In the first chapter of The Amber Spyglass, WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Amber Spyglass.
Well, hello Readers! I’ve always wanted to figure out a way to involve the existing fandom of something I’m reading/watching while I am still working my way through that particular show or book. I’m happy to announce that I can finally do that!
During the course of reading The Amber Spyglass, I’ll be working with BridgeToTheStars.net, the largest Philip Pullman fansite and community EVER. They have all been wonderful to me, and we came up with some neat ways for those of you who have read this series to continue to enjoy The Amber Spyglass without having to worry about spoiling me.
First of all, each week BTTS will host a themed discussion wherein you may discuss this week’s chapters in a spoilery fashion. This week, please visit the thread in their beautifully designed forum for chapters one through five. In the coming days, I’ll be announcing a contest running simultaneous to this with BTTS where you can win a signed copy of The Amber Spyglass. UM VICTORY.
In the meantime, you should probably check out the real image that the new banner is cropped from. Just sayin’.
Ok, last book of the His Dark Materials trilogy, so I’m going to make these predictions AWESOME. Shall we?
Mark’s Totally Beautiful and Always-Right Predictions For The Amber Spyglass
- Ok, it’s pretty obvious that Mrs. Coulter’s people have Lyra, so that’s part of my prediction. The other half: She is not going to destroy her as she told Lord Boreal. I predict she is using her for another purpose to further herself.
- Will is going to use the subtle knife to kill someone or something before chapter ten.
- We will learn why this trilogy is called His Dark Materials and it’s going to tie together these objects that Will and Lyra have in their possession. (The alethiometer and the subtle knife.
- The amber spyglass will enable a person to see from one world to another.
- I’m guessing that Pullman will show us exactly three more parallel worlds in addition to our world, Lyra’s world, and Cittágazze.
- We will get to see inside of Lord Asriel’s fortress and we will learn that he houses a secret weapon in the fight against the Authority.
- Lord Asriel will die by the end of the book.
- We will FINALLY learn why the Authority absolutely must be killed and why Lyra must kill “destiny.”
- Will is going to successfully kill the authority.
- Ok, I’m willing to admit that this is probably foolish to guess about, since I literally cannot understand the mechanics of how it works, but Will, Lyra, and Dr. Malone will somehow re-create The Fall but instead choose to “embrace” the concept of sin without feeling shame.
- Dr. Malone will die by the end of the book. (I HATE TYPING THAT. But after the end of The Subtle Knife, I honestly don’t think anyone is safe. Also, I will never heal from the death of Lee/Hester. I’m sorry, that is just so traumatic.)
- Ok, I am absolutely not sure about this, but why not further make a fool of myself? Somehow, Mrs. Coulter will “redeem” herself and choose to ultimately turn against the Church.
- We will discover more versions of the Church/Magisterium in other universes.
- I think we will get the first appearances of doubles. By that, I mean versions of people in different worlds.
- We will find out where Specters came from and if there are indeed versions of them in other worlds. (Or if they are the same thing but called something different.)
- Will is going to be reunited with his mother.
- We will learn the identity of the pale-haired man. Oh, and he’s going to die.
- I will finally learn more conclusively than in the first two books why Christians apparently hate this series. (It’s been remarkably tame so far.)
- There will be people. (I WANT ONE EASY PREDICTION.)
- At the end of The Amber Spyglass, all the windows to the worlds will be closed and no one will ever be able to travel between then again.
WELL, THAT WAS FUN. Also, do you know how awkward it is that one of the characters is named Will? I had to rewrite sentences that started with, “Will will do this,” because it looked terrible. THANKS, PHILIP PULLMAN. Just kidding, I love you can we be friends.
CHAPTER ONE: THE ENCHANTED SLEEPER
Okay, well I was sort of right? Damn, I am seriously unprepared for this novel.
I wouldn’t have guessed that we’d see Mrs. Coulter right off the bat, but Pullman has a penchant for taking my expectations and drop-kicking them off a cliff into a pit of nightmares. Even more interesting is the way in which he gives us almost no information at all, and yet I feel as if he’s communicated an entire volume worth of information to me.
