Mark Reads ‘The Amber Spyglass’: Chapter 9

In the ninth chapter of The Amber Spyglass, Will travels with the panserbjørne to their new habitat, and we learn just how many people are set to converge on the cave where Lyra is being held. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Amber Spyglass.


Pullman is able to accomplish something here that reminds me of a sensation I had during my read of Harry Potter. This world is so intensely imagined and the characters fleshed out so well that I just want to spend entire novels on just one thing. I would not complain if J.K. Rowling wrote an entire book about one mundane day at the Ministry of Magic just so I could learn more about the place. I wouldn’t turn down a description of everything inside Azkaban. I WANT TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT CENTAUR CULTURE. In this sense, reading the His Dark Materials trilogy has been a real treat because Pullman takes so many opportunities to allow us these insightful windows into worlds that are completely new to us. (Literally so, since this is a series about parallel universes.)

Never would I have imagined that we’d get the bulk of a chapter devoted to Will and Iorek spending time with one another. I mean, I am a bit anxious to return to Lyra’s perspective, especially since she’s so integral to this story, but I’m enjoying this surprising detour on to other characters. For Iorek, though, this situation is particularly interesting to experience as a reader. We’d learned that sky metal is impenetrable, except when hit by the claws of another panserbjørne. This is an immutable fact for Iorek Byrnison, and now this strange child just presented a knife that sawed through the armor as if it was a stick of butter at room temperature.

But on top of that, all of the armored bears’ lives have changed drastically, too. The introduction of the subtle knife is just one part of it. Lord Asriel’s bridge has continued to ruin the north, so much so that the bears are forced to seek out a new habitat to live in that actually has snow. It’s rather fitting that they’re heading for the Himilayas, since that’s where Lyra is being held captive, but it’s yet again a chance for more of this universe to be explored. The bears must find a land of frigid air and snow to survive, and there, they’ll face new enemies. I was intrigued by Iorek’s insistence, though, that while he would fight for the side in the great war that gave the bears the best advantage, he still had other standards for what the bears themselves would fight for. Personally, Iorek has attachments to avenging Lee Scoresby, or serving Serafina Pekkala, or rescuing Lyra Silvertongue. But Iorek knows that his personal attachments to these humans are only his own, and the armored bears will not have the same goals as he.

I mean, I can’t even imagine how jarring this all is anyway. The physical landscape is drastically changing, and now the bears of the north have to travel to the biggest mountain range in the world in order to survive. The rivers are running in the wrong direction. The weather is changing. I can’t ignore the similar parallel to Lee’s journey to find Grumman in The Subtle Knife when he discovered how the world was falling apart. (Oh god, Lee. ENDESS SADNESS.) But with Iorek leading these bears, they’ve got a commander with purpose and determination:

“We shall be comfortable. And there are wild creatures there in plenty. Our lives will be different for a while. But we shall survive, and when things return to what they should be, and the Arctic frezes once more, we shall still be alive to go back and claim it. If we had stayed there, we would have starved. Be prepared for strangeness and for new ways, my bears.”

“My bears.” Oh, my heart. It’s not that bears need comfort because….they are armored bears. But I am comforted until the end of time. Could Iorek just be my eternal protector? Oh, shit, WHAT IF IOREK WAS MY DÆMON. All right, I’m ridiculous.

I don’t know that using the word “fear” is right when describing Iorek’s reaction to being shown what the subtle knife actually does, but it’s the first time in the series that Iorek gives off a new vibe during this display. It’s largely done through silence: Iorek merely stares through a window into a new world, a jungle atmosphere that’s hot and muggy, full of frightening new animals. He examines the knife for long periods of time, and only says one thing to Will:

“I was right: I could not have fought this.”

Why does that unsettle me so much? It’s such a simple statement, but I feel like Iorek has finally been disturbed by the changes all around him.


Pullman switches gears in an interesting way to show us just how we are fully and completely unprepared for what is about to happen. I mean that in the sense that we are given so many variables in such a short span of time. Lord Asriel’s group is headed for Lyra, and while they’re further away, they can travel at a much faster pace. But the Society of the Work of the Holy Spirit has an alethiometer, while the Consistorial Court has sent a fleet of zeppelins to go after her. But it’s not just as simple as that:

And there was another consideration: whoever seized Lyra first would have to fight their way out against the other force. It would be easier for the Consistorial Court, because they didn’t have to consider getting Lyra away safely. They were flying there to kill her.

