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dox online
10-12-07, 17:49
Thread given to the trilogy by philip pullman
http://media.monstersandcritics.com/articles/1379163/article_images/image2_1196966838.jpg
Has anyone watched the movie yet?
Done
VV

Geck-o-Lizard
10-12-07, 18:08
Say something about them to start a discussion or I'm locking this. :rolleyes:

Greenkey2
10-12-07, 18:15
I've read all the books and added them to my desert island collection :tmb:

I haven't seen the film but would like to; and I hope that fears that it has downplayed the Church's role are unfounded.

TombRaiderLover
10-12-07, 18:17
I've read the first two books and really enjoyed them. Read half of the third, but never finished it for some reason.

Nope, not seen the film yet. ;)

Trigger_happy
10-12-07, 18:20
AH, how appropriate. I just started rereading the book this very week. So faqr I'm on page 77 of the Subtle knife.

About the film- I feel that it has been heavily americanised and is highly deviated from the plot. I have to admit, I haven't seen the film, but it is the only film trailer I can remember that made me want to through my shoes at the screen in disgust.

dox online
10-12-07, 18:22
Ive only read the subttle knife. (First long book I have read and finished in ages.)

Ada the Mental
10-12-07, 18:57
Yay! A HDM thread! About time! :)

I totally love the books! I'm currently rereading the third one.:jmp:

Not sure how I feel about the movie. I'm getting a bit excited (it hasn't been released here yet) which is not very good, as I'm afraid it's going to be disappointing.

Erm, dox, what's the point of reading the second book without having read the first one? :p

tweetygwee
10-12-07, 19:10
I wanted an HDM thread, but of all people to start it: Dox :confused:? LOL!

Anyway, the books are great. I'm right near the end of the third! So thought-provoking, and they kind of co-incided with my maturation and forming of philosophies and opinions (I suppose that would be the "settling of the daemon" in Lyra's world :D). I can relate to so many of the little thoughts and struggles the characters have in the books (albeit in a fantasy setting), and I like when an author can do that.

As for the film, I haven't seen it. From the trailer, I really like Sam Elliot as Lee Scoresby, and Ian McKellen sounds ok too. Not too keen on Lyra to be honest. Wasn't too sure on Nicole Kidman, but now she seems ok. Also, Oxford looks total :cen:. This is NOT Star Wars. I also have fears the quirks and writing of the books can never be put across on-screen, that it's been made too "kiddy" and I sense a fair few plot changes that will hack me off. Could be interesting though.

ThomasCroft
10-12-07, 19:13
I absolutely loved this series! So magical ... yet the deeper meanings of coming to terms with puberty and sexual maturity were masterfully handled.

My favourite was probably "The Amber Spyglass" as it portrayed emotions much more effectively, and had a more epic 'feel'.

However, "The Subtle Knife" was also absolutely fantastic and - because it was more succinct - actually engrossed me more than "The Amber Spyglass", encouraging me to keep reading at an alarming pace!

"Northern Lights" was also very good and was a brilliant introduction to the series; its creative ideas were presented really clearly and the plot was great. But there was too much waffle in the middle of the book as not much was happening, so it definitely could have been shortened.

The series was a great read, appealing to both mature and younger readers. It was inspirational and absolutely captivating.

:wve:

Angelus
10-12-07, 19:16
I read these books... what, 5 years ago now. I loved them all, and I'm thinking of going back and re-reading them all, because it was so long ago that I read them.

The film looks very Americanised and doesn't really appeal to me, as it's been made as a family film when the books aren't really family material; they're about growing up and puberty... not your average family night out at the cinema. :p

Mad Tony
10-12-07, 19:35
Started reading Northern Lights. I really tried getting into it, but it was just so boring.

Sorry to be somewhat of a wet towel. :p

Catlantean
10-12-07, 19:56
I've read the books and liked them a lot. The movie's not in the cinemas here yet, but to be honest I'm a little afraid to go see it. Personally I don't think the story is an attack on religion as much as it is on totalitarianism in general (and if any religion recognizes itself in the Magisterium and its ruthless "dominate or destroy" philosophy, it speaks more of them than the "satanist" author), but it can easily be taken as a controversy and as such has a great potential to be butchered and dumbed down to what's appropriate for an American kids' movie :(
I'll probably go see the movie anyway.

