Mark Reads ‘The Subtle Knife’: Chapter 11

In the eleventh chapter of The Subtle Knife, it’s possible to vomit from the unbearable suspense and terror that Philip Pullman gives you through the pages of this book. If you’re intrigued, then it’s time to continuing reading The Subtle Knife.


How does someone keep the action and tension up FOR CHAPTER OVER CHAPTER? I’m reminded of the discussion I brought up during the review for the sixteenth chapter of The Golden Compass. In an instant, Pullman seems to be able to send me into a state of hyperventilation as I try not to pass out from being so excited and overstimulated by what’s happening on the page. The thing is….this has barely slowed down at all from the very first chapter of the book. If I had chosen to read this in one sitting (AND YOU BETTER BELIEVE THAT I WOULDN’T HAVE STOPPED), I feel like I could have gone from cover to cover in just a couple hours. This is just…unbelievable. In the sense that I don’t know how I never read this series, and I don’t know how a person even conceives of this, time and time again.

Seriously, think about the timeline we’re dealing with here:

  • DUST
  • oh my god mrs coulter and lord boreal WHY

It’s just one thing after another, and none of this is at all what I anticipated this novel to be about. We have new characters, literal new worlds, and a whole host of new problems, one of which Lyra and Will must deal with now: the repercussions of giving up Tullio to the Specters.

Well, actually, the immediate concern Will has is for his hand. I like the fact that the wound Will received in becoming the bearer of the knife does not mean it acts like a ~super special~ wound. The dude had two of his fingers severed off and has had no medical attention. He’s going to have an awful time for a few days. Maybe longer! Unfortunately, for now, he’s in a lot of pain, he’s lost a lot of blood, and basically everything is unpleasant. This is what I’m referring to when I saw that fantastical stores can be realistic in their own way. Yes, this is all over-the-top, but that doesn’t mean interactions and characters can’t be grounded in ways we understand.

Still, I am worried about Will, especially when Lyra notices the rest of his hand is swollen and red. Their silent, dull fear about this is muted by the problem they are both facing: Will now possesses the weapon that would have given the children of Cittágazze the power to grow up unafraid of the Specters. I still don’t know the full importance of the subtle knife and how it will play out in the grand scheme of things, but Pullman doesn’t ignore the complicated nature of Will’s new role. To the Cittágazze children, Will stole their future away from them and doomed them all to certain death when they get older.

Will, however, makes a REALLY intriguing comment to Lyra when they inevitably start discussing the Specters: He thinks they came from his universe.

“Maybe they’re not called Specters. Maybe we call them something else.”

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Pullman, so far, leaves no detail behind, so this HAS to mean something. BUT WHAT? BUT WHAT? It doesn’t help that Will’s theory (the Specters eat people’s dæmons) gives me about 0% more of an idea of what’s going on. Until these two theories were brought up, I never even thought learning what the Specters were. It’s a parallel universe that acts as a way station between worlds. Weird shit is going to happen. And yet, now I’m kind of obsessed with the idea.

Will reiterates that the two of them really don’t have the time to determine which side of the moral spectrum they land on. (I’m glad Lyra acknowledges the fact that these kids will rightly view them as enemies.) For him, having now accepted the power of the alethiometer, the most important thing is having Lyra consult it to read the future. He asks her to find out about his mother first. (Holy shit, I had totally forgotten about her. OOPS.) Will hasn’t, though, and given how much he’s dealing with right at that moment, I loved that he thought about her. She was his first concern, and I can only imagine that he misses her terribly. Oh god, please let her be okay through all of this. John Parry is certainly going to die by the end of the series, and it would be a bit much if something happened to Will’s mother, too.

In the worst-timed plot shift in the history of plot twists, just as Will starts to request Lyra use the alethiometer to ask about his father, the children of Cittágazze arrive at the villa that they are staying in.

A note before I continue: If you find this scene, as the children lay siege to the house, particularly creepy, go find the movie, Quien Puede Matar a Un Niño? and watch it. One of the scariest movies ever made and it’ll make all of this here in The Subtle Knife seem like a Saturday morning cartoon.

