The Golden Compass

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This novel is an absolute work of pure genius and is in my top ten reads of all time Before I go into the depths of character and plot let me start by saying this book is up there with other fantas

This novel is an absolute work of pure genius, and is in my top ten reads of all time. Before I go into the depths of character and plot, let me start by saying this book is up there with other fantasy hard hitters: by this I mean books like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia: the books that define the genre. This is high praise indeed, and this novel is worthy of it. The protagonist of the book is Lyra, a young girl, who is parentless and seemingly friendless. She has grown up in an Oxford College and has developed a detachment to her guardians. She spends her days enjoying her youth and harassing those that turn out to be some of her greatest allies. For her, this book is a journey of self-discovery: a way of exploring the limits of her character and potential. Her adventure sees her befriend an armoured polar bear and become the wielder of the golden compass. This is initially described as a lie detector but it is apparent that the depths of its power have not been fully explored. "It lay heavily in her hands,the crystal face gleaming, the brass body exquisitely machined. It was very much like a clock, or a compass, for there were hands pointing around the dial, but instead of the hours or the points of a compass there were several little pictures with extraordinary precision, as if on ivory with the slenderest sable brush. She turned the dial around to look at them all. There was an anchor; an hourglass surmounted by a skull; a bull, a beehive…..Thirty-six altogether and she couldn’t even guess what they meant."This book retains all the classic elements of fantasy: magic, mythical creatures and supernatural phenomena. The world Pullman has created is physically intertwined with our own; there are references to cities and countries in which his idea has been planted.Each human has a daemon that is essentially their soul. These take on the form of an animal that is representative of the person, for example someone who is enthusiastic and friendly has a colourful cat whereas as solider has a wolf or a hound. The author does very little to explain this. It is just thing “thing” that we are told about at the start but through the book but we begin to see the significance of it. The fact that children’s daemons change is a subtle hint how children can be influenced and have not found their identity where as adults are secure and confident. In this the author has created an air of mystery as we explore the true meaning of the bond as we read further. The plot is fantastic. The author manages to surprise the reader on several occasions as he drops several, massive plot turns. This sees the story go into unexpected directions. From the beginning of reading a book, you begin to predict what will happen. Some books are completely predictable and obvious in their direction; this one was not. I physically gasped at some moments as I found myself awed by the author’s storytelling; this is when several characters origins, in relation to Lyra are defined. The book begins as a simple rescue mission but ends as a story that is questioning the morals of all characters involved. The fate of the characters is destined in the mysteriousness of the northern lights; the gateway to beyond. This is one of those books that is applicable to all ages; it originally appears to be a children’s book, but it can be enjoyed by anyone. Much of the content in here touches on themes that most children would not comprehend fully, never mind be able to philosophise about. The author considers spirituality, religion, morals and the existence of the soul, amongst other things. Most children would not pick up on these references and understand the significance of them; however, they would still adore the book.The book can be seen as two separate entities existing at the same time; the first, and most obvious, is the one that appeals to children; the saving of innocents from despotic adults with lots of exciting characters. The second is on a deeper scale; the author explores the conflicting powers of science and religion, manipulation and morality in terms of actions being for a greater good. In this the author is a genius, he has wrote a book that can be both a children’s bed time read and an adult’s point of pondering.Bestseller The Golden Compass Author Philip Pullman is Books Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford s Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city susHere lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford s Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth telling instrument, the alethiometer All around her children are disappearing victims of so called Gobblers and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person s inner being And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter are involved.. In 1946, acclaimed author Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, into a Protestant family Although his beloved grandfather was an Anglican priest, Pullman became an atheist in his teenage years He graduated from Exeter College in Oxford with a degree in English, and spent 23 years as a teacher while working on publishing 13 books and numerous short stories Pullman has received many awards for his literature, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal for exceptional children s literature in 1996, and the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2006 He is most famous for his His Dark Materials trilogy, a series of young adult fantasy novels which feature freethought themes The novels cast organized religion as the series villain Pullman told The New York Times in 2000 When you look at what C.S Lewis is saying, his message is so anti life, so cruel, so unjust The view that the Narnia books have for the material world is one of almost undisguised