rather liked the movie, so when do we get to see what happens next?
It is extremely unlikely that any sequels would ever get made.
The Golden Compass cost a bundle to
make (rumours have it as high as $220 million) and market ($50 million
according to some sources) and it underperformed at the box office. In
contrast to the Lord of the
Rings movies which were filmed all at once, the plan for Golden
Compass from the start was to see how the first movie performs
money-wise before filming the other two books in children’s author Philip
Pullman’s His Dark Materials fantasy trilogy.
So I have to read the books to see what happens next?
Yup. All the books in the series are: The Golden Compass (Northern
Lights in the UK, Pullman apparently preferred the US title), The
Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
Phew! So one doesn’t need to wait for the writer to finish all the
Nope. The last book in the series was published in 2000. So you can
read them all as one book, which we suggest you do.
I’ve seen the movie. Can I skip the first book and go straight on to The
Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass then?
Afraid not. Although the movie adaptation of
Golden Compass is quite true
to the first book in the series, it does however leave out the last few
chapters. Those are the bits deemed “too controversial” for a big budgeted
Hollywood epic and were thus omitted. The cliff-hanger ending in the movie
version is also very different to the one in the book and you’d be lost if
you’ve only seen the movie and decide to skip right ahead to the second
book in the series.
So I’ll have to read Golden Compass even though I’ve seen the movie then?!
Yes. But don’t worry: the book contains all kinds of important plot
details left out by the movie. Also, the action in the first book is
shuffled about for the movie. And the final chapters deal with all the
religious controversy stuff everybody thought would be in the movie, but
wasn’t . . .
Speaking of which, what’s all this “armies being raised to kill God” stuff
all about? Is it true?
Yes, we cannot tell a lie. Author Philip Pullman is an outspoken and vocal
atheist. Are the books an attack on organised religion? Yes. But they’re
also great page-turners. How offended you’ll be depends on how
thin-skinned you are when it comes to religious issues. Put it this way:
if the Harry Potter books offended
you, these ones will flip you out completely . . . (Click
here for more info.)
Can I have my kids read them?
Sure. They are great, intelligent reads. What bothered this particular
reviewer more than the religious subtexts are the fact that the books are
often quite gruesome. They’re definitely gorier than the Potter books. But
particularly boys of a certain age
love that sort of thing. Adults will also enjoy them, even though there is
a lot of breathless “Lyra over listening the villains’ plans” stuff in
I like science fiction but don’t like Fantasy
— will I still enjoy
The His Dark Materials trilogy has lots of sci-fi type stuff in it.
Besides, it breaks away from your standard Lord
of the Rings / quest / dwarves / magicians template followed closely
in books such as Eragon.
Is the religious stuff more explicit in the books?
Oh yes, it is particularly explicit in the last two books. How Hollywood
planned to film these books without any religious content in them to
offend Middle America is a complete mystery. Guess none of the money
bosses were readers . . .
The Golden Compass will be released on Region 1 DVD on April 29, 2008
His Dark Materials Trilogy (The
Golden Compass; The Subtle Knife; The Amber Spyglass) [BOX SET]
by Philip Pullman
level: Young Adult
Publisher: Laurel Leaf (September 23, 2003)