Tag Archives: His Dark Materials

Waiting for Lyra: It was Just a Kiss

Why I’m glad:
“Bad sex’ authors list announced”

(This relates to something in The Amber Spyglass, by the way, not the first book in the trilogy or anything in the movie that I know of — having not seen it yet.)

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Waiting for Lyra: The Brad Pitt of Children’s Literature

Move aside all you wannabee hot men of children’s literature, here’s the man making many swoon these days. “Meeting Philip Pullman was my equivalent of meeting Brad Pitt, one-on-one. “commented Donna Freitas, a scholar of religion and co-author of Killing the Imposter God: Philip Pullman’s Spirtual Imagination in His Dark Materials, after interviewing him recently. Here is Donna’s heartfelt report on that experience. And here is her intelligent response to the controversy surrounding the religious ideas in the trilogy.

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Waiting for Lyra: Philip Pullman at the Times Center

Last night I was at an intellectually stimulating evening where Chip McGrath, former editor of the New York Times Book Review, and Philip Pullman conversed. I loved Philip’s strong insistence that reading is a private act between the reader and the book. How he inhabits his books completely until they go out into the world and become the readers’ — “a democracy of reading.” Among many other subjects, he spoke of his own background, the writing of The Golden Compass, his involvement with the movie, Milton, Elizabeth Bishop, and first kisses.

Questions from the audience were asked (several from young people) and politely and thoughtfully answered. At one point I was delighted when Philip mentioned Erich Kastner’s The 35th of May, a fondly remembered book of my childhood. We also were shown what looked like a souped-up movie trailer. That is, there were a few scenes (notably those with Lyra and Iorek Byrnison) that I don’t recall seeing in any of the trailers. Certainly it was thrilling to see them on a larger screen with an audience for the first time.

I was seated with GraceAnne A. DeCandido who took terrific notes, posted the following on child_lit, and graciously allowed me to post it here as well:

The New York Times Center is a fine space: and you can see some
of how fine here http://thetimescenter.com/

Chip McGrath, writer at large (what a lovely title) for the NYTimes
interviewed Philip Pullman for about an hour and then Philip took
questions from the audience. I cannot guess numbers of those
present, but the range of ages was great: children from Lyra´s and
Will´s age to Philip´s age (which is also mine, that is, early 60s). It
was easy and funny and wise.

“The story begins” said Philip, “when you realize you have been
born into the wrong family.” And he went on to talk about story,
the one long story that is His Dark Materials. Chip said he thought
daemons were the best idea, but Philip noted he thought how
daemons settle was “the best idea I ever had.” He promised us not
only a book about the backstory of Iorek and Lee Scoresby(Once
Upon a Time in the North,
coming in Spring 2008) but a book
about a somewhat older Lyra, The Book of Dust.

“The most private space” is between the reader and the book, Philip
said, and railed, rather gently, against those with no understanding
of metaphor who think a story can only be read one way. He talked
about that wondrous first scene in the first book, and how we get
“from this world where we are to the other world where the story

He talked a little bit about his years of teaching, and how in writing
he got from here to there, and how some characters just came to
him, like Lyra, walking into his mind. He credited the city of
Oxford and the Ashomolean Museum and the Bodleian Library,
Milton, Blake, Whitman and Wallace Stevens, and The Magnificent
Seven among his many sources of inspiration.

We got to see a perfectly splendid trailer for The Golden Compass
movie, which if you have not seen online I urge you to go right
now and search for. It´s breathtaking.

Philip was asked by members of the audience what his daemon is,
and he said a sort of bird that is attracted by shiny, sparkly things –
and steals them. He was asked his favorite piece of his own writing,
and he mentioned the delicious and very subversive trial scene in
The Scarecrow and His Servant. He called true education the
marriage of delight and responsibility – what could be better than


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Waiting for Lyra: Philip Pullman in the Big Apple

Tuesday, October 30th, 6:30.

“The Golden Compass: A Conversation with Philip Pullman” at the Times Center, 242 West 41st Street. The event is sold out, but according to the website: “Tickets may be available at the door the night of the event.”

Thursday, November 1st, 7 PM.

Appearance at the Union Square Barnes & Noble. (I’d get there early if I were you!) For those who can’t come it looks like you can watch it online here.

Friday, November 2nd.

Appearance on “Al’s Book Club” on the Today Show as their current book is The Golden Compass.

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Waiting for Lyra: Stoking Up Controversies

Sadly, two separate controversies have erupted this week about the forthcoming The Golden Compass movie.

First and less worrisome was the news that the movie ending will not be the same as the book’s. Fans seem to be in high dudgeon or maybe it is just those commenting here that are so bent out of shape. I mean, what is the big deal? If Pullman is agreeable and the final chapters become part of the next movie, so what? If it makes for a better movie, all power to them, I say.

Of much greater concern is the seemingly never-ending religion issue. Evidently no one at either end of the spectrum is going to be satisfied by the movie. There are those dismayed that it is being minimized in the movie. (See Religion row hits Pullman epic in today’s Guardian.) Then there is the Catholic League in the US, certain that the movie will (horrors!) encourage parents to buy the books for their children. At first I scoffed when I heard about this, but then I remembered the absolutely out-of-control media frenzy about a dog’s scrotum. Now I’m holding my breath.


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Waiting for Lyra: New Ending for First Movie

Here are director Chris Weitz and author Philip Pullman on the new ending.

His Dark Materials | The Golden Compass Ending: Altered | BridgeToTheStars.Net

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Waiting for Lyra: Defining Daemons

Here’s a new promotional video from New Line. Thanks to Bridge to the Stars for the link.

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Waiting for Lyra: Philip Pullman in NYC

Tuesday | October 30, 2007
6:30 PM – 8:00 PM
“The Golden Compass”: A Conversation with Philip Pullman
The prize-winning, highly opinionated British author talks about his hugely popular books, the necessity of growing up and losing one’s innocence, and the upcoming Hollywood films based on his best-selling trilogy, “His Dark Materials,” honored by the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Children’s Book Award and the Whitbread Book of the Year Award (the first ever given to a children’s book). Interviewed by Charles McGrath, New York Times Magazine contributing writer and former Book Review editor.

Tickets: $25 TimesTalks (Scroll way down for this talk and for the link to buy tickets .)

Address: The TimesCenter, 242 West 41st Street, New York City

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Waiting for Lyra: In the Meantime

Like countless others I’m eagerly waiting to see one of my favorite literary heroines, Lyra Belacqua, in her December film debut and in the still-being-written The Book of Dust. In the meantime I continue to enjoy the thought-provoking comments of her creator, Philip Pullman. The most recent ones are in a just-published interview by Claudia Fitzherbert in the Literary Review. William Blake, James M. Cain, Iraq, fan fiction, Dakota Blue Richards, agnostism, and lots more. Wonderful stuff as always.


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