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Old 12-13-2007, 02:49 PM   #1
Sauron the White
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COMPASS & LOTR comparison

Film Journal has a good essay giving their review of THE GOLDEN COMPASS.
http://www.filmjournal.com/filmjourn..._id=1003682398

One of the more interesting things to Tolkien fans is the following key paragraph

Quote:
The Golden Compass is a textbook case of what can happen when an epic fantasy is put in the hands of a director with only a modicum of visual imagination. At one point during pre-production, Weitz himself sensed he wasn't up to the task of bringing the book to life and temporarily gave up the director's chair, only to be coaxed back after his replacement experienced "creative differences" with the studio and jumped ship. Cruel as this may sound, his first instincts were correct. Directing a film like The Golden Compass demands a strong, clear vision that Weitz—a smart guy and a talented writer—doesn't possess. Say what you will about Peter Jackson's occasional lapses into self-indulgence, he's a filmmaker who completely immerses himself in the worlds he's creating and his passion comes through onscreen.
I realize that there are times it seems like I am Don Quixote battling windmills here because so many Tolkien readers are characterized as print purists who hate the films. But I believe this paragraph, and the article will tend to show that the dominant opinion in the film industry is decidely in favor of the films and Jackson.
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Old 12-13-2007, 04:36 PM   #2
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Say what you will about Peter Jackson's occasional lapses into self-indulgence, he's a filmmaker who completely immerses himself in the worlds he's creating and his passion comes through onscreen.
I doubt that many of Jackson's detractors would disagree with this. I don't think I've ever heard anyone criticize him for a lack of visual imagination.
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Old 12-13-2007, 04:52 PM   #3
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Should a director attempt to stamp his own vision on an adaptation, or submit to the author's?

Difficult. the main problem with Jackson as far as LotR goes was that he lost it too many times & just went too far. The Aragorn/Eowyn/Gimli episode in TT springs to mind - a perfect scene - till Gimli falls off the horse: one step too far. Same with the flaming Denethor 3 mile run. The main problem was that no-one seemed to be present to tell Jackson when enough was enough.

As to the Golden Compass - I haven't seen it yet, so I don't know how bad/good or average it is. It doesn't seem to be doing too well - though that could simply be down to the attempted boycott by various religious groups.

I know Jackson has earned a lot of praise for LotR, but looking at his other movies I suspect that's down to the material rather than his skill. His King Kong was as mind numbing as it was bum numbing....
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Old 12-13-2007, 06:41 PM   #4
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Davem, while I agree that Jackson's version tends to lack subtlety, I don't think you're being fair to him– he brought off some incredibly difficult things in the Lord of the Rings movies. I don't see a lack of skill there. You're talking about a lack of taste. (Well, I mean, he made a film called "Bad Taste"– what did you expect?)

I think this may be the reason some Tolkien fans can't reconcile themselves to the films, rather than because said films fail to adhere blindly to the text.

Myself, I just think it's a regrettable failing in an otherwise good movie trilogy.
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Old 12-13-2007, 07:14 PM   #5
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from davem

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Should a director attempt to stamp his own vision on an adaptation, or submit to the author's?
If you could make a list of the first few major responsibilities a filmmaker has, would a question such as this make that short list? As such, I think it is one of those esoteric exercises which has very little to do with the real task before a filmmaker.

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Difficult. the main problem with Jackson as far as LotR goes was that he lost it too many times & just went too far. The Aragorn/Eowyn/Gimli episode in TT springs to mind - a perfect scene - till Gimli falls off the horse: one step too far. Same with the flaming Denethor 3 mile run. The main problem was that no-one seemed to be present to tell Jackson when enough was enough.
Dwarves were suppose to be rather poor equestrians were they not? How is having one fall off a horse evidence of going too far when an event such as that was probably likely to happen if attempted? Later, the director does have a bit of redemption for Gimil's horseman skills when he mounts a steed and bravely attacks the warg riders on the way to Helms Deep.

The Denethor "3 mile run" lasted exactly ten seconds from start to finish. Time it. I have. The worlds fastest runner could do three miles in 12 minutes plus. I hardly think anyone was sitting there plugging all the distance together and coming up with three miles. ANd if they were Jackson had lost them a long way before that. How many times have audience members sees a flaming person in a previous movie and that lasted a similar time? Numerous I would think. So much so that some stuntmen now consider it a normal part of the job and there are industry standards for such a thing. I hardly think that particular scene tipped the balance.

There may have been people there to say when enough was enough. One of whom was Jackson himself. When he saw the early footage of Arwen at Helms Deep, he canned it saying it just did not work. It could be that even Jackson felt he had gone too far and could recognize it.

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I know Jackson has earned a lot of praise for LotR, but looking at his other movies I suspect that's down to the material rather than his skill.
Ah yes - the old claim raises its head once again. The Directors Guild - people who know a little bit more about film than most of us - obviously felt Jackson did a more than competent job when they gave him their top award. And its very difficult to compare two different films from the same man and judge one by the faults of the other. I probably share some objections about KONG with you, but as far as the quality of LOTR goes it is irrelevant.

Its interesting that anyone can claim the material was what made the films great when many of those same voices continuilly bemoan the near destruction of that same material. I have read where some purist critics claim its not JRR TOlkiens LOTR that is one the screen due to all the additions, subtractions and changes. They can hardly recognize the material. But now that same material came through enough to make the films successful and good? Its hard to have it both ways.

And the excellence of the source material (and I agree that it was excellent) did nothing to help poor Ralph Bakshi in his earlier effort at the first half of the book, nor the Rankin & Bass studio in filming the last part. Neither of those. based on the same excellent material, were hits with the audience or with critics. If LOTR is an excellent steak that anyone can cook, it ended up as a bad meal two out of three times when tackled by different chefs.

Last edited by Sauron the White; 12-13-2007 at 10:06 PM. Reason: typo
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Old 12-14-2007, 11:54 AM   #6
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Lord of the Rings is based on a christian perspective were good truimphs over evil.
The Golden Compass was written by an atheist, and, in the books, evil truimphs over good.

The two trilogies are completely opposite of each other!
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Old 12-14-2007, 02:40 PM   #7
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A Value-able comparison

Opening Weekends (USA):

Fellowship of the Ring: $47 million
Two Towers: $62 million
Return of the King: $72 million

Narnia: $65 million

Golden Compass: $26 million

I couldn't be happier...well, I might have been happier had GC's numbers been lower...

