The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials, #3) The Amber Spyglass discussion


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SPOILER - Loose end?

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message 1: by MsBrie (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:58PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

MsBrie !!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!

Did you think the Amber Spyglass had everything resolved? I didn't. For one, if i recall right, a spector appeared whenever an entrance was created with the knife. Thus Lyra and Will couldn't stay together because using the knife would allow more spectors to invade. However..... couldn't they have just made ONE entrance with the knife and immediately killed the spector? Then they could keep going back and forth to that entrance. Por que no? (why not?)


message 2: by Heather (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:10PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Heather they didn't really specify how the spectors appeared. would it be right there? somewhere else random? so that still would be wrong, at least one person could be harmed.

but, i agree, it seems like there was a way they could've sorted it out. however, certainly more tragic/romantic, ending the way it did..


message 3: by Kristi (last edited Aug 25, 2016 02:11PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kristi Yeah, the ending was sad, but it worked. I think Phillip Pullman was going to write more... (besides Lyras Oxford, I mean)


khrome I love a good tragedy, so I think the end worked also. But in some interview with Pullman, I think there was a mention of a fourth book. If I can find the interview I will post it.


Kristi Yeah, the book is called Lyra's Oxford. It's not a very big book, I think that he was actually going to write more using Oxford as a jump-off point.


Violet there's another book? i think The Amber Spyglass should stay as the last one. i mean, there's not really much left of a plot to keep going on, unless Pullman makes up another plot. and that should be a new series.


message 7: by Amrita (last edited Jan 01, 2008 05:14PM) (new)

Amrita I read Lyra's Oxford, it's a pretty short book, and there's just this story about Lyra and Pntalaimon, and, oh I won't spoil it. There are also some maps and stuff of Oxford. Personally, I woud have liked it if he had just left it at The Amber Spyglass, there wasn't much to write about after it.


Bronwyn Wasn't part of the thing with leaving one window open that dust could flow through? I thought that was more the problem then there being a spectre.

He's writing a fourth one called (I believe) The Book of Dust set a couple years after The Amber Spyglass and featuring Lyra. So not more with the series exactly, but still continuing.


message 9: by Aimee (new)

Aimee The Book Of Dust will be a story about some of the other characetrs in the book in different scenario - like maybe expanding on Serafina Pekkala's history or something like that. I don't think its about Lyra, on the bridgetothestars.com website it says:

"Here's a few things that Pullman has said may be in The Book of Dust:

* How Lee and Iorek met
* How Farder Coram and Serafina Pekkala fell in love
* The story of how Coulter and Asriel met

There may also be information about Dust, the Alethiometer, the Subtle Knife, and dæmons - all the things we wondered about, but weren't important enough to put into the books themselves."



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

Luke The angel told them only one window could safely be left open... the rest is up for speculation (as to why only one window), but I liked the way it ended anyway


Janet I found the ending very dissatisfying. Metatron was dispatched way too easily - I had looked for a match between Will and him. Suddenly all the characters I had invested so much in were gone and we were left in a garden. I still couldn't really see how Mary Malone had "tempted" Lyra. It was a disappointing end to something with so much promise.


message 12: by Luke (new) - rated it 5 stars

Luke mary didnt tempt lyra... lyra's temptation was which window to keep open; the one for the dead, or the one between her world and will's. (that was my interpretation anyways)


message 13: by Mary (new)

Mary I think Mary's temptation was in telling Lyra and Will the stories of how she discovered love, by doing that she was tempting them to discover it, too(the marzipan...the small red fruit). I love how things all come full circle with the ghost telling Mary to "tell them stories" and she goes back and helps to fulfill the prophesy be telling stories to Lyra and Will which in turn brings about their discovery of their love for each other. And the whole reason the ghost (as she emerged from the window out of the world of the dead) said that to Mary - was because Lyra had told the dead that they had to "tell stories". Whew!! that's a tongue twister...


message 14: by Lily (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lily I loved the ending, and I cried like a baby. I did think the third book got a little bogged down in the middle though. There was a lot of description and not enough of the characters' emotional struggles that I loved so much in the first and second books. Once they got to the Land of the Dead, though, the characters were the center again and it was worth plodding through the Mulefa world to get to that particular arc. That was powerful.