Voni
10-12-07, 20:07
I love the books, but I'm really hacked off with the retitling of the film in Britain. Over here, we know it as Northern Lights, not The Golden Compass, so why have we been landed with the American title? Grrrrrr.

ThomasCroft
10-12-07, 20:09
I love the books, but I'm really hacked off with the retitling of the film in Britain. Over here, we know it as Northern Lights, not The Golden Compass, so why have we been landed with the American title? Grrrrrr.

AHHH!! Yeah ... God!! That annoys me sooo much, too!! :mad:

And it isn't even a golden compass!!! It's a what-dya-macallit-thingy!!!

:cen:

Voni
10-12-07, 20:13
AHHH!! Yeah ... God!! That annoys me sooo much, too!! :mad:

And it isn't even a golden compass!!! It's a what-dya-macallit-thingy!!!

:cen:

HOORAH! Someone agrees with me!

I mean, they changed the title with Harry Potter, didn't they? What's the problem?

Ampersand
10-12-07, 20:17
I read the first two books and enjoyed them very much, but couldn't really get into the third one. He's a brilliant author and one of the most talented and original of recent years, but the Amber Spyglass was too much of a soapbox rant for my liking.

I just saw the film a couple of days ago. I enjoyed it despite its pretty dire pacing issues. The daemons and bears really stole the show for me, the fight between Iorek and 'Ragnar' (Iofur, dammit) was my favourite part.

andromeda_eats
10-12-07, 20:23
i SO excited about the movie. Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter. COOL

tweetygwee
10-12-07, 20:31
Started reading Northern Lights. I really tried getting into it, but it was just so boring.

Sorry to be somewhat of a wet towel. :p

I agree. You just have to keep reading and trust it will get better (which it does).

AHHH!! Yeah ... God!! That annoys me sooo much, too!! :mad:

And it isn't even a golden compass!!! It's a what-dya-macallit-thingy!!!

:cen:

HOORAH! Someone agrees with me!

I mean, they changed the title with Harry Potter, didn't they? What's the problem?

Totally agree. Compass totally de-mystifies it. And I'm sure somewhere (probably not official) I heard it billed as "the search for the compass begins" or some total nonsense like that.

(and if any religion recognizes itself in the Magisterium and its ruthless "dominate or destroy" philosophy, it speaks more of them than the "satanist" author),

Thanks for summarizing my opinion on that, in better words than I could have!

Mad Tony
10-12-07, 20:33
I agree. You just have to keep reading and trust it will get better (which it does).Hmmm... a little bit too late for that. I sold the books and moved on to other things. :p

ThomasCroft
10-12-07, 20:48
Hmmm... a little bit too late for that. I sold the books and moved on to other things. :p

:eek:!!

Blasphemy!

:D

Geck-o-Lizard
10-12-07, 20:58
I tried Northern Lights but couldn't get into it either... I don't remember why exactly, it just wasn't really engaging like other books I've read. I need to try again though, if only to see what all the fuss is about.

Ada the Mental
10-12-07, 21:02
I found the start of Northern Lights quite boring as well. But it definitely gets better later. I only really got into it when I started the Subtle Knife.

Apofiss
10-12-07, 21:33
Did read an interesting comment on dA about this:



Never ever ever go into a movie after having just read the book. I did it with "Harry Potter" and I was annoyed then, but not nearly as annoyed as I was tonight when watching this flick.

Firstly, I'll say the artists did a wonderful job with it [in places]. Though some of the scenes (for instance when Iorek was racing across the ice) could have been improved upon SO much. It almost felt like I was watching a film in the raw at moments. But then visually at other times I was very pleased as it looked like some of the concept paintings (with the blue lights that all the guys seem to be fond of doing these days) come to life, even if it wasn't fully realistic. I liked almost everything that was "engineered" looking, but the CGI animals just weren't up to par with some other recent movies and felt cartoony a chunk of the time. The colours and lighting in some scenes were just fantastic.

My real gripe though? My god, I felt like they murdered the story. They didn't explain anything to the audience & then completely left out some of my favourite scenes, or mixed up characters who should have been doing this or that. Did scenes out of order, just barely kissed upon important pieces...

I felt like it was like watching beautiful vomit. Some of the chunks were really great to look at, but they did a very poor job of tying it together. And they ****ing skipped the ending all together, which I imagine will be [of course] in the next movie, but I felt it was a rather important part of the first book.

