FREE READ µ The Amber Spyglass

SUMMARY The Amber Spyglass

FREE READ µ The Amber Spyglass  Will is the bearer of the knife Now accompanied by angels his task is to deliver that powerful dangerous weapon to Lord Asriel by the command of his dying fatherBut how can he go looking for Lord Asriel when Lyra is gone Only with her help can he fathom the myriad plots and intrigues that beset him The two great powerOrlds are lining up for war and Will must find Lyra for together they are on their way to battle an inevitable journey that will even take them to the world of the dea. If you haven’t read the ENTIRE three books please don’t read any further I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you because the ending is so endearing andlasting that I would HATE to take it away from you I absolutely fell in love with Lyra Didn’t you She was the sister I wish I would have had growing up She was myself as I played with all of my brothers in the mudfields she was the daughter I’m sure every woman would yearn to have In my opinion Philip Pullman was brilliant in his creation of this little girl Her flaws were her strength just as much as her strengths were her salvation And when you take her inuisitive innocence and throw in Will’s brave maturitytogether the two of them are almost too much to bear I was heady with adoration for the two of them combined I’m sure some would say they were too perfect together too sappy too trite But my cynicism runs deep and my heart was still touched Maybe it’s because I’m a girl or because my heart still remembers the depth of that first love The absoluteness of it My heart remembers “Going to China” haa haa and it longs to visit again Will was the boy every girl wants to fall in love with Loyal strong clever honest sweet and faithful I hated him for agreeing to close every single window except one but loved him for his dedication to do what’s “right” I wanted to shake him and tell him that when he gets older he will realize that one window wouldn’t have mattered – that what he was at Lyra’s side was worth one silly little window in the fabric of the worlds But of course he wouldn’t listen to me because he is young and doesn’t know how rare True Love is So I sighed and cried and watched them felt them split forever And I agonized over whether they would ever figure out how to Astral Project into eachother's lives And if the one would wait for the other when they died so that they could walk out the window they created hand in hand I could literally picture them sitting there on that bench for an hour each year aching for eachother once again SighI liked how Mrs Coulter was deep enough to be both intrinsically evil and love Lyra with a blindly maternal love in the end I liked how the Master at Jordon and John Faa were father figures in their own ways I liked little Roger’s complete faith and how Iorek’s devotion was tempered with a knowledge that was higher than either of the children’s I did find Mary Malone unbearably boring and found myself wishing away any chapter having to deal with her and her mulefa Get back to the real story of Lyra and Will I could have done without her entire story lineAnd of course there was Pantalaimon How much do we all wish we had a dæmon that we could see touch talk to rely on How much fun would it be to have a morphing little partner in everything we do Ahhh was a fun concept to explore and probably the very secret to HDM’s success Pullman’s descriptions of the different dæmon’s throughout each book were descriptive imaginative and comical All in all an excellent book I wish I would have read it slower so that I could have enjoyed Lyra and Will's company a little longer

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Will is the bearer of the knife Now accompanied by angels his task is to deliver that powerful dangerous weapon to Lord Asriel by the command of his dying fatherBut ho. This is the way the world endsNot with a bang but a whimper TS EliotWarning Contains spoilers The Amber Spyglass is the final volume in His Dark Materials trilogyI really enjoyed Northern Lights or The Golden Compass as it is titled in the US the first volume of the trilogy Pullman introducted us to a fantastic world of great scope It was suspenseful the presented world was enchanting and Northern Lights was pregnant with interesting ideas and concepts that's why I chose to read all threeThe next one The Subtle Knife was laborious indeed Most of what made Northern Lights wonderful was dropped there was no world building in this volume the characters seemed stalled and the book was a chore It was a transitional piece so some of these things might be excused and I approached the final installment expecting a grand payoff The Amber Spyglass is no Return of The King It's the ugly baby that came out of Pullman's imagination and his hatred of religion The novels is such a tremendous let down that it's hard to decide where to start a list of its failingsLyra the cocky and bratty protagonist of Northern Lights disappears almost entirely Lyra from The Amber Spyglass is almost fullly submissive to Will Oh Will What shall we do Will Oh Will Where is the girl who rescued children and planned it all on her own Here Lyra doesn't seem to be able to do anything without depending on WillThe redemption of Mrs Coulter is totally unconvincing The Grand Evil Lady who was so great in Northern Lights suddenly out of the blue starts loving Lyra This is just so ridiculously uncharacteristic and unbelieveable The great villain is reduced to a mere puppet in Pullman's hands who seems to have forgotten how to hold the stringsNot that other characters are handled expertly Aside from Lyra who was reduced to a dependand sissy and Will the grand young adult fiction boy on a uest stereotype Pullman introduces and characters like