contempt At one point, the old professor says, It s all in Plato meaning that the physical world we see around us is the crude, shabby, imperfect, second rate copy of something much better I want to emphasize the simple physical truth of things, the absolute primacy of the material life, rather than the spiritual or the afterlife He argues for a republic of heaven here on Earth.In 2007, the first novel of the His Dark Materials trilogy was adopted into the motion picture The Golden Compass by New Line Cinema Many churches and Christian organizations, including the Catholic League, called for a boycott of the film due to the books atheist themes While the film was successful in Europe and moderately received in the United States, the other two books in the trilogy were not be adapted into film, possibly due to pressure from the Catholic Church When questioned about the anti church views in His Dark Materials, Pullman explains in an interview for Third Way UK It comes from history It comes from the record of the Inquisition, persecuting heretics and torturing Jews and all that sort of stuff and it comes from the other side, too, from the Protestants burning the Catholics It comes from the insensate pursuit of innocent and crazy old women, and from the Puritans in America burning and hanging the witches and it comes not only from the Christian church but also from the Taliban Every single religion that has a monotheistic god ends up by persecuting other people and killing them because they don t accept him Wherever you look in history, you find that It s still going on Feb 2002 Pullman has received many threats by ardent believers over his choice of subject matter.More ffrf news day dayitems itenpedia wiki Philip_Prandomhouse features p.on Philip Pullman db name nm1099514. Good Books The Golden Compass This novel is an absolute work of pure genius, and is in my top ten reads of all time. Before I go into the depths of character and plot, let me start by saying this book is up there with other fantasy hard hitters: by this I mean books like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia: the books that define the genre. This is high praise indeed, and this novel is worthy of it. The protagonist of the book is Lyra, a young girl, who is parentless and seemingly friendless. She has grown up in an Oxford College and has developed a detachment to her guardians. She spends her days enjoying her youth and harassing those that turn out to be some of her greatest allies. For her, this book is a journey of self-discovery: a way of exploring the limits of her character and potential. Her adventure sees her befriend an armoured polar bear and become the wielder of the golden compass. This is initially described as a lie detector but it is apparent that the depths of its power have not been fully explored. "It lay heavily in her hands,the crystal face gleaming, the brass body exquisitely machined. It was very much like a clock, or a compass, for there were hands pointing around the dial, but instead of the hours or the points of a compass there were several little pictures with extraordinary precision, as if on ivory with the slenderest sable brush. She turned the dial around to look at them all. There was an anchor; an hourglass surmounted by a skull; a bull, a beehive…..Thirty-six altogether and she couldn’t even guess what they meant."This book retains all the classic elements of fantasy: magic, mythical creatures and supernatural phenomena. The world Pullman has created is physically intertwined with our own; there are references to cities and countries in which his idea has been planted.Each human has a daemon that is essentially their soul. These take on the form of an animal that is representative of the person, for example someone who is enthusiastic and friendly has a colourful cat whereas as solider has a wolf or a hound. The author does very little to explain this. It is just thing “thing” that we are told about at the start but through the book but we begin to see the significance of it. The fact that children’s daemons change is a subtle hint how children can be influenced and have not found their identity where as adults are secure and confident. In this the author has created an air of mystery as we explore the true meaning of the bond as we read further. The plot is fantastic. The author manages to surprise the reader on several occasions as he drops several, massive plot turns. This sees the story go into unexpected directions. From the beginning of reading a book, you begin to predict what will happen. Some books are completely predictable and obvious in their direction; this one was not. I physically gasped at some moments as I found myself awed by the author’s storytelling; this is when several characters origins, in relation to Lyra are defined. The book begins as a simple rescue mission but ends as a story that is questioning the morals of all characters involved. The fate of the characters is destined in the mysteriousness of the northern lights; the gateway to beyond. This is one of those books that is applicable to all ages; it originally appears to be a children’s book, but it can be enjoyed by anyone. Much of the content in here touches on themes that most children would not comprehend fully, never mind be able to philosophise about. The author considers spirituality, religion, morals and the existence of the soul, amongst other things. Most children would not pick up on these references and understand the significance of them; however, they would still adore the book.The book can be seen as two separate entities existing at the same time; the first, and most obvious, is the one that appeals to children; the saving of innocents from despotic adults with lots of exciting characters. The second is on a deeper scale; the author explores the conflicting powers of science and religion, manipulation and morality in terms of actions being for a greater good. In this the author is a genius, he has wrote a book that can be both a children’s bed time read and an adult’s point of pondering.