All figures taken from www.boxofficemojo.com
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:12 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Groin Redbeard View Post
Lord of the Rings is based on a christian perspective were good truimphs over evil.
The Golden Compass was written by an atheist, and, in the books, evil truimphs over good.

The two trilogies are completely opposite of each other!
Wow...feightin' talk

I haven't seen the Golden Compass yet (and nor am likely to until it's out on DVD, sadly) but I have seen the first five minutes and as many snips as I can online and I was impressed by the look of the piece. However I have also heard that the narrative has been mucked about with a little too much.

How the film can be offensive to anyone I can't grasp as the Magisterium can at worst only be an allegory of organised religion in general (and isn't even based on Catholicism but on Calvinism) and I understand even this has been downplayed. And organised religions can indeed be bad news just as politics can be bad news - Pullman's allowed to say that if he likes. There's a very interesting interview on BBC Radio Oxford* with the guy doing the whole protest thing and he failed to answer the thorny question of why if TGC is 'offensive' to Christians because it's somehow underhandedly tempting them towards Atheism and therefore should be banned, is a film of Narnia OK?

Wonder what sort of a froth they're in on Lewis forums? Meh.

Quote:
Originally Posted by StW
If you could make a list of the first few major responsibilities a filmmaker has, would a question such as this make that short list? As such, I think it is one of those esoteric exercises which has very little to do with the real task before a filmmaker.
You know, I'm inclined to think of late that there is some merit in film-makers being either 'economical with the truth' or taking liberties with precious literature. Why? In the first example the Tudors has just finished on the BBC and even though Henry VIII was rather too young and virile amongst other yawning historical inaccuracies it didn't matter because it was right rockin' viewing (very much not for kids, heh). In the second example Cranford is also drawing to an end - though this adaptation is about as close to the actual novel as chalk is to cheese - it's much better!

*http://www.bbc.co.uk/oxford/content/..._compass.shtml

On one of these links you'll also find a quite disrespectful anecdote about when Pullman had dinner with Tolkien. I found it funny anyway, you can't be preciousss all the time.
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:30 PM   #9
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There's a very interesting interview on BBC Radio Oxford* with the guy doing the whole protest thing and he failed to answer the thorny question of why if TGC is 'offensive' to Christians because it's somehow underhandedly tempting them towards Atheism and therefore should be banned, is a film of Narnia OK?
Let there be no banning of movies on the basis of philosophical disagreement. By all means, make Pullman movies, Michael Moore movies, whatever floats the boat of the persons putting up the production dollars. Let them compete in the open marketplace. That was the point of my prior post with the box-office numbers. <cackles with barely-suppressed laughter and runs away...>
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Old 12-14-2007, 03:46 PM   #10
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Let there be no banning of movies on the basis of philosophical disagreement. By all means, make Pullman movies, Michael Moore movies, whatever floats the boat of the persons putting up the production dollars. Let them compete in the open marketplace. That was the point of my prior post with the box-office numbers. <cackles with barely-suppressed laughter and runs away...>
Actually, I was beginning to wonder if it was more to do with the 'bottom' falling out of the Fantasy Film Market, a kinds 'credit crunch' on Swords 'n' Sorcery? After all, the whole trend began with the Daddy of 'em all and is now attempting to film the unfilmable on an increasing basis. I have a sci-fi mag floating around somewhere (appropriate, for a sci-fi mag, what?) which lists all the fantasy films currently in talks or production including some very poor prospects indeed.

Plus there's the Shrek-like Enchanted out this week so 'the kids' might much prefer that.

From what I've heard GC fails to get the story across properly, and Northern Lights is the 'easiest' of the trilogy (such as any of them can be said to be 'easy') to understand so I dread to think how they'd even begin to film the second and third books - especially as one of them is missing a major protagonist for about a third of the story! And after the brou-ha-ha over The Two Towers I think too much 'meddling' can ruin a narrative...
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Old 12-14-2007, 04:02 PM   #11
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there's the Shrek-like Enchanted out this week so 'the kids' might much prefer that.
Speakin' of feightin' words...

My wife and I are, shall we say, unsophisticated in our moviegoing tastes -- at least, that's what our kids say. They'd rather see Beowulf and The Invisible. We would rather see Ratatouille or Transformers. I took my wife to see Enchanted, and it was wonderful! I often lament the dearth of movies like The Music Man, Mary Poppins, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, movies with real music (not pop-chart soundtracks) and elaborate dance numbers (not beat-boxing breaks). Enchanted is not quite like those movies, but there was enough of what I miss in the good movies-of-old to recommend it highly. That is, if you've not been ruined by movies like Dewey Cox, Talladega Nights, and Superbad...

And the fantasy movie genre has not yet begun to complete its course. Prince Caspian will be out in May, and the buzz on that one is quite good.
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Old 12-14-2007, 04:14 PM   #12
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I want to see Enchanted too, but like all other films I won't be seeing it for many months...I may have to make friends with someone who knows someone who knows a man in the pub who can get naughty copies of new films or something at this rate

I'm a bit worried that they have spent so long making the next Narnia film that all the hype will have died away for it. The biggest fans of films like that are young and fickle, it's more the grown-up nerds who can and will wait for a sequel for a couple of years, so I'm afraid Prince Caspian won't be so much of a hit either. They ought to have kept up with the punishing yearly schedule the Potter films are keeping to...I hope it does come out though because I much preferred the film of Narnia...oooh, controversial...
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Old 12-14-2007, 04:38 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Lalwendë
I much preferred the film of Narnia...oooh, controversial...


<whispers "You're not alone," and disappears like an ephemeral smoke...>
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:26 AM   #14
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I found the Narnia film to be boring and empty in comparison to LOTR. The CGI was good but there was no real emotion or reason to care about anything that was actually happening. Due to a lack of any real development of Narnia and its land I didn't really care about what Narnia's fate was - we see a load of wonderful but empty scenery and then a big battle. Watch the sequence in ROTK where Theoden leads the Rohirrim charging across the field with Howard Shore's Rohan theme thundering along and the golden sun in the background, and then the bit in Narnia where Aslan appears with 'reinforcements'. One was epic and glorious and the other was flat.
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:18 AM   #15
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"In comparison" maybe, but had I seen it without ever seeing the film of LotR I'd probably have thought it awesome - as it was, I found it a fab film, very enjoyable (apart from the WWII inaccuracies...).

