Why I Love His Dark Materials

HDM trio Disclaimer: I really wanted to make a post gushing about how amazing His Dark Materials was, and how much I adore it, cherish it, and am fascinated by it, and I hope in part to have done that. Writing about why I love a series was harder than I thought, there is too much to say and too many feelings to try and put into words without taking a week to write it and have it be a few thousand pages long on each book. So forgive the clunkiness of this post and just remember this post is simply an extension of “Oh my god this series is amazing, it will make your mind dazzle, your heart break, and make you envious, disgusted, proud all at once. It is a masterpiece of literature I have loved since I was 12 years old and I will continue to adore it for as long as I can read. READ THIS SERIES! READ NORTHERN LIGHTS! Fall in love with Lyra and Iorek, read the entire trilogy and be moved by Will, fascinated by the mulefa and have your heart beat out of your chest in so many moments of anticipation, suspense, action and dismay. You will not regret it.” So keep that in mind 🙂

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The first time I read Northern Lights was when I was in year seven at high school. I cannot remember exactly how I was introduced to the series, I have a feeling it may have been a friend at the time, but either way I was hooked from the very beginning. I remember walking between classes, head in the book, navigating around students with instinct alone, never once looking up from the pages. I would read and reread each book in the series incessantly; getting lost in the world of Lyra and Pan, riding on the back of Iorek through the snow covered North, falling in love with Will and being amazed at Mary’s discoveries, but most of all my heart would ache to live in a world with daemons. From my first reading and even now I long to have a daemon of my own, not just for the marvel of having a companion that changed form, that was absolutely a part of you, but because when they settled you are able to discover the kind of person you truly are. It sounded magnificent. There is so much to love about His Dark Materials. I love that the people at Jordan college have come together to raise Lyra. I love that through every book there is so much joy coupled with intense sadness and heartache but also so much bravery and determination. I love that this incredibly complex story remains easy to read but is filled with the most complex ideas and theories. I love that daemons change for kids as often as their emotions change, that they are a visual representation of their soul, their feelings, and their strength. The entire series is an amazing concept and a wonderful retelling of a classic tale. Rereading Northern Lights has reminded me of all the wonderful things that make His Dark Materials the brilliant series it is. The light heartedness, the danger, the magic and the mysteries, the heartbreak and the horror, all mixed together into this phenomenal story. There is a certain magic about revisiting old favourites. Falling in love all over again with Lyra and Pan, Iorek and the Gyptians is easy, each time feeling like a first time read, even knowing where the story will go. The excitement is still there, the fear, and the disgust and sadness when terrible things happen. Another advantage of rereads is the fact you can always pick up something you have never seen before. But while there are new things to discover, there are the same moments, the same characters, that stay with you forever, moments you’ll never forget. In my typical cryptic and spoiler free way I will tell you I have never, not once, gotten over Tony. I find myself thinking about this series quite often, Lyra in the cupboard, Will and his mother, Lee Scoresby and Hester on the hillside, but I still feel so much sadness thinking about that boy with his fish. Reading it again was just as painful as the first time, Pullman has a way of making you feel everything like it’s the first time. It’s spectacular, but very emotional. What was also wonderful is that from the first pages to the last I pictured everything in my head just as I had always done, my images of characters and places were the same as when I was 12 years old, it was like returning to a familiar place after years being gone, to find it was just how you left it, the same faces welcoming you home. From Northern Lights to The Amber Spyglass there is nothing to lose by reading a series like His Dark Materials. The way Pullman migrates from Lyra in Northern Lights to Will in The Subtle Knife is seamless, and the gradual build up of characters, perspectives, worlds, and ideas is magnificent and should be (and has been) commended. I cannot imagine not having read this series, it hasn’t changed my life exactly, but it so much a part of my life it may as well have. These books have given me a story that is simply stunning, one that I will never forget, and one that I look forward to rereading again and again for many years to come.

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