The Golden Compass, p. 283

Self understands how Philip Pullman works his magic: he writes about evil in the most blank, affectless way. His main character, Lyra Belacqua, has grown up an orphan, but she has NO ANGST WHATSOEVER, or has none she cares to share with us anyway. So her thoughts are not muddled.

And his villains! His villains are people who used to be good, like Mrs. Coulter, and who remember how to act like they are good. So they are extremely convincing, to everyone but the main character.

Self understands how hard this would all be to translate to film. So she doesn’t think she’ll ever see a movie based on His Dark Materials or The Book of Dust. The books will always be better. In this case, anyway.

Here’s a scene between Lyra and Mrs. Coulter:

“Darling,” she said, “some of what’s good has to hurt us a little, and naturally it’s upsetting to others if you’re upset . . .  But it doesn’t mean your daemon is taken away from you. He’s still there! Goodness me, a lot of the grownups here have had the operation. The nurses seem happy enough, don’t they?”

Lyra blinked. Suddenly she understood their strange blank incuriosity, the way their little trotting daemons seemed to be sleepwalking.

Say nothing, she thought, and shut her mouth hard.

What’s so great about Lyra is, she’s so quick to recognize a lie.

She truly is her father’s daughter.

Stay tuned.

2 Comments

  1. April 16, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    I’ve been thinking about reading The Golden Compass for a while, but I just haven’t got to it.

    • April 16, 2018 at 5:01 pm

      I just stumbled on it backwards. I read the prequel, La Belle Sauvage, and got into the story. Since LBS happens ten years before The Golden Compass, it was a nice lead-in! I think, if I’d tried reading The Golden Compass before reading La Belle Sauvage, I might not have appreciated all the elements. But I got vested in Lord Asriel and his fate. So, that’s my suggestion, to start with La Belle Sauvage then move on to The Golden Compass.


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