Sunday, September 30, 2007

His Dark Materials

This being my first real post for the class, I figured I'd go ahead and take my freebie and write about what I want. ;-)

When I saw the preview for the upcoming movie The Golden Compass, I realized two things: I wanted to see the movie, and that would require reading the book first. I learned from that there were three books together in the series. So, $13.50 and a couple of days later, I had the three books in a set and a week to go before school started.

I devoured the first book, The Golden Compass (The Northern Lights outside the US). It was a different experience than my normal Orson Scott Card-infused literary journeys, but it was very refreshing. The second book The Subtle Knife wasn't quite as good as the first, and the last book The Amber Spyglass was the hardest to follow. Pullman takes his (sweet) time to introduce the plot and main characters. You're halfway through the second book before the plot starts moving of its own accord without you having to help by turning the pages. However, the story was excellent and absorbing, even though the trilogy ended with a number of loose ends dangling into space.

I don't like to give plots away and such, but I do feel that I need to say something about the trilogy. Honestly, I don't know how the movies will be received since the United States is still a religious country, despite what many ACLU groupies tell us. The Golden Compass (and the corresponding movie, I assume) is innocent enough, but The Subtle Knife unfolds the central plot to the trilogy that drives the decisions of the characters. In a nutshell: Pullman is an atheist, and his trilogy is anti-organized religion, if not anti-God. It will be interesting to see how the entire story plays out on the big screen.

My recommendation: Read the books! They are enjoyable, witty, and leave you wondering almost to the very end which characters are with or against the protagonist. I'll end with my favorite passage...

Will said to his [father], "You said I was a warrior. You told me that was my nature, and I shouldn't argue with it. Father, you were wrong. I fought because I had to. I can't choose my nature, but I can choose what I do. And I will choose, because now I'm free."

His father's smile was full of pride and tenderness. "Well done, my boy. Well done indeed," he said.
-The Amber Spyglass