#shanenaz2016

November 2016 - I and my pals cycled in The Galilee, Northern Israel, to raise money for Nazareth Hospital Paediatric Department. We raised over £50,000 but we could use more! Nazareth is the largest Arab town in Israel; the people are lovely, and the kids are awesome. Nazareth also treats kids in the West Bank of Palestine who have very limited access to healthcare. They need your help! Go to my sponsorship page to find out more and see what you can do! Maybe even join us in 2017..?
http://justgiving.com/shanenaz2016

01 November 2010

Northern Lights

I've just finished reading (for the first time) Philip Pullman's "Northern Lights", the first part of the "His Dark Materials" trilogy. I have had this book recommended to me many times, and I love Pullman's writing, ever since "The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ", but I've only just got down to actually reading it. Pullman creates a strangely alien-yet-familiar universe in which people have daemons, animaliform companions, roughly analogous to a soul - a core part of their being. The book was made into a movie, "The Golden Compass", which although it apparently did OK at the box office, wasn't supposed to have been great.

Anyway, forget the movie - just read the book. It is absolutely fantastic, as Lyra Belacqua (the wild-child heroine) and her daemon Pantalaimon race across an alternative Northern Europe to confront an enormous evil and to uncover the mysteries of Dust. I'm just about to start the sequel, "The Subtle Knife", and am looking forward to it enormously. It's all there - loyalty, intrigue, betrayal, philosophy, religion, heresy. A real gem.

13 comments:

  1. I read the whole golden compass series, (incase you haven't read it) the main character lives in a universe that is entirely christian her uncle wages war on god and breaks the barrier between universes to do it and god takes up the challenge and eventually loses, he turns out to just be the first person to go to a heaven-ish place not the actual creator of the universe (better to read the book).

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  2. loved the first book, i think you'll find things get increasingly more preachy as the book goes on which detracts from the literature i think. very inventive, nonetheless.

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  3. sorry, as the *trilogy* goes, on, i meant to say

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  4. Oh wait, the northern lights is in the "his dark materials" series? In Canada it is called The Golden Compass:
    http://www.mightylittlelibrarian.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/goldencompass.jpg

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  5. William! Enough with the spoilers, dude!! ;-)

    Yep - in North America it gets called "The Golden Compass", presumably because "Alethiometer" is a bit too hard, and the reference to Milton would be too obscure. It is Milton, isn't it? Graham? Peter? Jeremy? Anyone?...

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  6. Yes those are the same, why do they change it between countries?

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  7. no idea about milton but i do know my greek!

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  8. Answer to the title confusion

    As for the film, it looked superb and had the right atmosphere, but it suffered from post production interference by the studio which made it all but unintelligible to anyone unfamiliar with the source. And the fine line it had to tread with American religious sensibilities on one side and lovers of the trilogy on the other meant in the end no one was happy with it. Shame.

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  9. Hi Grokes, and thanks for gracing my humble blog with your august presence :-) You are most welcome. Actually, the movie really left me cold - the SFX were pretty good, but the devices to make the book conform to a 2 hour movie format really strained the story telling too much, and the too-great role of the magisterium at this stage was really unwarranted.

    I'm only part of the way into The Subtle Knife, but it's already as smart and witty as the first, and I look forward to getting in deeper.

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  10. Grokes:
    Unfortunately I did not read the book first.

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  11. Hi Helio

    I often pop in here to see what's on your mind and maybe to gatecrash an argument with Graham. But he doesn't seem to let rip any more, which is a shame, I miss our jousts on W&T.

    William - that would have been difficult. Mind you, a friend at work saw it, loved it, went on to read the books and loved them too.

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  12. I put off reading the book for about a year because the movie made, no sense. But the books were awesome.

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  13. Well, so far so good. I'm not sure movies are really *needed* for some books - the two artforms are quite distinct. I think one of the key elements is *storytelling*; I felt that the movie compromised the story, and that's perhaps a wee bit heretical...

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