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The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials, #1)
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message 1: by Lu (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lu | 12655 comments Mod
Here we can discuss the book with spoilers :)

Lauren Smith I watched this movie before reading the book, and I liked it. However, when I read the book I thought it was way way better than the movie, which has never happened to me before.

Looking forward to re-reading it :)

message 3: by Naz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Naz (nazz) | 615 comments I want my own Daemon.

I agree Lauren the book is way better even though I really enjoyed the movie. The ending left me with more questions than answers though and Im too sleepy try to figure out what happens next. Did you read the subtle knife?

Lauren Smith I read the Subtle Knife last year. It was just as good as The Golden Compass, and the story is more fully developed, so you get a better idea of why it's so controversial.

I only got a copy of The Amber Spyglass months after I read The Subtle Knife, and I'd kind of lost steam by that point, so I never finished the series. I want to do so now though, re-reading from the start.

Lauren Smith Does anyone have any thoughts on the religious theme in this book? The series is pretty controversial because Pullman criticises organised religion (this becomes much more forceful in the second and third books).

"Cutting" the daemons off the children is like cutting the soul away from the body, and it's supposed to save children from being corrupted by sexuality. At the same time though, the daemon is supposed to be the source of 'impure' sexuality - Mrs Coulter tells Lyra that daemons start to give children "confusing" thoughts. Humans are not allowed to touch other people's daemons, and daemons shouldn't touch other humans, and it seems like there's something sexual about this. So the soul (represented by the daemon) is a sexualised thing, and people who have been separated from their souls by having their daemons cut, probably wouldn't be interested in sex.

message 6: by Naz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Naz (nazz) | 615 comments I didn't think about that... Now Im going to have to reread the book before I start on the sequels but I think you could be right, there's a point where the golden monkey holds her and she says something like it just doesn't feel right only Pam should ever touch her.

Lauren Smith Yeah, there's a bit in Bolvanger where Lyra and Pan are spying on the scientists, but they hear her, and then capture her, grabbing hold of her AND Pan. She says she feels violated and disgusted. It's as though touching her daemon is like sexually molesting her.

In The Subtle Knife Pan (as a wolverine or something) licks a boy to comfort him, and I think Lyra also experiences that as a strange, sensual, intimate thing.

I think if two people were lovers they might touch each other's daemons.

message 8: by Naz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Naz (nazz) | 615 comments I dont think so. Its one of those unspoken of totally forbidden acts, then again if it happened in The Subtle Knife than it may be that they can touch each others daemons if they are lovers.

In the end of The Golden Compass when her parents meet their daemons embrace as well. Does this mean their daemons share the same relationship? Question though.. If they feel what their daemons feel why would Lyra be trusting towards Mrs Coulter at first when Pan isn't?

message 9: by Lauren (last edited Aug 24, 2010 01:17PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lauren Smith The boy that Pan touches in The Subtle Knife is actually from our world (don't worry, that's not a big spoiler) so he doesn't have a daemon, because our souls are within us. So the taboo doesn't necessarily apply to him. I haven't come across anything in the books that says lovers can touch each other's daemons, but the Wikipedia article on daemons says they can, so maybe there's something about it in the Amber Spyglass, or I've just forgotten.

With the daemons embracing at the end: yes, the daemons will share a similar relationship. If two people are having sex, I think their daemons would either have sex too, and if that's not possible, they would at least share some kind of sexual intimacy. Mrs Coulter's monkey and Asriel's snow leopard both writhe in ecstasy.

Daemons and their humans share emotions, but they are still two separate beings and can have different ideas. Lyra and Pan do argue sometimes - for example, Pan doesn't want to hide in the Retiring Room at the beginning but Lyra does. At the end Pan suggests to Lyra that Dust might be good, and she obviously hasn't thought of this. So it makes sense that they can have different feelings about Mrs Coulter.

message 10: by Lu (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lu | 12655 comments Mod
My Rating:


My Take:

This book was absolutely brilliant! I don't know why I didn't read this earlier! It was passionately written, beautifully thought out and a very emotional journey! I was hooked from the beginning and on the edge of my seat the whole time!

The characters were vivid, wondrous and fantastically diabolical! I also love Daemons and the idea of them!

I think this book shows that you can't always ignore or undervalue the power and influence of children. We are very quick to ignore what they say. We have to listen more carefully.


I was so close to tears when they found Tony! It was heart wrenching!
Oh and Roger...

