There is no emotion that a well-written book can’t make you feel. Stinging eyes after an emotional send-off, trembling rage from an unexpected betrayal, immense relief once danger passes; we might go into a book with little expectations, yet get dangerously attached to the characters in them.
Phillip Pullman is an author who creates magic with his words. Each sentence in his books simply paints a vivid picture in your mind. You can almost imagine the way the scenery smells with the way he describes it all. Here’s an excerpt from his book, the Subtle Knife:
“The stormy air was electric with whispers, and in the tearing of the wind Will could hear other sounds, too: confused echoes of cries and chanting, the clash of metal on metal, pounding wingbeats that one moment sounded so close they might actually be inside his head, and the next so far away they might have been on another planet. The rocks underfoot were slippery and loose, and it was much harder going down than it had been climbing up; but he didn’t falter.”
His Dark Materials is a series that pulls on your heartstrings with its beautiful depiction of childhood excitement, curiosity, and learning. Every character is written as a real and complex person. The reasons behind their actions always come to light, which gives the reader clarity.
This brings us to the main theme of the series. It touches upon humanity as a whole and the original sin. It keeps in theme with Lyra, the protagonist’s view; the gradual change in her character from naïve and innocent to distrustful leaves us with a hole in our hearts.
When I first picked up this series, I had no expectations. How interesting could a book named “The Golden Compass” be? It sounded like a children’s novel, probably akin to a fairy tale. Little did I know that I’d end up calling this series my favourite. Reading this series made me realise just how precious every second of our life is. It gave me the realisation that sometimes, our paths take us in directions that we never expected, or even wanted. Every action we make has consequences, and they travel far and wide in ways we can’t anticipate.
Everything in His Dark Materials circles around the pursuit of knowledge, keeping us on our toes as we wonder whether our protagonist will find them. Beyond that, we wonder whether the answers are ones that need to be heard.
Being inquisitive is what makes us human. I hope reading this makes you inquisitive enough to want to read this fantastic series. I promise you’ll thank me after you do.