Note: This video deals with what is perhaps the book’s most controversial aspect: God getting offed. Yes, THAT God. Feel free to state your opinion, but keep it civil, and try and stay on topic: I don’t want this to be derailed into a debate.

Comment

  1. ProserpinaFC on 25 October 2010, 13:04 said:

    It can be difficult to remember, in the one’s zeal of battling your strawmen, that stories are meant to entertain and astound firstly. This is why I like the climax of the comedy genre: when stories where a mix of tomfoolery and painfully serious human issues.

    How sad is it that Lyra, the protagonist, isn’t able to have an actual conflict with all these powerful men deciding her fate from millions of miles and dimensions away, but they are ultimately done in by Pullman’s hatred of religion?

    Harry Potter always showed his mistrust and conflict with the Ministry of Magic and, so, authority figures were always more loud with how much of a bad influence he was. No wonder Pullman didn’t get the “controversy” he wanted. I remember some quote of his about how his series battles God itself and people were still more interested in hating Harry Potter. Yeah, because you failed at it, brother.

  2. Nate Winchester on 25 October 2010, 15:47 said:

    Note: This video deals with what is perhaps the book’s most controversial aspect: God getting offed. Yes, THAT God. Feel free to state your opinion, but keep it civil, and try and stay on topic: I don’t want this to be derailed into a debate.

    Without watching the video yet, I just had to say: considering that Pullman is still alive to this day, doesn’t that mean this effort failed?

    (yes, it’s a very meta joke)

  3. ProserpinaFC on 25 October 2010, 16:25 said:

    That’s kinda sad. Failure being valued by that you’re still alive.

  4. Nate Winchester on 25 October 2010, 16:49 said:

    Proserpina, I’ve read your comment several times and still can’t figure out what your meaning is. Clarify?

  5. Komedic on 25 October 2010, 16:58 said:

    Like I said, please stay on topic >_>

  6. Nate Winchester on 25 October 2010, 17:16 said:

    Like I said, please stay on topic >_>

    Well mine was intended to be.

    As the author, Pullman is the ultimate god of his fictional universe.

    The story is about the kids trying to kill god.

    Pullman is still alive.

    Thus, no matter what the prose says, the kids have – and always will, ultimately fail.

  7. Kytescall on 25 October 2010, 19:05 said:

    The Authority whom they inadvertently kill is not the creator, but merely the first angel to be born. So they never actually kill “God”. King Uganwe states explicitly that they don’t even know if there actually is a creator or not, just that the guy they’re fighting isn’t him.

    Personally I thought this was a disappointing attempt to make the series less offensive to believers. There didn’t have to be any such consession.

    In general I very much enjoyed this book but I think it was rather anticlimactic and didn’t live up to the tension it was building throughout the series.

  8. Det on 26 October 2010, 00:24 said:

    This is probably going to sound like a pointless defense of the book, but I never minded that there was no big climactic battle. That kind of thing can get very protracted and dull, especially in prose, so I was actually kind of glad that this story stuck with the kids. They were the ones we’d been following all along, after all, and it was their story. But then, I’ve always been more of a character person than an action person, and I never really expected the kids to take place in the final battle, so there wasn’t a whole lot of room for me to be disappointed.

    This is probably going to be a controversial statement as well, but I thought this book was considerably better than Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, which also had heavy-handed symbolism and rampant deus ex machina, with the added bonuses of hearing the same story about a dead character five thousand times and watching the three main characters sit in a tent and argue for roughly a third of the book. (Which wouldn’t even have bothered me that much if there was character development, but it was the same argument over and over again! Good God.) Maybe it’s because I haven’t read Amber Spyglass in awhile, but I remember finding it considerably better plotted and more interesting than that.

  9. ProserpinaFC on 26 October 2010, 08:19 said:

    LOL, that is a very meta joke, Nate. Nice. “If the characters are to kill god, then why is the author still alive.”

    Has there ever been a speculative fiction book with the main character breaking the fourth wall to kill his author? I know there have been 4W-breaking stories, but usually the author is also a character.

