His Dark Materials

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His Dark Materials

Postby orengutan » Thu Oct 11, 2007 12:57 pm UTC

just finished it. that was freaking awesome. "did I just get laid?" kind of awesome.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Eoin » Thu Oct 11, 2007 2:49 pm UTC

I really liked Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife, but I didn't think The Amber Spyglass was as good as the first two.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Lyra Ngalia » Thu Oct 11, 2007 5:36 pm UTC

The first time I read His Dark Materials, I thought that the first two were fantastic, and the third one was terrible.

Rereading them, the first two wasn't as great as I remembered, and the third wasn't as bad. But I do think there was a change (for the worse) in Pullman's writing quality between the second and third, which adds to the discrepancy.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby orengutan » Thu Oct 11, 2007 6:54 pm UTC

I can see that. the first two I read in one sitting each, but the third one I ended up taking a break for a few weeks towards the end. mostly being sidetracked and then not as excited to get back to it.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Jesse » Thu Oct 11, 2007 7:08 pm UTC

I liked the third one the most of all, and still do. But I think that is because watching them fall in love felt so wonderful to me at the time, and still does and then the ending makes me cry every single time.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby podbaydoor » Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:12 pm UTC

Yeah, the love story was wonderful to read. Unfortunately I have not been able to find any fanfiction that reunites them. :evil:
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby pollywog » Sat Oct 13, 2007 12:37 am UTC

I liked the world-building. I found the multiple Earth thing quite interesting, and the whole religious perspective was amazingly cool. Plus, little people that ride dragonflies. C'mon. Dragonflies. I can't say which book I found better, even though I read the whole trilogy within a week. They were all pretty good.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby bbctol » Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:29 pm UTC

Northern Lights was perfect. The Subtle Knife was beyond perfection. The Amber Spyglass was really, really good.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby The Spherical Cow » Sat Oct 27, 2007 11:47 pm UTC

I first read them when I was around 13/14, and I've never got round to reading it again, but I loved it. I would definitely recommend.

Spoiler:
When Lyra and Will are split up at the end of the Amber Spyglass, I was gutted. For days. It was all I could think about - how they'd have to live the rest of their lives apart, knowing the other existed elsewhere, and could have been reached.

It's possibly the most powerful reaction I've ever had to a book.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby cathrl » Sun Oct 28, 2007 10:37 am UTC

Lyra Ngalia wrote:The first time I read His Dark Materials, I thought that the first two were fantastic, and the third one was terrible.

Rereading them, the first two wasn't as great as I remembered, and the third wasn't as bad. But I do think there was a change (for the worse) in Pullman's writing quality between the second and third, which adds to the discrepancy.


I'm glad I'm not the only one who feels like that. The first two were a rollicking good read, and the third was a soapbox apparently designed to stir up controversy. My kids felt the same - both loved the first two, started out on the third, and then quietly stopped reading it and moved on to something else.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Nyarlathotep » Sun Oct 28, 2007 2:11 pm UTC

The Spherical Cow wrote:
Spoiler:
When Lyra and Will are split up at the end of the Amber Spyglass, I was gutted. For days. It was all I could think about - how they'd have to live the rest of their lives apart, knowing the other existed elsewhere, and could have been reached.


The stupid part is, my life is like this.

I LOVED Golden Compass / Northern Lights, liked Subtle Knife, and felt that Amber Spyglass got WAY too preachy and focused too much on Lyra and Will. I didn't care about their relationship, I wanted action and saving the world, damn it.

I think if I read it again I'd feel differently.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Lyra Ngalia » Sun Oct 28, 2007 6:31 pm UTC

Nyarlathotep wrote:
The Spherical Cow wrote:
Spoiler:
When Lyra and Will are split up at the end of the Amber Spyglass, I was gutted. For days. It was all I could think about - how they'd have to live the rest of their lives apart, knowing the other existed elsewhere, and could have been reached.


The stupid part is, my life is like this.

I LOVED Golden Compass / Northern Lights, liked Subtle Knife, and felt that Amber Spyglass got WAY too preachy and focused too much on Lyra and Will. I didn't care about their relationship, I wanted action and saving the world, damn it.

I think if I read it again I'd feel differently.


Knowing that the romance and preachiness is coming makes it less of a shock. Still, doesn't make it good.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Aleril » Sun Oct 28, 2007 7:15 pm UTC

Started reading Northern Lights and loving every bit of it.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Grincement » Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:28 pm UTC

Absolutely loved the triology, just been meaning to re read it as it's been a while so can't really comment on the change between the second and third book.

They're making a film about it, but I'm tempted not to go and see it. For one, who chose it to be called "The Golden Compass" rather than "Northern Lights". But more importantly, the entire triology creates such vivid images in your mind, to have some directors take of it forced down my throat may just kill off my passion for the books...we shall see.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Jesse » Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:43 pm UTC

Golden Compass = American Title of the book.