The one thing they did seem to get right was capturing Lyra's wild, bratty nature with that child. She wasn't a bad actress in the least (I quite think she nailed it). And even though Ms. Coulter should have had black hair, I thought Nicole Kidman was just gorgeous to look upon (wearing as she always does, her blonde hair).

Don't tell me it's because it's a movie and they don't have enough time to squeeze every little detail in, I knew that already going in, and frankly had been so impressed by the trailers that's WHY I bothered to read the book in the first place. The first of the "Lord of the Rings" managed just fine to pull us into their world in a limited timeframe.

The entire time I felt like some odd spectator and I felt no compassion for any of the characters especially the "special" looking Roger who really looked as if perhaps his father's dæmon kicked him in his head, or perhaps Lyra shoved him off of the roof during one of their romps. Then again the book didn't really make you know his character well enough to care when he was "cut" either. Just to care that Lyra cared.

I would probably give it 2.5 stars out of 5 and that's mainly for the visual components that made me smile at times.

rowanlim
11-12-07, 04:36
I just watched the movie a couple of days ago, I liked it very much, going to rent the books soon :p

very interesting tale! :tmb:

Mytly
13-12-07, 06:47
I found the start of Northern Lights quite boring as well. But it definitely gets better later. I only really got into it when I started the Subtle Knife.
Me too. In fact, I barely got through Northern Lights/The Golden compass, but I'm glad I did, since the other two books in the series are so fantastic.

An interview with Philip Pullman (http://www.moreintelligentlife.com/node/697), if anyone's interested. It's mostly just publicity for the movie, and one of Pullman's statements dissing Tolkien ****ed me off quite thoroughly. :mad: Isn't it enough for him that his work has gained such renown? Why does he feel the need to belittle a much, much better writer?

Ward Dragon
13-12-07, 11:39
I don't like His Dark Materials. It was excruciatingly slow-paced in most parts. I hate Lyra because she's a bratty little liar, so I didn't empathize with her at all and I just got annoyed whenever she opened her mouth. I also felt that parts of the trilogy were way too preachy for my tastes. The third book in particular was totally off the deep end. All I'm going to say is that if Pullman really views God and religion as being so pathetic, then that makes atheists in general look even more pathetic for not overcoming religion's power in the world. I'm sure that wasn't his intention, but in pretty much any story it makes the main characters look really weak and pathetic if they have so much trouble winning against an enemy that's painted as a stupid powerless buffoon.

if any religion recognizes itself in the Magisterium and its ruthless "dominate or destroy" philosophy, it speaks more of them than the "satanist" author

Exactly how many different religions involve Eve and a serpent tempter? :whi:

@Mytly: He had the nerve to insult Tolkien? :eek: He must have taken exception to Tolkien's insistence that an author's job is to tell a story, not try to manipulate the readers into believing something :rolleyes:

Ampersand
13-12-07, 11:54
Oh wow, if there's one way to get into my bad books it's by calling Tolkien 'trivial'. Tolkien was one of the best fantasy worldbuilders ever to live, thanks very much. I have to say that Pullman's constant posing as an 'anti-Narnia, anti-Tolkien' figure really gets on my nerves. Man's trying too hard.

It degrades his books a little, in my eyes, that sometimes he seems to just be using them as a vehicle for his ranting.

Catlantean
13-12-07, 12:05
Exactly how many different religions involve Eve and a serpent tempter? :whi:


Three that I know of (Christianity, Islam and Judaism).

Pullman's attitude towards LotR and Narnia doesn't have any effect on me liking his books, but it does lose him some respect in my eyes...

Ward Dragon
13-12-07, 12:17
Three that I know of (Christianity, Islam and Judaism).

Right, so he's writing about one of those three at the very least. Then in the third book, the scientist says she used to be a nun but then she realized Christianity was wrong (or something to that effect).

I didn't like His Dark Materials because I think it failed as a story, and part of that was because it got way too preachy toward the end. I can understand people liking it anyway, but I don't understand how people can think it's not preachy :confused:

tweetygwee
13-12-07, 15:10
Right, so he's writing about one of those three at the very least. Then in the third book, the scientist says she used to be a nun but then she realized Christianity was wrong (or something to that effect).