I’ve come to adore the way he writes about the physical world around his characters; it’s this playful, loving style of syntax and use of vocabulary to give us colors, feelings, and mental images full of rich detail. I’ll always appreciate just how wonderful this story is, but never forgets that he has to make us believe this world. He accomplishes that through his attention to detail. He contrasts the forest of pines and the valley rhododendrons with the creepy horror of the cave that Mrs. Coulter now occupies. What makes this all the more effective is just how unsettled we feel when we realize we actually don’t know what Mrs. Coulter is doing out here with just Lyra and herself. Of course, I had expected that the Specters had invaded Will and Lyra’s camp to take out the witches protecting her, and then Lyra herself was captured, to be brought back to Mrs. Coulter’s possession. But I quickly realized that there was no one else with this woman in the holy cave. Why? Why wouldn’t she have anyone with her? Why is she pretending to be a holy woman in this manner?
It’s also a chance for us to see how Mrs. Coulter uses her manipulative charm to get what she wants. We meet (briefly) a local village girl named Ama; she brings Mrs. Coulter food and gifts, believing her to be a holy woman, but she has arrived this time with her father and some reservations of her own. The village is well aware that there Mrs. Coulter has a young girl with her, and that this young girl was not ordinary in any sense.
Mrs. Coulter turns on that frightening charm in an instant. It’s honestly like there’s a switch in her head that she flips on and off without any sort of preparation. God, it is just so creepy. It doesn’t help that when Mrs. Coulter shows Ama Lyra’s sleeping body, the golden monkey dæmon is also being affectionate towards Pantalaimon. HOW DARE YOU TOUCH HIM, YOU DIRTY APE. But was this affection real or an act? I actually cannot tell.
I definitely wanted to believe that Mrs. Coulter was doing something to harm Lyra. She makes some sort of potion in the cave and slowly feeds it to her daughter right as she starts to wake up; it causes her to fall back asleep. So…she’s keep Lyra asleep for the time being? Seriously, why?
But this confusion is only natural. This is the first chapter of the book. I don’t know what’s going on. I don’t know what Pullman has planned. However, a new sensation creeps into me: What if I’ve gotten Mrs. Coulter all wrong? We learn that her dæmon is “discontented.”
He didn’t like what she was doing here in the cave, and when he tried to express his concern, she brushed him away.
Okay, what??? I know that dæmons can and do express themselves separate of their owners, but I’m lost. Isn’t her dæmon generally pretty hellbent on being a conniving, sneaky asshole? So if her dæmon is upset with her, what does that mean in terms of her own behavior? Pullman describes the monkey’s actions as “skepticism,” immediately after this revelation, which throws yet another wrench into this. Shit, what could this dæmon possibly doubt?
…she wondered what in the world she thought she was doing, and whether she had gone mad, and, over and over again, what would happen when the Church found out. The golden monkey was right. She wasn’t only hiding Lyra: she was hiding her own eyes.
WHAT?!?!?!?!!? I MEAN. That sounds like a fairly tacit acknowledgement that Mrs. Coulter is doing something the Church would not be all too happy with. Of all people, she is doing something like this? She’s hiding Lyra??? And what on earth does Pullman mean about Mrs. Coulter “hiding her own eyes”?
Oh, this is gonna be so good.
This short chapter ends with what I’m guessing is Lyra’s dream sequence while she’s kept asleep by her mother. She is some other world, described as “the end of all places and the last of all worlds,” and there are beings with her, ones without faces or names. Are they imprisoned as Lyra believes? Are these actual ghosts?
Surprisingly, Roger is here. He says this is the world of the dead. And he is very afraid, unsure if he’s done something right or wrong.
I’m inclined to believe that even if this is a dream, it’s actually real. I think this is a real place. So now is there a possibility to get Roger back from the dead?
Oh, I am so terribly excited.