At the same time, I can’t ignore just how horrific this is. Pullman makes children terrifying, even though I understand why they’re coming after Lyra and Will. For me, I don’t even think it’s necessarily what they are doing that creeps me out. It’s the numbers. It’s the sheer size of the group. At the beginning, Lyra estimates that it’s probably around “forty or fifty of them.” It’s two against nearly fifty. How the hell do you escape that? Lyra suggests cutting a window and climbing through to Will’s world, but Will’s quick to point out that they’re basically in his house in this world. (Which brings up a new question for me: Can you only travel through worlds in one direction? How do you get from Cittágazze to Lyra’s world or a fourth one? Are the windows dependent on geographical location? I ASK ONLY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS.)

The only option left for them to do is to run away. They opt to head to a weird temple-like structure instead of the woods but Will ends up having to slow down out of exhaustion. (Again, a way to ground a fantastical story in reality.) It’s the first sign that the odds are not in their favor. Upon arriving inside the temple building, they discover it’s basically a dead end. No escape, no locked door, and a simple stairway up to what is basically a viewing space for people to look out upon the town.

Oh, and the lead boy of the group has a gun which he is shooting at the temple. A gun! Where did that even come from? WHO CARES. THIS IS GOING TO BE AWFUL. I mean…how creepy is it when Will cuts a window and discovers that they’re fifty feet above traffic in the other universe? This might be the most hopeless situation they’ve been in yet. The children begin to crowd into the temple and I just want to fall over and nap because this is just too much for my gentle heart to handle. Then Will does something that is both shocking and completely confusing: He uses the subtle knife to CUT THE STAIRCASE AWAY.

Here’s what I’m confused by: Didn’t Giacomo specifically tell Will not to use the knife for its base purpose? Isn’t this like the fifth time he’s done so? Either that rule is not important, or Will’s going to learn rather quickly that it is important, and he’s made a grave mistake by using it like this. oh god it’s going to be the second one, isn’t it isn’t it.

So seriously, a staircase collapses on a bunch of kids and the kid with the gun accidentally shoots one of them and “Will looked down to see a tangle of writhing bodies covered in plaster and dust and blood.” Oh, and then they notice that kids are using each other as a complicated ladder system to climb up into the archways. Oh, and then a young boy is throwing broken roof tiles at Lyra. Oh, and then Will cuts out SWORDS from the railing and he and Lyra use it to defend themseleves. (I’m sorry, that’s amazing.) Yeah, this is a pleasant book full of wonderful imagery that will not give me nightmares.

It had sort of been a fleeting thought of mine that I’d not vocalized because I was enjoying the separate plots, but last week, I wondered when these characters would finally start to converge to become a singular narrative. Here, in chapter eleven, is the first instance of that: Kaisa, Serafina’s gorgeous goose dæmon, comes majestically flying into the temple, and shortly after, the sky is full of the dark, whisking figures of witches. A;SKLDFJASDF;LK SERAFINA IS HERE. And she and her fellow witches do not fuck around, liberally shooting arrows onto the roof of the temple to scare the children away. (I don’t think they actually hit any of them?) What I loved about this was how they used the fear of the Specters to drive the attackers away, who must have suddenly believed these were a new type of Specter.

I felt nothing but joy at the arrival of the witches, but things are not that simple in Pullman’s world. The ironic thing about using the fear of Specters is that THERE ARE ACTUALLY SPECTERS EVERYWHERE. So Serafina can’t even come down in order to get Will and Lyra; even worse, Kaisa tells them, “There’s more trouble coming, and bigger.” WHAT DOES THAT MEAN.

See, this is what I’m talking about: we are given so many details and clues and acts of intensity in such a short span of time that I don’t even know what I’m supposed to pay attention to. And it just keeps going. Seriously, the worst book to read in the Mark Reads format but also the very best book.

Serafina quickly figures out that the Specters, which she can see but not Will or Lyra, are terrified of Will. So they can sense the knife, even if Will doesn’t have it out? WHY IS THAT. WHY DO I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS.

