I think it's impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.
-Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game

"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."
-Phillip K. Dick

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Genre: Children / Steampunk / Fantasy

An 11 year old girl named Lyra is given a small golden object called an alethiometer that she learns how to use.  This object allows her to ask questions and receive answers.  She discovers who her parents are and what they plan to do in the name of Dust.

Back Cover:
Lyra Belacqua is content to run wild among the scholars of Jordan College, with her daemon familiar always by her side.  But the arrival of her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, draws her to the heart of a terrible struggle – a struggle born of Gobblers and stolen children, witch clans and armored bears.  And as she hurtles toward danger in the cold far North, Lyra never suspects the shocking truth: she alone is destined to win, or lose, this more-than-mortal battle.

I thought this book was amazing.  I think I read it in elementary school but it had been so long I just had to reread it.  This is a work of magnificent eloquence.  Phillip Pullman has done a splendid job of telling a great story with excellent language.  It has great characters, particularly a great lead, Lyra Belacqua or Lyra Silvertongue depending on who you ask.  I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this trilogy, The Subtle Tongue.  I do recommend reading this one if you haven’t yet.  You will not be disappointed.

Favorite Quotes:
“The places here were laid with gold, not silver, and the fourteen seats were not oak benches but mahogany chairs with velvet cushions.” – Phillip Pullman (The Golden Compass)

“The stars are alive, child. Did you know that? Everything out there is alive, and there are grand purposes abroad! The universe is full of intentions, you know. Everything happens for a purpose. Your purpose is to remind me of that.” – Phillip Pullman (The Golden Compass)

“Take the example of tossing a coin: it can come down heads or tails, and we don’t know before it lands which way it’s going to fall.  If it comes down heads, that means that the possibility of its coming down tails has collapsed.  Until that moment the two possibilities were equal.  But on another world, it does come down tails. And when that happens, the two worlds split apart. I’m using the example of tossing a coin to make it clearer. In fact, these possibility collapses happen at the level of elementary particles, but they happen in just the same way: one moment several things are possible, the next moment only one happens, and the rest don’t exist. Except that other worlds have sprung into being, on which they did happen.” – Phillip Pullman (The Golden Compass)

Shame on anyone who thinks evil of this.

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