the new race of Mulefa the bug like creatures He then goes on a tangent describing their culture which while interesting doesn't add much to the plotThe figure of Father Gomez who is sent by the Church to kill Lyra is just a cheap way of maintaing tension He never faces his victim and dies from the hand of a character we believed to be dead several hundred pages previously His sections are nothing but fillerThe theological uestions are never developed Pullman literally stated in the previous volume that every Church is evil without showing why He didn't show how Chuch uses religion to manipulate the consciences of people we are treated only to Pullman's version of the Church which is evil because the author told us it's evil Everyone associated with Church is EVIL at a cartoonish level Mother Theresa has evaporated from Pullman's cosmos and took all the good priests along with herThere's no conflict inside the Magisterium no good voices are drowned by the bad ones because everyone is bad All of these evils are dressed in the not at all veiled robes of Christianity especially the Catholic Church These evils are never really shown we're just told they are evil Oddly there are no evil Muslim priest or bomb throwing Buddhist monks In Pullman's world there is only one religion and it is THE BAD ONE As one of the characters says The Christian religion is a very powerful and convincing mistake that's allDoesn't sound very convincingCuriously the church seems to have little impact on Lyra's world Though Pullman wants to lay all of the evil of mankind on Christian religion and God he doesn't bother with providing plenty of evidence The Church does evil things but it doesn't get into the way of the Ard Polar Bears who live a godless existence or the clans of Witches who are into paganism Neither the Polar Bears nor the Witches seem to be particularly bothered by the Evil church The Witches seem to love their country and don't seem to be forced or isolated by the church They seem to love the north pole where they liveNow in a world dominated by an incredibly powerful religious organization which corrupts everything one would expect that everyone would be forced to follow the enforced religion and actively participate in its rituals masses etc Religion would be a part of the daily life as vital as a breath when you practice it and as deadly as lack of it when your faith is not strongIn Lyra's world NO ONE prays or goes to any sort of religious service In a world where religious domination is SAID TO BE thriving I'd expect it to be obvious If religion is the source of all the evil in the world I expected it to be omnipresent But it isn't Except Pullman said so So we have to believe him ehPullman goes on a specific tangent to discuss the very issue of God God is said not to be the original creator but the first of the angels to appear He portras him as some sort of terrorist who lied about his origins and holds the reins of Heaven in his strong hands However it is all told to us; we never see it played out When God makes an appearance he is shown to be a demented old angel which vanishes almost immediately We are never shown the man behind the curtain the malevolent presence who is the source of all trouble We are supposed to accept that no matter what THIS is TRUE and REAL Is God a sadist We may never known we can only accept what Pullman tells us because he showes his truth down our throatsThe angels are shown as extremely ineffectual They can't really hurt anything which makes us think again How exactly did God who is just the first angel become so powerful There are many uestions about the angels how did Baruch and Metatron became angels from men but no one else did but Pullman never bothers with themThen there is the separate tangent of dr Mary Mallone a former nun who rejected the Church and all faith entirely because she ate some marzipan and kissed an Italian Whoa Maybe if she ate an Italian and kissed the marzipan I could understand the Church denouncing her the convent would grow slimmer and slimmer but it doesn't make much sense In fact this is some of the poorest reasoning I've read in a while Can't you believe in God practive your faith and enjoy the world at the same time Millions of people do but Pullman apparently think you can't I could understand Mary uitting being a nun even uitting organized religion because of the imposed restraints but stopping believing in God because of marzipan This is not a strawman argument it's a marzipanman argument and unfortunately it ain't sweetMary's story stirs some tension in Will and Lyra who suddenly realize that they're meant for each other at age of 12 eternal love is serious business mind you and the story morphs into a contrived retelling of The Fall of Man though I don't understand why Lyra is said to be the next Eve Of course she finds love with almost no build up she gives it up for the sake of the worlds hers and Will's I think she resists the temptation to continue their relationship to help everyone build the new Eden or the Republic of Heaven but it's a tenuous connection at best Not to mention that twelve year old children suddenly start talking like certain older men BlahThis is getting long so I'll wrap it up in Pullman fashion An angel shows up answers all of the uestions and the children return to their separate worlds promising that they will never forget each other and visit the same place in their worlds to remains as close as possible In Lyra's world generous foster parents magically turn up and she sets up to build a godless existence where people could enjoy themselves as if anything was stopping them before DOH I think that these books had great potential They could show children the dangers of corrupt individuals who use religion to influence and control people Unfortunately Pullman took it all away with his absolute lack of polemic and blatant one sideness and all we got were some puppets running around and spewing his personal sentiments in this incredibly boring and contrived slog The guy's obviously an imaginative author but his bigotry got the better of him here and I can only wish that Norhtern Lights was a standalone