I have a feeling that I’m going to get those answers I crave so much very soon. This hectic and chaotic chapter ends on the calmest note we’ve come across after Will and Lyra take a slow journey to a cave, as directed by Serafina, where the witches have assembled. They’re all confused by the subtle knife, which Will presents when Serafina asks what caused the wound on his hand. I’m glad that Will finally has someone to take care of his hand, especially since I started to worry about. (Seriously, I want a witch to take care of me when I’m injured.)

The chapter ends with Lyra beginning to tell Serafina everything she’s learned since she travelled to this world, but I get the sense that it’s because Serafina herself has learned something that we have not.

God damn it must keep reading.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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126 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Subtle Knife’: Chapter 11

  1. Wookie_Monster says:

    Half-OT question: Has anyone told Mark about the censorship issues in the US edition of "The Amber Spyglass" yet, and recommended to get the British edition? I'm not sure whether the e-books were edited in the same way or not.

    If you don't know what I'm talking about, check the Wikipedia page for the book (WHICH IS OBVIOUSLY FULL OF SPOILERS), where the missing passages (present in the British edition, removed from the US version for bullshit reasons) are quoted in full.

  2. cait0716 says:

    Will's the one who thought the specters came from his world, not Lyra. There's a parallel between Tullio counting the bricks when he first gets attacked and Will's mother counting the slats in the bench and constantly being afraid. Will clearly thinks that the specters are affecting his mom, they just attack more slowly in his/our world. I don't know if Pullman intends this to actually be the case, or if it's just a fear of Will's.

    • Jamie S says:

      That fear of Will's is so heartbreaking to me. I really don't think that Spectors = mental illness in our world, but the fact that Will fears they may be the same was so sad to me.

      • Ellalalalala says:

        I know, right? All the love to Will. 🙁

      • muselinotte says:

        I kind of connected it to depression, maybe because of the described numbness (I hope I'm remembering that correctly)… I also had to think back to the father watching his kid drown without being able to do something about it. That is something I could relate to, watching my world crumble and get destroyed around me and not being able to do something about it.
        Meh, just my thoughts…

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      OH. SHIT. YOU ARE INDEED CORRECT. I'll fix that!

    • Partes says:

      What I think is really heartbreaking about this is that it really couldn't be a spectre that is hurting Will's mother; at least, not like any we've seen so far. Spectre's attack pretty quickly, and it's over in a few seconds. His mother has been like this for years.

      I feel like the idea that his mother is being attacked by something, rather than it being a painful inner problem, is comforting to Will. This is something he can fight; hell, he's the only person that could kill a Spectre. His mother's illness? Not so much.

      • cait0716 says:

        Ok, now my heart just broke even more. Because Will does want so badly to protect his mother. I can see him wanting it to be a specter so he can fight it. And that's just going to hurt more when he can't.

    • RoseFyre says:

      I also interpreted it as Will being scared that a specter had attacked his mother, but been interrupted in its feeding, and so she was stuck in the counting and fearful state, not quite gone, but not all the way there anymore either.

  3. FlameRaven says:

    The Specters seem to be a bit like the Silence: they're all around you, but if you're a child, you have no idea because you can't see them. Although I still think the Silence are scarier because once you look away from them you completely forget anything was ever wrong at all. DDD:

    • Jeb says:

      Good call! They also remind me of Dementors, where all the adults in Will's/our world are like Muggles and cannot see them but can feel their presence. Specters and Dementors seem to have a similar effect on the people they attack.

  4. Jenny_M says:

    I think "base" purpose can be interpreted a number of different ways, but I took it to mean that "base" was a low or evil purpose – for example, if Will hurt someone with the knife just to hurt them, that would be using it for a base purpose. But to cut away the staircase in order to save his/Lyra's life? To me, that would fall under fair/non-base use of the knife.

    Now base is starting to look like a fake word. Darn it.

    • flootzavut says:

      ^ yes. You put it a whole lot more clearly than me!