GOD DAMN IT. Seriously, Lyra can’t die, right? RIGHT???

But those two variables aren’t enough for Pullman. The Gallivespians are on board one of the Consistorial zeppelins. Chevalier Tialys and Lady Salmakia are acting as spies for Lord Asriel. We learn that Gallivespians breed larvae that can “hatch” in thirty six hours and be used in the inevitable battle that they’ll face when rescuing Lyra. That’s kind of a fascinating idea actually, because I don’t know that there are any species we’re familiar with that are similar to this. Breeding more of your own kind for battle? Plus, they’re creatures who can speak and they look like dragonflies and can I just have one as a friend? They can spy on my enemies for me. Do I have enemies? I should look into that.

Hey, what’s a great way to end chapter nine to fill me with dread and terror? Oh, right.

But there was one thing they couldn’t learn any more about on the zeppelin, because the President never spoke of it: and that was the matter of the assassin, Father Gomez, who had been absolved already of the sin he was going to commit if the Consistorial Court failed in their mission. Father Gomez was somewhere else, and no one was tracking him at all.

CHRIST. I don’t lend any credence to the idea that the Consistorial Court will succeed in beating Lord Asriel to Lyra. They’re slower and less prepared, and I don’t think they have the advantage in this situation. But something about Father Gomez’s state of grace perturbs me. I think Father Gomez is the biggest threat to everything because he has his own beliefs on his side, and that sort of conviction can be dangerous. The man believes he is on a mission for the Authority to save EVERYTHING by murdering Lyra Belacqua.

If no one knows that he’s coming, how is he going to be stopped? The only thing I can think of is the variable of Will and the subtle knife, to be honest. Will has a knife that can harm anything or anyone. If Will makes it to Lyra’s cave at the same time as Lord Asriel and the Magisterium, are we going to witness the most ridiculous battle yet, even more chaotic than Bolvangar or the fight between Iorek and Iofur?

Oh god COULD WE????

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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89 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Amber Spyglass’: Chapter 9

  1. Ryan Lohner says:

    I still wince a bit at Will worrying that Iorek will cut his eye with how closely he's examining the knife.

    It's so great that after having Will and Iorek meet at last, we get a whole chapter of just them talking with each other. And this doesn't take away from the book's momentum at all, since we know that this is all just the calm before the storm, plus whatever happens with Mary Malone and the mulefa, with Gomez after them.

    • knut_knut says:

      ugh, me too about the eye thing. Things touching eyes, even if it's just a contact lense, freak me out.

    • Partes says:

      Least appropriate way for an armoured bear to go blind ever.

      "So how did it happen?"
      "I poked myself with a knife. That I took from a twelve year old."
      "Haha, mighty King of Bears made a booboo– please stop growling."

  2. Natasha says:

    "Plus, they’re creatures who can speak and they look like dragonflies "

    Hmm, I think you're misreading them. The Gallivespians look like little people – they RIDE dragonflies. The larvae are for more of their mounts.

    • momigrator says:

      I think he understood, but this sentence, "Breeding more of your own kind for battle?" Makes it seem like the gallivespians are breeding more gallivespians. O_o I'm pretty sure he meant their own kind of mount, though. 🙂

  3. Maya says:

    Thinking about it now, the Gallivespians breeding for battle reminds me of the humans in "The Doctor's Daughter" making new soldiers constantly. Because EVERYTHING relates to Doctor Who.

  4. cait0716 says:

    When Iorek stepped into the tropical forest world, all I could think was "Oh! That's how the polar bears got on the island!"

  5. Jaya says:

    Chapter 9 Epigraph!

    <img src=""&gt;

    Much love for Emily Dickinson. For anyone who wants to see all the epigraphs (I know they're absent from some editions), you can find them over at, here.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Once again, your edition does it even better. The O's are the alchemical symbol for the sun!
      ETA: astrological and astronomical, too, haha.

      • Tilja says:

        Then you could get a capital C like a crescent moon and now you make want to see that. And the Uranus H as well.

        "Ok, astrological geek, just stay calm and no one needs to get hurt. Now slowly put down the chart."
        "I'm trying but it's all wonky. The alignments won't get right!"