About Author

  • Philip Pullman Post author

    In 1946, acclaimed author Philip Pullman was born in Norwich, England, into a Protestant family Although his beloved grandfather was an Anglican priest, Pullman became an atheist in his teenage years He graduated from Exeter College in Oxford with a degree in English, and spent 23 years as a teacher while working on publishing 13 books and numerous short stories Pullman has received many awards for his literature, including the prestigious Carnegie Medal for exceptional children s literature in 1996, and the Carnegie of Carnegies in 2006 He is most famous for his His Dark Materials trilogy, a series of young adult fantasy novels which feature freethought themes The novels cast organized religion as the series villain Pullman told The New York Times in 2000 When you look at what C.S Lewis is saying, his message is so anti life, so cruel, so unjust The view that the Narnia books have for the material world is one of almost undisguised contempt At one point, the old professor says, It s all in Plato meaning that the physical world we see around us is the crude, shabby, imperfect, second rate copy of something much better I want to emphasize the simple physical truth of things, the absolute primacy of the material life, rather than the spiritual or the afterlife He argues for a republic of heaven here on Earth.In 2007, the first novel of the His Dark Materials trilogy was adopted into the motion picture The Golden Compass by New Line Cinema Many churches and Christian organizations, including the Catholic League, called for a boycott of the film due to the books atheist themes While the film was successful in Europe and moderately received in the United States, the other two books in the trilogy were not be adapted into film, possibly due to pressure from the Catholic Church When questioned about the anti church views in His Dark Materials, Pullman explains in an interview for Third Way UK It comes from history It comes from the record of the Inquisition, persecuting heretics and torturing Jews and all that sort of stuff and it comes from the other side, too, from the Protestants burning the Catholics It comes from the insensate pursuit of innocent and crazy old women, and from the Puritans in America burning and hanging the witches and it comes not only from the Christian church but also from the Taliban Every single religion that has a monotheistic god ends up by persecuting other people and killing them because they don t accept him Wherever you look in history, you find that It s still going on Feb 2002 Pullman has received many threats by ardent believers over his choice of subject matter.More ffrf news day dayitems itenpedia wiki Philip_Prandomhouse features p.on Philip Pullman db name nm1099514

One thought on “The Golden Compass

  • This novel is an absolute work of pure genius, and is in my top ten reads of all time Before I go into the depths of character and plot, let me start by saying this book is up there with other fantasy hard hitters by this I mean books like The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia the books that define the genre This is high praise indeed, and this novel is worthy of it The protagonist of the book is Lyra, a young girl, who is parentless and seemingly friendless She has grown up in an O [...]



  • the golden compass trilogy seems like a natural progression in christian literature yes, it is christian literature, the same way the chronicles of narnia are aslan is only a lion when the reader is about 10 or so in the united states after a point, he unrepentantly becomes jesus and the four children are like, the gospels or something and the story is somewhat ruined then, because as an adult, you can t just shoehorn jesus into a lion outfit without snickering a little.pullman however, has solv [...]


  • I don t love the Beatles Ducks as he is castigated by the seething masses I also don t love green vegetables, punches to the face, or going to the dentist, though I don t think those revelatory disclosures will elicit much in the way of rage fueled attempts to slit my throat with the jagged edge of a broken CD compact disc, kiddos look it up So, why risk a severed jugular on the day before I m going to stuff myself so full of turkey that I ll have a snood coming out of my ear Well, because it s [...]


  • I hadn t read this since elementary school and am so glad I took the time to come back to it I don t know that it would be a full 5 stars if I just picked it up today, but we re going with 5 out of nostalgia Lyra was one of my favorite characters as a kid and is still just as fierce wonderful as I remember Actually, I m surprised by how well I remember the whole story Maybe it s because the characters and world are so strong, or maybe it s because the movie follows the book SO well Seriously, th [...]