      I think making a knife that could cut through anything and then saying, "Oh but you're not to use that edge" would stretch the willing suspension of disbelief. It's using it for immoral or wrong purposes that Giacomo warned against. Base means ignoble or lacking in morals in this instance.

      • _Sparkie_ says:

        Definitely agree. I mean after all, Giacomo cut through a spoon right in front of them which surely suggests that simply cutting things doesn't come under 'base purposes'

        • flootzavut says:

          I'd totally missed that example, despite having just re-read the chapter (d'oh!) but yes, exactly. I should think even randomly cutting rocks in half to experiment with the knife and get used to it would be OK. It's just using it for revenge or rape and pillage or whatever that is a no-no!

  5. Linds says:

    I believe that when Mr. Paradisi said 'do not use it for a base purpose', he meant base in the sense of morally wrong or dishonest, or selfish. Not in the sense of cutting physical things with the knife. So no worries there 🙂

  6. monkeybutter says:

    The kids' attack reminded me of Lord of the Flies, and I half-expected them to chant "kill the pig," but I will check Netflix for your creepy movie .

    I would have thought this is the best series so far for the Mark Reads format because it gives you plenty of time to digest what's happening. I don't remember many details from my first reading of HDM, but I'm really enjoying the reread. I think the chapters are structured really well, and even though you want to binge read it, the ends of the chapters aren't omg cliffhangers, so it's not as painful to stop.

    And yay, Serafina Pekkala saves the day!

    • flootzavut says:

      I think this format allows for more possibility of putting together clues, though also more possibility of tearing one's hair out when the clues are nearly there… but not quite.

      I'm pretty sure I just ripped right through the lot of them, so it's really interesting to see someone reading them in such a measured way.

    • _Sparkie_ says:

      Love that book, even though it's more than a little creepy. Although, talking of films, the film version is hilarious(-ly awful). Seriously child acting at its worst.

      • monkeybutter says:

        I remember watching part of the b&w version in high school because my teacher said the one from the 90s was so terrible, but I don't remember the 60s version being particularly good. Probably why we only watched part of it!

  7. Tilja says:

    That movie you mentioned is Spanish, right? I must look for it in a videoclub then.

    And also Hello. I've been away a whole week and now must catch up on comments real soon.

    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

      HELLO WELCOME BACK! It is a Spanish movie indeed!

    • theanagrace says:

      I have also been away for a week! What awesome adventures and shenanigans did you get up to?

      • Tilja says:

        Nothing very much in the awesome department. Went to the Capital city to buy lots of books (my back is a victim to the amount inficted upon it), also bought other things, was every day up at least an hour before sunrise and to bed after midnight, running around a lot of places and carrying a lot of things. Also my brother's birthday in the middle of that.

        Came back here (once again, up at 5:30) to travel back to go to a local convention where I had to take care of a stand till 8 pm (meanwhile learning how to talk to people about the project and get them interested in it; very very difficult for someone introvert like me but I did it in the end), then out with people till midnight. That completed a full week of no more than 5 hours sleep per day, which was an improvement on my previous 5 days of only 3 hours sleep a day. With all that, I spent yesterday sleeping all day long and here I am, refreshed and ready for comments.

        Now it's your turn. What shenanigans have you been up to?

        • theanagrace says:

          I flew across the whole continent (well, most of it) from Ottawa to Santa Ana, California to meet some in-laws for the first time. It was awesome, SoCal is so pretty, and full of palm trees and orange trees and magnolia trees and other awesome trees that no one could tell me the names of. And I almost stepped on a tiny lizard, but I stopped in time and caught him and took him out of my (husband's-cousin's-wife) in-law's kitchen. And we drove through L.A. and saw Mann's Chinese Theatre with the giant DH billboard and Beverly Hills and a bunch of hedges that I am sure had beautiful houses behind them. And we drank a lot, because alcohol is two thirds (I did the math) cheaper in the States than Canada, and we slept in so I didn't get to embarrass myself surfing and I ate a lot of fast food that we don't have up here (like Del Taco and Carl's Jr and Krispy Kreme) and now I'm tired.
          (Mine reads like a poorly-composed "How I spent my summer vacation" essay. Sorry, I'm still not settled back down)
          EDIT: What Capital city is that? Is there only one actually called Capital City? Cause that would be cool!