Philip Pullman ↠ 1 FREE READ

The Amber SpyglassW can he go looking for Lord Asriel when Lyra is gone Only with her help can he fathom the myriad plots and intrigues that beset him The two great powers of the many w. I would not have read this book were it not for my friend Pat E who told me several years ago that it was one of the best books she had ever read and also said it was the first children’s book to have won England’s prestigious Whitbread Prize for Literature So I read the whole series over the next couple years and in this process discovered that one of my English department’s medievalists said it was one of his favorite series Did I know he asked that Pullman was actually in conversation with John Milton’s Paradise Lost as he wrote the series which came to be called His Dark Materials the title from Milton particularly in The Amber Spyglass Nope I said I had had no idea so I paid some attention to that aspect of the book as I read it A little attention I say because I am no Milton scholar and how many are who would be reading it Nor had I read than the sections of Paradise Lost I had read in the survey Brit lit course I had taken decades agoNow many years later I and my family have invested some 37 hours listening to the audio version CDs of His Dark Materials narrated by Pullman himself Last summer the first book The Golden Compass last fall the second in the series The Subtle Knife and now the third The Amber Spyglass Which I loved and then I find that one of the Goodreads reviewers I much respect hated this series and a little Goodreads argument through his highly critical review ensued So I at one point read his review and the subseuent hubbub mostly pushback on him from Pullman fans I went back and looked at his review to see if I might on reflection change my mind I did review the book and disagree with him as will happen here obviously I learned from that review but I still think it’s a great book And reread this review in November 2017 as I wait for my family copy of Pullman's fall 2017 release The Book of Dust that is part of this worldOne place to start in thinking of this book is that Pullman unlike CS Lewis another prominent fantasy writer is as he refers to himself “an atheist or agnostic atheist” Lewis a Christian once an outspoken atheist recounts his sudden epiphany of faith in Surprised by Joy This review is being written by an agnostic once raised in the Calvinist Dutch Christian Reformed Church I not only know that tradition but actually taught in Christian schools even taught classes on the Bible in them for a couple years I say that not to establish credibility on theologicalreligious issues Pullman explores here but because sometimes you read a book through your life “subjectively” than you might read other books I am pretty familiar with some of the territory Pullman treads Theological issues in a children’s book Well this children’s book thing that’s marketing according to Pullman He intended to have adults—all ages—read this trilogy too And we should and we do Since in many ways he is commenting on Christianspiritual traditions as they are evident in literature Pullman wants to be in conversation with people who have read John Milton’s Paradise Lost andor C S Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles two of the best known epics in the history of English literature His Dark Materials is also an epic novel series but it is like much literature talking in various ways to the authors whose literature that it is built on You don’t need to have read those works for real but it doesn’t hurt eitherIn this case Pullman has written a version of Paradise Lost an inversion of the central arc of that tale Milton seemed to claim in keeping with the Calvinist tradition that the single terrible shaping moment in human history was the invention of the myth of “original sin”—a sexual sin—of Adam and Eve Satan an angel who fell from Heaven engineers this act In Amber Spyglass Pullman has Mary “tempt” Lyra through her story of falling in love Lyra “gives in” to this temptation as she realizes she loves Will though the American publisher amazingly cut some of the details of Lyra’s physical responses to being with WillPullman thinks the Church got it wrong from the beginning and throughout history in obsessively focusing on sexuality as “sinful” To split the body from the soul as he suggests Christianity does is for Pullman a horrible horrible mistake Materiality is a good thing Pullman says; the Earth should not be seen as a temporary place to wait until you get to the really good place Heaven but a place where we should fully existentially engage “Dæmons” are a cool aspect of this story sort of spirit companions usually in the shape of animals or birds and all humans have them like souls and when you are young they can shift It's a kind of identity conceit as identity in youth is in flux in construction As Pullman sees it The Church wants to separate you from your individualized; think of it as a personal relationship to the spiritual realm or God dæmon metaphorically and this is a horrible thing in Pullman’s view Pullman also thinks the Church—and specifically the Roman Catholic Church though almost all Christian theology is pretty consistent—in deciding their binary view of good and evil is the “right” one is narrow and simplistic His view—in part supported by contemporary physics—is that there are multiple spiritual worlds and traditions all of which should be