There's the thing though, just about anything, whether book or film, in the fantasy genre will always be compared to Lord of the Rings and just about anything will be found lacking "in comparison".....which is exactly why people like Philip Pullman feel they need to be especially vocal in disassociating from Tolkien.
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Old 12-15-2007, 10:32 AM   #16
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"In comparison" maybe, but had I seen it without ever seeing the film of LotR I'd probably have thought it awesome - as it was, I found it a fab film, very enjoyable (apart from the WWII inaccuracies...).

There's the thing though, just about anything, whether book or film, in the fantasy genre will always be compared to Lord of the Rings and just about anything will be found lacking "in comparison".....which is exactly why people like Philip Pullman feel they need to be especially vocal in disassociating from Tolkien.
Therein lies the problem - they tried to make it like LOTR. They filled it with weapons, monsters, armies, CGI and battle sequences and it didn't really work because that's just not what Lewis had in mind when he wrote the story. Lewis was not writing a grand, edge-of-your-seat epic, he was writing a child's fairy tale. As it is you're left with a fairly generic fantasy film about good vs evil - relatively entertaining and enjoyable for a family night in maybe, but not really much else.
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Old 12-15-2007, 06:46 PM   #17
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That, and the White Witch had one of the worst make-up jobs I've ever seen.

I mean, I enjoyed the film... but honestly, half of it looked like left-over footage from The Lord of the Rings.
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Old 12-15-2007, 08:24 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Thenamir View Post
Opening Weekends (USA):

Fellowship of the Ring: $47 million
Two Towers: $62 million
Return of the King: $72 million

Narnia: $65 million

Golden Compass: $26 million

I couldn't be happier...well, I might have been happier had GC's numbers been lower...

All figures taken from www.boxofficemojo.com
Does boxofficemojo say how many theatres the movies opened in? I don't know about this one, Compass or FotR et al, but I know that movie revenues can often depend on the number of cinemas showing the movie. For instance, I find it fascinating that apparently Beowulf took in more in the box office in Canada than in the US (if I read the stats right in a local newspaper) and I really wonder what's behind that and I know that some movies are specifically limited in the number of their opening appearances.
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Old 12-15-2007, 09:13 PM   #19
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Films such as LOTR, NARNIA or COMPASS usually open very wide - a couple of thousand theaters. Art films have much higher per screen revenues when you consider that a film like the latest biopic on Bob Dylan might open in a 3 million person metropolis in one theater. In the end, per screen figures matter little compared to gross revenues.
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Old 12-16-2007, 03:10 AM   #20
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Found this interview with Pullman interesting : http://video.yahoo.com/video/play?vid=1439673.

Certainly calls into question Pullman's 'militant athiesm' - he states he's perfectly happy for the interviewer to see 'Dust' in the novel as the divine - but more interesting is where talks about 'mutual interdependence' of humans & Dust, - its a mysterious force encompassing human thought, imagination, kindness, love, intellectual curiosity, & that our duty is to introduce more Dust into the world - that without Dust we will dwindle away, & without us Dust will dwindle away.

The reason I found it interesting is that it is almost exactly what Tolkien says about Faery in the Smith Essay:

Quote:
It is plainly shown that Faery is a vast world in its own right, that does not depend for its existence upon Men, and which is not primarily nor indeed principally concerned with Men. The relationship must therefore be one of love: the Elven Folk, the chief and ruling inhabitants of Faery, have an ultimate kinship with Men and have a permanent love for them in general. Though they are not bound by any moral obligation to assist Men, and do not need their help (except in human affairs), they do from time to time try to assist them. avert evil from them and have relations with them, especially through certain men and women whom they find suitable. They, the Elvenfolk, are thus 'beneficent' with regard to Men, and are not wholly alien, though many things and creatures in Faery itself are alien to Men and even actively hostile. Their good will is seen mainly in attempting to keep or restore relationships betWeen the two worlds, since the Elves (and still some Men) realize that this love of Faery is essential to the full and proper human development. The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship towards all things. animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect, and removes or modifies e spirit of possession and domination. Without it even plain 'Utility' will in fact become less useful; or will turn to ruthlessness and lead only to mere power, ultimately destructive. The Apprentice relation in the tale is thus interesting. Men in a large part of their activities are or should be in an apprentice status as regards the Elven folk. In an attempt to rescue Wootton from its decline, the Elves reverse the situation, and the King of faery himself Cmes and serves as an apprentice in the village...

But Faery is not religious. It is fairly evident that it is not Heaven or Paradise. Certainly its inhabitants, Elves, are not angels or emlssares of God (direct). The tale does not deal with religion itself. The Elves are not busy with a plan to reawake religious devotion in Wootton. The Cooking allegory would not be suitable to any such import. Faery represents at its weakest a breaking out (at least in mind) from the iron ring of the familiar, stilI more from the adamantine ring of belief that it is known, possessed, controlled, and so (ultimately) all that is worth being considered - a constant awareness of a world beyond these rings. More strongly it represents love: that is, a love and respect for all things, 'inanimate' and 'animate', an unposessing love of them as 'other'. This 'love' will produce both ruth and delight. Things seen in its light will be respected, and they will also appear delightful, beautiful, wonderful - even glorious.
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:14 AM   #21
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Pullman isn't a 'militant atheist' - it's a ridiculous thing to attach to the man, nor is he at the helm of some sinister recruitment campaign to secularism. His books simply (complexly?) put an alternative view that the path to wonder and joy can also be found outside of religion. And it can. Don't we all get exactly that from reading Tolkien, having a walk in the woods or watching kids smile?

One of the 'points' to Lyra is that she is an ''Eve" figure, one of the symbols of the Bible which Pullman finds most interesting as it is Eve who discovers Learning and Knowledge and yet she is thrown out of Paradise for having a mind. Lyra defies Authority in seeking to find out what this Dust business is all about and she too acts like Eve - but in Pullman's case, he has written about what would happen if this 'Eve' did not get punished. And what happens? Some quite beautiful things, actually

In HDM what happens to people who have had their daemons forcibly severed? They become hollow, and in the case of children, they even die - they clearly need the daemon, it being representative of something within us, either soul or imagination, whichever you like. This is done in an attempt to stop Dust settling on them as they begin to become young adults. The Dust is seen as 'bad', as 'sin', but it turns out not to be like that at all - we don't get told what it is exactly, but we have a good idea that it's something essential to human life, something which separates conscious (self-conscious?) beings from animals. It's also fading from the Universe/s.