        /Freak moment over xD

    • Tilja says:

      Why is it called Galería instead of Gallery? It's almost the only term in Spanish in the whole page. I find this odd yet interesting.

      Again, thanks for the epigraph.

      • Jaya says:

        Hmm, that's odd. On mine it shows up as Gallery – maybe it does some sort of automatic translate based on where you are? I have no idea.

        • Tilja says:

          I thought about that but it doesn't look like it. This is how the Gallery page looks like, I took a screencap:

          As you can see, the only instances are the name of the section, a text below the subsections, and, at the bottom, the layout source or something. If it was a translating system, it'd be more consistent than only those three things. The name Galería shows up on every subpage as well.

          • Jaya says:

            No, I think it is a translating system. The words that are translated are the ones that are already automatically integrated into the Gallery function/app that we use on the site (which we haven't changed). The words such as the gallery description, and the other gallery titles are ones we put in ourselves. So it must change itself for you! Nifty stuff.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      ugh these epigraphs are destroying my soul.

      (Thanks for posting them, Jaya!!!)

  6. nomdeplume says:

    I remember when I read these when I was about 10, I kept rushing these parts because I was anxious to get back to Lyra! Now, upon rereading, I can appreciate all the gorgeous description and savour the time spent with Iorek. He is just so awesome; I'm actually envious of Lyra and her relationship with him. Plus I'm listening to this song called Wake (Ice and Blood) by Double Thumb, and it's giving me chills, thinking about the changing climates and just general armoured bear goodness. Sorry if I sound weird, I'm on quite strong pain meds!

  7. Partes says:

    One thing I immediately noticed when reading this chapter is just how easily Will and Iorek got on. There's no tension like there was when Balthamos originally joined, no squabbles like with Lyra. They just kind of look at each other and go "Yeah, you're cool and pretty hardcore. Now let's go."

    Badass bffs 4eva rule 34

    In all seriousness, they just reach an easy point of understanding: we know what we have to do and we'll do it. This says a lot about both of them especially in the context of their search for Lyra, who they both care about. I actually think they're both pretty similiar in temperment and in views on life, at least as close as a bear and a twelve year old can be.

    The Gallifreyiansvespians are also an interesting people. We know a lot about them considering how little they've been on the screen, and what's interesting is that Pullman does this using his power as narrator rather than by showing. The rule of thumb 'show, don't tell' doesn't, to me, apply here. By slipping these little tidbits in the narrative feels more fleshed out, and we don't have to waste time with dialogue. The line about comparing them to rats, for example: it's just a sentence but it communicates so much without having to construct an entirely irrelevant scene.

    Also, did anyone else notice that Lyra's conversations with Roger have stopped? Oh my.

    Oh god COULD WE????

    Your enthusiasm amuses me. "GIANT BLOODY BATTLES PLZ."

    • maccyAkaMatthew says:

      For detailed discussion of showing and telling, read "The Rhetoric of Fiction" by Wayne C Booth. Highly recommended to anyone who wants to write or to get into literary criticism. His basic (and very well argued) thesis is that "show don't tell" is a nonsense, even as a rule of thumb. Given that you've instinctively spotted the value of telling in this case, you'd probably find it interesting – it's a proper bit of rigorous scholarship about how fiction works.

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Don't have to waste time with dialogue!? Don't have to construct a scene!? This is the author's job! This is their duty! There is no value in "telling!" Exterminate! EX-TER-MI-NATE! 😉

      Yeah, I did notice that the little snippets between chapters stopped. Oh man, what does it mean?

      • Partes says:

        Feeeeh! There's plenty of pluses in telling, and I've never seen the value in the show don't tell rule (shout out to Matthew above, I'll be looking that book up!) ninety nine percent of the time when it comes to literature. As a rule of thumb it works… sometimes, but to completely abandon the role of the narrator often results in some really sloppily put together scenes of exposition, and that's what would have happened here.

        We've already had several chapters without Lyra, and personally I felt no need to extend this by including a scene of the Gallis. My rat example above shows what I mean. Just sneaking that in saved around a thousand words, and lets us move quickly on without being distracted. Fantasy is a genre I find it easy in which to forgive this flaw, though. Their roots are in fairytales, which do nothing but tell rather than show. I don't mean to get hung up on this anyway, it just simply didn't bother me. 😛

        • BradSmith5 says:

          Haha,ha, I'm sure there are. I just get caught in "Dalek mode" sometimes. 😉 Check out that book and report your findings, Partes!