    @ Det: Oh, don’t get me wrong. I HATE Deathly Hallows and I hate everything about the conclusions of just about every major character in the Harry Potter universe. But on terms as which one was more sublte about rebelling against reasonable authority, HP wins hands down. His Dark Materials, as far as I’ve ever known it, combines “authority” with “evil”, thereby erasing any real conflict over whether to obey or follow it. The Minister of Magic is a democratically elected position and whoever represents wizard interests aren’t there because of divine right and acedemica secrets. Fudge and his replacement seem like well-meaning men that could be reasoned with and yet Harry doesn’t wish to.

    What firgures are similar in His Dark Materials? Every priest and professor that I’ve seen are evil and greedy and selfish as Death Eaters.

  10. Nate Winchester on 26 October 2010, 08:38 said:

    Has there ever been a speculative fiction book with the main character breaking the fourth wall to kill his author? I know there have been 4W-breaking stories, but usually the author is also a character.

    Maybe Grant Morrison… nah, let’s not go there.

    However, I have heard (but not read) that in one of the Dark Tower books, Stephen King worked his car accident (the accident where a car hit him) into the story as an attempt by the bad guys to kill him (god).

    Whatever else I may say about him… I gotta give that one to King. Way to make the books really meta.

  11. Nate Winchester on 26 October 2010, 08:43 said:

    Oh, I should also add that some people took Douglas Adams’ death to be the Vorgon making sure that they had really destroyed all earths (since I think there were rumors he was going to write another hitchhiker guide to bring everyone back). Look here under literature for the full, mind-blowing details.

  12. swenson on 26 October 2010, 11:37 said:

    I wouldn’t put it past Grant Morrison to write that into his work somewhere… let’s just hope the Joker never decides to kill him off!

    (also, WHYYYY did you have to link to TVTropes, Nate?! I just spent over an hour there because of you… :( )

  13. ProserpinaFC on 26 October 2010, 13:31 said:

    DARN YOU, TVTROPES! DARN YOU TO HECK!

    Hahaha. That’s why I’m glad I’m on a high school computer. I can’t link to anything remotely interesting. B-)

    King worked his accident as an attempt by his villian? I only wish I could be that awesome. weeps silently

  14. Komedic on 26 October 2010, 13:44 said:

    Is anyone actually going to comment on the video itself?

  15. ProserpinaFC on 26 October 2010, 13:52 said:

    Oh, bless your heart, Komedic, I was just thinking that.

    Okay, even though I have to go to class, I will give you this: mainly a rehashing of the first thing I said.

    How sad is it that Lyra, the protagonist, isn’t able to have an actual conflict with all these powerful men deciding her fate from millions of miles and dimensions away, but they are ultimately done in by Pullman’s hatred of religion?

    Are the main antagonists of the story really her own mom and dad and… that’s about it. That, and some generals and priests, who have no substantical characterization? What is this story supposed to be about? A little girl whose parents are more concerned with their own self-righteous campaigns and not much else? Their fights could have been about divorce, politics, football, for all I care, but is that what it’s about? Because I’m not seeing anything, anything at all, interesting about three books worth of BLAH.

    Also, the video/audio quality is much better here, Komedic. Much more even. Listening to you sing memes is very…. I don’t even know. XD

  16. Nate Winchester on 26 October 2010, 14:12 said:

    King worked his accident as an attempt by his villian? I only wish I could be that awesome.

    You wish you could be hit by a car? Ummm… we just got 1 person out of the hospital, would rather not another one end up there.

    Is anyone actually going to comment on the video itself?

    It seemed really straightforward this time so not much to say. Sound’s improving and the only thing I’d say is that sometimes the songs could be trimmed just a second or two.

  17. Kytescall on 26 October 2010, 17:52 said:

    I think the songs could be trimmed more than that. You only need to sing the first line of “It’s a small multiverse after all” for everyone to get the joke. After that it becomes tedious.