I didn't like His Dark Materials because I think it failed as a story, and part of that was because it got way too preachy toward the end. I can understand people liking it anyway, but I don't understand how people can think it's not preachy :confused:

It is very preachy, but for me at least in an interesting, rather than ranty way. I think we're misunderstanding his comment on Tolkien here. I have great respect for Tolkien, but I think what Pullman was saying is that his books have little thought-provoking religious stuff in them (which I would agree with, Tolkien himself even said he disliked allegory.)

kill bill
13-12-07, 15:11
The series is ok. But I like northern lights the best:D

dox online
13-12-07, 15:29
My faverate is the subtle knife.

Ada the Mental
13-12-07, 18:44
Because it's the only one you've read? :p

To be honest, I prefer reading theses series as nothing more than a simple, entertaining story (as I'm not particularly interested in religious themes) so the (undoubtedly) preaching tone flew right past my head.

I hate Lyra because she's a bratty little liar, so I didn't empathize with her at all and I just got annoyed whenever she opened her mouth.
I'm not particularly fond of Lyra, either, though I don't exactly hate her. Not only she's too much of an annoying little brat, but she just refuses to use her brains at times. >> Eg."Oh, what a nice, kind old man, with his shiny, pretty limo, I just met! I should so trust him!"
I prefer Will to be honest. He completely overshadows her in the last two books, anyway.

Another thing that annoyed me in the books is that most of the characters seem too fond of long winded, passionate monologues and the dialogues seem too forced and unrealistic, IMO. But I've only read the books in Greek, so it could just be bad translation, I don't really know.

But I really liked the books, on the whole. I just enjoyed the universe and particularly the idea of the daemons. :)

It is very preachy, but for me at least in an interesting, rather than ranty way. I think we're misunderstanding his comment on Tolkien here. I have great respect for Tolkien, but I think what Pullman was saying is that his books have little thought-provoking religious stuff in them (which I would agree with, Tolkien himself even said he disliked allegory.)
And is there a rule that says that books have to include though-provoking religious subjects? That's purely the author's choice. :p

tweetygwee
13-12-07, 19:48
And is there a rule that says that books have to include though-provoking religious subjects? That's purely the author's choice. :p

That thought crossed my mind while typing. Well, it's what Philip wants, and he won't get it by reading Tolkien, so that's why he wouldn't be worth arguing with (from Pullman's POV). By no means should all books be religiously themed!

Ward Dragon
14-12-07, 04:53
It is very preachy, but for me at least in an interesting, rather than ranty way. I think we're misunderstanding his comment on Tolkien here. I have great respect for Tolkien, but I think what Pullman was saying is that his books have little thought-provoking religious stuff in them (which I would agree with, Tolkien himself even said he disliked allegory.)

I understood what Pullman was saying. I happen to agree with Tolkien's distaste for allegory, which is why I prefer Lord of the Rings to Narnia or His Dark Materials. I admit this might be just me, but Lord of the Rings actually did make me think a lot more than either Narnia or His Dark Materials simply because Tolkien was telling things "as they happened" rather than trying to give me a message. For that reason, it felt much more real to me and I was able to draw my own meaning from everything that happened. The symbolism of the ending with Gollum and Frodo alone was far more profound and moving to me than any of the transparent attempts to convince me of anything in Pullman's books or The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe (I haven't read the other Narnia books since I didn't particularly like the first one).

Anyhow, I just thought it was amusing that Pullman says Tolkien isn't worth arguing with and C. S. Lewis is, but then elsewhere in the interview he said that his story wasn't an argument so he wouldn't bother defending it :p

I'm not particularly fond of Lyra, either, though I don't exactly hate her. Not only she's too much of an annoying little brat, but she just refuses to use her brains at times. >> Eg."Oh, what a nice, kind old man, with his shiny, pretty limo, I just met! I should so trust him!"
I prefer Will to be honest. He completely overshadows her in the last two books, anyway.

Yes, exactly :D She was so self-centered, dishonest and stupid that I just didn't understand why so many people loved her and trusted her. That weird phenomenon of characters willing to do anything for such a brat for no apparent reason really made it hard for me to feel for any of the characters. I think my favorite part in the entire series was when the harpy attacked Lyra for lying to her. I waited over 1000 pages for someone to finally put her in her place!

Another thing that annoyed me in the books is that most of the characters seem too fond of long winded, passionate monologues and the dialogues seem too forced and unrealistic, IMO. But I've only read the books in Greek, so it could just be bad translation, I don't really know.

