Re-Reading THE GOLDEN COMPASS as an adult: Does the love last???
We all subject to the fates. But we must act as if we are not, or die of despair."
~THE GOLDEN COMPASS
Growing up, Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials was one of my all-time favorite series, surpassed only by The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I read both series again and again. The books shattered and broke me, but also filled my heart and took me away on dangerous, captivating adventures.
When I recently heard that the BBC was going to produce the series for TV, I was extremely excited. They've created some compelling series and have great quality, and I trust them to do a great job. Every couple of months, I've been checking to see if there's been any major news on airdates, etc., because I'm so impatient to fall in love with this story all over again.
Earlier this year, I heard that Pullman had finally written his long whispered-about Book of Dust--and that it would be released in three parts!!!
I've been chomping at the bit for a re-read for a long time, and with all this new stuff on the horizon, I knew I really wanted to. When the publisher invited me to be a part of its blog tour to introduce new readers to the series and get longtime fans excited for The Book of Dust, I leapt for joy and said yes as fast as I could.
But...I was nervous, too. What if I didn't like the books as much upon my re-read? What if they don't hold up?
I shouldn't have worried!
Epic quests? Check! Dastardly villains that stick with you? Check! Plucky heroine who doesn't know she's destined for greatness? Check!
I'll admit, it took a few chapters to fall back in this world again. Lyra is pretty obnoxious in the beginning -- but also completely acting her age! Lyra is a girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders: But unlike in most quests, she's unaware of her Destiny. Should she ever find out, her destiny will change and the world will fall. It was so interesting to see all the little asides about Lyra and her destiny, because so many characters know the truth -- and as a re-reader, so do I. I also wanted to cuddle Lyra and keep her safe from all the heartache lying ahead, but I can't.
THE GOLDEN COMPASS has strong world-building, introducing dæmons, who are sort of like pets, only every human has one. They're reminiscent of Pinocchio and Jiminy Cricket, a soul, a conscious. There are rules: it's considered vulgar and immoral to touch another person's dæmon, something too intimate to be considered. When bad things start happening to children and their dæmons, it's considered to be a huge violation and the stakes to save them are higher than anyone knows. And I won't go into spoilers, but there are so many cool things about dæmons!
The other thing I love most about this series is how fleshed out the characters are. The villains give you chills. The secondary characters -- secondary ones!! -- make you long for them even when they're gone. Even a few minor characters!! This world is so immersive and its people so unique, I just can't get enough. I'm so glad I'm taking the time to re-read this captivating series this summer, and can't wait to dive into The Book of Dust this fall!!