    @ProserpinaFC The book is more or less a coming-of-age story. That’s why Lyra’s parents are important and the priests, the generals and the final battle relatively aren’t. I still think he could have worked all that into the book without it compromising the coming-of-age theme, but the bottom line is that it’s not her fight.

  18. Proserpina-of-fc@hotmail.com on 27 October 2010, 11:00 said:

    Then what is her fight? Her parent’s attention? Really, in a coming-of-age story, I would expect the climax to include the mature self-revelation that she has gone too far and seen too much to need her parent’s attention.

    What is the climax of the bloated three-book story? What does Lyra do and realize that makes all these high-concept trappings worthwhile? And how does her self-revelation get reflected into these multi-dimensional world?/not-rhetorical

    (See, this is why old-school epics focused solely on the communal struggle and not on the personal problems of any one or two characters. Because you can’t write something of epic scope, but say the story is REALLY about Odysseus and his son’s strained relationship. No.)

    Here is an excellent, although academic article about that very point: http://www.oldandsold.com/articles18/fiction-9.shtml

  19. Klutor the Ninth on 1 November 2010, 08:44 said:

    Because you can’t write something of epic scope, but say the story is REALLY about Odysseus and his son’s strained relationship.

    IN A WORLD… where gods and men alike are licking their wounds, rebuilding their lives after the devastating Trojan War… one man struggles to reunite with the twenty-year-old son he last saw as a baby.
    Lol. I just had to do that.

    Pullman’s hatred of religion

    Might as well be the title of the series.

    I HATE Deathly Hallows and I hate everything about the conclusions of just about every major character in the Harry Potter universe. But on terms as which one was more sublte about rebelling against reasonable authority, HP wins hands down.

    I agree with that last sentence, Proserpina. As you’ve pointed out with bold-text, HP’s authorities are reasonable and realistic – whereas HDM’s authorities are badly-drawn caricatures of overused cliches.

    I’m also an HP-fan who didn’t like Deathly Hallows one bit (except some of the rare funny lines), but do you mind elaborating on what you said about the characters’ “conclusions”?

    What is the climax of the bloated three-book story?

    The climax is Pullman getting off on delivering the one “take that” at Christianity after the other, eventually sitting back in his chair, sighing: “Ahh, that felt so good…”
    I’m not even religious myself, and I felt that especially the final book was overdoing it, kind of like the vicious debate of a really immature toddler, screaming at the top of his lungs that he is right and anyone disagreeing with him is stupid and evil and eats babies.

  20. ProserpinaFC on 1 November 2010, 09:41 said:

    I’m also an HP-fan who didn’t like Deathly Hallows one bit (except some of the rare funny lines), but do you mind elaborating on what you said about the characters’ “conclusions”?

    Well, without reading up on JK Rowling’s interviews, I don’t know at the end of Deathly Hallows, if:

    1 Umbridge was ever arrested for being a flaming, abusive bitch.

    2 Lucius and Draco were ever arrested and did ANY time.

    3 Harry, Hermione, and Ron going repeated the 7th year and how that went for them

    4 Neville’s growth, any conclusion for his character arc, and how he took to becoming kinda famous himself

    5 The-Twin-That-Lived and how he coped

    6 Socially, I want to know if Elves are still inslaved, Centaurs are still on reserves, Werewolves still exiled, and Giants are still killing themselves. The story began with wizards being racist assholes to everyone, enabling one particular asshole to rise to power, killing him off, then everyone still being just as racist, but patting themselves on the back for not being Magical Hitler. I want to know if anyone, anyone at all, learned anything from this.

    Like Pullman, there was a mis-match for Rowling to write a story about Magical Hitler coming back to life to reign supreme over Great Britian, but then say the story is REALLY about the personal life of a perfectly average boy everyone thinks is special and make the epilouge about his precious little ginger babies.

  21. Klutor the Ninth on 1 November 2010, 10:38 said:

    Ah, okay.