      • flootzavut says:

        As with pretty much every "rule" applied to writing, "Show, don't tell" is a rule that any author will happily break when appropriate; showing and telling have different uses and different purposes. Any rule, taken to extremes, just gets silly. Sometimes one needs to tell. The biggest problem is when an author "shows" one thing and "tells" another. This is the big problem with SMeyer – she overuses telling, but the problem is that the things she tells us (for example how clever and so on Bella is, and that Edward is the perfect boyfriend) contradict things that she inadvertantly shows us (that Bella can be unbearably dense and Edward is a freaky stalker). She has no awareness of what she has shown us and so the pieces don't fit together at all.

        • BradSmith5 says:

          I suppose my personal preference could be interfering with my judgment. My greatest joy in these stories is seeing characters and how they interact with each other. Every time the author steps in to explain something, I feel as though I'm being robbed of potential dialog and situations in which the characters express ideas. Thus, my extreme attitude.

          Perhaps I should amend my rules to be more specific. "Don't state that your character has objective traits such as beauty" for instance. Or stating that she isn't imaginative, ha,ha,ha. 😉

          • flootzavut says:

            I think you have to remember that it is always a balance. I'm sure it would be possible to "show" everything in a book, but depending on the book, that might mean a story the size of HDM would end up being roughly as long as Encyclopædia Britannica! 😉

            I totally understand having preferences for certain styles, but at the end of the day, all the "rules" of writing have a time and place. Yes, it's good to avoid overuse of the passive voice, telling not showing, et cetera et cetera, but those things do have a place and do have useful functions. It makes no sense to throw them out altogether. As with most "rules" that people want to think are unversal, taking them to an extreme would detract from, not add to, a person's writing 🙂

    • flootzavut says:

      "Badass bffs 4eva rule 34"

      Bwahahahaha don't go there!

  8. Jenny_M says:

    I'm so anxious, even though I know what happens, that I still find myself skimming this chapter to get further on in the book…even though I'm re-reading at Mark's pace.

    Logic, it is not a strong suit with me.

    • Partes says:

      Haha, right! I'm working through the novel 'Game of Thrones' right now to work my way through the series with the whole context of the books, even though I know what happens. Three things have struck me since I started reading:

      1. That this is an is awesomely written book and is SO GOOD.
      2. Holy crap, that was a faithful tv adaption. I should be even more impressed with the show than I was.
      3. That I am getting entirely invested in a plot that I have already experienced once, and still keep hoping for things to change. And then bad things happen and I get all sad/mad.

      Logic, brain. How does it work.

      • Jenny_M says:

        Holy shit, I just finished A Dance With Dragons, so I FEEL YOUR PAIN. I was trying to pace myself through all five books but was COMPLETELY UNABLE.

        • monkeybutter says:

          Haha, I was rereading the first four before ADWD came out, trying to take my time and pick out any details I missed, but I was only halfway through AFFC when I got the new book. I said to hell with it, and read ADWD in like 2 days. I actually finished it while waiting in line for the HP permiere, so the 15th felt like the day after Christmas. Why can't I savor these things?

          I'm anxioius for Mark to finish HDM, but I'm eternally thankful that his pace is forcing me to focus on one chapter at a time!

          • cait0716 says:

            Goodness, how did you read that beast in two days? A Clash of Kings took me almost a month

            • monkeybutter says:

              Very little sleep + fast reader. It was Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday night, so maybe I should say 3 days. I can hunker down and read for hours, and I lose track of time ("oh shit, it's 2am"). Actually, I have insomnia, and even though I was in bed for fewer hours, I felt better rested because I slept for four hours straight, instead of 3-4 hours fitfully. Also, I bought the kindle edition, and I think not having to lug around that door stopper and the ability to embiggen the font made it easier to plow through. For comparison, I made it through DH in about 8 hours, with breaks for laundry and to look for more tissues when I couldn't stop sobbing.

