Great Expectations

or “My Life in Blog Sounds Much Cooler Than It Really Is”

Archive for May, 2008

Is the Golden Compass a moral compass?

Posted by mandyhuckins on May 23, 2008

So, I have admit that I watched the movie, The Golden Compass, before I really knew what it was about or heard any of the hype (I know, I know, but I kind of do live under a rock).  I really enjoyed the movie and thought it contained some very interesting, science-fiction type ideas.  I thought it was pretty mature and was surprised it had been marketed to children, despite the fact that the protagonist is a 12 year old girl.  I thought it would be too scary for kids.  But as an adult, I found it intriguing and decided to read the books. 

Then, I heard about the moral debate swirling around the movie and the trilogy of novels written by Philip Pullman.  I did see the anti-establishment theme in the film, but I didn’t think it was particularly anti-Christian.  Yes, the spirits/souls of the characters in this alternate worlds are called daemons, and in our world demons are bad/associated with Satan, but in this alternate world, many things are topsy-turvy.  I thought it might just be an over-reactive, knee-jerk reaction from the church.

So, I checked out books two and three in the series, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, from the library.  The Subtle Knife was pretty good.  It followed the story of Lyra and added a new character – Will – from our own world.  He becomes the wielder of the subtle knife which can cut through the fabric between alternate worlds and allow beings to pass through.  Lyra is weirded out by the fact that in our world humans’ spirits are completely enclosed within their bodies and do not have an outward, physical manifestation in the shape of an animal.  I still found the relationship between the characters and their daemons very interesting – as was the choice of each character’s animal side.  My family used to play a game where we decided which animal each member of the family was most like (my mom thought I was a deer).  It is an intriguing idea – just like the Patronus in Harry Potter where each character can produce a protective charm in the shape of an animal which represents the creator of the charm (Harry’s is a stag – Hermione’s is an otter).  From this second book in the series (which, incidentally, is called “His Dark Materials” – so, that should have given me a clue) was still enjoyable – but, a little more anti-church – the Magesterium is called “church” and high-ranking officials are Bishops.  There was some light criticism which I was able to take in stride and did not find too offensive.

So, I embarked on the third book.  I got 50 or 60 pages into it and have decided to put it down.  It has a decidedly different tone from the movie or the previous novel.  Pullman really gets almost “preachy” with his anti-Christianity platform.  The reader discovers that the children are actually on a quest to kill God.  There are angels – but they are the “fallen” angels – this time recruiting other beings to join them on what will be a successful fight against the “Authority.”  There is even a homosexual pair of angels!  I can clearly see why the church and Christian groups have spoken out against this series.  It does draw you in, you want to keep reading to see what happens to Will and Lyra and it isn’t until you get to the third installment that it becomes nasty and heavy-handed. 

It is incredible that these books have been written for and marketed to children.  They have been given awards and chosen for children’s reading groups.  They are exremely imaginative and well written – they transport the reader to a different world – they are thought provoking and different from other literature, nonetheless, if you are a Christian, or if you think you might be offended by some of the ideas presented, I would advise you to stear clear.

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Posted in Reading | 1 Comment »

Guess what? I am NOT dead…

Posted by mandyhuckins on May 23, 2008

Everyone, I am so sorry!  Just like with any activity, once you get out of the habit, it is difficult to get started again.  I have had a lot going on, but I still need to continue to post.  Please forgive me.  Thank you to those of you who have encouraged me to get back in the game.

Posted in Living | 1 Comment »