Lyra, in defying Authority, and in being brave and learning things, discovers all of this and learns how Story is one of the few things we have - that when we die what is left but our Story.

All of this is incredibly similar to Tolkien's way of thinking, that to attempt to trap and control the imagination and to suppress it is a terrible thing. Lyra discovers the limitless possibilities of other worlds, learns not to tell lies and be true to her own Story and most of all to see Learning as important. This is also what Tolkien tells us, that liars and cheats do not win out, that we must learn for ourselves what is right and wrong (who's there out in the wilds telling Frodo and Sam what to do? Nobody, they must decide for themselves), and to be brave.

I think it's a sad thing if people refuse to read this wonderful book by Pullman purely because a man tells them not to. Terribly sad...

I suppose one of the problems is one it shares with Lord of the Rings - it's hard to tell "what it's about" and people feel they must fix a 'meaning' on it all. After all, in this cost conscious modern society every large effort made must have some kind of 'pay-off', mustn't it? And that's probably why lengthy shaggy dog stories like Tristram Shandy aren't popular these days - all our reading must have some kind of 'purpose' - pur-lease.... Well, meanings are there to be found if you so wish, but it is just a good story, just like the equally daunting Lord of the Rings.
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Old 12-16-2007, 09:34 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by davem from Tolkien's Smith essay View Post
It is plainly shown that Faery is a vast world in its own right, that does not depend for its existence upon Men, and which is not primarily nor indeed principally concerned with Men. The relationship must therefore be one of love: the Elven Folk, the chief and ruling inhabitants of Faery, have an ultimate kinship with Men and have a permanent love for them in general. Though they are not bound by any moral obligation to assist Men, and do not need their help (except in human affairs), they do from time to time try to assist them. avert evil from them and have relations with them, especially through certain men and women whom they find suitable. They, the Elvenfolk, are thus 'beneficent' with regard to Men, and are not wholly alien, though many things and creatures in Faery itself are alien to Men and even actively hostile. Their good will is seen mainly in attempting to keep or restore relationships betWeen the two worlds, since the Elves (and still some Men) realize that this love of Faery is essential to the full and proper human development. The love of Faery is the love of love: a relationship towards all things. animate and inanimate, which includes love and respect, and removes or modifies e spirit of possession and domination. Without it even plain 'Utility' will in fact become less useful; or will turn to ruthlessness and lead only to mere power, ultimately destructive. The Apprentice relation in the tale is thus interesting. Men in a large part of their activities are or should be in an apprentice status as regards the Elven folk. In an attempt to rescue Wootton from its decline, the Elves reverse the situation, and the King of faery himself Cmes and serves as an apprentice in the village...

But Faery is not religious. It is fairly evident that it is not Heaven or Paradise. Certainly its inhabitants, Elves, are not angels or emlssares of God (direct). The tale does not deal with religion itself. The Elves are not busy with a plan to reawake religious devotion in Wootton. The Cooking allegory would not be suitable to any such import. Faery represents at its weakest a breaking out (at least in mind) from the iron ring of the familiar, stilI more from the adamantine ring of belief that it is known, possessed, controlled, and so (ultimately) all that is worth being considered - a constant awareness of a world beyond these rings. More strongly it represents love: that is, a love and respect for all things, 'inanimate' and 'animate', an unposessing love of them as 'other'. This 'love' will produce both ruth and delight. Things seen in its light will be respected, and they will also appear delightful, beautiful, wonderful - even glorious.

This is going to stray a wee bit off toipc, but that quotation from Tolkien's Smith essay is too fascinating to let my thoughts stray off--won't be so vein as to say I want to catch the Dust before it scatters.

The idea that Fairie is Love and that the elves are part of that love is intriguing, but does this attribute really adequately explain or suit the elves as we know them in The Silm? I hardly think it does, with their stiff necked arrogance and honour and oath-dependency.

What I think the Smith essay shows most clearly though is how Tolkien's ideas underwent change, development. I would use the word progress but I know how much the man himself distrusted that word. Tolkien was working through ideas, trying to find a core theme in all his work beyond some of the culturally-determined qualities which mark their debt to the northern warrior epic and mythology in general and that is what I think Pullman is also doing. Pullman is moving away/beyond the authoritarian model of human society/culture and that includes authoritarian ideas of divinity as imposed domination and punishment for deviance and forceful control. They might come to the topic from initially different perspectives--Augustinian versus Miltonic--but both are attempting to capture in a gloriously entertaining and compelling story hopeful possibilities for humanity, life, and the universe.

Really, I think it's kind of sad to wish ill of Pullman and Compass on some preconceived notion of hierarchy that one has to be better than the other, that Tolkien alone got things right where others fail, that somehow Tolkien's star will shine the brighter if the Pullman movies fail to be as successful as the LotR movies.
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Old 12-16-2007, 10:13 AM   #23
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In the Essay Tolkien also states:

Quote:
Faery might be said indeed to represent Imagination (without definition because taking in all the definitions of this word): aesthetic: exploratory and receptive; and artistic; inventive, dynamic, (sub)creative. This compound - of awareness of a limitless world outside our domestic parish; a love (in ruth and admiration) for the things in it; and a desire for wonder, marvels, both perceived and conceived - this 'Faery' is as necessary for the health and complete functioning of the Human as is sunlight for physical life: sunlight as distinguished from the soil, say, though it in fact permeates and modifies even that.
&
Quote:
But in this tale Forest and Tree remain dominant symbols. They occur in three of the four 'remembered' and recorded experiences of the Smith — before his leave-taking of the Queen. They do not occur in the first, because it is at that point that he discovers that Faery is 'limitless' and is mainly involved in vast regions and events that do not concern Men and are impenetrable by them. ..

