conclusion. The Potter books might seem on the surface to have some sort of anti-Christian bent because they feature witches and wizards but they are quite the opposite, whereas Pullman’s books on the surface seem to be about truth and the nature of the soul are in the end little more than a rant against religion and God himself.

    Take for example the two main characters. Harry Potter on the one hand makes plenty of bad choices and acts like a typical teenager quite often but he knows the difference between right and wrong and in the end comes to learn that the greatest love is to lay down his life for his friends.

    Lyra Silvertongue on the other hand, while an initially wonderful character, prides herself on her skill in lying, chooses a companion based on the fact that she knows he’s a murderer (which to her indicates strength) and in the end she comes to believe that we can only really love each other when God is removed from the picture.

    See any differences here? And those are merely character comparisons. Thematically, I’d say Harry Potter is about love, sacrifice, and friendship, while Pullman’s series is is more concerned with self-worship, betrayal, and lying as virtues.

    Put simply, no one that reads the two series would ever classify them together. I could go on, but I think you get the idea.

  10. David Van Buskirk

    I am currently reading the trilogy and have just finished book two this past week. And I figure I’ll stir the pot a little bit. I acutally find myself having the reverse reaction to what many of you have wrote. I found the first book, ‘The Golden Compass’ boooooring. It seemed to meander. I didn’t care about the characters who were stale to me and I didn’t find the plot engaging until late in the book. As for ‘The Subtle Knife,’ I felt like it had more direction (although an odd one) and I thought the knife was a great introduction. A knife that can cut through time and space opening doors to parallel worlds!! That’s awesome! Since I haven’t finished the trilogy, but have started to pick up that apparently Lyra and Will do not kill God the way the plot has set up thus far. And after reading your review Pete, I am interested to see what you mean about the plot falling apart and Pullman having to skate around the huge logical problems that atheism faces. And I guess that is why I am reading the books to begin with. To better understand the mind of someone who would propose that killing God is a good idea. Thus far in the trilogy he has presented God as a liar who seeks to oppress and control, keeping people from wisdom, truth, beauty and joy. He states adamantly that submission to God is wrong. It is bewildering and eye-opening to me to engage with an author who has the complete opposite view of good and evil as I do. And I think that so far it has been a valuable experience.

  11. Pete Peterson

    @pete

    I completely agree with you David that reading it was a valuable experience. I’ll be interested to hear what you think once you’ve finished the final book because that’s where it really fell apart for me.

  12. Sara

    Wonderful review!!! I also enjoyed the comments, and really appreciated your response/comparison of Potter vs. Pullman. Again – excellent review…. thank-you for writing it!

  13. Nate

    Great review. Thanks. It looks like a sweet movie. I can’t wait to see it. But I know there will be some great conversations about it around school, and I can’t wait. Dr. Al Mohler (President of Southern Seminary) has written a lot about it on his blog – http://www.almohler.com – if anyone wants more on it. He basically agrees with Pete. He says no to pickets, but to be informed and careful about exposing kids to this stuff.

  14. Andrew Peterson

    @andrew

    I read the first book recently too, and was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. The world Pullman invented is delightful. But at the end, when it becomes clear that his agenda is disrupting the story (Lyra’s father tells her to get the Bible from the bookshelf, when until that moment the world was fantastic and imaginative) the magic drains away.

    A quote about God that I heard from Pullman that was so good I wrote it down:

    “I don’t believe in him. But he won’t leave me alone.”

  15. Chris

    Like many of you this is the first well-informed review of Pullman’s series I’ve read. I am looking forward to seeing the movie as well but more so forward to the discussion it will create. I hope when believers speak their mind they are as articulate and thoughtful as Pete was – thanks for being being an ambassador for thinking Christians who seek to love God with their hearts AND minds.