My Questions:

I don't get why everyone was so against this book. Yes it talks about the church etc. But this is fantasy... Its not attacking the church in real life, its attacking the church in the book... Because you know this is a world with Daemons, and witches and talking bears...

I could be wrong and Philip Pullman has a plan of taking over young minds with his "kill god approach". Yes that could be it, but I choose to enjoy the book for what it is. A story!

I think this book has a way of making one want to be a better person, want to be as sure and as brave a Lyra about what is right and what is wrong!

Favourite Quote:

"You cannot change what you are, only what you do."
— Philip Pullman (The Golden Compass)

What Daemon do you have?

Take the test here:
Tell me in comments please :)

My result: Suggested forms: Swan, Elephant, Koala, Panda, Chameleon, Wolf.

message 11: by Lauren (last edited Aug 25, 2010 10:23PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lauren Smith Glad you liked it so much Lu! Now you should read the rest of the series :)

ITO controversy: The Subtle Knife is much more subversive than The Golden Compass, and I don't doubt that the Amber Spyglass will take it even further. And although it may just be fiction, Pullman does deal out some serious criticism of organised religion, and of human beings' relationship to God. It's not like The Da Vinci Code, where the controversial stuff is all just made up by Dan Brown (it's almost silly that the church had such a problem with it).

Pullman on the other hand, uses fiction to level a valid criticism of religion (although it's by no means a new one). He also re-interprets the idea of original sin (which is represented by Dust) to suggest that the Fall was a good thing. (But more of that in book 2 :) He's not so much "taking over young minds" as getting people to question the things that religions tell us are true. Which I think is very important. Lyra isn't always so sure about what's right and wrong either, but her decisions are based on the fact that she's a loving, caring person (even though quite violent at times!), not because she's blindly doing what she's been told to do by by the people in charge.

Awesome stuff, I love it!

Lauren Smith Took the daemon test: I'm a Curmudgeonly Soul (mostly accurate).
Form suggestions: badger, jackal or black bear. My preference would be for the jackal.
Although, honestly, I think a cat might suit me better.

message 13: by Lu (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lu | 12655 comments Mod
I will have to read the next ones to fully understand the extent of it then :)

How did you like the quiz? Arb at times hey?

I was a Multi-Faceted Soul

My preference would be a Panda!!! I actually have a panda collection that just happened... slippers, stuffed bears etc lol

Chameleons are pretty cool too! I wanted to study them when i was 10 :P

Lauren Smith Pandas would be hard to feed though, you'd have to keep a supply of bamboo in your bag. And so slow! I couldn't never have a slow animal :)
They are really sweet though.

Chameleon, eek! My mom is totally comfortable with them, she'd pick one up if she saw it and keep it on her hand until it changed colour. I'd just freak out. But then again, she grew up with 5 brothers :)

message 15: by Lu (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lu | 12655 comments Mod
But but they are cute and cuddly and soft... :P

A crocodile would be a awesome daemon tho!

Lauren Smith A crocodile?! How would you get into a car with that thing? And what would you feed it? Would you have to get one of those birds to clean its teeth or would you brush them? Haha

message 17: by Lu (last edited Aug 26, 2010 12:35PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lu | 12655 comments Mod
Lol don't ruin my fantasy :P
He will be a little one ofcourse that looks like this:


Ain't he cute?

Lauren Smith Very cute, but that's not a crocodile! :)

message 19: by Lu (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lu | 12655 comments Mod
It is! Just a little fat one :P

message 20: by Naz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Naz (nazz) | 615 comments A little fat one with too many legs :P
My Suggested forms: Peregrine Falcon, Snowy Owl, Snow Leopard, Siberian Tiger, Osprey. Love it :)

message 21: by Lu (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lu | 12655 comments Mod
Ooooh the tiger and snow leopard are awesome :)

Lauren Smith Those are all really cool actually. It seems you're best suited to life in an icy wilderness Naz.
Lord Asriel has a snow leopard doesn't he? I forget her name. But her presence always seems to imply that he doesn't like being cooped up, he's too bold and adventurous to stay in places like Jordan College. And he's sort of dangerous too.

I'm halfway through The Amber Spyglass now. Like the other two books, there's a really sad moment, but this one is worse than the others :(

message 23: by Naz (new) - rated it 3 stars

Naz (nazz) | 615 comments I still can't decide which I'd prefer though. I absolutely Love big cats but I've been wanting to learn to para-glide and if I had a daemon I'd want him to fly with me.

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