              • barnswallowkate says:

                Are you me??? I also read DH in 8 hours, and also completely lose track of time when reading until the wee hours of the morning. It's like being in a trance. I also don't hear anything around me which can suck when your friends/spouse/cat think you're willfully ignoring them all the time =/

                • monkeybutter says:

                  lol yes, my cats hated me, especially since it's a lot easier to maneuver a kindle around them. My signal for breaks is cat butt in my face. Or when they start chewing on power cords; they know that's effective. I have a younger sister, so I mastered ignoring my surroundings at a young age. Thankfully, my friends know I was waiting for this book, as some of them were, so they were a bit more understanding!

              • Partes says:


                Sneaky Simpsons reference, I see you!

              • cait0716 says:

                That makes sense. I have a hard time finding any time outside my metro commute to read. I envy you those long, uninterrupted chunks of reading

                • monkeybutter says:

                  Yeah, reading on the train sucks. It's hard to get into a book when you have to stop after 20 minutes.

          • FlameRaven says:

            Impressive. It took me probably five or six days to finish it… and actually I'm not technically "finished" because I've got like three chapters to go… but I already read the epilogue so I feel like it's done. It's weird. I read a lot of that book out of order, though.

      • cait0716 says:

        So good! And the TV adaptation was incredible. I recently finished the second book, and I'm excited for the next one.

      • @Arachne110 says:

        So you watched the TV series first and then started the books, right? Was it pretty easy to get into the first episode?

        I read the books about 3 years ago, so I knew the story and the characters already, but I remember wondering when we watched the first episode how the story unfolded to people who didn't already have a vested interest in it.

        I agree the adaptation was VERY well done and I was pretty impressed with the show. It was awesome to see the characters come to life onscreen that were so true to the story.

        • Partes says:

          Without straying too far off topic, it was great. It reminded me of Lost in that we had so many characters introduced in such a sort space of time, and all of them were interesting, and then [SPOILER FOR THE FIRST EPISODE OF GAME OF THRONES HERE] Bran got pushed out the building which actually made me jump up and go "Oh shit!", hammering home that no one was safe.

          Never felt muddled or confused at all, just incredibly impressed at the quality of the writing, acting and direction.

          Funnily enough, I actually thought that douche in the woods would be a main character as his actor seemed really good and charismatic. And then… lol.

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            Basically this. I also watched the miniseries first and as I'm going through the book the first time, I'm shocked at how precise the show is. There are a few extremely minor changes, but it IS the book so far.

        • Maya says:

          I watched the first episode and then started the book (it took me like two weeks to make it through). It's one of the best adaptations of a novel I've ever seen. Anyone trying to adapt a book for television or film should take a lesson from the "Game of Thrones" people.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        OH MY GOD I JUST STARTED READING 'GAME OF THRONES' TOO. I'm about 250 pages in and:

        1) Yes, it is VERY well written.
        2) Holy shit that adaptation is beautiful.

        So sad I never read these before, but NOW I GET TO ENJOY THEM.

        • Becky_J_ says:

          I just ordered A Game of Thrones, and I'm really excited to start reading it. From what I see here, I'm really going to enjoy them!

        • t-town says:

          I think you will like the books. And this is a huge cliché here but; you aren’t prepared for any of this. This was the first time that I actually shouted to the book: nooooooo! You cant do this etc.

    • Neet says:

      ROT13'd for Season Two Buffy spoilers. V jnf fcbvyrq rira orsber gur svefg gvzr V fnj "Cnffvba" gung Wraal jnf tbvat gb qvr, ohg V pbzcyrgryl pbaivaprq zlfrys fur jnf tbvat gb trg njnl. Abj, rirel gvzr V erjngpu, V fgvyy svaq zlfrys jnvgvat sbe ure gb rfpncr naq fur arire qbrf. Vg'f abg evtug (ohg gur rcvfbqr vf bu fb cresrpg).

  9. monkeybutter says:

    We learn that Gallivespians breed larvae that can “hatch” in thirty six hours and be used in the inevitable battle that they’ll face when rescuing Lyra. That’s kind of a fascinating idea actually, because I don’t know that there are any species we’re familiar with that are similar to this. Breeding more of your own kind for battle? Plus, they’re creatures who can speak and they look like dragonflies and can I just have one as a friend? They can spy on my enemies for me. Do I have enemies? I should look into that.