And, to be fair, it does fit the series better.

Golden Compass
Subtle Knife
Amber Spyglass.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Tisiphone » Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:50 pm UTC

Jesster wrote:Golden Compass = American Title of the book.

And, to be fair, it does fit the series better.

Golden Compass
Subtle Knife
Amber Spyglass.


I didn't know it was called anything except for The Golden Compass. I do agree, it fits the series much better. It is disheartening that they are taking out all the religious (read: anti-church) aspects of the book for the movie to get better ticket sales. I mean, that was kind of the plot...

Is it titled The Golden Compass solely in the United States?
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Jesse » Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:00 pm UTC

I believe it is solely the US that titles it the Golden Compass.

And what anti-religious sentiment are they removing? Form the trailers I still see the Magisterium, which I felt was the biggest attack on religion prior to angels and God appearing in the final book.

Or is Golden Compass the film the full trilogy rolled into one film?

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Grincement » Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:13 pm UTC

I suppose it fits the series titles better but really there is nothing to do with a golden compass. I'm just being picky as I've always known it as northern lights and I just love the idea of the northern lights and the images the title itself has always conjured up.

Reiterating what Jesse said, is the film all three books or just the first?
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Jesse » Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:16 pm UTC

I remember reading an interview with Pullman where he talked about the title.

He says that was the original title for the book, and then he decided to change it to Northern Lights. However, the American publishers really loved the original name of Golden Compass, and since they'd done so much for him in terms of money and freedom that he felt obliged to give them something back by letting them keep the original title for it.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby yellie » Mon Oct 29, 2007 1:28 am UTC

The film is just the first book. There's no mention of Will or the knife in the trailers, so it has to be.

Apparently, the Magesterium will be a critique of all dogmatic organisations, rather than a gone-astray version of the Catholic Church. And the other two films won't reference religion or God directly because, of couse, the Catholic League think it's promoting atheism for kids. Now, I haven't read the books in a while, but doesn't the central plot revolves around the corruption of religion and the Authority? Gah. I hope Balthamos and Baruch will still be in it... They're probably too contoversial though. ):

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby une see » Mon Oct 29, 2007 2:30 am UTC

I loved all the books equally, I think, although I'm not going to lie: the Will/Lyra romance was so unbelievably sad, and I loved it. What can I say? I'm just a sucker for romance, although more bad-ass action would not have been unwelcome either.

I do like "The Golden Compass" more than "Northern Lights" as a title. Just has a better ring to it, in my opinion.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Tisiphone » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:43 am UTC

Hey, I was trying to post a link to an article on the censoring of the anti-religious plot of the book, but I now realise I am unclear on how to post a link without posting the full url. I feel like an idiot, butplease don't make fun, I have never used a forum before. Anyway, they did water it down a bit, but they do still have the Magisterium. The general complaints that led to such restrictions:

Pullman is an avowed atheist who has dedicated his life to undermining Christianity and the Church among young readers. The film's release is only another example of a culture spiraling away from faith, a culture into which we must step in and declare truth.

Pullman represents God as a decrepit and perverse angel in his novels, who captures the dead in a "prison camp" afterlife. As one fallen angel tells one of the novel's young heroes:

The Authority, God, the Creator, the Lord, Yahweh, El, Adonai, the King, the Father, the Almighty – those were all names he gave himself. He was never the creator. He was an angel like ourselves – the first angel, true, the most powerful, but he was formed of Dust as we are, and Dust is only a name for what happens when matter begins to understand itself.

When the hero finally finds this "god," he is ultimately described as a "demented and powerless" creature that "could only weep and mumble in fear and pain and misery." The boy then kills this "god" by breaking him out of his crystal cell, thereby evaporating him. The only "god" in this universe is matter. Meanwhile, the Church is depicted as an organization bent on power, control and the torture of children by cutting...


This article goes on for quite a while. Also Nicole Kidman said she wouldn't do the movie if it wasn't toned down as she is Catholic. It is curious why they didn't just find another actress though.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Lyra Ngalia » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:36 am UTC

Tisiphone wrote:Also Nicole Kidman said she wouldn't do the movie if it wasn't toned down as she is Catholic. It is curious why they didn't just find another actress though.


Pullman lobbied (hard) for Kidman as Mrs. Coulter.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Jesse » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:42 am UTC

Indeed. I fail to see how you have a story once the religion is removed. It is a shame this wasn't released before Lion, With and the Wardrobe, or I may have tried to begin a lobbying movement cutting out all the religion from that film.

Alas, this world we live in where anti-religious sentiment is censored far more often than violence, torture and forced sex.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby podbaydoor » Mon Oct 29, 2007 4:52 pm UTC

Jesster wrote:Indeed. I fail to see how you have a story once the religion is removed. It is a shame this wasn't released before Lion, With and the Wardrobe, or I may have tried to begin a lobbying movement cutting out all the religion from that film.


