Friday, 1 November, 2013 - 13:41

His Dark Materials

by ElizabethS

Ever heard of Philip Pullman? Let me introduce you. Philip Pullman is an English writer who is widely considered as a brilliant. I agree.

One of his most famous works is the His Dark Materials trilogy, including Northern Lights, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. All three of the books in the trilogy are stunning works of fantasy and fiction, interspersed with ideas of life and death, good and evil.

Without giving too much away, the trilogy focuses on Lyra, a girl who lives in Oxford, in a world which may seem like ours, but has some differences, such as the presence of ‘daemons,’ creatures which each person in her world has, which are like an extension of their own thoughts and personality. It means that Lyra always has someone to talk to, play with and discuss her thoughts and ideas with: her daemon, called Pantalaimon.

Lyra’s world is turned upside down as her friend Roger mysteriously disappears, as have many of the other children in Oxford. She sets out on a dangerous quest to find him and the other children, and along the way encounters lots of other characters. On her journey she realises that other worlds exist apart from hers, and within all of these worlds there are problems and forces which could lead to much death and destruction, so with her new friend Will, she vows to try and resolve the problems.

The introduction of death and danger makes the stories seem much more exciting and compelling. As you read, you are drawn into the worlds of fantastical creatures and characters, which seem almost real, if you imagine hard enough.

Good and evil are strong themes within the trilogy. These two opposites are portrayed through the characters and their actions. Yet sometimes, both good and evil are present within the same character; for example, Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter. This presence of good and evil makes these two characters very difficult to understand. On one hand they seem to be working against Lyra, but on the other hand, their actions and feelings are described in a way that seems to justify what they are doing. The result of this is that throughout the novels, you are not sure how to react to them, and whether they really are working for the forces of good or evil is only revealed at the end of the trilogy, when...well, you’ll have to read it and find out!

Language level

Have you ever read any books by Philip Pullman? If so, what do you think of them? If not, would you like to? 

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