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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Golden, you are setting out to do what?

Over the past week my wife and I went and saw the third installment of Pirates of the Caribbean, and one of the trailers was "from the people that brought you Lord of the Rings" (I don't know if it is the special effects people or who or what they did) and it showed a ring falling, my wife and I got really excited and started softly chanthing "The Hobbit, The Hobbit." Anyway, it turns out to be this movie called "The Golden Compass", to me it looked like a lame attempt to take Narnia, repackage it and make another story that isn't as good in an attempt rape and pillage parents wallets as kids would just "love" to see it and so I made the statment, " I will pass on that one."

Well, it turns out to basically be written by a guy named Phillip Pullman, who is from England and apparently an atheist. This moves is a story that is part of a series, His Dark Materials, in the UK the first book is called Nothern Lights but in the US it is published as The Golden Compass. Basically, in a fashion that is somewhat similar to Narnia, Pullman creates a world that t is designed to draw children in but has a decidely different message. It appears that the person who has "created all that is" was really created just the same as everyone else and lies to everyone saying her created them. The quest that the children undertake is basically for all intents and purposes to kill God. Another one that just drives me up a wall is the fact that everyone has a daemon (translation from old english=demon) that is part and parcel of their being and in fact you die without it.

One of the links written by Pullman himself is a description about the dishonesty of Narnia (whom Pullman despises), and is located here. Another resource with lots of information is Amy Welborn's review of the material here. I have also found a kind of cliff notes version/study guide is available at SparkNotes. My wife alerted me about this on a discussion forum that she is on. Here is another article from New Yorker magazine on the subject of Lewis and Pullman. Lastly, here is an article from Mark Shea, talking about Potter, Nine Inch Nails and Harry Pullman.

Ok, I know its too late to stop this movie from coming into being but it definitely isn't too late to keep our kids from it and keep it from becoming the heir apparent to Narnia and Potter. This all reminds me of the discussion that Socrates had in Plato's Republic. Plato has a diatribe about poet's and that they can very much confuse things and about the justified poet, the one who is in right reason are the only ones that should be in the city. If the city is your house, your children's minds, what do we want in their mind?

Under the Mercy,

Matthew S

Oh, and Catholic Bloggers, the Catholicblogs result is at 10 currently, lets fill it up and create a storm.
Oh, and some more resources coutesy of The Curt Jester.

You might be interested in what former atheist and SF author John C. Wright
says about Pullman. He liked the first book for the most part,but not the
following two. He protests the recent naming him for the best
children's books in the last 70 years.


wtanksley said...

Oh, that was a nasty series. I actually read the whole thing -- I don't regret it, being something of an apologist -- but in spite of a beautiful world and universe, the author manages to shoehorn incredible moral ugliness to the point that I can't recommend it.

DO NOT give this book to your children.

Spoilers follow. I mean spoilers. Finish your lunch before you read.

The villain in the first book ends the book with a deliberate human sacrifice performed in a revolting manner for the furtherance of his own plans. By the middle of the second book and for the rest of the series, he's a hero, and he never is so much as asked to explain the torture/murder/spiritual destruction of the child. Oh, and it appears that he'd done things like it before just to see how well it would work for his purposes.

That's enough for me. He took a really fun book and turned it into really ugly horror in just a few pages. It's especially sad because the author's talent is considerable; the world he evokes is interesting and fun. Until you discover the purpose...

Of course, I found it corny that every uninformed speculation by any adult in the book, after being acted on as though it were substantiated truth, turned out to be true, and all the work spent and risks taken on the basis of the speculation pay off. Equally corny was the fact that the purpose of the entire three-book plot was to euthanize God (there's a more important twist ending, but that's the one everything leads up to). But I wouldn't recommend this strongly against a book merely for corniness or stupidity.

Amy Caroline said...

Thank you for posting thsi Matthew! I saw this preveiw before HP and was wondering what it was about. Now I know!

berenike said...

Complete poison these books. Do not at all regret having read one as otherwise I might not believe how bad they are. That is, they are really rather well written, which makes them much worse, if you see what I mean.

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