  16. Emmett

    A great review, Pete, thanks. We actually own the trilogy, and I have read but at least twice. I agree that Pullman has an agenda, which becomes apparent in the second book, and is the over arching theme in the third, but I have to admit, I enjoyed all the fantastical elements of the books. Pullman had some great ideas, with different creatures (witches, armored bears, the small people on the dragonflies with spurs, etc.), the interplay was interesting, and the different parallel worlds are quite intriguing. I am sad that he went south on the whole train of thought, and made it into a religious argument, to say the least, but in reading it, I almost try to separate out the parts, and take them scene by scene. ( I know this may not seem practical).

    It is easy for me to get lost in the scenes, the reforging of the knife, the creatures in the village that ride along on the wheel, the giant birds that come and destroy and leave, the chasing/action like battle scenes etc. I always cringe though when reading the third book especially, with how God is portrayed, and ‘dealt’ with. There are small redeeming factors in there as well, if I remember correctly (it’s been a little while) but where Lyra’s mother tries to save her . . .

    All to say, I plan on seeing the first movie, because I found the books as a whole, decently entertaining, but sadly, theologically screwed up!

  17. Pete Peterson

    @pete

    Emmett,

    I’m glad you enjoyed it but for me all the disparate parts of the books that could have been so good lose their punch because I feel like the narrative meanders all over the place with no clear goal and no clear motives for any of the characters. The character transformation of Mrs. Coulter in the third book was preposterous in the extreme, I thought. The entire subplot with Mary and the Mulefa, while interesting, was also pointless.

    At any rate, these are only my opinions and I’d challenge any adult to read the books and form their own.

  18. Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    What I keep thinking of as I read the different posts is how Pullman’s religious agenda ruins an otherwise compelling work.

    And then it makes me wonder how often do Christians do the very same thing, and is this how our work is interpreted by others? What I read here sounds like a cautionary tale of how a religious or ideological agenda can reduce the work of a great imagination into impotent propaganda.

    I guess that’s why we have the rabbit room in the first place, because of people like Lewis and especially Tolkien who were able to create great works of art that were infused with truth and faith, but never (again, especially with Tolkien) crossed the line into propaganda, or even being an apologetic for a certain belief system (as I believe Pullman’s work is an apologetic for atheism)

    Lord, help me create with no agenda other than love…

    JGray

  19. Caleb Land

    Jason,

    Just a question though…is there anything wrong with Christian Propaganda if it actually lines up with scripture? Isn’t that what the scriptures are? If we truly believe that God is the most wonderful and satisfying thing in the world then shouldn’t we seek to present that to other people as our #1 priority.

    I think the problem is more that many of our “Christian” artists don’t have a good grasp of the gospel and just try to cram the word Jesus into a cheap love song as many times as possible. Bad theology + Bad art = Bad propaganda. Good theology + Good art = Good propaganda.

  20. Pete Peterson

    @pete

    What Jason is getting at, I think, is that in many cases the ‘message’ has a bad habit of getting in the way of the ‘story’, turning what could have been a much more powerful work into something that is cheapened because its subtext is written at the top of every page in bold letters. A good storyteller knows how to get himself out of the way and let his story carry its own meaning, and if the storyteller trusts the Source of his creative spark, that meaning will reflect truth.

  21. Jason Gray

    @jasongray

    Yeah, that’s more what I’m getting at, though I get what you’re saying Caleb.

    I guess it’s kind of like when you ask someone to pray for you – do they pray with you, or do they pray at you with a prayer that is more like a sermon spoken prayerfully but with an obvious agenda. The first prayer makes me feel like I’m not alone, the other makes me feel like I’ve been chastised and pushes me away – however well intentioned.

    Books, songs, and stories can do the same thing.

  22. Paul Hutchinson

    On art and proselytism / propaganda:

    Did God miss out on a great evangelism opportunity by neglecting to inscribe a Bible passage across the side of the Grand Canyon? Something from the Psalms perhaps, or maybe John 3:16?