message 15: by Amrita (new)

Amrita I thought that the ending, however tragic and romantic, could have resolved Lyra and Will's love somehow. I thought the ending was very powerful though.


message 16: by Katie (last edited Oct 21, 2008 12:04PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Katie Having just finished The Amber Spyglass, I think the ending was a bit rushed (the battle, the intention craft, dispatching Metatron, and especially meeting/freeing The Authority - given all the hype earlier in the series about how the "subtle knife" was the only instrument that could harm/defeat The Authority . . . not that I wanted him killed, but it was a bit anticlimactic to just have him let out of his cage-thing to disappear on the wind).

As for "why Lyra & Will can't be together," the explanation was that (a) the dust leaks out windows, so only 1 can be left open, and that needs to be the one for the dead, and (b) whenever a new window is created so is a Spectre, so they can't go on cutting-and-closing windows. The FLAW, however, is that the angel told Will that the angels would "take care of" the existing Spectres. If it is within the angels' power to do this, why couldn't they do it going forward? So the "it creates a Spectre" argument falls through. But, I don't mind that they couldn't be together; I tend to resent books that conveniently tie everything off into a happy ending.

Another inconsistency that bothered me was with the Gallivespians' souls. I thought that on the boat to the land of the dead, all four travelers lost their souls (even though only Lyra could see/talk to hers). But then later, the fuss was all about Will/Lyra's daemons, with no mention of the Gallivespians' daemons. Did I miss something?



Erica Lyra and Will's daemons were more important because if the Authority got hold of them then Lyra and Will would be powerless and would have to do what the Authority told him.


message 18: by Pandy (last edited Dec 12, 2008 04:57PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pandy It was very important that Lyra and Will find their daemons in Lord Asriel's world for the reasons Erica posted. The Gallivespians' daemons were not discussed because they died shortly after leaving the the world of the dead before any of them could see their daemons again. I think it was mentioned that Tialas and Salmakia(not sure about the spelling) felt the same way as Will when they entered the world of the dead.


message 19: by Allison (last edited Dec 01, 2008 05:33PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Allison I agree that Lyra and Will's dæmons were more important, but there was not even a mention of Tialys' and Salmakia's dæmons. I like to think there should have been, but maybe it wouldn't have fit in the book.

The bit about the windows:
Katie was right in that the reason they couldn't leave more than one open was because of Dust leaking away - they were saying that if they did all these things like being cheerful and whatever that enough Dust would be created to replace what's lost through the one window - and that the cutting-and-closing would create Spectres. I think, though, that it would be awfully selfish to say that "oh, yeah, the angels are gonna kill the Spectres so I can just do whatever I feel like." That would mean deciding that because you don't have to deal with it yourself, it's no big deal. The angels aren't all-knowing, either. They aren't going to know every time a Spectre is created and they won't necessarily kill them all, so there will still be Spectres floating around eating people's dæmons. I do wonder, though, how the Spectres actually come into the world, because if they just float out of the space between the window, Will could quite easily just kill them as he went.

As for Mary's "temptation"...I don't think it's right to call her the temptress because that implies intent. The serpent in the creation story was malicious, tricking Eve into eating the fruit by twisting the truth of God-like knowledge if she ate. Mary was merely telling stories. Her stories may have resulted in temptation, but she did not tempt Lyra herself.

I suppose, though, that calling her the temptress could have made sense to the President, or whoever it was that sent Father Gomez (can't remember at this particular moment) because it's easier than saying, "find the one who is going to tell stories to the girl that will put her in temptation's path."


message 20: by Sarah (last edited Feb 06, 2012 03:37PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sarah MsBrie wrote: However..... couldn't they have just made ONE entrance with the knife and immediately killed the spector? Then they could keep going back and forth to that entrance. Por que no? (why not?)


They did get to keep one entrance, but they decided it would be best to leave the opening to the world of the dead, which means no door for Will and Lyra to visit though, regardless of the issue of spectors.


message 21: by raly (new)

raly to I also feel like the angels could have easily solved the problem of one spector for every ten years. They could have also guided them to ONE natural opening (not cut with the knife) that would have solved their problem.

