A few weeks ago, my friend lent me The Golden Compass, as I had asked him about them in the past. He gave me a little bit of background about it, that the author is an Atheist and there are very anti-religious undertones to the entire series. Being an Atheist myself, I decided that this was awesome and took the book home.
Two days later I was in Borders purchasing The Subtle Knife, because I couldn't wait to see my friend again to borrow his copy.
Last night I finished The Amber Spyglass, the last book in the His Dark Materials series. All I have to say is, Wow.
I first saw the movie The Golden Compass shortly after it came out on DVD. I thought it was good, but that was only due to the fact that I hadn't yet read the book. After reading the book I can say that the film was shortsighted in comparison, leaving out the most important parts.
I never expected the three books to be as put together so well as they had been. Philip Pullman's style of writing seems clunky at first, but as you go deeper into it, you begin to enjoy the nuances of his word choice. His descriptions of the worlds and the characters gives you enough so that you form an almost perfect picture in your mind, without bogging the novel down with endless descriptions.
And the story... About halfway through The Golden Compass, I was having trouble finding the anti-religious sentiment that had caused such as uproar when the movie was released. But by the end of it, that notion was dead center, staring me in the face. And what a notion it was. I was shocked by how bold Pullman made the Lord Asriel character, being willing to undertake a feat like what he had proposed to do.
The Subtle Knife was equally awesome in it's complexities and plot development. I don't want to go into too much detail about the story because it's really something you need to read in order to appreciate it.
It's really a shame that Americans are so uptight about their religions that they would be willing to stifle anything that disagrees with it. But I suppose that is the definition of ignorance. Despite the fact that Philip Pullman is a devout Atheist, his stories are well crafted and well thought out. The entire time I was reading books 2 and 3, I kept saying to myself that it's such a shame they would never be adapted into films. It's unfortunate that people like this feel the need to strike down anything that goes against their religion, which is bullshit in itself. From what they preach, god endowed all of us with free will and the ability to think for ourselves. Unfortunately, the zealots of those religions that follow this same god decide that they know better than we do and shove their opinions down our throats. That's a little like undermining the will of god, is it not?
Every protest I've read online states that Philip Pullman and New Line Cinema want to "trick" you into taking your children to see the movie and buying them the books. Are you serious? As a grown-up and a parent, you are so easily swayed by what others tell you to do that you blindly follow their lead? Oh, well, I guess that's true, otherwise you wouldn't be a Christian, would you?
His Dark Materials is a shining example of literature that could have translated very well onto the big screen. However, due to the bitching and whining and breath-holding of the zealots in the world (most of whom I can guarantee are Americans) that will never come to fruition.
And it's a shame really.
Just watch the shit storm I will unleash when they try to turn Left Behind into a movie.