supported and celebrated Pullman favors diversity of all kinds—spiritual cultural biological We are different and interdependent or we expire as a human race His key central concept for a deeper relationship to the universe is “dust” which would seem to be a synonym for consciousness or wisdom though it is potentially also visible in the natural world with the right attitude andor a Steam Punkish instrument such as is the Amber Spyglass Instead of Christianity's idea of One All Powerful God Pullman flips that script to show us the limitation of that view through the specter of The Authority who is frail weak sniveling small minded associated with a bad group from the Church called The Magisterium who wants to control your minds and souls and bodies Ultimately the series is about growing up in the face of an oppressive adult religious soul killing authority We need connection to the natural world than Christianity seems to have fostered Pullman insists And we need joy and a spirit of adventure and discovery and imagination than the Church would seem to have given us We need to stop thinking our bodies and the material world are somehow just merely badSo is Pullman’s view anti Christian or anti spiritual I don’t think so not really He’s about expanding spiritual horizons rather than getting rid of them And he knows how to have fun in this rollicking adventure And he loves Milton too though he disagrees with him He just prefers William Blake’s complex cosmology The epigraphs before every chapter are wonderful perfect a guide to the argument that is coiled deeply in his story The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams endorsed the series calling the books instructive saying they are in fact about the death of a false God and the upholding of true Christian values Williams even went so far as to say that Pullman’s series should be taught in schools Fundamentalists needless to say do not agree But the imagination is key to spiritual health for Pullman He does not think most religions value imaginationIn this final volume Lyra and Will travel to the World of the Dead to visit Roger and Will’s father which is maybe the single most powerful seuence of the whole series Along the way assumptions about the good or evil of individual characters of the book are uestioned Is Mrs Coulter Lyra’s mother evil Is Lord Asriel good What are the limitations of such categories Lyra is a liar which is a good thing in some situations; fiction is a wonderful and useful adaptive strategy in the world but lies or false stories can also be hurtful Will is a good guy but he also kills people The Magisterium has sent Father Gomez to kill Lyra and Will; he seems closer to a completely bad guy than almost anyone in this tale but even he claims to want the best for kids The former nun and physicist Mary Malone is a pretty good person a guide for Will and Lyra in the absence of The Magisterum Iorok Byrnison the flying ard bear who has special capabilities with metal working once a captive drunk is a great and mostly good character I prefer the sheer imaginative joy of the first volume The Golden Compass with its strong girl character Lyra; she shares the stage with boy Will in the later two books The last book is less a children’s book than the first and it’s serious a little less fun But the last book is powerful and often moving Who wouldn’t want to have one final talk with those we love who have died The plot in this last book sort of rambles slowly along contemplative and reflective as it intends to be After being primarily an adventure story The Amber Spyglass slows down and helps resolve all the central issues But I still truly loved it I maybe especially loved it because I heard Pullman's sweet and loving and gentle voice on tape shape the narration as well as all the wonderful characters read by great actors so well actedPullman also has a bone to pick with C S Lewis whose fantasy children’s series The Narnia Chronicles I grew up loving Pullman told The New York Times in 2000 “When you look at what CS Lewis is saying his message is so anti life so cruel so unjust The view that the Narnia books have for the material world is one of almost undisguised contempt At one point the old professor says ‘It’s all in Plato’ — meaning that the physical world we see around us is the crude shabby imperfect second rate copy of something much better I want to emphasize the simple physical truth of things the absolute primacy of the material life rather than the spiritual or the afterlife” I loved growing up in the bosom of a Calvinist church reading The Narnia Chronicles and I don't recall all the harshness to which Pullman refers but I read it when I was steeped in that theology So he may have a point therePullman argues finally for embracing a “republic of heaven” here on Earth This is Blake and not Milton talking through Pullman advocating a pluralistic way of life and not a monotheistic religion Be God where you are Pullman says Pullman’s view is closer to Buddhism and the I Ching and existentialist Christianity think Kierkegaard Renounce the One or False God he says and instead Be God which as I see it is one interpretation of what Christianity is saying a Christian ought to become No guru no teacher as Van Morrison sings In the end Lyra having lost her ability to read the alethiometer intuitively decides to return to Oxford to study alethiometry which might just be another word for how Pullman sees fantasy as the narrative exploration of multiple worlds and dimensions and truths In the end Lyra and her dæmon Pantalaimon who has taken the permanent form of a pine marten resolve to build the republic of Heaven on Earth In the light of the ongoing destruction of the planet this is a hopeful vision of how we should be living the spiritual life honoring the environment