    I would have said not, myself. The Canyon stands in its own right as a work of creative art – let he who has ears to hear, let him hear…

    On the review of the Golden Compass:

    Many thanks Pete. I haven’t read the books, but I’m curious about the movie – thank you for your thoughts.

  23. Stephen @ Rebelling Against Indifference

    Pete, there’s a great quote by Dr. Harold Best in “Unceasing Worship” that says: “Instead of pushing art forms beyond their limits, we must allow art to be art. We must allow each art form, with its particular vocabularies and structures and contours to go directly to God in their purest form, uncluttered by our weak and untrusting spirits that get nervous if everything that we do does not shout John 3:16.”

  24. Kelly

    I personally have not read the books but I tend to be somewhat of a rebel. I wanted to see the movie when I saw the preview and all of the controversy surrounding it made me want to see it even more. From what I can tell from your review is that this is a broken man who can’t figure out what he believes. You can’t really expect anything less from people though that are not Christians and it is good to read that kind of thing because we need to know what the world is thinking. People like that are actually honest and aren’t afraid what other people think and we need more people like that in the world rather than those who are always trying to please others, including Christians and pulling the wool over our eyes.

  25. Susan

    Thanks for the review Pete, but I have to say that I can’t stand the first book. It’s not the plot, I think the plot’s amazing and could make an incredible story, it’s just that I don’t really care about the main character. The book does have its moments, but the are few and far between. My dad has read all three and said the first book is the best of the three, so I’m not planning on reading the last two (especially since I have better things, like Robert Jordan, to read).

    More than anything I think we need to pray for Pullman, but we should not under any circumstances fear him. Exercise caution, and be careful if you let your kids read this. If you judge that they are mature enough to read these books, still talk to them about the ideas presented. Above all remember that our God is the almighty ruler of the universe, and Pullman and his supporters are mere men. No matter what happens, His will will be done.

  26. Curt McLey

    @curtmcley

    Before I make a few random observations, here’s my disclaimer: I have not read the books, but did see the movie.

    1. I enjoyed the movie. It was compelling, showed the author/director “gets” the genre (Is there any doubt that Mr. Pullman has read C.S. Lewis?), and the movie folks did a nice job in putting together a good film.

    2. Christians have little to fear from exploring issues these books and movie (s) raise (though we should be mindful and responsible in exposing them to our children, of course). As believers, we should never be afraid of alternative points of view. If our beliefs are built on lies, we should welcome the light that would expose them.

    There’s a young person in my extended family that is starting to question his own faith in God. That, not unpredictably, has come after the first couple of years of college. This person’s mom is worried and scared. I’m not overly concerned about the questions. To the contrary, I think they can be healthy.
    Excellent questions probed thoughtfully often lead to not only to faith, but a more meaningful, rich faith. Prayer, of course. Caring dialogue, of course. I understand the fear, but God is never out of control.

    It’s been said before: An atheist cannot say he knows there is no God, because he would have to know all things in order to know if there is or isn’t a God.

    3. A good approach for Christians to assume might be one that shuns defensiveness. We bring on rigid, antagonistic reactions with our often arrogant, self-righteous, close-minded attitudes. Was that statement I just wrote arrogant and self-righteous?

    4. I read several movie reviews tonight that surprisingly saw no allusions to the Catholic church or theology. Admittedly, the references were not blatant in the movie, but one can’t deny that they were there.

    5. I read several interviews and watched some video clips from Mr. Pullman. No doubt, he wishes to makes some strong points, some of which are probably antithetical to the gospel. Still, one of his “points” is for a thoughtful, open-minded sensibility, not a rigid faith, based on limited information. I applaud that.

    6. Marisa Coulter’s (Nicole Kidman’s character) daemon (variant of demon, chiefly British) was a monkey. I thought that was an interesting choice. There were a number of what might be construed as back-handed or implicit insults to believers. The monkey was one that seems to be pretty obvious.