I got the same impression from the English version as well. A lot of parts really dragged because nothing happened except for tons of pointless and empty dialogue.

But I really liked the books, on the whole. I just enjoyed the universe and particularly the idea of the daemons. :)

I love the idea of daemons and parallel worlds. I'm just really disappointed that the potential for such a wonderful story was wasted. Parts of the series seemed so ridiculously contrived for no apparent reason other than to make fun of religion. So, it's not that I mind people disagreeing with religion, but I feel that Pullman forced his religious views into the series at the expense of the story. The ending was such a freaking let-down. I mean, after all of the crap I forced myself to read through, it turns out that "God" blows away in the breeze and the super-powerful fearsome angel gets hugged to death by Lyra's parents and they all fall into a bottomless pit. That was such a cheap way to end the main conflict. I wanted a real battle, damn it!

Mytly
15-12-07, 14:21
I didn't like His Dark Materials because I think it failed as a story, and part of that was because it got way too preachy toward the end. I can understand people liking it anyway, but I don't understand how people can think it's not preachy :confused:
HDM is preachy - but it's also a lot of other things, IMO, including a damn good story, as well as a fascinating fantasy world - worlds, actually ;) - and brilliant concepts like Dust and daemons.

She was so self-centered, dishonest and stupid that I just didn't understand why so many people loved her and trusted her. That weird phenomenon of characters willing to do anything for such a brat for no apparent reason really made it hard for me to feel for any of the characters.
I neither like nor dislike Lyra, but I do agree with you that it was pretty annoying how everyone just adored her for no apparent reason. As a fictional character, she's just about tolerable, but in real life, she would be pretty hard to take!

In any case, I infinitely preferred Will as a character. I can't help wondering why Pullman waited till the second book to introduce him, though he's obviously central to the story. :confused:

Well, it's what Philip wants, and he won't get it by reading Tolkien, so that's why he wouldn't be worth arguing with (from Pullman's POV). By no means should all books be religiously themed!
Actually Pullman would get plenty of philosophical food for thought - and possibly for argument as well - if he read anything of Tolkien's apart from LOTR. But Tolkien's "religion" is nothing like either C. S. Lewis's Christianity or Pullmans's anti-Christianity.

tweetygwee
15-12-07, 14:41
Actually Pullman would get plenty of philosophical food for thought - and possibly for argument as well - if he read anything of Tolkien's apart from LOTR. But Tolkien's "religion" is nothing like either C. S. Lewis's Christianity or Pullmans's anti-Christianity.

Well, I've just started reading The Silmarillion, so that will be clear to me soon enough :D

Earthcane
15-12-07, 14:57
Love His Dark Materials. The atmosphere in Northern Lights, somehow, was not quite
recreated in the next two books IMO.

Fave character? Either Lee Scoresby or Charon the Ferryman.
Tialys and Salmakia were pretty cool, too.


I also hate the way the filmmakers are dumbing down the religious undercurrent in the movie, event Dust. But the introduction of Fra Pavel so early into the film hints that if a third movie gets made, then it will tackle the theme of Eve and the Serpent.

Craig looks perfect as Asriel, cant say the same about Kidman, though. Can't
wait to see the movie! :tmb:

Mytly
15-12-07, 15:10
Well, I've just started reading The Silmarillion, so that will be clear to me soon enough :D
Perfect! The Silmarillion is a must-read for a Tolkien fan. And hard as it is to believe, it's only a very *brief* version of Tolkien's entire mythology! :eek:

Earthcane
15-12-07, 15:15
I found that the Silmarillion was incredibly sloggy to get through.
I found the Cd version, the book in oral form, was handier.

off-topic: favouroite part?
Definietly Gothmog with his Troll-Guard. That Balrog is the pawnage!

on-topic: I love the subtle Knife too, though not as much as NL.

@ Ward Dragon: lol at your assessment of Lyra! But you've just gotta love the
little Queen of Jordan and all her Urchin admirers.

Ward Dragon
15-12-07, 15:43
HDM is preachy - but it's also a lot of other things, IMO, including a damn good story, as well as a fascinating fantasy world - worlds, actually ;) - and brilliant concepts like Dust and daemons.