    Yeah, apart from the stupid-ass camping section that went on forever (Cleolinda actually went so far as to compare Breaking Dawn with that) the whole “all was well” ending really made me crossed-eyed with unanswered questions.

    Like you said: What about Umbridge? Draco? Lucius?

    Also, very good point about this:

    6 Socially, I want to know if Elves are still inslaved, Centaurs are still on reserves, Werewolves still exiled, and Giants are still killing themselves. The story began with wizards being racist assholes to everyone, enabling one particular asshole to rise to power, killing him off, then everyone still being just as racist, but patting themselves on the back for not being Magical Hitler. I want to know if anyone, anyone at all, learned anything from this.

    A real war doesn’t end in “all was well”, not even for the winners. It ends in some major introspection, where you ask yourself stuff like why you did what you did, how you’re going to live it down and exactly what the hell makes you the good guy and your losing opponent the bad guy – apart from the obvious fact that they lost and you won.

    I’m not saying the ending to DH should’ve been like the ending of Animorphs – everyone who survived is suffering from depression and social maladjustment, and while they’re still shaking from PTSD, yet another war breaks out right under their noses – but a little more realism would have worked wonders.

    Sure, Harry and Ginny can end up together… but show the world around them in a realistic shade of grey, rather than rosy pink.

  22. ProserpinaFC on 1 November 2010, 12:18 said:

    I had to digest the ending to Animorphs for days. I actually liked the “The boys (may have) died doing what they did best: kicking ass” ending.

    Pulling this back to His Dark Materials, its all about what the story really is supposed to be: epic or personal. It is not easy to do both. If you do both, you end up with two climaxes and two resolutions, making your ending seem very long, ala The Lord of the Rings. There is the epic, communal ending of the story for Middle Earth, but then there is the ending for Aragon, for Frodo, for Sam, for Gandolf. Long, but still satisfying, because he wanted you to care about the main characters individually AND also because, communally, they were fighting against great evil. But also very long. LOL.

    Rowling and Pullman think they can skip over the communal climax and resolution because they think their main characters are so endearingly interesting. OF COURSE people would rather hear Harry and Ginny’s kids’ names rather than hear the fate of the most evil threat to wizarding education, Dolores Umbridge!

  23. Klutor the Ninth on 2 November 2010, 07:20 said:

    I actually liked the “The boys (may have) died doing what they did best: kicking ass” ending.

    Me too. I was just very sad that Rachel definitely died (sniff sniff). She was Teh Aweseomness.

    epic or personal. It is not easy to do both.

    Dragonlance managed to do it. That’s one of many reasons why I love that series.

    Good point, once again. “Harry and Ginny’s kids’ names” – well, the only good thing about the epilogue was the fact that Harry finally understood what Snape did for him, and as a token of appreciation, named one of his kids after him. The rest of the whole 19-years-later thing sucked immensely.

  24. Jeni on 2 November 2010, 13:48 said:

    Rowling and Pullman think they can skip over the communal climax and resolution because they think their main characters are so endearingly interesting. OF COURSE people would rather hear Harry and Ginny’s kids’ names rather than hear the fate of the most evil threat to wizarding education, Dolores Umbridge!

    I have to say that this criticism is entirely unfair. Rowling’s HP novels comprised of an entire world, including hundreds of characters. You can’t hear about all of them and their aftermath. Just because your favourite characters didn’t get a conclusion, doesn’t mean that it’s a bad ending.

    There are a million and one questions that could be asked, but ultimately, that’s the whole point of imagination: make it up yourself.

  25. Komedic on 2 November 2010, 15:22 said:

    Once again, can we please get back on topic? If you wanna discuss HP, take it to the forums.

  26. ProserpinaFC on 3 November 2010, 08:29 said:

    Jeni, I didn’t say anything about “my favorite characters,” I said “the main villians for the entire freaking story!” It makes no sense not to write a conclusion to MAIN VILLIANS like Umbridge, Lucius, and Draco.