  • I enjoyed the premise and theme of the book Pullman created well thought out and memorable characters It was a little too technical for me in regard to the depths of fantasy, i.e I had to go back and look up the meaning of some of the made up words in the book to stay focused on what was actually happening But great imagery I m not sure if I will read book 2 or 3 of the series yet thoughts


  • 9 8 17 1 I cleared my rating If that doesn t sufficiently refute the claim that I just wanted to give THE GOLDEN COMPASS 1.0 star, then you re irrational, and further discussion is pointless 2 I am a BOOK REVIEW BLOGGER That s what I do If you want to make cracks about being a trophy wife, go right ahead, but to insinuate that I would skim a book to have the minimum knowledge required to give the appearance of having read it so that I can give it a bad review b c reasons, is an attack on my char [...]



  • Later.A friend said to me today that if you read this book properly, it should make you a better person I d just earlier in the day been thinking pretty much the same thing When I asked S in what way was he made better, he said he couldn t say, just that it had Exactly I think you have a sense as you read this book that Lyra s goodness has rubbed off on you, she s made you better in an entirely non specific way.M then said that she didn t think a book, to be special, necessarily had to have a mo [...]


  • De alguna forma este libro empez como una producci n de Disney, en la segunda parte parec a m s como de Nick o TNT y ya en la tercera parte Wow Esto se transformo en HBO No s si este libro debe calificarse como infantil, si bien es cierto que la protagonista Lyra nos va dando una perspectiva bastante inocente de su mundo, los temas que se tratan en el libro no lo son tanto, el centro de la historia es, al parecer, el misterio que existe del porque est n rob ndose a los ni os de todas partes, per [...]


  • Hello friends We re reading THE GOLDEN COMPASS together throughout the next few weeks as part of our goal to read classic YA MG books this year Please join us if you can Discussion on blog February 28th Hashtag tmgreadalong if you d like to discuss as you read on Twitter.More details on the blog themidnightgarden 2014 My review Wildly imaginative and thrilling, this complex and beautiful story follows brave, fierce Lyra Belacqua in her quest to save her childhood friend The book is filled with [...]


  • I never added a review of this but I m going to now I ll admit that this one was a bit slow for me at parts especially compared to the sequels but what kept me reading was the fascination with the daemons I liken them to the patronuses patronii from the Harry Potter series in that they are the animal totem of a character, and can change until someone is set in their ways How many other people have held conversations about what their daemon or patronus animal is, and then changed it frequently I [...]


  • I really liked this book I think it is easily among the best of the crop of Potter era YA lit even though it actually came out first.The movie was just ok I thought the lead kid did a good job playing Lyra, and Nicole Kidman made a very menacing Ann Coulter But my very favorites were Daniel Craig as the zealot Lord Asriel and Eva Green as badass witch Serafina Pekkala Serafina Pekkala is one of my favorite witches in literature she s grounded in her connection to the earth, she s beautiful, she [...]


  • This is a second reading of Pullman s classic, accomplished on vacation in a car, with the family, by listening to the 9 cd audio collection, with Phillip Pullman Himself reading the narration and beautifully, and a cast of fine actors taking various parts The first of a trilogy entitled His Dark Materials, which is a great fantasy story supposedly appropriate for grade 6 American schools but is really all ages, and like Wrinkle in Time, has dimensions in it which you will discover at any age It [...]


  • When a film was made of this book, they did the book a real disservice This book is amazing Lyra is the feisty protagonist, an inveterate liar, clever, passionate and loyal She achieves the impossible, rescues an armoured bear, befriends the witches, and rescues children from a fate worse than death literally Pullman does a great job realising this alternate world where everyone has a daemon like the other half of your soul and these creatures stay with you through your life As adults they take [...]


  • fantastic pullman introduces readers to his sophisticated world view slowly, and this first novel in the trilogy has an ideal narrative focal point in the mean little liar who is the protagonist i have never seen lying in children portrayed so explicitly as a positive thing, and after this novel, i m all for it the settings are wonderfully strange and surreal yet rooted in an eventually understandable reality, and the supporting characters are oblique and enigmatic without being tiresome the old [...]