I'm not against tragic endings in general, but this was forced. Tragic just for the sake of tragic. The author should have thought about it more: something like angels disappearing or idk...


message 22: by Ruby (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruby Target wrote: "Yeah, the ending was sad, but it worked. I think Phillip Pullman was going to write more... (besides Lyras Oxford, I mean)"

When I read Lyra's Oxford...I dunno, it seemed so out of place.


Stuart Brandwood Amrita wrote: "I thought that the ending, however tragic and romantic, could have resolved Lyra and Will's love somehow. I thought the ending was very powerful though."

Spot on, too many loose ends all round after a brilliant build-up to the final part. The wheeled elephants and the AngrySwans were particularly pointless whilst the ultimate battle between Asriel and the Authority got about a page of coverage.


message 24: by Nathalie (new)

Nathalie What I don't understand is why didn't Lyra and Will turn into 'zombies' when they were separated from their demons? In one of the earlier books, I thought it was mentioned that when people were separated from their demons they had no free will? And surely if Will and Lyra generated so much dust because of their love for each other that would counteract the amount lost when they opened a new window?


Stuart Brandwood Genuinely I'd like him to go back and re-write the final book again. It irks me every time I think about the first two how much of a let down the last book was


message 26: by Zade (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zade Constantine Heather wrote: "they didn't really specify how the spectors appeared. would it be right there? somewhere else random? so that still would be wrong, at least one person could be harmed.

but, i agree, it seems lik..."


They allude to it in The Subtle Knife, the splitting of atoms, or energy, required to cut into another world unleashed them.


message 27: by Zade (new) - rated it 5 stars

Zade Constantine Luke wrote: "The angel told them only one window could safely be left open... the rest is up for speculation (as to why only one window), but I liked the way it ended anyway"

It is explained that Dust would leak out of the world if they left windows open, furthermore every time they open another world they release a specter


Marie Johnson MsBrie wrote: "!!!!SPOILER ALERT!!!!

Did you think the Amber Spyglass had everything resolved? I didn't. For one, if i recall right, a spector appeared whenever an entrance was created with the knife. Thus Lyra..."

I agree! But then, when you think about it, every book has problems and loose ends.


message 29: by Meena (last edited Dec 30, 2013 07:21AM) (new) - added it

Meena I had no idea about the Book Of Dust; now I want to read it. I do think that the ending was powerful, so in a way it was good. But I'm personally not very fond of sad endings, so I couldn't help but make up my own epilogue in my head. A part of me really does wish there had been an epilogue in which Will and Lyra found some way to meet as adults, once in a while. Also, I just want to point out that I think they fell in love too quickly. I mean, they were just friends, and then in like two paragraphs they suddenly began showing love for each other. It just didn't seem realistic to me. But overall, I did like the books.


Marie Johnson Meena wrote: "I had no idea about the Book Of Dust; now I want to read it. I do think that the ending was powerful, so in a way it was good. But I'm personally not very fond of sad endings, so I couldn't help b..."

Actually Meena, the Book of Dust did not come out yet! I hope it comes out soon because I can't wait....


Marie Johnson Glitterbomb wrote: "Nathalie wrote: "What I don't understand is why didn't Lyra and Will turn into 'zombies' when they were separated from their demons? In one of the earlier books, I thought it was mentioned that whe..."

Yes, but remember when the angel that was talking to them at the end of the book said to leave one open? She said that the angels will destroy that spectre. So why couldn't Will and Lyra just make one more so they could see each other and the angels destroy the spectre that came from it. Also, it didn't have to be exactly one window, just because it sounds ideal. I wish they would have made an exception and allowed another window.


message 32: by Meena (new) - added it

Meena Marie wrote: "Meena wrote: "I had no idea about the Book Of Dust; now I want to read it. I do think that the ending was powerful, so in a way it was good. But I'm personally not very fond of sad endings, so I c..."

Yeah, I thought it may not have come out. So I'm looking forward to it! Thanks for letting me know.


