Review: His Dark Materials

His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman

These books have stuck with me for a very long time, first read when I was fourteen then very recently re purchased and gobbled up swiftly again. This time as well including the additions of Lyra’s Oxford and One Upon a time in the North – both I found enjoyable little tangents of the series with another perspective to add to the whole saga.

Essentially all I can say is that I love these books, their manifestation to a younger audience as entertaining reads is bountiful and then in late years a re-reading gives you true appreciation of the weightier subject matter Pullman loves exploring in all of his written work.

Immediately on the table is a question of religion and the presentation of as an institute of power within society and the controversy of that position and the cost it has upon the way we govern our lives and depict our morals and standards within a community.

Then their is the microscopic scrutiny of human intention, free will and the spectrum of our nature and how that interacts as a whole within the environment we reside and what that has gone on to create. It explores both sides in detail showing the manipulative and conquering nature human beings enjoy possessing over one another and other species alike, the self entitlement we possess in the grandiose ideals we have regarding ourselves and in turn it exacts a direct counterpoint showing how intelligence has led us to be a race that does investigate and challenge and drive ourselves onwards in equally positive ways.

This book argues negativity of our world, the troubles and damage we cause ourselves but it shows to the inestimably acute curiosity of our natures and the beauty that has allowed us to pertain in return.

Pullman also explores the relationship we as humans possess to sexual identity and the turbulence experienced in that relationship as we progress through adolescence and it transverses how the ideas of love and sharing can change as we grow older and how that can become jaded and tainted by the world around us.

A particularly acute point disturbed in the final book of the trilogy is the idea of death and the comfortability we have with that notion. It speaks of inescapable and inevitable claws but shows as well how once again as innocence is lost so is a salutation of peace in some elements. It transcribes a detailed journey through the differing perspectives and interactions we have with the idea of our own demise and achieves a sense of calm when embracing that notion, and the sense of fearlessness we as children can possess. The greatest tragedy recurring through out this book is the idea that as we grown older we can lose touch with some of the things that we can engage with as children, and it shows how cowardice can take the place of bravery and courage.

It shows as well how learned we can become in acts of selfishness and that when full grown we lose the ability to connect with deeper parts to our self and unlearn the ability of sharing and caring for others. Of course it shows as well the triumphs of humanity in those few that do pertain the fire and passion of youth, when we are not hindered by our own fragility and question of existence.

The subtler subjects of the text engaging with scientific discovery delve into the realm of quantum physics, something I truly enjoy in the books and it uses science theorem, philosophical debate and the questions of experience depicted against religion to question how that changes the human perspective and what that does to our values and morals when it comes to debating subjects like truth and how that is defined.

This trilogy has inspired me for many years, each time I read it I see something that I did not notice before and take from it a new perspective each time depending the point I am in within my own life and experiences. I love these books and have found the voice and talent of Pullman one that I wish to achieve in my own writing.


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