It is probable that the world of Faery could not exist* without our world, and is affected by the events in it — the reverse being also true. The 'health' of both is affected by state of the other. Men have not the power to assist the Elvenfolk in the ordering and defence of their realm; but the Elves have the power (subject to finding co-operation from within) to assist in the protection of our world, especially in the attempt to re-direct Men when their development tends to the defacing or destruction of their world. The Elves may thus have also an enlightened self-interest in human affairs. ..
The last paragraph in particular seems to echo Pullman's statements on Dust & the interdependence of it & us. Yet what's odd is that Pullman is quite happy for his interviewer to see Dust as Divine, but Tolkien is at pains to stress the difference between Faery & Paradise:
Quote:
But Faery is not religious. It is fairly evident that it is not Heaven or Paradise. Certainly its inhabitants, Elves, are not angels or emlssares of God (direct). The tale does not deal with religion itself. The Elves are not busy with a plan to reawake religious devotion in Wootton. The Cooking allegory would not be suitable to any such import. Faery represents at its weakest a breaking out (at least in mind) from the iron ring of the familiar, stilI more from the adamantine ring of belief that it is known, possessed, controlled, and so (ultimately) all that is worth being considered - a constant awareness of a world beyond these rings. More strongly it represents love: that is, a love and respect for all things, 'inanimate' and 'animate', an unposessing love of them as 'other'. This 'love' will produce both ruth and delight. Things seen in its light will be respected, and they will also appear delightful, beautiful, wonderful - even glorious.
SoWM, according to Tolkien, 'does not deal with religion itself' - but the concern of HDM is religion. One could argue (from the perspective of the interviewer) that Dust is truly 'God', the 'Divine', & that the Magisterium has created & supported a false belief & so encouraging the creation of Dust is a 'Holy' work, but for Tolkien, while Faery & our world are dependent on each other (but note, he also states clearly that Faery is not dependent on Men), Heaven/Paradise exists as a True third state above the two.

Another difference is that Pullman refers to Dust as a metaphor or visual image, whereas for Tolkien Faery is a place, in which living creatures live, move & have their being. Yet it seems that the concern of both writers is communicating the idea of some kind of immanent 'reality' which exists alongside/within the material universe, that the two are mutually dependent & cannot exist one without the other - & what's really interesting is that both use terms like love & imagination to describe this other 'reality'.
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Old 12-16-2007, 11:25 AM   #24
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Tell you what tickles me with all this faith-driven comparison of Tolkien and Pullman and the business of whether it's anyone else's business to tell us what's good for us...that Lord of the Rings is religion-free and yet His Dark Materials takes religion on board as a theme! And even compare what you can find of earthly religion in Tolkien's work (which it takes a serious fan to do) to what's in Pullman's work; Eru is really quite an unpleasant and negative character - nowhere even close to my idea of God, whereas the 'God' in Pullman's work is a sad figure, beaten by what people have done to him, and he is treated kindly in the end.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bb
The idea that Fairie is Love and that the elves are part of that love is intriguing, but does this attribute really adequately explain or suit the elves as we know them in The Silm? I hardly think it does, with their stiff necked arrogance and honour and oath-dependency.
Though I often think the Elves of the Silm are Elves as they ought not to be - fallen, jealous, angry, snobbish, violent, proud etc...etc...

Quote:
Faery might be said indeed to represent Imagination (without definition because taking in all the definitions of this word): aesthetic: exploratory and receptive; and artistic; inventive, dynamic, (sub)creative. This compound - of awareness of a limitless world outside our domestic parish; a love (in ruth and admiration) for the things in it; and a desire for wonder, marvels, both perceived and conceived - this 'Faery' is as necessary for the health and complete functioning of the Human as is sunlight for physical life: sunlight as distinguished from the soil, say, though it in fact permeates and modifies even that.
Ties in almost perfectly with the idea of Dust and Daemons...can the words Love and Imagination be interchangeable here? Tolkien's idea of a world without Imagination conjours up the same thing portrayed by the Severed Child who has lost contact with his Daemon. And if you think about it, what could possibly be more sad than a child who has lost his ability to Dream?

There's a very close link between Gollum, wandering the wild in search of his Precious and the frightened boy huddled in the shed without his Daemon.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bb
Really, I think it's kind of sad to wish ill of Pullman and Compass on some preconceived notion of hierarchy that one has to be better than the other, that Tolkien alone got things right where others fail, that somehow Tolkien's star will shine the brighter if the Pullman movies fail to be as successful as the LotR movies.
I agree. Tolkien has in some ways 'failed' to move me, not in any way with Lord of the Rings etc, but in what he showed us of Eru in the Silm, well, this god he created leaves me utterly cold. Eru is fascinating in a Jovian kind of way, but he also disgusts me more than a little bit; I simply cannot reconcile the idea of an often petty, bad-tempered and disinterested god (he actually reminds me of Henry VIII quite often ) with anything good - indeed, does Tolkien think Eru is "all that", I suspect not... But what I saw of the possibilities of the Universe/s in His Dark Materials was not a little mind-blowing...it moves me the way some of the concepts of Doctor Who do.
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Old 12-16-2007, 12:04 PM   #25
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I find it difficult to comment in any real depth about Pullman's 'vision' - its years since I read HDM. I enjoyed the first volume & liked the next two less & less & by the end I just didn't care because I just felt Pullman had stopped telling me a story & was just ranting at me. I also wonder how geniune he is being in his comments - Tolkien was not averse to taking up 'meanings' into his work suggested by readers which had clearly not occured to him before. One can't help thinking that LotR became a whole lot more 'Christian' in his mind after it was written than it was during the process... I don't know how much of what Pullman is claiming to be in the book was put in there deliberately.

In many ways I find Tolkien's creation more interesting than Pullmans because I dislike Eru (what there is of him in the story). One pities the inhabitants of M-e more than those of Pullman's multiverse because Eru is not removable: one is stuck with him & has to make the best of it - of his cruelty, his petulance, his stand-offish smugness & his obsession with his composition & his callous disregard of those who have to live in the world his foot-stamping response to Melkor's variations on his themes brings into being. Of course, one can start waffling on about 'inscrutability' & divine mystery & the like, but in reality the inhabitants of M-e have a generally poor time of it & Eru does very little, if anything, to alleviate their suffering.

Yet as I say, this makes for a greater tragedy in its way - Eru can't be overthrown & Men, Elves & Hobbits have to find a way to live with him. Pullman's 'God' is a fake & can be overthrown & one can be liberated to find one's own way & meaning - even if one chooses the loopy option of trying to build a castle in the air (or 'building the 'Republic of Heaven' as Pullman has it, & which comes to the same thing, meaning precisely nothing).

