Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A Compass made of Gold

Phillip Pullman’s spiritual novel of education is becoming quite the delightful read. Stories of children growing up in double worlds of reality and fantasy are a personal favorite of mine. They’re similar to stories that I’d like to create.

It invokes a lot of underlying themes based off of religious references that spark my interest. The fact that each child has another spiritual being that they’re attached to in another realm, and how it translates as them being innocent until they grow up is really intriguing.

It exemplifies a lot of religious themes, albeit transcribed in a different manner from Pullman’s point of view. Even though the majority of religions look at Adam and Eve taking the fruit from the tree as the origin of sin, it seems more like Pullman’s point of view is that of humans first being exposed to the truth of wisdom. It’s as if even though he doesn’t side with religion, he still points out that mankind has the choice between sinning and not once he realizes knowledge of what sin is. And that knowledge of difference between sin and not is what makes us human. It’s a rather interesting opposition to make.

The main character Lyra still has her own decisions to make. When Lord Aston wants to remove her spirit animal so that she may not grow up into a tainted adult, she chooses to escape. Also when she gains the ability to use the compass (althieometer?) because she’s acquired enough Dust, it’s as if it symbolizes her growing knowledge of the adult world and how she can apply it to situations that help her. Also towards the end when Lord Aston jumps into the portal asking her to follow. She chooses not too. Lyra does not follow this symbolized Satan because she makes the right decision for herself.

The way Pullman presents themes within The Golden Compass is the part that intrigues me the most. I really thoroughly enjoyed this story.


  1. Adam, it is just my opinion that the actor in Mirrormask was too old for the part, you may not agree at all and find her quite suitable. I certainly encourage you to see the movie and make your own judgement there are many things about the movie that are exciting and interesting, I love the circus setting and atmosphere for example and the world created by Dave McKean is spectacular.

  2. Yeah the Art Direction on it looks pretty wonderful. I recently received an email from Amazon about this movie as well as others in the genre (Big Fish included, love that movie!) are on sale. So I may invest in this one.