Wednesday, May 04, 2005

BOOK REVIEW - His Dark Materials (series) by Philip Pullman

Pullman, Philip The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass. Dell Yearling, 2001. (I think)

Starting w/ The Golden Compass, originally called The Northern Lights when first published in England, The His Dark Materials series is a masterpiece. I have read each of the first two books multiple, multiple times, and the third one twice.
Although the books are billed as "YA" or "Children's literature," the series is actually a complex religious and social commentary.
There is so much on that level that I will leave it alone - you have to read it for yourself. Instead I'm going to talk about Will. Will is a young man (a boy in age, really, but prematurely matured - pun intended), and is, in my opinion at least, the most interesting/captivating/intense character in the series. I was trying to determine why, and a parallel popped into my head - Ender's Game. Ender and Will are very similar characters. They are both intense, young, precocious, and able. The most important characteristic they share, however, is less a character trait than a situation - and a similar method of dealing with it.
After all this build-up, I'm finally getting to it...
well, never mind.
See ya tommorow.

Ok, fine. The key is that they're both unwilling fighters. Neither one of them would fight at all if he could avoid it, but they are both forced to, and they are both good at it! Extremely good, in fact, so good that they are both able to accomplish monumental goals, although it is interesting to note that of the final accomplishments of the two, neither involves a direct fight, and Will's is about as far from fighting as you can get, in a sense.
So, have I piqued your curiosity? Good. Read the books (HDM, and Ender's Game, for that matter.)
Oh, and one last thing - If anyone knows any good books with the unwilling fighter archetype, let me know.


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