My opinion of Pullman's His Dark Materials
With the impending release of the movie version of The Golden Compass, discussing the meaning of Pullman's series seems to have become all the rage.
If you'd like to read author John C. Wright say much of this far more eloquently, go here and be sure to read the comments.
Here's my two cents:
First, many people are running around claiming that the series is not atheistic or anti-Christian at all. To which my response is: have you lost your mind?! If Pullman wants to write a series that is quite explicitly anti-God, that is his choice. But even if you don’t have a problem with Pullman accusing the Christian God of being an impostor, to pretend that Pullman’s trilogy is actually Christian is insane!
That's unimportant to me for the purposes of this post, however. My main problem with Pullman's writing is that the story, which started off so wonderfully with The Golden Compass, was whored out for the purposes of ideology by the end of The Amber Spyglass. The later part of the series is nothing but a string of broken literary promises and contrived plot-twists that make no sense in the context of the story.
- The Subtle Knife is the only thing that can kill the Authority, and thus Will is going to slay the Authority
- There will be a second War in Heaven in which the Republic of Heaven will overthrow the Authority and establish a new rule
- Lyra will betray someone
- Lyra will be the new Eve
- Mary will be the new serpent
- The Authority dies by falling out of bed
- They don't - the battle ends with (apparently) mutual destruction of leaders, leaving the throne of Heaven empty and powerless, despite the fact that the hierarchies of the "armies" are left almost entirely intact
- She doesn't
- She isn't
- She isn't
I don't hate the series because it's anti-Christian. I really enjoyed many books that are incompatible with Christian theology. I hate this series because Philip Pullman chose to force his atheistic message into the story. Instead of making God evil, which the story demanded, Pullman made Him an impotent charlatan, which his ideology demanded.
He forced the story into an ending inconsistent with its own beginning, and for that I have a hard time forgiving him.