Pope pops Pullman

I’ve stayed away from Golden Compass posts for awhile lately, but wanted to point out this story about the Vatican hammering Pullman, the books, the movies and Dynomutt. (You have to read between the lines to get the Dynomutt part.)
Even though the Pope and I approach the books from different viewpoints, it’s interesting that we came to some of the same conclusions:
“… sad, cold and inhumane.”
“In Pullman’s world, hope simply does not exist …”
Since we’re back on the subject, let me share another thought with you.
Some people who have different interpretations of the book than I do talk about how uplifiting it is because it frees people from tyranny.
But I think one of the things that turned me off so much (SPOILER ALERT) is that at the very end of the books, Lyra is told what to do and where to go and who she can’t see anymore and that’s that. She seems to be anything but free.
However, if Pullman is really going to write a follow up series, then perhaps we will finally see Lyra get to do something of her own free will. (Hopefully this will include giving us a coherent exlanation of the trepanning.)

Golden Compass Polar Bear Action Figures engage in thoughtful discussion

Hey, instead of fighting, lets have a discussion, which may contain spoilers.
Okay, but then we have to fight some more.
Grrr, these books are about killing God!
No, they’re just about defeating a meaningless Authority, grr, thus liberating the human soul!
Says you! I call it deicide and, although I’m not much of a church-goer, I find it troubling that these books and movie are being marketed to kids.
Who says they’re marketed to kids?
Uh, duh, you’re a toy from the movie.
Oh yeah, but so what? Shouldn’t kids be introduced to more than one point of view?
I mean, what’s the difference between this book and John Lennon’s “Imagine?” They’re just asking you to “imagine” a world without a religius-based authority.
Maybe, but “Imagine” is a positive song with an uplifting message about the potential of the human condition. “Dark Materials” is purely negative, suggesting that the we’re all pawns in a nihilistic game with bad guys controlling both sides. Plus, it’s a major league downer.
Yeah, I cried when Lyra and Will couldn’t be together anymore.
Me, too.
sniff sniff
Hey, did you ever figure out that bit about the trepanning?
Me, neither.
But we rock!
Oh yeah, we are totally awesome! I mean we’re polar bears with armor who fight! Awesome!


Golden Compass – Murder, he wrote?

Alright, folks, this is John Christopher Week, NOT Golden Compass week….

However, there’s been discussion in the comments of another post about what exactly happens at the end of Dark Materials.

Is the Authority really God or just and Angel? Does he die or is he murdered?

I say he’s God and he’s murdered. (Or at least a fatality in Lyra’s father’s war against him.)

Since no one else seems to agree with my interpretation, I’ll turn to Pullman himself to back me up.

Pullman: “My books are about killing God.” – as quoted in Wired Magazine’s Dec. 2007 article “Dark Material: Making a blockbuster about killing God is not as easy as pie”

By the way, the article goes on to say that the director is making the Magisterium “a vaguer entity, as much political as religious…”

I’m betting this means God doesn’t die onscreen in the movie. Perhaps this could be like the African Queen, where a Hollywood ending grealty improved on the author’s original ending.

Speaking of “Speaking of The Golden Compass”

I’ve been getting all these hits for a post I did a while back called “Speaking of the Golden Compass.”

I couldn’t remember it, so I clicked on it and discovered it was an entirely stupid bit of nonsense about the actor who played Roger’s Jack-Wild-ish appeal. And I spelled “trepanation” wrong, too.

Ben Walker (II) as Roger in New Line Cinema's The Golden Compass 

——-Roger —————-Jack Wild

I do have some hopefully valid things to say about The Golden Compass, but that post was pretty pointless.

Too bad I can’t send out an apology to all the random people who have clicked on it. Sorry, folks.

Now that Golden Compass UNO post, on the other hand, was some cracklin’ good literary criticism.

Me and Philip Pullman hanging at Barnes & Noble

I spent a lot of time with Phil today. Not with the man himself, of course, but with his Barnes and Noble kiosk.

I rather wish he’d been there, because I’d have liked to ask him, “Dude, is this totally jacked up or what? I mean, seriously, I know you’re making a bundle off of this, but c’mon.”
See, the kiosk — which was slathered with Golden Compass books, toys, doodads, Uno sets* and cuddly-wuddly stuffed polar bear — was topped with a charming snowy silent night scene complete with Christmas tree made of books. “Golden Compass” or some such was printed in big white letters on the sign. (May camera batteries had died, cursethe luck.)

Gift Card Image - Style: Booktree (It looked kind of like this gift card.)

 Once again proving that the American Commercialization Machine can sell ANYTHING at Christmas, including atheism. Kids’ brains must really swim when they sit through a church service about the birth of God, sneaking peeks at their new books about the death of God. (You guys read your gift books in Church didn’t you? I clearly remember reading Ziggy at a Christmas Eve service.)

The lesson we should learn from all this, of course, is …. Pullman’s Church isn’t half as scary as Mammon. (Is that how you spell mammon? It’s not exactly and everyday word around the Riddleburger house.)

Cover Image

*By the way, though I didn’t like His Dark Materials, I do think Pullman is a good writer. But he’s not half the writer as whoever wrote the copy for the back of the Golden Compass Uno Set. Check it out sometime. Here’s a sample:

Also comes with the exclusive “Alethiometer” card, which will help you discover the truth that lies within your opponent’s hand and arrive at your ultimate destiny before anyone else!

The truth that lies within your opponents hand?????? Could it be three greens and a Draw 4????? Now I finally understand the trepining!!!!!

It sounds like the greatest game in the universe, like some sort of role-playing spectacular “full of excitement, adventure and challenges.” (No mention of atheism. They must have forgotten.)

And whatever happens “don’t forget to yell ‘UNO!’ before you reach the North Pole and discover a brand new parallel universe.”

A parallel universe? As Charlton Heston might say, “My God, we’re in a world where Crazy Eights descended from Uno!”

My Golden Compass Daemon .. a large, atheist cat


Have you done your Golden Compass daemon yet?


You take a personality test (which reminded me of the Asperger’s Test a bit) and they give you a daemon.

Unfortunately, none of the questions was about trying to foist one’s religious views on children, so we don’t know exactly what Pullman’s daemon would look like.

NEW: Don’t miss this thrilling discussion between two raging Golden Compass Polar Bear Action Figures!!