    7. I took the Alethiometer as a rather blatant statement by Pullman that “there is no objective spiritual truth.” I wonder how the second and third books handle the Alethiometer?

    8. The “dust” seems like an interesting topic for discussion. What did you make of it? At first, because of allusions to the Garden of Eden, I thought that Pullman might want it to symbolize sin. As the movie evolved, that notion seemed to fade in my mind. What do you make of the dust?

    That’s all I got. Still thinking about it.

  27. Anna

    Here’s another Christian review someone sent me. Not as militant as I thought it would be.
    http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/8146.article
    I guess I’m with Kelly. The controversy has piqued my curiosity and I want to see it now even more. The thing that I guess you could say ‘sets my skin to crawlin’ is that it even presents the idea of killing God. Pullman must be struggling. If he believes there is no God, how can he kill Him, even fictionally? And of course the earlier posted quote: “I don’t believe in him. But he won’t leave me alone.” God must be dealing with him.

  28. Tim

    Pete, I think you wrote a great review, probably because I agree with every word you wrote. When I saw that NewLine Cinemas, “The makers of ‘The Lord of the Rings Trilogy,'” was releasing this movie, I thought it looked like a great story way before I started hearing about the controversy. I read the first book and loved it. Yes, there were some jabs at religion, but it was mostly aimed at “the organization of the church.” I have not seen the movie, but am looking forward to it.

    The next two books, however, were not nearly as intriguing as the first one. I couldn’t believe that I had reached the end of “The Amber Spyglass” with so many issues, that the book had been pointing to all along, were left completely unanswered. How did The Deciever decieve and what role did she really play in the story? What was the choice that the Second Eve was supposed to struggle with? (If it was the choice of which “window” to leave open, I think that was horribly anti-climactic.) While reading “The Golden Compass,” I kept thinking that Pullman was a fantastic author. I lost respect for him, however, with the remaining two books. I plan to see “The Golden Compass,” but if the other books are made into a movie, I have no interest whatsoever in seeing them.

  29. Paul Hutchinson

    Hey there 🙂
    I went to see the movie yesterday with a crowd from my office, just to see what all the fuss was about. I’ve got to say I thought the film was quite weak.

    I’d heard that fans of the books had been complaining because so much of the anti-religious themes had been toned down, in order to help sell the movie in conservative America. My impression was that the anti-religious themes were quite clear (there’s no doubt that the odious Magisterium is supposed to be very very representative of institutional Christianity, Roman Catholicism in particular); but the plot itself was quite incoherant.

    I was constantly asking myself “and why are they heading off on this journey? And why is this happening? And why are they going there?” It just didn’t seem to make sense to me as a story – and surely with children’s fantasy writing, telling a good story is what really matters? Especially since this Pullman is clearly setting out to tell an important story, a story that resonates with the way life is (as he understands it). I’m wondering if the storytelling in this film is good enough to generate the success necessary to justify the making of the second and third films…

    But thankyou Pete for getting my thinking about the plot and the questions that Pullman is asking. It does seem understandable and right that Pullman would be railing against an abusive church if that has been experience of what church is. It’s just a bit hard to relate to personally if that is not your own experience of what the church and Christianity is like.

    People may well be interested in an interview that Philip Pullman did with Third Way magazine (a very thoughtful Christian periodical based in the UK) http://www.thirdway.org.uk/past/showpage.asp?page=3949

    Pullman has also had a number of public discussions with Rowan Williams (the Archbishop of Canterbury). These take quite a bit longer to digest, but are very interesting – check out this link: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2004/03/17/bodark17.xml

  30. Peter

    An extended discussion of Philip Pullman and the ‘Dark Materials’ books is available at “Dark Matter” by Tony Watkins (2004 Intervarsity Press). Another useful discussion of Pullman, Pullman’s wonderful ‘Sally Lockhart’ books, and the ‘Dark Materials’ series, is “Inside the World of Philip Pullman: Darkness Visible” (2004 ibooks – Simon & Schuster).

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