    As Natasha says, the larvae aren't Gallivespians, they Gallivespians just breed them. And actually, we have seen creatures with a relationship like this: the mulefa and the grazers! Mary describes them as looking somewhat similar, but the mulefa have an air of intelligence, use wheels, and milk the grazers. I suppose the human equivalent would be a golem or homunculus (and now I'm thinking about Pan's Labyrinth and Ofelia's mandrake, so this train of thought has derailed in creepyland). You could act in collusion with Gallivespians, I suppose. Look into that. Just watch out for those spurs.

  10. stellaaaaakris says:

    IIRC, in TSK, Fra Pavel said the alethiometer he was using was the only one that hadn't been destroyed with the exception of Lyra's. And Fra Pavel is pretty much at the beck and call of the Consistorial Court of Discipline. But here we learn the Society of the Work of the Holy Spirit also has an alethiometer. Naq gura va fbzr shgher puncgre jr yrnea nobhg Ze. Onyyvfnqrf (V guvax gung'f uvf anzr), Ybeq Nfevry'f nyrguvbzrgevfg. So either Pullman forgot about that detail (or I made it up in my head, but I'm at work and don't have my copy of TSK to check) or Fra Pavel lied, which is kinda funny since he's one of the few people in the world who can read the truth-telling alethiometer.

    • Partes says:

      Did they actually say they used their own alethiometer? I just assumed that they got a hold of the one Fra Pavel had kept, since he was busy with that whole, umm, awkward murder thingymajib.

      There's probably a fair few people that can read it but just have no practice. Always good to keep a potential prophet at the ready.

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        I want to have a side job being a potential prophet if it means I might get to play with the alethiometer one day.

        "Tell us where this guy will be attack us next."
        "Hang on, I almost found out how to get to Hogwarts."

        I'd be terrible. Oh well. Yet another dream shattered.

        I thought they'd have to have their own alethiometer since these branches of the Church don't seem so keen on sharing with one another. But you're right that awkward murder thingymajibs are very time consuming, I'd assume.

        • Partes says:

          "Which direction are they coming from?!"
          "Hold on, I'm trying to find out the meaning of life. Why does it keep saying 'fourty two'?!"

          • stellaaaaakris says:

            "Stop fooling around with that thing! How many of them are there?"
            "Will you wait a minute?! I'm asking about this blue box that I swear wasn't here a moment ago. It keeps saying 'bigger on the inside' and 'sexy.' What could that mean?"

            • Partes says:

              Heh, I like the thought of someone asking what the TARDIS is and the alethiometer explodes.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      It was said that Fra Pavel had the only one because the Magisterium ordered all the others be destroyed, but I'm wondering how that would work given how factional the Magisterium seems to be. I doubt that there's even a branch of the Magisterium that has the authority to give that order, or the power to enforce it over the entire body of the Church even if it did. And the fact that Pavel was saying it to a group of Church officials makes it weirder, because certainly they'd know how unlikely that is. So it would look like Pullman just forgot about that detail. In retrospect it's pretty weird that Pullman even thought to include that bit, because Fra Pavel's claim of having the only other alethiometer wasn't even relevant to what he was discussing at the time; it was just a random way of seguing into the fact that the Church now knows about Lyra's alethiometer skills.

      (And re: your rot13'd bit, Teukros Basilides has already been introduced. The messenger who accidentally caused Baruch's death was ordered to summon him so he could find Lyra's exact location. I only remembered him because I was trying to figure out how to pronounce it and if it was somehow relevant to the real-world, which it apparently isn't..)

      • stellaaaaakris says:

        Oooh, ok, thanks. Was Basilides' skills mentioned? The timeline of this book is very messy in my memories; I can't remember when things happen anymore. And not having my book handy is very disheartening. I want to check everything, all the tiny details. Oh, well, I guess that'll have to wait.

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          I looked it up to confirm, and the section with him is extremely short (less than a page), but it does call him "the alethiometrist."

          • stellaaaaakris says:

            Ok, cool. So even if the Church branches are sharing the alethiometer between them, which I doubt since they don't seem to be of the "what's mine is yours" mindset, they're definitely not sharing with Lord Asriel. So there must be at least 3.

  11. Tilja says:

    My comment disappeared into the abyss, so I'll just put the end of it alone.

    Iorek would be a great daemon for Will, they together make the perfect BAMF team. Although I still maintain that Lyra is in reality Iorek's daemon, because you can't be more perfect that THAT.

