A Slice of Fried Gold

His Dark Secret

Sunday, November 4, 2007
Philip Pullman's collected trilogy of His Dark Materials

If you've met me, spoken to me, or read my blog for any length of time, you'll know probably one thing. I love Harry Potter. Well, that and I really like music. That and I'm a fan of duct tape. I tend to party a lot according to this thing as well. Ok, nevermind, if you read this, you know a number of things about me...not the least of which is I tend to go off on tangents. REGARDLESS. Harry Potter. Big fan. Loved the series, love the movies, sad it's over, would love it to go on forever.

I never really thought anything could take its position as numero uno book series. It just seemed unrealistic.

Yet I feel as if I liked Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series more. I know, hard to believe right? All I know, is it's been messing with me for days after I finished it. The characters are sticking with me deeply, as if the books never really end but stay in my thoughts perpetually after the last words have been read. It's funny that another pseudo-fantasy, youth lit series has captured my imagination so wholly, but hey, you love what you love. Some people read Les Miserables and War and Peace...I read kids books.

It really is quite amazing though. My mom and I were roaming around Barnes and Noble before we were going to see American Ganster (excellent...of course) and I kept yammering on and on about it, even finding a book that analyzes the series and purchasing it, until it led her to tell me that she hasn't seen me this excited about a book ever. It's true though. This has really stoked the flames of my reading spirit. I'm going to read again! Oh my! Could it be possible? David? Reading? I know. Very shocking. It's been a great inspiration, and if anyone who reads this could be so kind, please hook me up with any book recommendations you have. It doesn't have to fit my niche, just anything you've read ever or lately that you particularly are fond of. I also prefer series, as that is more my style.

Back to His Dark Materials though. Pullman's trilogy was received in a very favorable light. There are some dissenters who trash the third book and parts of the second, but the first book - called Northern Lights or the Golden Compass depending on region - is universally loved. I personally think the series grew and grew throughout the Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass, with Pullman's descriptions and dialogue becoming more powerful and characters developing newfound richness with every turned page. There are just so many layers and so much beauty in the series, I found it to be utterly engrossing and a bit of an addiction.

Lately, some have ripped on it due to it's "anti-religion" standpoint though. I beg to differ on this concept though, as I read it as four different stories simultaneously - coming of age for protagonists Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry, a giant fantastic war epic (using the term fantastic instead of fantasy because it has elements but would not be a true fantasy in my opinion), an allegorical tale that provides credence to alternative ways of thinking/religion, and a fourth bit that I will not go into detail due to certain people reading the series as we speak.

Now, to my point on the allegorical aspects of the book. I believe that the book isn't anti-organized religion. Well...it is, but it isn't at the same time. What Pullman does is provide readers with the idea that sometimes religion is not necessarily the right choice and is never the only choice. He provides an open mind and a fresh perspective on the concept. Sure, in interviews he has sort of vilified himself by ripping on C.S. Lewis and the blatant religious ties in his Narnia series, but this is no reason to tear down on this series. The depth of characters and the love you develop for these people (plus Bears! And Witches! And Mulefa! Oh my!) who inhabit his work has been unparalleled for me. The connection I feel to the series has, as I said before, reignited the flames of my desire to read actual books, and there is something to be said about that power.

I am in no way trying to get anyone to read this series. I really just wanted to say that I feel as if I owe Mr. Pullman some sort of debt for getting me this interested in reading again. Maybe it will take me to new heights with different books so I will start off another blog with "I never thought something could replace His Dark Materials." Who knows. All I do know is I'm excited about the prospect.


Patty said...

Remember what they said about Harry books, its just great to get people reading!! I can't wait to finish, the second books is exciting.

sheri said...

David. I am most disappointed. This blog was more than a week ago. I need more reading material.

Don't bother mentioning the sad state of my blog.


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