There were interesting parts, like the scientist studying the mulefa. I just thought that the books dragged way too much in between the interesting parts and then I felt that the ending was extremely anti-climactic. It seemed like the actual story could have been told in a few hundred pages. When I read the interview with Pullman, I couldn't help but laugh ruefully when he said that he always wrote exactly 3 pages a day. If he forced himself to write 3 pages on days when he didn't have any good ideas and if he limited himself to 3 pages on days when he was on a roll, then that would explain the horrible pacing of the novels.

I found that the Silmarillion was incredibly sloggy to get through.

Indeed. There were definitely some interesting and memorable parts, but it was painfully obvious that Tolkien never meant it as a story. (If I remember correctly, his son collected his notes together and published it after he died)

@ Ward Dragon: lol at your assessment of Lyra! But you've just gotta love the
little Queen of Jordan and all her Urchin admirers.

Not really :p I didn't mind her so much at the beginning of the series, but as it went on she only got worse and worse. She started off foolish and impulsive, then as the story went on she grew stupid and helplessly dependent, and she took every opportunity to be dishonest along the way.

Earthcane
15-12-07, 15:52
Not really I didn't mind her so much at the beginning of the series, but as it went on she only got worse and worse. She started off foolish and impulsive, then as the story went on she grew stupid and helplessly dependent, and she took every opportunity to be dishonest along the way.
__________________


Yeah, I see what you mean. She would have never been able to free the Dead from
the Underworld if people like Will werent by her side.
During the final battle, I kinda wished she'd stop being a cry-baby. It took the momentum out of the chapter.

Will on the other hand, is by far the better protagonist, IMO. Behind that hard exterior,
lies a boy who has responsibilites and motivations - caring for his ill mother, for example.
Also, Kirjava is a pretty cool Daemon. Pity we didn get to know more about her.

Ward Dragon
15-12-07, 15:58
Yeah, I see what you mean. She would have never been able to free the Dead from
the Underworld if people like Will werent by her side.
During the final battle, I kinda wished she'd stop being a cry-baby. It took the momentum out of the chapter.

Will on the other hand, is by far the better protagonist, IMO. Behind that hard exterior,
lies a boy who has responsibilites and motivations - caring for his ill mother, for example.
Also, Kirjava is a pretty cool Daemon. Pity we didn get to know more about her.

Exactly. It's almost like Pullman started writing the second book and then realized that he didn't need Lyra anymore so she became just another tool for Will to use in order to carry out his mission. All she had to offer was that she could read the alethiometer, and then she stopped doing even that.

Earthcane
15-12-07, 16:16
But lyra had to lose the ability to use the alethiometer. It was a symbol of her
coming of age.

Will in my opinion, has the trickier task of slicing into other worlds with the knife.
it's no easy task, focusing all your concentarion on the point of the Knife without it
breaking.

But the second book sickened me after a while, the way his fingers were bleeding all the time. I mean, Will, you've lost you're fingers, get over it!


Has anyone here seen th live stage production of HDM?

Ward Dragon
15-12-07, 16:32
But lyra had to lose the ability to use the alethiometer. It was a symbol of her
coming of age.

I meant way before that. She basically stops reading the alethiometer and then bad things happen that could have been easily avoided. I think at one point she made an unsolicited promise to Will that she'd never read the alethiometer again (or something like that) and then she ended up letting him get into trouble that she could have avoided by just using her ability.

Earthcane
15-12-07, 16:35
Hmm. maybe I should reread Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, to jogg my
memory. But that's the thing about including overly powerful elements in fiction-
surely the Alethiometer could have forseen and stoppede certain events from playing out.

Ada the Mental
15-12-07, 16:36
I meant way before that. She basically stops reading the alethiometer and then bad things happen that could have been easily avoided. I think at one point she made an unsolicited promise to Will that she'd never read the alethiometer again (or something like that) and then she ended up letting him get into trouble that she could have avoided by just using her ability.

If I remember correctly she promised him she'd only use it to help him find his father. Because he was annoyed at her for using it to ask things about him that he didn't want her to know.

Ward Dragon
15-12-07, 16:50
If I remember correctly she promised him she'd only use it to help him find his father. Because he was annoyed at her for using it to ask things about him that he didn't want her to know.

Okay, right. That was it. I couldn't remember the details exactly. It just seemed like a very stupid and contrived way to cancel out the alethiometer's power so that Pullman could force the story where he wanted it to go. It would have made much more sense if Lyra had simply promised not to use the alethiometer to spy on Will. Not keeping track of things wasn't in either of their best interests.