The weakness of HDM for me is that he makes the 'Magisterium' so OTT in its totalitarian hatred & desire for dominance that we end up in Python territory
Quote:
NOBODY expects the Magisterium! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our *four*...no... *Amongst* our weapons.... Amongst our weaponry...are such elements as fear, surprise.... I'll come in again.
No complexity, & so no real tragedy. Also no real sense of exultation when the pantomime villains get their come-uppance.
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Old 12-16-2007, 01:46 PM   #26
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Lalwende wrote:
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Tolkien has in some ways 'failed' to move me, not in any way with Lord of the Rings etc, but in what he showed us of Eru in the Silm, well, this god he created leaves me utterly cold. Eru is fascinating in a Jovian kind of way, but he also disgusts me more than a little bit; I simply cannot reconcile the idea of an often petty, bad-tempered and disinterested god (he actually reminds me of Henry VIII quite often ) with anything good
I'm afraid I'm having a hard time seeing things from this point of view. Your description, it seems to me, might be applied to the God of the Old Testament (and to Pullman's Authority before he became feeble), but it doesn't seem to fit Eru. Eru and Yahweh, as literary characters in their respective stories, are portrayed quite differently. Eru does no smiting, lays down no jealous commandments against idols, does not select a 'chosen people' whose foes are disfavoured. Eru actually does very little after creating Ea. He gives life to the Dwarves (surely the act of loving god), he advises Manwe from time to time, and then he destroys Numenor. Now certainly that last act could be seen as vengeful, and called into question (it is of course on par with the Judeo-Christian God's deluge). I believe there was a thread on that a while back. But it's a single incident (not even in the 'Silmarillion proper'), and hardly seems to merit your sweeping characterization.

Insofar as the charge is 'cold and disinterested' (which is altogether a different thing from petty and bad-tempered), I will agree with you. But this is 'problem of evil' territory. Anyone who posits an omnipotent God is going to have to make him or her either petty and malicious or cold and distant, as it is certainly a fact that bad things happen to good people. If you are going to take Pullman's Dust as his true, loving and merciful, God (which I think is inevitable) then doesn't the charge of 'cold and distant' apply to it as well? Though I suppose the Dust is different, as it is explicitly (and emphatically) not omnipotent.

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Old 12-16-2007, 02:31 PM   #27
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Lalwende wrote:


I'm afraid I'm having a hard time seeing things from this point of view. Your description, it seems to me, might be applied to the God of the Old Testament (and to Pullman's Authority before he became feeble), but it doesn't seem to fit Eru. Eru and Yahweh, as literary characters in their respective stories, are portrayed quite differently. Eru does no smiting, lays down now jealous commandments against idols, does not select a 'chosen people' whose foes are disfavoured. Eru actually does very little after creating Ea. He gives life to the Dwarves (surely the act of loving god), he advises Manwe from time to time, and then he destroys Numenor. Now certainly that last act could be seen as vengeful, and called into question (it is of course on par with the Judeo-Christian God's deluge). I believe there was a thread on that a while back. But it's a single incident (not even in the 'Silmarillion proper'), and hardly seems to merit your sweeping characterization.

Insofar as the charge is 'cold and disinterested' (which is altogether a different thing from petty and bad-tempered), I will agree with you. But this is 'problem of evil' territory. Anyone who posits an omnipotent God is going to have to make him or her either petty and malicious or cold and distant, as it is certainly a fact that bad things happen to good people. If you are going to take Pullman's Dust as his true, loving and merciful, God (which I think is inevitable) then doesn't the charge of 'cold and distant' apply to it as well? Though I suppose the Dust is different, as it is explicitly (and emphatically) not omnipotent.
You've answered my issue in that second paragraph right away!

It's Eru's very omnipotence which causes the issue. He creates everything, including Melkor, free will and the whole caboodle - therefore Eru must logically also create the potential for evil if nothing can exist without his having created it.

Even laying this aside he also has the power not to call the world into being after Melkor has interjected his themes. But he still does it. He also destroys Numenor as has been discussed many a time. He leaves dealing with Melkor to his servants, does nothing himself. He creates two races which simply cannot live alongside each other without coming into conflict because their very natures are incompatible.

And I actually don't think Tolkien had any problem with this Omnipotent thing himself - it would certainly make sense coming from the mind of a man who had to reconcile devout belief in the Catholic God with being in the very heart of the unimaginable (because it is unimaginable to any of us) slaughter of the trenches. This may or may not have been his particular view of his own God that he painted in Eru - but we don't know that for sure, we can only guess.

Whatever, I've never much liked Eru. He's a very negative figure and doesn't inspire me...but then did Tolkien intend him to do that? I think not - we have ordinary people like Frodo and Sam for that purpose.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
The weakness of HDM for me is that he makes the 'Magisterium' so OTT in its totalitarian hatred & desire for dominance that we end up in Python territory
That's why people in our society getting so worked up about HDM having caused them 'offence' puzzle me. The Magisterium is a literary creation, at worst an analogy of things in our own world, and so drawn colourfully. We know that in the main, religions in our own world, setting aside those extremists of all creeds who use them as big sticks to beat people with, are not so extreme, so if someone is upset about their own religion being examined in the form of this one particular analogy, does that mean it is indeed one of the extreme ones?

Pullman himself has no issue with belief where it does not hurt people, and that's fair enough, surely that's what anyone should believe? His beef is with abusive and restrictive religions - he shows what they have done to God in his books. Interestingly, revealingly, the Archbishop of Canterbury thinks every school child should read His Dark Materials.

And remember, Pullman did not write a tragic story in the way Tolkien did. In Tolkien's world, there is only the Long Defeat and one day, maybe, an end to the world. In Pullman's Universe/s, Lyra comes to save the day/s!
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Old 12-16-2007, 03:36 PM   #28
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Lalwende wrote:
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It's Eru's very omnipotence which causes the issue. He creates everything, including Melkor, free will and the whole caboodle - therefore Eru must logically also create the potential for evil if nothing can exist without his having created it.
All right - if this is the charge against Eru, then I think it makes perfect sense. It also should be noted that the charge applies generally to omnipotent deities. I was merely pointing out that there is a worse charge made by some (most relavantly, by Pullman) against the God of Abraham - namely, that he is petty, ill-tempered, jealous, and vengeful.

Quote:
That's why people in our society getting so worked up about HDM having caused them 'offence' puzzle me. The Magisterium is a literary creation, at worst an analogy of things in our own world, and so drawn colourfully.
Yet the thrust of the analogy is very clear. I have to say that I am not at all surprised at the outrage; that the Magisterium is a metaphor for the Catholic Church (or Christian Church, as this is a world without the Reformation) is fairly transparent. And if the metaphor is dealt with subtly in The Golden Compass, it is not so in the second and third books. This is not intended in any way as a criticism. On the contrary, I am very much in sympathy with Pullman on the matter of organized religion (though I certainly do have other criticisms for HDM). But if one considers the degree of 'offence' taken at, for instance, The Life of Brian, one will not be shocked at an outcry over a series of books in which . . . well, I won't say it, as I don't wish to spoil The Amber Spyglass for anyone - but consider the Authority as portrayed in that book.

