Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials – The alternative take

What do you need to know about it?

His dark materials is a trilogy of books by Phillip Pullman. In order they are Northern Lights (renamed The Golden Compass for the shoddy film), The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. The books are all part of a large story which primarily follows Lyra Belacqua, and later, also Will Parry. The story takes place in several parallel universes and feature fantasy elements such as beautiful witches and armoured talking bears. No come back, these books are well thought out and intelligent. They drew some criticism for being a little anti Christian and anti religion in general (or more in theme), but if you have a brain I wouldn’t let that stop you reading them.

The first book was made into a beautiful to look at, but somewhat soulless film called The Golden Compass. If you’ve seen the film and it put you off reading the books, think again. Compared to the book, the film is a turd, a polished one, but still a turd. The film explains nothing of why the bears wear armour, and how they come about them (if you watch Game of Thrones, think the iron price), or how the bear Iorek Byrnison became exiled, or even how big a deal it was that Lyra could speak to him. Or even how he was friends with Lee Scoresby. And plenty of other things, you can probably see what I’m getting at. The film ended sometime before the book did, the book had a cliffhanger ending or sorts.

Where did I first become acquainted?

About six or seven years ago, a friend asked if I had read them because they were very good. I had never even heard of them. Then I mentioned it to another friend who said he had also read them and they were very good. I checked out some reviews, they were very good. So if they were very good, I can probably assume they are worth reading. So I bought the trilogy and guess what? They are very good.

I did have the ending of the third book spoiled a bit as a friend referred to the emotional element so I was waiting for it. (I will say to avoid spoilers that it might be happy, it might be sad, it might just be a surprise twist, or it might just be straight forward and well built up, i.e. I’m telling you nothing).

What to buy:

All three books. Once you get to the end of the first one, you will want to read the rest.

Anything related to look at:

Check them out on here, or here.

In a quite comedy element, especially if you a) have a brain, b) have actually read them, c) are not a moron, d) like to encourage some thought, you will laugh at Phillip Pullman appearing second on the US banned books list. This means a lot of people tried to have his books banned in case, you know, someone has a thought about something. You can read about it in the Guardian here. This might suggest that the books ought to come highly recommended, hint, hint.

Anything else?

Not really. Oh hang on, there are a few smaller related books that I have never read called Lyra’s Oxford, and Once upon a time in the North. According to wikipedia, a book called The book of Dust featuring some of the same characters, but an independent, set later in time book, is in the works.

Lexicon word of the day: asseveration.


5 comments on “Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials – The alternative take

  1. Really enjoyed The Golden Compass. Like the fairy tale genre but no Harry Potter fan – yuk. Will put Pullman on must read list.

    • Elliot says:

      I’m no Harry Potter fan either (although I shall not be complaining if my son reads them when he gets older).

      The three Dark materials books are fantastic though, I was so disappointed with the film in comparison (and I saw it a second time a year or so later just to be sure).

  2. crubin says:

    Great review. And anyone who can work the word “turd” into a review gets my attention. You know I love my scatological humor…

    • Elliot says:

      I was looking at my bookshelves the other day when I spotted the Dark materials. It had me thinking, anyone who saw that film first and decided against the books, needs re-educating!

  3. Hi honey 🙂

    I’ve nominated you for The Sunshine Award!

    Please don’t feel obligated to take part, but if you would like to, the details are here…..


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