Cutting out the religion from LW&W is like cutting out the anti-religion from the Golden Compass. I don't know why anti-religion is acceptable in one film but religion is unacceptable in another, when they are respectively the core of their source materials.

That said, I'm disappointed they would tone down the anti-church stuff in Golden Compass. It takes away from the story, and what are they going to do for a villain?
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Belial » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:05 pm UTC

Cutting out the religion from LW&W is like cutting out the anti-religion from the Golden Compass.


I think that was his point.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby The Spherical Cow » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:16 pm UTC

podbaydoor wrote:
Jesster wrote:Indeed. I fail to see how you have a story once the religion is removed. It is a shame this wasn't released before Lion, With and the Wardrobe, or I may have tried to begin a lobbying movement cutting out all the religion from that film.


Cutting out the religion from LW&W is like cutting out the anti-religion from the Golden Compass. I don't know why anti-religion is acceptable in one film but religion is unacceptable in another, when they are respectively the core of their source materials.

That said, I'm disappointed they would tone down the anti-church stuff in Golden Compass. It takes away from the story, and what are they going to do for a villain?


My understanding was that the Magisterium are no longer explicitly linked with the Catholic church, but stand instead for 'all authority' (read "governments, not the church"). So they're still there to be evil, just without the (key, in my opinion) component of their connection to the church.

Problem is... how is the Amber Spyglass going to work if there's to be no reference to religion? I can see how they can just kind of sweep it under the carpet for the first film, but not later.

My biggest worry is that the experiments with the separation of the daemons and kids could be played out to make it anti-science.

Removing the religious elements of the book is definitely a mistake though.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby jdege » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:03 pm UTC

The Spherical Cow wrote:Problem is... how is the Amber Spyglass going to work if there's to be no reference to religion? I can see how they can just kind of sweep it under the carpet for the first film, but not later.

It's Hollywood. They never have a problem with being anti-church.

Me, I just saw a poster for Prince Caspian. And that raises the much more interesting question of what they're going to do with Aslan, if they're going to make films from all seven books.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Belial » Mon Oct 29, 2007 6:07 pm UTC

It's Hollywood. They never have a problem with being anti-church.


Considering that the entire reason the trilogy is being changed is because Hollywood IS having a problem with being anti-church, I'm not sure how your comment makes any sense.

My hope is that they're just playing along for the first and maybe the second movies, where it doesn't matter so much, and that if they do well, they'll throw off the chains for the third.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby seudramaqueen » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:12 pm UTC

Well first of all, there is no guaranty that the remaining two books will be made into movies; it all depends on how The Golden Compass performs as far as the box office is concerned. And as far as editing certain themes from the books (which I've also read multiple times) well that’s just Hollywood, you have to take into mind that all movies have to be edited for the purposes of filming and for what producers believe will sell best, take a look at Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia. Now I'm sure there are some people who wouldn't mind sitting through a 4-5 hour movie, but that doesn't consist of the entire general public, thus editing. On a personal side note, I know that Pullman is an atheist, but I wouldn't call the themes in his books anti religious if fact his story is not subversive of Christianity, it is almost Christian, even if only implicitly and imperfectly. But implicit and imperfect Christianity is often our lot in life, and Pullman has unintentionally created a marvelous depiction of many of the human ideals Christians hold dear, I say this because I'm Christian, I believe you can take almost anything and put your personal spin on it, truth is subjective and very similar to opinion, and the thing is that everyone has one... so really in the end I think you have to take things as they come... not so seriously... it's a book...it's a movie, it's there to inspire thought... not transfer personal beliefs. To make short of a long comment, take from it what you will.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Jesse » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:14 pm UTC

My friend, while many things in the book honour the basic Christian values, (Love etc) the book is a compelte dig at organized Christianity. God shows up in the final book. He is a weak, frail, dying liar. I fail to see how Christians will welcome that as conforming to their values.

EDIT: Also, Pullman himself has said that a main part of the book was to be an attack on the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. That he disliked Lewis hiding his preaching behind allegory, and wanted to create a book that attacked Christianity and the Church and made absolutely no attempt to hide it behind metaphor and allegory.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Belial » Mon Oct 29, 2007 8:19 pm UTC

Yeah, honestly, you're talking like editing the religious themes out is just a minor alteration for time, but it's seriously the entire point of the books. That's a pretty big edit.

It's kindof like if you edited the communism out of an "Animal Farm" movie.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby seudramaqueen » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:38 pm UTC

Like I said take from it what you will, opinions are like a**holes everybody's got 'em, and for a representation of my opinion on it take a look at the book "Killing the Imposter God: Philip Pullman's Spiritual Imagination in His Dark Materials". And FYI ... thought you might find this interesting as well.

