The Seasonal Reading Challenge discussion

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GROUP READS > The Golden Compass Discussion

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message 1: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia (pandoraphoebesmom) | 1378 comments If you choose to read The Golden Compass for the Group Reads task (or another task for that matter) please feel free to discuss it here.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 2962 comments My new policy is to watch the movie first to see if I like it and then read the book because the book is already better than the movie.


message 3: by Jayme(the ghost reader) (last edited Feb 24, 2010 02:03PM) (new)

Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 2962 comments I just got tired of people saying how the book was so much better than the movie. I also stopped comparing the movie with the book.


message 4: by Amy (new)

Amy | 52 comments I didn't even know there was a movie...


Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 2962 comments Yeah there is, Nicole Kidman is in and it and came out in 2008 I think.


message 6: by Alice (new)

Alice (aliceg) | 429 comments the book isn't called the golden compass in britain. is it the first one of the trilogy - northern lights? i actually read it when it first came out 14 years ago when i was 14! not sure that i'll read it again although i do have it so could do!


Sarah (Mood Reader) (bookworm1887) | 467 comments I am going to read the book first and then watch the movie.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 2962 comments My copy is called "The Golden Compass"


message 9: by Cassandra (last edited Feb 28, 2010 05:12PM) (new)

Cassandra What does everyone think their daemon would be if they lived in Lyra's world?

I loved this series when I was younger, and I remember thinking about this a lot. I could never come up with a good answer though.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 2962 comments the daemons were animals right?


message 11: by Cassandra (new)

Cassandra Yes, what animal your soul would look like if it was out in the open for everyone to see.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 2962 comments do unicorns count? Otherwise, a dog. I love dogs so much


message 13: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie | 111 comments Cat. I think I have a catish personality/soul. Don't know if it would be a house cat or something bigger, though.

Even though I think it would be really cool to have a fox or wolf. I'm sure there's a web quiz somewhere about this!


message 14: by Kate (new)

Kate (kathrynlouwca) | 1049 comments I was really disappointed when they didn't continue making the movies. I read this for the last challenge...

I don't know what my daemon would be. Something that wouldn't get in my way. I don't want something that I have to carry around of whatever. I don't really know.


message 15: by Wendy (new)

Wendy | 588 comments Loved book one, liked book two, hated book three of this series. It got darker and darker and finally completely unfriendly for its young audience.


message 16: by Cindie (new)

Cindie | 1716 comments I was going to ask why it is called his dark materials. I guess Wendy's message 17 explains. So far, my favorite quote is on page 24. "That's the duty of the old...to be anxious on behalf of the young. And the duty of the young is to scorn the anxiety of the old."


message 17: by Bonnie (new)

Bonnie | 111 comments Wendy wrote: "Loved book one, liked book two, hated book three of this series. It got darker and darker and finally completely unfriendly for its young audience."

Totally agree with you! I especially hated the ending. It didn't help that I read the third one several months after the first two and kept being confused about who was who and what was going on. This was back in middle school/possibly early high school, so I was the target audience of this series, too.


message 18: by Belinda (last edited Mar 04, 2010 06:36PM) (new)

Belinda (bindyb) | 253 comments I just finished the book and thought it was amazing.
My daemon would be a koala bear named Goolagong. They look very cuddly, but have really long claws.


message 19: by Vicki (new)

Vicki | 65 comments Finished THe Golden Compass today and I liked it a lot more than I thought I would.

Dang! Now I have another series to read!!


message 20: by Titilayo (last edited Mar 09, 2010 11:23AM) (new)

Titilayo | 8 comments i am really enjoying reading the book. the darkness is kind of charming...i hate that i watched the movie last week, because know i keep seeing the actors while i'm reading and its stifling my imagination!

i think my daemon would be a great white owl (a big imposing one) or a baby elephant-albino baby elephant. yeah! digging the elephant.


message 21: by M (new)

M Jayme--the problem with watching the movie first to see if you like it before reading the book is that the movie is terrible and might put you off reading the book!

Alice--yes, The Golden Compass is Northern Lights in England.