Vicky Imo, the angels had to go all throughout the worlds, fighting all the Spectres that already exist and there will be a ton of them - not only the windows opened by Will, but all the windows opened ever by every single owner of the Subtle Knife. And we know angels can be killed, so there will be a mortality rate, it's not a risk-free enterprise for them. Also, there are only so many angels and no apparent way of making more (not sure how Baruch became an angel).

So, the reason there can only be one window left open is because, if everyone in all the worlds becomes self-aware and starts treating everyone else with love, that will create just enough Dust to break even with that window.
And the reason that Will can't just create a window, pop through, and close it is because that would create /another/ Spectre for the angels to fight and they might not be able to handle that (especially if there is a significant mortality rate on the angels' side) on top of all the other pre-existing Spectres, particularly if he does it often.

One loose end I just realised though - if, once every sentient being in every world treats one another with love and respect, that only produces enough Dust to break even with the window (as is said in the Amber Spyglass), how will all the worlds damaged by the lack of Dust every recover?


message 34: by David (new)

David I was disappointed with the Amber Spyglass and agree with some comments here that the story did not seem to deliver what it had promised. Not only was Mary Malone's "temptation" rather weak (or non-existent), but what about Lyra having been prophesied as 'Mother Eve'? In what way was she Eve?

It seems to me that Lyra did not even have a true decision to make. In the end it became crystal clear to her and Will, especially after the angel had appeared and explained that there was no alternative, that there was really no option which would let them be together. I suppose her 'choice' was whether or not to close up the land of the dead in order to keep a window open to her lover... but could she ever really be so selfish as to seriously consider that? If this is the 'big decision' that she had to make, then it's not plausible.

In the end, even the phrase "His dark materials" (which after all refers to God the Creator) seems meaningless. It seems that the Authority turned out not to be 'God' or the Creator at all, just a jumped-up angel...

I'm sorry to say that the conclusions reached in the Amber Spyglass do seem somewhat hastily cobbled together.


David Wilcock They mention that the spectres are not the only problem. Dust is flowing out of the universes into the abyss through the windows. Peoples creativity and conscious thought creates more dust, but only enough for one door to be left open. This has to be the door from the dead world so the dead don't have to live in nothingness without daemons. Any more than that and the dust will reduce having consequences for many of the worlds.


message 36: by David (last edited Jun 14, 2019 02:30AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

David Wilcock Can anyone help me out? I don't know if i stopped paying attention at a vital point or if the novel is flawed. The authority. Metatron is not the authority, right? Will and the knife are vital to Asriel's cause, as the knife is the "god killer" and without it previous attempts to overthrow the authority have failed. Asriel and Mrs Coulter die killing Metatron without the knife, which is not needed as he is not the authority. Ok so far.

Then they don't mention the authority again, are perceived to have won and the book ends with the sad news that Will and Lyra have to sacrifice their love to keep the dead from living in the authorities world of death. So did anything happen with the authority? Was the knife or Will needed at all? Did I miss a chapter or skim something important?


message 37: by Kirsten (new)

Kirsten David Wilcock you totally missed the death of the authority. He was being carried out of the mountain by a few angels in a crystal prison he was trapped in. Because he was so old he was coming apart and it was one of the reasons he was imprisoned. The other being that Metatron wanted to take over. So as the angels leave to take the authority to a new safe place they are attacked and the crystal falls near will and lyra. Lyra sees the creature in the crystal and tells will how sad and pathetic he looks stuck in there. Neither realizing this is the authority will uses his knife to cut open the crystal. The authority then gets out and isn’t really able to say much before his body made of Dust disintegrates. Lyra and will kinda shrug it off not really knowing they just killed the authority.


message 38: by DogMom (new)

DogMom I know this is a really old thread, but maybe someone can put me straight here....
Didn't Mrs. Coulter leave the intention craft she stole on the roof of Jordan College? Is it still there? We know how much Lyra loved to play on the roof of the college....could she find it and maybe somehow find a way to Will's world? It didn't say much about everything the intention craft could do, but if Lyra had any intentions it would be to find a way back to Will.
Maybe I'm wrong, maybe the craft was moved. It just seems too convenient that it was left there and the roof of the college was somewhere Lyra loved to be. Am I wrong?


message 39: by DogMom (new)

DogMom Me again. Maybe it was the roof of the Magisterium. Damn. Anyone?


message 40: by DogMom (new)

DogMom Bah. Or was it in Geneva? Anyway, maybe when Lyra learns to read the Alethiometer again it'll tell her where it is and how to use it.


