I discovered this story when I was about to embark on the greatest adventure of my life, moving to the Middle East to teach and study for three years. Pullman was already a familiar author. I devoured his Sally Lockhart mysteries as a middle schooler.
When I found The Golden Compass on the bookshelf at Powell's books in Portland twelve years later, I was thrilled. I opened the book and was hooked by the first sentence. "Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen." So many questions in one sentence! What's a daemon? Why are they keeping out of sight? Why is the hall dark?
Even though Lyra rescues her friend, she ultimately brings him to her death by taking him to her Uncle Asriel, though she couldn't have predicted what her actions would bring. When her uncle creates a bridge to other worlds, Lyra realizes she must follow to understand what he's doing and to stop him as well. Lyra and her daemon are propelled forward into an ever expanding plot where they are both a small part of the vastness of the universe and the key the entire series turns on.
Pullman's fascinating ideas of a soul in animal form, of talking bears and worlds beyond our own that just might be in reach keep me returning to this book to experience the adventure over again.
|If I had a daemon, this would be it. The cat, not the donkey!|
"Parliament" Image courtesy of Nicholas Tarling at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
"Polar Bear" Image courtesy of Hal Brindley at FreeDigitalPhotos.net