"Lewis, an expert on the subject of allegory, maintained that the books were not allegory, and preferred to call the Christian aspects of them "suppositional". As Lewis wrote in a letter to a Mrs. Hook in December of 1958:

If Aslan represented the immaterial Deity in the same way in which Giant Despair [a character in The Pilgrim's Progress] represents despair, he would be an allegorical figure. In reality however he is an invention giving an imaginary answer to the question, 'What might Christ become like, if there really were a world like Narnia and He chose to be incarnate and die and rise again in that world as He actually has done in ours?' This is not allegory at all. (Martindale & Root 1990)"

Just to show that everything has two sides and two stories, the point again is not to offend, but open the mind to both sides.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby seudramaqueen » Tue Oct 30, 2007 8:52 pm UTC

Also Try "Shedding Light on His Dark Materials" if you're interested in another a**hole... uh ummm I mean opinion.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Belial » Tue Oct 30, 2007 9:12 pm UTC

Like I said take from it what you will, opinions are like a**holes everybody's got 'em,


Indeed, yours just seems to have developed a not-supported-by-the-text hemhorrhoid
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby 22/7 » Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:24 am UTC

Hadn't heard about the movies until just now. I'd like to see them, too, as I read them growing up and really enjoyed them. Might have to reread before they come out.

Too bad if they pull out the religious references. I wouldn't go so far as to say that they made the book, but they played a large enough role, both through the characters that were a part of the church and the entity itself, that it'd be a pretty shallow book/movie without it.
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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby fallenstar » Wed Oct 31, 2007 1:25 am UTC

Belial wrote:My hope is that they're just playing along for the first and maybe the second movies, where it doesn't matter so much, and that if they do well, they'll throw off the chains for the third.



I agree somewhat. I think they would have to start introducing the anti-religion parts in the second movie, because otherwise everything Lord Asriel does doesn't make sense. His whole purpose is to take down God, and if you don't want to mention that little part, he doesn't have a purpose.

On the subject of the book series by itself, my favorite is The Amber Spyglass. Mostly because of Will and Mary Malone. I read them when I was maybe 12, but I've re-read them a few times since then. Actually, I used to hate The Golden Compass until last year when my school did for the student-directed play. Going to rehearsals made me want to read it again, so I did, and I really liked it. I agree with everyone that says the first and second book are more stories, whereas the third is more Pullman's ideas. Now, my least favorite is the second, just because it strikes me more as an in-between, it serves as the link between the first and third, but doesn't have much purpose on its own. The first is a rollicking good story, the third is a good philosophical read, but the second just tells what happens in between.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Jesse » Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:47 am UTC

How can you say the third isn't a story?

The entire thing is the culmination of Will & Lyra's love. Sure, plenty of Pullman's philosophy hits the book, but it does so in the form of the story.

And the second is an inbetween? Despite the fact it introduces Will, Mary Malone, the Subtle Knife and really gets going on the narrative.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby jdege » Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:45 pm UTC

Jesster wrote:Also, Pullman himself has said that a main part of the book was to be an attack on the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. That he disliked Lewis hiding his preaching behind allegory, and wanted to create a book that attacked Christianity and the Church and made absolutely no attempt to hide it behind metaphor and allegory.

Pullman claims to be an atheist. I disagree.

I know a number of atheists, and they simply don't think about God or religion at all.

But Pullman, like a number of our high-profile professional "atheists" thinks about God and religion a lot.

And the books he wrote, as his answer to Lewis' Narnia, is by no means an a-religious book. It's an anti-religious book. It's not a book in which God doesn't exist, but one in which he not only exists, but plays a significant role. Yes, he's portrayed as a fraud, but he's portrayed.

Clearly, it's not that Pullman doesn't believe in God. He believes in him a great deal.

He simply doesn't like him much.

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Re: His Dark Materials

Postby Belial » Wed Oct 31, 2007 7:55 pm UTC

It's not a book in which God doesn't exist, but one in which he not only exists, but plays a significant role. Yes, he's portrayed as a fraud, but he's portrayed.

Clearly, it's not that Pullman doesn't believe in God. He believes in him a great deal.

He simply doesn't like him much.


Or, alternately, God was used as a fictional or hypothetical character, as if to say "if God did exist, we would have to destroy him". A sentiment I have voiced many times. Would you like to tell me that I'm not an atheist, either?

Or perhaps God was used as a symbol (books do that sometimes, it's pretty neat) for the church and christianity as a whole, and was symbolically slain by opening his protective covering and exposing him to the real world.

I suppose you think Lewis really thought God was a lion who ponced around fighting ice queens?
addams wrote:A drunk neighbor is better than a sober Belial.


They/them


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