And yet, as you pointed out earlier, Pullman does not, in the end, come across as anti-religion in HDM. Anti-Islamo-Judeo-Christianity, even anti-organized religion, yes, but anti-religion no. And I suspect that for many Christians of the less extreme sort, the Dust comes closer to their conception of God than does the Authority. Whether this is a virtue or a flaw in HDM is another matter, of course.
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Old 12-16-2007, 05:19 PM   #29
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Well, it looks like TGC has fallen to number 3 in the US charts & will struggle to make back its production budget, so there probably won't be any sequels. I wonder why? I haven't been able to see it, so I don't know if its a bad movie or if its because people don't like the message - or even if they've gone along with the boycott.

Whatever, it seems like the LotR movies have won this one. I wonder if this is because if the 'message' is removed (& it has been apparently) the story itself simply isn't enough to sustain interest - remove the whole 'wicked Church'/death of God stuff & you have animal 'spirits' & armoured polar bears knocking seven bells out of each other & that doesn't seem all that attractive to movie goers. Yet LotR, for all the claims of religious symbolism running through it, is basically an entertaining story.

So what I'm asking is, is HDM really a good, entertaining story (as Pullman likes to claim) or is it actually an average/poor story which relies on a controversial message to attract readers?
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Old 12-16-2007, 06:12 PM   #30
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This from Deadline Hollywood site on COMPASS revenue.

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And in only its second weekend in release, the bottom fell out of costly domestic flop The Golden Compass from New Line, which forked over $200+ million to make it. I know, I know, the pic is doing OK overseas after earning $50.9 mil from 27 territories December 7th-9th. But the fantasy epic is so lost domestically it earned only an anemic $2.6 million Friday and $3.7 million Saturday from 3,528 nearly empty runs for 3rd place and a new cume of just $40.5 mil. I hear studio topper Bob Shaye once again is blaming everyone but himself -- including the movie's director Chris Weitz, and also New Line's own prez of production Toby Emmerich.
That type of dropoff is extremely severe. Remember what happened with the RINGS movies? They managed to be the top film for several weeks running and the films stayed in the theaters for over two months. COMPASS is officially dead after only ten days in the theaters.

I have not seen it and probably will not until its on cable down the road. For what its worth, I have a six year old grandson who is just head over heels in love with the LOTR movies. Go figure. Earlier I had shown him trailers for COMPASS and the only thing he was even mildly interested in was the bears. When the film came out i offered to take him but he would much rather sit here and watch the LOTR films. If that is any indication, they simply are not reaching an audience.

I wonder how long the act of Bob Shaye can keep going like this? He bombed with his own film earlier this year and now the big series they had bet the farm on is not going anywhere - anywhere good that is. If this does not put pressure on New Line to come to a quick agreement with Jackson on the HOBBIT I really do not know what will.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:13 AM   #31
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Well, it looks like TGC has fallen to number 3 in the US charts & will struggle to make back its production budget, so there probably won't be any sequels. I wonder why?
<cackles with glee>

I am not a movie producer, director, or even a hack grip, and I don't play any of them on television. However, it seems to me that perhaps Pullman isn't quite as "loved" or "revered" an author as JRRT or C. S. Lewis, and probably for the reasons given earlier:
Quote:
Originally Posted by davem
I enjoyed the first volume & liked the next two less & less & by the end I just didn't care because I just felt Pullman had stopped telling me a story & was just ranting at me.
Now Tolkien paints his stories in painstaking detail, Lewis in broader strokes and more primary colors (colours for you non-USian folks ) but neither forgets that the tale is the real focus. Don't know if Lewis meant his stories to be overtly and primarily a tool for proselytization, but from all my sources (I have not yet read HDM, so all my info is second-hand) it appears that davem is hardly alone in his assessments -- Pullman's focus seems to be less on the tale, and more on his not-so-subtly-hidden ideas and ideals.

My main point, at which I am only now arriving via a circuitous path, is that Pullman's readers just don't care as much about HDM as do the readers of LOTR or Narnia. In fact, the fans of Tolkien and Lewis are so keen to see the movies based on their favorite works that they are willing to put up with what the more pedantic ones would view as grievous errors in the print-to-screen translation. Pullman might have been read by many, but it didn't affect them as deeply or as strongly, and not in such a way that they seem to care much about seeing it onscreen.

Either that, or the movie was so badly made that it deserves its fate. I will defer that judgment to those who care to plunk down the cash to see it. As I said earlier, having seen neither book nor flick, I am certainly open to correction.

EDIT:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sauron The White
If this does not put pressure on New Line to come to a quick agreement with Jackson on the HOBBIT I really do not know what will.
If that is indeed the case, then The Golden Compass might actually have a redeeming quality!
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Old 12-17-2007, 02:29 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by Aiwendil
All right - if this is the charge against Eru, then I think it makes perfect sense. It also should be noted that the charge applies generally to omnipotent deities. I was merely pointing out that there is a worse charge made by some (most relavantly, by Pullman) against the God of Abraham - namely, that he is petty, ill-tempered, jealous, and vengeful.
Indeed, for some Christians, that kind of God is the God they have, so Pullman's justified in that criticism as it's a type of God in the Real World anyway. And in this day and age of religion-driven hatred and violence it's a very pertinent point to make as some wish to hasten the end of the world because of what they perceive God to be. In that respect, Pullman is doing a wonderful thing by raising such difficult questions.

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Originally Posted by Aiwendil
Yet the thrust of the analogy is very clear. I have to say that I am not at all surprised at the outrage; that the Magisterium is a metaphor for the Catholic Church (or Christian Church, as this is a world without the Reformation) is fairly transparent. And if the metaphor is dealt with subtly in The Golden Compass, it is not so in the second and third books. This is not intended in any way as a criticism. On the contrary, I am very much in sympathy with Pullman on the matter of organized religion (though I certainly do have other criticisms for HDM). But if one considers the degree of 'offence' taken at, for instance, The Life of Brian, one will not be shocked at an outcry over a series of books in which . . . well, I won't say it, as I don't wish to spoil The Amber Spyglass for anyone - but consider the Authority as portrayed in that book.