    And not to write a conclusion to the secondary characters. By the end of it, Rowling didn’t have any structured character arcs, but just a big mess of loose ends. No ending for Neville (why was a soccor mom confronting Belatrix instead of him?!) no ending for Ginny (did she ever HAVE a character arc, I would hate to think she really was a Shallow Love Interest) no ending for Luna (who never really evolved pass a comic relief character, despite her place in the Second Big Three).

    It is not unfair to expect Rowling to write a complete character arc for a main character, let alone smaller, complimentary ones for the secondary characters who drive the plot.

    Harry, Voldemort, Dumbledore, Snape, Lily
    Hermione, Ron, Draco, Fudge, Umbridge
    Neville, Luna, Ginny, Lucius, Belatrix
    Ferir, Sirius, Remus, Wormtail, Moody

    Those are, really, the only characters groups and she fails to give any besides the main one any type of conclusion. Ginny and Neville never confront Lucius and Bela, nor Remus and Ferir, not Sirius and Wormtail, Draco never grows into anything resembling an articulate man, Ron never grows into anything resembling a wizard, and for the love of God, we see that Fudge gets punished for everything he’s done, but not Umbridge?!

    It is not that Rowlings is a bad writer, she just wasn’t well organized and she got caught up in the fact that her loudest fans were horny teenagers that wanted to know who was “going out” with whom.

    ~~~

    Ah, Komedic. You can fault conversation growing in ways you don’t like, sure, but you aren’t actually contributing anything to this conversation, are you? I see your last comment was a week ago.

    If you want a nice little conversation about His Dark Materials, feel free to contribute:

    What is the climax of the bloated three-book story? What does Lyra do and realize that makes all these high-concept trappings worthwhile? And how does her self-revelation get reflected into these multi-dimensional world?/not-rhetorical-questions

    Who is the main antagonist? The only people I notice getting any characterization are her parents. Really, in a coming-of-age story, I would expect the climax to include the mature self-revelation that she has gone too far and seen too much to need her parent’s attention.

    Being the reviewer of this series, I put you in high regard to answer my week-old questions. :)

  27. Komedic on 3 November 2010, 10:51 said:

    Short answer – there aren’t really any proper answers to those questions (in the book, that is) It’s explained in depth in my next review, which is already on Youtube, and will be on here very soon.

  28. ProserpinaFC on 3 November 2010, 12:42 said:

    Well played, good sir.

  29. Elanor on 4 November 2010, 07:46 said:

    @ProserpinaFC—Quite honestly, I would recommend reading the HDM books before basing criticisms of it off a spork. Or, really, maybe not watching parodies/sporks/criticisms of something before getting to know the source material in the first place.

    And as to HP—JKR didn’t create a story, she created a world. And honestly, do you really need every single step of every single character’s life story spelled out for you? Imagine it for yourself! It’s what makes it more fun. (Also, I’d like to point out that Draco was, indeed, in the epilogue.) In my opinion, you have to keep in mind that there’re years between where she left off and the epilogue. It’s not inconceivable that everyone could have matured in the meantime. You don’t have to directly see it for it to have occurred. Sure, it’d be nice and all, but it’d be clunky—even clunkier than the tacked-on epilogue was.

    As to Remus, Sirius, Wormtail, Fenrir, etc.—does dying not count as a conclusion? This sounds funny in the context of a fictional novel, but the way she wrote her world wasn’t as some idealised version of Real Life where everyone gets to sort out their shit and get their proper revenge before they die. Sometimes, they just die first.

  30. ProserpinaFC on 4 November 2010, 08:35 said:

    I say, “I don’t think this main character’s character arc is complete.”

    You say, “You want to see every character’s life in detail!?”

    I ask who the main antagonists are of His Dark Materials, why are they the antagonists, and what the story is about that it is written from the perspective of the daughter of two warring lovers.

    You don’t answer any of my questions and instead mock me for simply being here. Because even though I call out Komedic for not giving information I need, you insist that I don’t desire more information.

    sigh

    I was going to rant, like I usually do. But I can see that you are the type that doesn’t care what I think, what I say, what I actually have read, because you think I’m an idiot.