  12. arctic_hare says:

    I WANT A BIG DRAGONFLY LIKE THE GALLIVESPIANS ARE BREEDING. 🙁 I love dragonflies, so that part made me all excited and "DO WANT".

    Also want to be friends with Iorek. <3 He's so amazing. Glad to have him back in the narrative, I missed him in TSK.

  13. barnswallowkate says:

    It's so funny that you wrote "I just want to spend entire novels on just one thing" because when I was reading this chapter last night I realized how much I wanted to read a whole book about the Gallivespians (their titles! their pride! their dragonfly-like mounts that come in different breeds!).

    I wanted to hug the bear that asked if there would be seals in the mountains. Aww, bb.

    • Partes says:

      I wanted to hug the bear that asked if there would be seals in the mountains. Aww, bb.

      It's okay, Iorek later slaughtered a gazelle and then ate its raw carcus. So touching <3

      Wait, what

  14. MightyW says:

    I think there are many insects that can spontaneously spawn at times of need – Greenfly can produce thousands of larvae when they sense their leaf is about to be destroyed – they normally reproduce sexually for genetic variation, but in extreme cirumstances, like an angry bird, they do so assexually for speed. That's probably not what the Gallivespians do though.

    Oh, and going back a couple of days to the Mulefa – the only way I could conceive of what they would be like is by looking at a Chippendale corner chair, though they don't rock the wheels so much…

  15. hokieblood says:

    i love mark's self control…i finally caught up…then proceeded to keep reading because i can't help myself.

  16. BradSmith5 says:

    Eh, the parts with Iorek were fine, but then Pullman just tells us where everyone else is with dull statements. I wanted to SEE the Church guy on the bridge of his whatever-copter, sipping brandy while he commands his crew for battle. "Ensign, set course: Himalayas!" Then the ensign would be all like "Whoa? There? What for?" And that's when the captain leans in close to the camera with a clenched fist and says: "We're going to KILL LYRA."

    And why in the world is NO ONE following the assassin!? The little guy was RIGHT THERE when Gomez volunteered for the mission! "Better let this guy go––Mark wants a cool battle later."

    • TRVA says:

      *wild completely unfounded speculation* maybe the assassin is A DOUBLE AGENT (shows dark mark) /AVPM

      that's immediately where my mind jumped when I read your comment. I honestly have no idea why Asriel would ignore the assassin, but I don't imagine he'd just do nothing about it.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Oh man. And he FLOGS himself as part of the act! We were told that he was a young, newer member, weren't we? Zounds, you've figured it out! O_O

    • RoseFyre says:

      Posting in response late, but thought I should point this out – Chevalier Tialys was there when Father Gomez volunteered, yes, but then he was meeting with Lady Salmakia when Father Gomez actually set off. So there may have been thoughts of following him, but they wanted to get confirmation from Lord Roke and Lord Asriel first…and by the time there was a chance, Father Gomez was already gone. At least that's how I always read it.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        It's never too late! And yeah, I had forgotten who the little spy worked for. I doubt Asriel would consider Mary a top priority, anyway.

  17. @BklynBruzer says:


    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I COULD…glare at your enemies in a menacing way?

      Boy, I'm not even very good at menacing though…

  18. hazelwillow says:

    Why aren't you commenting on the parts about Lyra and Roger? This confuses me!

    Maybe you mentioned it before and I missed it. Or are you saving it for later?

    I like those parts so I want to talk about them!!

    I enjoyed Will spending time with Iorek too.

    I think you may have misread what the gallivespians are hatching? Either that or I drastically misread you.

  19. dbmacp says:

    The Gallevespians breed the dragonflies for battle. They do not themselves look like dragonflies. They are human-shaped, just small.

  20. flootzavut says:

    "This world is so intensely imagined and the characters fleshed out so well that I just want to spend entire novels on just one thing."

    THIS. I love "living" for a while in a world that is so completely real within the realm of the book. For all their not so great points – and neither is a perfect author – both Pullman and Rowling manage to suck one in so totally, and it's a wonderful read for that reason alone.

  21. flootzavut says:

    "I think Father Gomez is the biggest threat to everything because he has his own beliefs on his side, and that sort of conviction can be dangerous."

    When put like this, Gomez has echoes of suicide bombers or Northern Irish terror groups.

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