Monday, May 27, 2013

'His Dark Materials'

Been saving this book to read in one long sitting- Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials'. A trilogy of 'Northern Lights', 'The Subtle Knife' and 'The Amber Spyglass'. Read them all a decade ago, and decided it was high time for a re-read. Lost all the previous hardcopies of the book. Bought a new hardcover version, and flipping the pages felt deliciously mysterious.

The story belongs to Lyra Belacqua alone, who by the end of the trilogy, is 12 years old. The first book tells the tales of stolen children of which she is integral to, and in volume two, on her quest of understanding Dust, she meets young Will Parry and has to embark on that quest with him, children of different Worlds. But make no mistake, this book is no child's fantasy and perhaps an adult's nightmare. There're many themes in there that one wouldn't want to explain to a child. It's fantasy. I love. There's armored bear-friend-warrior-protector Iorek Byrnison, who speaks, and daemons; there're witches and other politically-charged armored polar bears; epic killings, Spectres and celestial wars. Angels have been drawn from the writings of William Blake, and the underworld takes the imagery of Milton's 12 books of 'Paradise Lost' and in many episodes, inversed Milton's worlds.

Lyra is the sort of protagonist I like. Wild, clever and headstrong. Always accompanied by her still-shape-shifting daemon, Pantalaimon, she gets into all sorts of scrapes. Gifted with a rare alethiometer which is a truth-measure, she'll need its help, and guidance from all those who are fond of her through her adventures and quests.

There's this portion of love in the final volume, right at the end, between Lyra and Will that I never found necessary. Whatever for? It doesn't seem to serve any purpose to the book except to make it movie-worthy. (But The Golden Compass seriously sucked. I reiterate, it's not a children's film.) Falling in love doesn't mean a physical representation of puberty. As a result, it made the story rather superfluous towards the end. Really bothersome. Didn't like the almost abrupt and unsatisfying ending a decade ago, and still don't like it now.


yAnn said...

This is one of my favourite series. And yes, Hollywood bloody mangled the book, I was spitting fire when I came out of the cinema.

imp said...

i grimly sat through Golden Compass for the cheap thrill of watching armored polar bears come to life. heeeeeee.