And yet, as you pointed out earlier, Pullman does not, in the end, come across as anti-religion in HDM. Anti-Islamo-Judeo-Christianity, even anti-organized religion, yes, but anti-religion no. And I suspect that for many Christians of the less extreme sort, the Dust comes closer to their conception of God than does the Authority. Whether this is a virtue or a flaw in HDM is another matter, of course.
Yes, and there is the quite beautiful thing about His Dark Materials - that in the end God is to be found in the very fabric of existence, not merely in the anthropomorphic figure of an aged man. This where davem's derided Republic of Heaven comes in - it is a state of existence which all share, not just those who have paid the subscription fees - and that in itself is yet another message from these stories, that God cannot simply be accessed by putting your cash onto a brass dish; the Magisterium is also a symbol of money and how it has done and very much still does corrupt churches.

The only way anyone can honestly form a criticism of these books is to go out and read them - and read them a couple of times as they are incredibly complex and ambitious and draw on so much more than mere criticisms of religions (they draw on philosophy, poetry, psychology, science, myth, art and literature amongst other things).

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Originally Posted by davem
So what I'm asking is, is HDM really a good, entertaining story (as Pullman likes to claim) or is it actually an average/poor story which relies on a controversial message to attract readers?
Well I read them when they were very much 'just books' and hadn't heard of any of the controversy. I just saw them in a bookshop, noticed they had won several of the literary prizes and thought they looked interesting. I found I was deeply moved by them, fascinated by the new ideas (and these are very hard to come by in fantasy, how often do you think "Oh yawn, another sword wielding village boy?! Another Dark Lord?!") and have to say that I found it completely refreshing that they had a girl as the lead character, and not only that, but a girl who wasn't stereotyped and who was admirable.
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Old 12-17-2007, 06:48 AM   #33
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Yes, and there is the quite beautiful thing about His Dark Materials - that in the end God is to be found in the very fabric of existence, not merely in the anthropomorphic figure of an aged man. This where davem's derided Republic of Heaven comes in - it is a state of existence which all share, not just those who have paid the subscription fees - and that in itself is yet another message from these stories, that God cannot simply be accessed by putting your cash onto a brass dish; the Magisterium is also a symbol of money and how it has done and very much still does corrupt churches.

.

But is Dust an actual physical thing (a form of matter) or is it a metaphor for imagination/love? Can't really be both - unless Pullman is actually writing a parable & not a story at all. Pullman seems to be doing a Humpty Dumpty, & having Dust mean whatever he wants it to mean at any particular point in the story. Is this 'Divine' Dust a physical thing - in which case it can't be something as abstract & metaphysical as love or imagination, or is it simply a floating metaphor for 'nice' things - in which case how can its presence be registered on machines, or anything be done with it at all?
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Old 12-17-2007, 08:22 AM   #34
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But is Dust an actual physical thing (a form of matter) or is it a metaphor for imagination/love? Can't really be both - unless Pullman is actually writing a parable & not a story at all. Pullman seems to be doing a Humpty Dumpty, & having Dust mean whatever he wants it to mean at any particular point in the story. Is this 'Divine' Dust a physical thing - in which case it can't be something as abstract & metaphysical as love or imagination, or is it simply a floating metaphor for 'nice' things - in which case how can its presence be registered on machines, or anything be done with it at all?
The inspiration comes from a few things including Dark Matter, Dante and Genesis:

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In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return
Dust is very much a real thing in Pullman's creation - it is a lot like Dark Matter in appearance and as an idea in that it's quite a mysterious substance sought after by scientists. But it's also conscious, and is attracted to conscious beings - it exists in a symbiotic relationship, needing conscious beings to survive itself, and the conscious beings needing it in order to have imagination and knowledge (i.e. consciousness!).

Dust can be a metaphor for things in our world because unless Pullman is cleverer than all the clever people in the world put together then I doubt Dust is the answer to our own existence and is just a 'thing in a book'. So of course it can be a metaphor.
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Old 12-17-2007, 10:56 AM   #35
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Darn it, now I'm going to have to actually read HDM so I can see what you guys are talking about and write a thorough refutation.

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Old 12-17-2007, 11:21 AM   #36
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Darn it, now I'm going to have to actually read HDM so I can see what you guys are talking about and write a thorough refutation.

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You might find you like it

And some more on Dust...It falls, in Lyra's world, on those who have got a fixed Daemon, as opposed to children who have shifting Daemons - so it must be linked to what the Daemon 'is'. Which cannot be firmly defined, but we can guess that the Daemon is part of the human which feels, which thinks, which learns, judging by what has happened to the nurses at Bolvangar who have undergone intercission as adults:
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she would be able to stitch a wound or change a bandage, but never tell a story
Adults also make even more Dust:
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by thinking and feeling and reflecting, by gaining wisdom and passing it on
So aside from the notion that teachers must be Dust-y old things that tells us that in many ways Dust is indeed divine, is just like Tolkien's own notions of the importance of Imagination and Art. Love is also a part of what Dust is about as when children grow old enough to have a crush on someone (or something) they tend also to become adults and the Dust settles on them - so Love too is linked with Art; this has to be something Pullman gleaned from Blake.
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Old 12-17-2007, 12:09 PM   #37
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As I noted to someone in PM, my delay in approaching HDM is not from protest of any sort (I have read and thoroughly enjoyed most of the Harry Potter books), but rather of time and the fact that I'd never heard of it until a couple of years ago. I have to admit it's not high on my to-read list even now, but if this row keeps up for much longer, I'll have to up the priority on it.
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Old 12-19-2007, 12:31 PM   #38
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Pullman annoys Pope...

http://uk.reuters.com/article/entert...071219?sp=true
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Old 12-19-2007, 03:53 PM   #39
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There's some irony for you By being so critical of the books and advising people not to read them, they're in effect doing Pullman's work for him.
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Old 12-20-2007, 05:18 PM   #40
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Wish I had seen the film or read the books so I could contribute to this thread. For what it's worth, I will say, as a Christian whom most would describe as a "right-wing fundamentalist", that I have zero problem with these films being made. Doesn't affect me one iota. I'm not gonna take my kids to them (assuming I have kids, which I don't, yet), but censorship is idiotic and immoral.

I don't see my God (the God of the New Testament and Old alike) as petty, vengeful, spiteful, or distant. Tolkien didn't either, and I doubt he would appreciate his Eru being characterized as such. But that goes way beyond this thread's topic.
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