  • I really like that the Iorek Byronison, the bear, is always referred to by full name When I m Bear King, I definitely want to be on a full name all the time basis Then I will battle challengers to mortal combat, tearing through armor, swiping off heads with my massive paws, slicing open chests and devouring hearts And as I gorge myself on bear blood, I will cry out Bears Who is your King And my name will roar from a thousand bear throats s going to be awesome My name has got that same elegant my [...]


  • This book was recommended to me somewhere in fandom as a children s book that is also interesting to adults I admit that I wasn t particularly impressed with it, and I can t see it as something that I would give my kids to read My main complaint is the means to an end style the author uses A bit like in a computer game, our main character Lyra runs from one wise man to another in her quest to find some missing children This is practical, because except for one scene in the beginning, she doesn t [...]


  • The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman, picks up where the Harry Potter series leaves off As in Rowling s series, the hero of The Golden Compass Lyra, a pre teen girl in Oxford, England is plucked from her mundane existence to become supremely important to the fate of the living world However, unlike the Potter series, The Golden Compass, immerses us immediately in political, religious, and cultural conflict as well While the central character is indeed a child, which lands this title in the chil [...]


  • It had been like 12 years since I read this book and I d been meaning to re read it for ages so I finally got around to it, and I fell in love with it all over again I was kind of surprised by how well I remembered the story characters despite having not read it since I was 11 years old apparently it s just that memorable There s so much I love about The Golden Compass The world building is so vivid and fascinating I feel so drawn into the settings, I love the d mons, I love the ard bears, I lov [...]


  • After all the talk about Pullman s supposed anti Catholicism or anti Christianity or atheism or whatever one wants to label it, I approached The Golden Compass known originally as Northern Lights with an open mind and found something other than what I d been told to expect I found elements that questioned Christianity and Catholicism and the nature of God and its works, but I also found elements that questioned parental authority, the ethical and practical roles of Science, and the nature of goo [...]


  • This book was a really fun read It was replete with witches, iron bears and all sorts of mythical creatures The plot was fun and moved a long at a good pace It was a real page turner I would recommend this book to all who love Young Adult Fantacy.Enjoy and Be Blessed.Diamond



  • This book started off strong, but by the end of the story, I felt that Pullman had sacrificed logic and direction for drama and suspense He did a good job of gradually making Lyra less of an ignorant brat and of a noble little savage girl Overall, I liked this book well enough to want to read the second one in the trilogy, but I had several problems with it There was no comic relief or even any funny moments in this book It took itself extremely seriously and was rarely light hearted or playful [...]




  • Read until 51% and then skim read the rest This was SOOOO disappointing I was looking forward to it so much because the premise sounded incredible and I was excited to hear Pullman s atheism woven into his work, but everything about this book was bland It was so slow moving and the characters were all so unlikable, I was honestly shocked that I was reading the same book that everyone else loved Maybe it s because it lacked the nostalgia that a lot of people have with the series because I never r [...]


  • Somewhere between 3 and 4 stars but I m leaning towards 4.This was fun read Great and imaginative worldbuilding, fast pace and bit of innocent vibe from children books.Sadly few illogical moments, Mery Sue syndrome and cliffhanger stops it from getting higher rating and warmer place in my heart.


  • The story in brief The book is a fantasy novel set in a strangely familiar pseudo Victorian steampunk parallel Earth The protagonist is a young ophaned girl who s been raised at Oxford by the attending scholars The story concerns kidnapped children, hidden mysteries of the Church, wandering gypsies, proud Arctic warrior bears, long lived flying witches, and the possibility of a rift that could exist between different worlds.Daemons Each human being in this world has a constant animal companion, [...]


  • I never read this book as a child, and I sort of feel like not having that nostalgia behind it while reading it as an adult kept me from fully appreciating it The story is fantastical and highly enjoyable Lyra is a precocious, intelligent and wonderful protagonist I only wish she had used the darn alethiometer So many questions could ve been answered, so many issues resolved, with that device And it was a bit preachy, though I can t imagine children fully grasping the theological and epistemolo [...]


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