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The Golden Compass

So I don’t know anything about The Golden Compass save what I’ve read in The Atlantic and Christianity Today. It sounds like everything interesting about the book has been stripped from the film, except for the giant talking bear. Indeed, I can’t imagine anyone would prefer materialist-theological allegory over talking animals. It’s what American cinema is all about, that.



The books are quite wonderful, actually (and should you happen to be on a long car trip, I also highly recommend the audio version). I generally refuse to see films of books I read as a child and hence have not seen the Narnia movie or any but the first of the Lord of Rings movies or (shudder) the travesty that is The Seeker: The Dark is Rising.
Pullman’s books weren’t published until I was in college, so I am not quite so attached to them—though since I almost never go to the movies, I may well miss this one, too.

I’ll keep that in mind for our next road trip.

FWIW, I know the LotR movies before I read Tolkien, and thought them much better. Peter Jackson cared about the characters much more than Tolkien did.

I’m much more fond of The Hobbit than I am of LotR, but the movie, for the most part, didn’t look at all the way I imagined that Middle Earth would look. There’s a line in one of Lionel Trilling’s essays (I can’t find it now, of course) about how there are books that you outgrow but never get over. Many of the books I read when I was young feel that way to me: nothing I have read since is so vivid, or so tangible.

I know that feeling. Many of Orson Scott Card’s novels transported me when I was a teenager; Sons and Lovers and Moby-Dick were magic as late as 19. But I haven’t had anything affect me similarly since.

I was like that with Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series. Then a year or two before I went to college, a switch just flipped somewhere, and reading them seemed like a particularly juvenile chore.

I’ve heard he died recently, without finishing his series.