Who remembers the book series about Dust? About a little girl who grew up in a world, parallel to ours and had a huge destiny on her shoulders that she could only carry out without knowing of it? A book series about a young boy on a mission to find his father, and who had a responsibility much bigger than him thrust on his shoulders? A series about a nun-turned-scientist who finds her way into a new world?
The books I’m talking about are called “His Dark Materials,” with the first book in the series called “The Golden Compass.” Written by Philip Pullman, who celebrated his birthday just this past Sunday, Oct. 19, this book was released in 1995, back when most of us were in elementary school or just being born. When the movie adaptation came out in 2007, there was a lot of controversy about the content, because of the war on religion in this series.
If you were like me, however, and you read this book series while still in elementary school, you probably didn’t catch the war on religion or the other numerous adult themes in this so-called children’s book.
Even for the religious person, “His Dark Materials” is a good series to return to. First, the story is heart warming, emotional and fast paced. Following Lyra, the main character, on her adventures from Oxford, to the north and beyond as she works towards saving her best friend from the mysterious organization called the Gobblers, there are not many places that the book calms down, and the reader feels the raw emotions that Lyra herself feels.
And that’s just the first book in the series! At the start of the second book, “The Subtle Knife,” we meet a boy from our own world, named Will. Will, who is the same age as Lyra, is forced into an impossible situation, in which only Lyra can help him with. “The Subtle Knife” is just as fast paced as it’s predecessor, and it is in this book that the real controversy starts.
This series forces its older readers to really think. Lord Asrial, one of the key characters of the series, is building an army, gathering Angels, witches and all other manner of beings from all of the different worlds. What does he plan on doing with this army? Waging war on the power that is called the Authority in his and Lyra’s world. God, in our world. This is what made a lot of people angry when the movie came out, but if you actually read the series, the “God” and the Church of “His Dark Materials” is a lot different and more corrupt than the real Church and God.
Other themes this book series makes you think about are politics, the innocence or lack there of, of children and identity of self.
If you’re looking for a fun, easy read, pick up “The Golden Compass” at the library. Happy Reading!