I’m taking a day off from work. You would think that this would make me not busy, but it’s amazing the number of work emails I have responded to since sending in the email saying I wouldn’t be in. Today, not having email on my phone seems like the best decision I ever made. Imagine if every email sent out was a cheery little ping on my phone – imagine how many emails I would have answered then. It boggles the mind.
I finished rereading The Subtle Knife this morning. I read these when I was in high school, and I remember telling my mom that I didn’t understand why everyone was so up in arms about Harry Potter while this series was sitting right next to them on the shelves (Rowling to Pullman is not a big jump when you work at a library with a tiny YA section.)
I was trying to remember why all the way through The Golden Compass. Not a bad story, strong interesting characters and a lot of plot. At the end, there was some fuzzy theology, but it didn’t necessarily say anything troubling, just fantastical. (Yes, people’s souls are visible outside their bodies in animal form, but I don’t really find this disturbing. How many fantasy books have I read about people with other mystical abilities. In one sense, how appropriate that in Lyra’s world, human beings, created in the image of God, are visibly the only ones with consciousness?) When I started The Subtle Knife, however, the concept of church authority as evil becomes more and more apparent. And as I now begin the reread of The Amber Spyglass, I’m remembering the coming disturbing parts of the book. The killing of “God” who isn’t God, the replay/celebration of the Fall, rejoicing that there was no unfair church authority to make them feel guilty about the blatantly s*xual coming of age that it was.
But since many before me have already said it better, I will redirect you to Al Mohler’s blog on the subject. I’m glad I’m rereading these with a more mature approach, but I’m not sure I will read them again after this, and I would not recommend them to anyone’s children until they’re in their mid-teens and are capable of having some serious discussions about them. The upswing? I think Pullman’s lack of subtlety about his point with this series and his preachy tone when he could just be developing an incredible story is probably what has made these less of a hit than Harry Potter. So, go re-read Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, consider the self-sacrifice that is central to Rowling’s hero conquering evil and leave Pullman’s trilogy on the shelf.