    I agree with some of your points. I would, under other circumstances, love to move this conversation into common ground and discuss those points. But I made a pledge with myself that if I am ever to keep my sanity, I wouldn’t talk to anyone who thought I was stupid because I was different.

    So have fun. I hope someone else finds this insulting mess of a conversation very interesting.

  31. Jeni on 4 November 2010, 09:20 said:

    It makes no sense not to write a conclusion to MAIN VILLIANS like Umbridge, Lucius, and Draco.

    To be honest, I disagree that they are “main villains”. They’re not, initially they are made out to be, but in the end, they are pawns in a game played by Voldemort.

    And Umbridge? A bureaucrat. There will always be someone like her to fight against in politics. She is not particularly noteworthy, she is a symptom of politics.

    That, I consider, is the message that Rowling leaves about these characters. That they are actually every day people that you can (and probably will) encounter. Although we may not have a “Voldemort” to fight against, those conniving, malicious characters will always be there.

    And nothing will ever happen about them, they will never face karma or face what they have done. There is ultimately no conclusion to give.

    As for the Good Folks, well, you cannot hear every story. I agree that it would be nice to have canon stories about them all, but I also love imagination. I don’t need to be told what happened to every student in Harry, Ron and Hermione’s year, or others. Or how the last Twin is coping.

    No, we don’t get to see the direct aftermath, if you like aftermaths, then yes, it is disappointing. But the end was to give a definite end to the series.

    It is not that Rowlings is a bad writer, she just wasn’t well organized and she got caught up in the fact that her loudest fans were horny teenagers that wanted to know who was “going out” with whom.

    Again, I respectfully disagree. (Also, Rowling showed no evident of being dictated to by her fans, so I would suggest that is a somewhat ridiculous assumption).

    Many, many writers employ this world-writing style. In that it is up to the reader to fill in the blanks. That neither makes for disorganisation, or bad writing: it is what it is.

  32. Elanor on 4 November 2010, 09:23 said:

    I wouldn’t talk to anyone who thought I was stupid because I was different.

    I don’t recall saying that. Please point out to me where I said it, and I will apologise, because none of my previous comment was meant in that way at all.

    What I’m saying is that maybe you should read the books before you watch sporks of them—I’m not saying this as in DURR HURR YOU’RE DUMB (AND DON’T DESIRE MORE INFORMATION), but that generally it is a good idea. I would apply this to myself as well. (Besides, there’d be lots more information in the books about, well, the books. Sporks generally assume you’re familiar with the source material, and I presume that’s why KK’s sparse with the info. I’m not answering your questions because, and you can’t hear me saying this so this is going to come off awfully abrasive, if you read the books, you’d have your questions answered. (I’m also absolutely the worst person to ask to explain books. Honestly. Ask any of my friends. Also it’s been a while since I read them, they’re not super-clear in my mind and I don’t want to give out false information even by accident.))

    (Note: when I say ‘you’, it is not meant to be an accusatory you of YOU, DUMBASS. It is a general you. Pretend it applies to someone else? If it is being taken that way, as in the YOU DUMBASS way, I am sorry, because it’s not meant like that.)

    With the character arcs, yeah, they’re not complete. What I’m trying to say is that maybe that’s just how it’ll have to be—because life, as it is, doesn’t happen that way. Sometimes people just don’t get their proper revenge. Would I have loved to see Neville be the one yelling YOU FUCKED UP MY PARENTS YOU BITCH and dealing out epic justice to Bellatrix? Hell yes. But it just didn’t happen that way, and I’m okay with it. I understand that you aren’t, I’m just saying that I am, and that, for me, it’s one of those things you can’t really change. I’m not saying you’re stupid because you want things to work out really well for everyone, because who doesn’t? It’s just a fundamental difference in how we see the books, as far as I can tell, and that’s it. Nothing more to it.