Like many others, I received an email about the Golden Compass from a friend – it’s been circulating via email. I thought I’d share my thoughts. If you have not seen the emails circulating around, you can find a version here. For the record, I think the snopes research on this one is quite lacking.
The email I got had this added at the top, “So many things today are darkness concealed in what appears to be innocent.” My first thought was, I don't think Philip Pullman has tried to conceal anything, and certainly not "darkness concealed in what appears to be innocent" by titling his trilogy, "His Dark Materials".
I've been highly recommending this trilogy for years - and always add the caveat that the books will challenge your belief in God. I'm always confused when people never want their beliefs challenged. Being a humanist in a Christian society, my beliefs are always being challenged, and every time I reach more clarity in what I believe, not less. If Christianity is a firmly held belief, then I would think that these books would clarify their beliefs and strengthen them, just as being bombarded by biblical teaching clarifies mine.
In researching this controversy, I came across many interviews with Pullman that clarify his beliefs (as much as possible, since he isn’t entirely sure himself – and certainly not to the point of being a militant). The interview that best addresses the issues raised in the circulating emails can be found here.
And, to miss this movie, you will be missing the strongest female lead I've ever come across - and in an 11 year old girl, no less! At least, I hope the movie is true enough to the book to maintain Lyra's strength.
I'm sure my girls and I will be at the first showing - we can't wait!
Writing about the Golden Compass (by people who have actually read the books and done some actual research) can be found here:
Some other interviews with the author:
From the British Humanist Association website
The Guardian BooksTalk
Philip-Pullman.com has many more links to interviews and well as the author's own presentations of his works.