Cindie--I think that “His Dark Materials” refers to Dust, which is, in the books, a type of dark matter from which all consciousness springs. The phrase "His Dark Materials" comes from a line in Milton's Paradise Lost: "Unless th' Almighty Maker them ordain/
His dark materials to create more Worlds" (2:915-16)

I think that one aspect of the series is the idea of moving from childhood to adulthood, from innocence to experience (which is why the series gets darker as it progresses). This idea of innocence vs. experience arises from William Blake. Innocence is the state of the human soul before the fall of man in genesis, the state of childhood, laughter, blissful unawareness. Experience is the state of the human soul after the fall, of adulthood, knowledge, shame, weeping. For Blake, the idea was to sort of transcend both to a third state, a synthesis of the first two—a kind of enlightened innocence, so to speak, where one might weep tears of joy, for instance. Lyra and Will are undergoing this change, moving through the stages, into adulthood and sexuality at the very end.

I love the series. It is ostensibly for young adults, but I think it is much richer for adults, as they are more likely to appreciate the underlying metaphors. I have great respect for the way Pullman has drawn from a number of literary sources to create such a complex world and fascinating, intelligent story.


Jayme(the ghost reader) (jaymeiltheghostreader) | 2962 comments I am just really tired of hearing how the movie is never like the book. The movie will never be the book.


message 23: by Sally (new)

Sally (sallysimply) | 541 comments Just finished rereading this book. I want to read the rest of the series for this challenge and realized I'd need to reread this one first.

I have to say, it was almost more enjoyable the second time around! Because I had only a vague memory of how it ended, it was good to read things more in-depth but still fun to try and remember how it comes together. I can't wait to read the other two books - I'm starting Subtle Knife today.


message 24: by Starcatcher (new)

Starcatcher | 30 comments I saw the movie before reading it. I heard many people said the movie is not as good as the book. Now I'm still reading it, 50 pages left, but I can see some points the movie can do better. After all it is not that bad as I heard of. And I still like Iorek just the same. :)


message 25: by Manday (new)

Manday | 311 comments It is disappointing they are not continuing the movies series. I loved the books and thought the first movie did a good job of capturing it. I am afraid the main reason they did not continue was all of the controversy and Christian objection about the first movie that made it not perform as well as other big kids fantasy's.

I have not decided what book I am doing for the group read, but this discussion is making me consider re-reading this.

My daemon, not sure what it would be. A lot I can think up are water animals, and that would be miserable. But, I do love water, and an octopus is intelligent, weird, and not too social.


message 26: by Dugger (new)

Dugger | 47 comments Just finished the book. I can understand the controversy over the subject of "Dust" and the incarnation of the Catholic church portrayed in the book.

I listened to the audio. Well narrated but started to get irritated with actress who voiced Lyra.


message 27: by Lynzo (new)

Lynzo I've read it for the second time and found that I picked up on a lot more than the 1st time around. My friend told me that it was better than Harry Potter. Maybe...


message 28: by Amanda (new)

Amanda | 9 comments After finishing the book, I am anxious to watch the movie...but want to give it a few days before I sit down to see it. I think that it's hard to watch a movie right after you read a book...it's almost always disappointing - the director changing things you wouldn't have changed, etc.

I am not sure what my daemon would be...but I teach Kindergarten and as they were talking about how children's daemons all fight with each other and consistently change shape all I could think about was how much of a ruckus it would cause to have 20 changing daemons in the room too :)


message 29: by M (new)

M Lol, Amanda, good point. Maybe your daemon could keep theirs in line!


message 30: by Alicia (new)

Alicia (kalypso) | 24 comments Manday wrote: "It is disappointing they are not continuing the movies series. I loved the books and thought the first movie did a good job of capturing it. I am afraid the main reason they did not continue was al..."

I haven't seen the movie and I have been wanting to read the books for a long time. My mom refuses to watch the movie because of the big deal that was made about it being anti-Christian or whatever. That's sad they aren't going to make the rest of the movies because of this.


message 31: by Joanne G. (new)

Joanne G. (joannegd) Being anti-Christian doesn't hurt a movie's chances of having sequels made. Look at The Da Vinci Code, for instance. No, what matters in Hollywood is the bottom line: profit. The Golden Compass did very poorly at the box office for any number of reasons: many people avoid Nicole Kidman movies; the movie wasn't true to the book and some fans were disappointed; it was released at the same time as Enchanted and had other competition for viewers; and the vision the director had was interfered with by the studio and made for a choppy, confusing movie. The special effects were said to be excellent, but the actual movie itself garnered less than half positive reviews.