MsBrie Hi, I read this more then a decade ago but saw this thread is still going on. I’m trying to remember, why was Coulter separating kids from their daemons? And Asrial was waging war against the authority , why? And couldn’t the world of the dead have the window closed up after all the dead left it? Or is it that every person who dies goes to the world of the dead and then continues on through the window and then disintegrates, so this would be an ongoing thing. And the whole Adam and Eve thing, was that because Lyra would have free will? She and will already had free well, so why does it matter if she acts like eve?


message 42: by Asia (new) - rated it 5 stars

Asia Pietrulewicz I'm rereading "The Amber spyglass" - and I know why I hadn't returned to the trilogy before. I hate the ending. It makes no sense. Lyra and Will DESERVE an exception for all they've done -- and for the fact that it's their love that stopped the Dust flowing out, for God's sake!

Oh, what a nuisance for the angels - having to kill one spectre every few years or so. Or - assuming that they leave one more window open for Will and Lyra's sake - oh, what a disaster that would be, having a tiny little bit of Dust seep out of the world for a few decades, knowing that it keeps getting renewed by intelligent beings. Ugh! I feel like shaking them all.


message 43: by Todd (last edited Jun 20, 2020 06:25AM) (new)

Todd Kris wrote: "I know I'm a little late to the party, but I think there's a huge loophole no one mentioned. In the amber spyglass, John Perry tells will that the reason he became sick is that daemons can only liv..."

Actually I don't think that would work. The story indicates that they become sick being away from their daemons for extended periods of time. So closing their daemon off in another world would still result in them dying, likely even sooner. They were quickly getting weaker when they were separated during their travel through limbo. Admittedly this effect is not clearly defined.

When it comes down to it, very little of the explanation makes any real sense. The book is full of plot holes and inconsistencies.

Just consider the windows and dust:
- Mary clearly states their love stopped the dust floating away and it starts returning to them. Then this is quickly abandoned and has no bearing on dust in the final explanation.
- If dust doesn't "leak" out of 1 world or leak quickly enough out of 1 world, why would it leak out of 2 worlds with a window? If you have an enclosed box of dust and put another enclosed box next to it and open a hole between the 2 boxes, its still an enclosed system and the dust would simply reach equilibrium between the 2. There's zero logic in the explanation. It's just you know; because Magic!
- The idea of Specters coming from the Window contradicts the rest of the books. They explain all the Specters are created at once when the knife was first used. They also clearly show the Specters only exist in Cittàgazze. If opening a window creates specters then opening between any 2 worlds would create one, meaning specters would be created in worlds other than Cittàgazze. But this doesn't seem to factor in anywhere else in the story.
- If the angels know that Specters are created when opening a window then they likely know when or the exact relationship. So couldn't the angel just let Will open 1 window and then kill the specter. Really how out of the way would that be.
- If angels knew this was happening and was an issue and clearly these angels are on the side of "good", so to speak and good means, no windows and no specters, then why wait until now to cleanup the mess. They didn't know how to close the windows, but they can kill specters. They could have just asked previous knife bearers how - surely one of them would have told the angels. What would the harm be to have angels cleaning up their messes, especially since they believed in closing what they opened.

You could write a book about the plot holes in this series. Just pick almost any critical event in the book. Guaranteed, its either associated to a plot convenience or a plot hole.

How about when Will and Lyra are trying to get to their daemons during the battle? It's tense and dangerous and they're surrounded by specters and they can't find them and the daemons are cornered. Which all sounds sensible at the time because the story leads you to believe that the specters are a threat because Will and Lyra are becoming adults and by extension this means their daemons are fixed. Except it turns out they're not fixed and they could have just turned into Owls and flown away or found Will and Lyra in the dark easily.


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