Author Topic: His Dark Materials?  (Read 126 times)

SisterAgatha

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His Dark Materials?
« on: September 27, 2017, 07:51:55 PM »
Hello everyone. Given that you are all a bunch of atheists, I take it you have read Mr. Phillip Pullman's fascinating but controversial series "His Dark Materials!" http://www.philip-pullman.com/hdm

Have you read them? What do you think of them?

Although they are somewhat forbidden by the Church I sort "under the radar" read all three of them.

I will tell you my impression of them. But I am curious to hear yours.

jumbojak

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Re: His Dark Materials?
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2017, 07:57:10 PM »
I liked the first book the best. The beginning of the second part was pretty good but it went downhill from there. When the focus switched from the girl to the boy the story lost what I found most interesting. Not completely sure what that was though.
 

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Recusant

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Re: His Dark Materials?
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2017, 09:20:06 PM »
Oh, aren't you the rebel, SisterAgatha:sidesmile:

I actually have only read the first book, but will finish the trilogy as I come across the others. I understand that later in the story there are things that come across as explicitly anti-Christian. However, I didn't get that so much in the one I read despite the antagonist/villain organization being called 'The Magisterium'.

Pullman's world has a strong spiritual element, so I don't see it as particularly atheist; in fact decidedly non-atheist. Still, if it's something that gets the odious attack dog William Donohue up on his hind legs and baying, it can't be all bad. I may take the time to look through the Catholic League's screed against the movie and Pullman for the laughs. Donohue writing about abhorring deception already elicited a wry chuckle. ;)

I recall reading a defense of the series written by a Catholic:

Quote
The book's concept of God, in fact, is what makes Pullman's work so threatening. His trilogy is not filled with attacks on Christianity, but with attacks on authorities who claim access to one true interpretation of a religion. Pullman's work is filled with the feminist and liberation strands of Catholic theology that have sustained my own faith, and which threaten the power structure of the church. Pullman's work is not anti-Christian, but anti-orthodox.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2017, 09:33:04 PM by Recusant »
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jumbojak

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Re: His Dark Materials?
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2017, 09:40:02 PM »
Oh, aren't you the rebel, SisterAgatha:sidesmile:

I actually have only read the first book, but will finish the trilogy as I come across the others. I understand that later in the story there are things that come across as explicitly anti-Christian. However, I didn't get that so much in the one I read despite the antagonist/villain organization being called 'The Magisterium'.


Oh, it grows clearer as you get further along in the story. It does get muddled a bit - I won't say why because that would potentially spoil the story - but the effect is the same.
 

"Amazing what chimney sweeping can teach us, no? Keep your fire hot and
your flue clean."  - Ecurb Noselrub
" Please hold your high school or college math books in higher esteem than
your copy of the KJV. " - Icarus

OldGit

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Re: His Dark Materials?
« Reply #4 on: September 28, 2017, 01:38:40 AM »
The only thing I find interesting about this is that the Catholic Church has banned the book. I thought that nonsense had long ago died out.

Recusant

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Re: His Dark Materials?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2017, 08:04:38 AM »
The only thing I find interesting about this is that the Catholic Church has banned the book. I thought that nonsense had long ago died out.

You're actually correct. The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was dropped in the 60s, but that doesn't stop fatuous goons like Donohue from trying to institute 'informal' book banning.
"Religion is fundamentally opposed to everything I hold in veneration — courage, clear thinking, honesty, fairness, and above all, love of the truth."
— H. L. Mencken


SisterAgatha

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Re: His Dark Materials?
« Reply #6 on: September 28, 2017, 02:13:10 PM »
OK. Ill spill the beans ;D!

I did read HDM about a year ago. To be honest I don't see what the whole fuss is about from either the Catholic Church or you jabbering atheists.

Honestly I actually enjoyed the first book and did not perceive it to be anti Catholic at all. Sure there was a "church" and magisterium, but it certainly didn't remind me of any church I was a part of.

I enjoyed Lyra and her furry companion as well as the different worlds: a parallel version of Oxford England, tribes of gypsies, the polar bears etc.

I saw it more as an indictment of religious fundamentalism and tyranny in general rather than explicit anti Catholic.

The following two books fell flat for me though. In some ways I am glad the first movie failed at the box office, because honestly I do not know how they would have made the following two books into movies. I really do not.

If they did they would have to massively edit the books to stop the movies form being such dull monotonous, dense affairs.

The climax ends at the end of Golden compass, and becomes sort of a hot mess of shifting perspectives, dense philosophy and honestly just sort of a slow pace. I actually had to force myself to get through it.

It was anti Catholic and in a way I didn't like. I get that my Church has done some rotten things but I just think being "hit you over the head" about it in a book takes away form the book. A more subtle approach would have been better.

So in short I don't dislike the books because they are anti Catholic. I dislike them because the authors took a very creative and fascinating premise (sort of a combination of "A wrinkle in time" and LOTR somewhat!" and let it degenerate into a big unwieldy blob  through IMO poor editing and clumsy technique.

P.S.

They actually filmed an ending for Golden Compass that was completly faithful to the book. After a little ferreting around online I was able to find it.

I shall post it, depending upon whether you all are interested!

jumbojak

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Re: His Dark Materials?
« Reply #7 on: September 28, 2017, 02:21:37 PM »
That would be interesting, though only mildly. The movie was so thoroughly awful I can't imagine that a proper climax would've helped. I think the only reason that Ian McKellen was cast is that he got to say, "RUN!"
 

"Amazing what chimney sweeping can teach us, no? Keep your fire hot and
your flue clean."  - Ecurb Noselrub
" Please hold your high school or college math books in higher esteem than
your copy of the KJV. " - Icarus

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Re: His Dark Materials?
« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2017, 06:25:57 PM »
I remember reading a description of the His Dark Materials series some time ago -- it didn't strike me as atheist in any way, more like same woo/different name.  A lot of fantasy seems like that, which is why I lost interest in fantasy novels.

Off hand, I can't think of any novel that has a real atheist bent but then I'm not a big novel reading so maybe I've just missed them.
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SisterAgatha

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Re: His Dark Materials?
« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2017, 10:05:07 PM »
Oh well. Ask and ye shall receive amirgiht?

My bishop will likely have me guts for garters if post this... but it is so lovely and so fascinating!

Behold. The original intended ending for the Golden Compass !






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« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 12:15:07 AM by Tank »