If it becomes profitable to make the sequels, they will be made.


message 32: by Manday (new)

Manday | 311 comments The Da Vinci code is far from anti christian, it is just anti-catholic.


message 33: by Valorie (last edited Apr 15, 2010 10:31PM) (new)

Valorie  | 824 comments I finished the book yesterday and found that it reminded me of the Chronicles of Narnia. I liked the book. It seemed to move at a nice pace and had plenty of action, and emotionally engaging scenes, but I would probably not read the others in the series.


message 34: by Joanie (new)

Joanie | 95 comments I got the audiobook from the library but think it might be too much. There are more than 20 actors playing the parts and the author does the narration-it's nuts. I don't think I've ever listened to one like this:

Narrator: "John turned to him and said"
John: "No"
Narrator "and then walked out of the room."

I'm finding it really distracting so far. Has anyone else listened to the audio?


message 35: by Donna Jo (new)

Donna Jo Atwood | 3157 comments I just reread this after a gap of 7 or 8 years. I found myself thinking of Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tales, many of which were also pretty dark stories. I think I preferred the second book in the series, but I'm not real thrilled with any of them.

As far as my personal daemon, I think a falcon or a lynx. (Or for sheer glamour, a Siberian Tiger.)


message 36: by Sandy (new)

Sandy | 15607 comments Mod
I just finished this - never read it before, and it may take more than one read (or the rest of the trilogy) to really understand it.

Do you think the daemons represent the soul? I thought that, since at one point it was mentioned that only humans had daemons, and that's one thing that some like to say, that that's the essential difference between humans and the animals. And then there was the way that the boy whose daemon was severed from him seemed to become pretty much a zombie.


message 37: by Judith (new)

Judith | 47 comments Joanie wrote: "I got the audiobook from the library but think it might be too much. There are more than 20 actors playing the parts and the author does the narration-it's nuts. I don't think I've ever listened ..."

I'm listening to that version of the audio right now. At first it was very distracting, but as I approach Svalbard I am riveted. I also actually enjoy having Philip Pullman narrate. I read all three books a few years ago and loved them.


message 38: by Ellen (new)

Ellen (missellen82) | 221 comments Just finished the book didn't like as much as I thought I would. It did not keep me wanting to turn the page.


message 39: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer (pearlady) | 36 comments Having just read the book, I could see where the audio version would be distracting, for just reading it had my mind on edge. I found myself wanting to get to the end quickly, but cannot deny I did find some parts fascinating / good. I do still prefer Harry Potter books, but this has been an interesting experience, too.


message 40: by Helen (last edited May 25, 2010 12:22PM) (new)

Helen Southall (hsouthall) | 359 comments This was a reread of the actual book. The last time I read it was in audio form several years ago. I liked both versions and the movie. I agree that it did have a Narna feel - especially this first book. The next two books get darker and darker - a little like Harry Potter - almost like the author is trying to follow his audience growing up.

My daemon would probably be a snowy white owl - just like the symbology of that.


message 41: by Sara ♥ (new)

Sara ♥ (saranicole) | 1136 comments I just finished the audio yesterday, and I really enjoyed it. Of course, I listen to a LOT of audiobooks, including ones that have full casts, so I'm sort of used to the weirdness of narrators cutting in. Although USUALLY they cut the "so-and-so said" parts out with full cast recordings, as it's redundant, so that was a bit annoying at first. But I got over it.

I enjoyed the book, although it wasn't my favorite thing ever. I'm glad I watched the movie a WHILE ago, because I remembered just enough of what it was about to help my understanding, but not enough to influence my visualization of the book or even to compare the two.

I can see the series is getting darker and is involving more religious aspects, which makes me nervous. I believe this was the series that was getting a bunch of crap from Christian groups...

I was thinking about what my daemon would be, and I keep coming back to dolphin—intelligent, but mostly just playful and happy. I love the water, but I think it would suck to be stuck near the water all the time. How would I go shopping? Or to the library for that matter...


message 42: by Nicole (new)

Nicole | 1314 comments This was never a book I really had any passion about reading. Having already read the other two group reads for the season, I chose it because I was trying to avoid re-reads as much as possible (I think I only had one the whole Spring Challenge).

That being said, I truly liked Lyra's character and there were some parts where the action peaked and I thought that I would start to love it, but then I would lose interest again. I typically like fantasy. I guess my favorite part about it was the daemons.

I have no idea what my daemon would be...I have never been good at those "What animal are you like?" questions!


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