          • Tilja says:

            Your trip was far more enjoyable and exciting than mine and you don't sound like a poor composition 🙂 If you do, then so do I.

            Mine was just travel 400km and wade through a metropolitan city in winter looking for stuff. Yours was a vacation.

            I should tell you than I'm on the polar opposite of that location, so I've got all that wild life around, only we don't get to see lizards in winter because of the weather, but the streets are lined with palm trees. You might even say we were very much almost in the same place at opposite sides of the Ecuator at the same time 😀 Sounds nice when you think it like that.

            • theanagrace says:

              That is very cool, actually. I also think it's awesome that you have palm trees in winter when all I have is naked deciduous trees and pricky evergreen trees. Hooray for global variety!
              And my vacation did include a lot of looking for stuff in a metropolitan city as well, are we the same person? 😀

              • Tilja says:

                You know, we might just be. My name is in the middle of your user name, if you must know, which for me was a very telling detail and a very compelling reason to answer to you. So do we even share names as well? :O

  8. flootzavut says:

    Yay for new reviews! EXCITE!

  9. stellaaaaakris says:

    The Specters don't come any closer than 10 paces to the knife. And the kids think if they have the knife, they'll be able to grow up safely. I don't really know how long a pace, but let's say it's about a foot. That means 40-50 kids are going to have to grow up in a circular area with a radius of 10 feet. That's a pretty small circle. Unless there are bunk beds or A LOT of crowding, 40-50 people are not going to be able to lie down comfortably in that circle, especially during the summer. And every time somebody wants to move, the whole group will have to as well. Am I overthinking this? Oh yes, definitely. But clearly the kids of Cittagazze haven't thought it out at all. Maybe they just assume the Specters will get a few of them before they realize they're vulnerable. Or maybe they hope that the Specters will get scared of Cittagazze if they have the knife and will leave for another city, like they've done in the past. Although if a city was entirely full of kids, with two adults, you'd think the Specters would have moved on by now. I guess it's just their only hope. 🙁

    All right, I'm done overthinking the Specters and the kids of Cittagazze thinking the knife is their only chance to grow up safely – it's much too sad a topic.

    • flootzavut says:

      "But clearly the kids of Cittagazze haven't thought it out at all."

      I guess they are not thinking at all – they are kids, and scared, and the knife seems to be their only hope.

      Vs gur fcrpgref orpbzr n ceboyrz jura gurl ernpu choregl (zber be yrff?) gura V'z thrffvat gung zbfg bs gurfr xvqf ner 12 be orybj. Ng gung ntr, V guvax V jbhyq cebonoyl abg or guvaxvat fgenvtug jura V'q frra nyy gur crbcyr V xarj trg gb n pregnva ntr naq gura unir gurve fbhyf fhpxrq bhg…

      It is sad 🙁

  10. leighzzz31 says:

    Children are the SCARIEST VILLAINS EVER. Literally every book I've read that features kids in a position of power or with a particularly violent streak in them or just plain old creepy, makes me want to hide under my covers until daylight (the most recent thing that comes to mind is The Wind Singer by William Nicholson (sp?) that I reread and HOLY FUCK my fear of children grew tenfold). So this particular chapter is a nightmare for me. Maybe it's because of the image we have of children being the essence of innocence and joy etc. that makes it so freaking terrifying to see them become a violent horde who enjoy inflicting pain. It comes across as very realistic to see children acting cruelly and mindlessly as a part of a 'pack' and obviously Will is already familiar with this kind of behaviour from children. Again, bravo, Phillip Pullman for feeding my nightmares. THANKS VERY MUCH.

    • ferriswheeljunky says:

      The Wind Singer! Those are EXCELLENT books and I've never met anyone else who's read them. The Slaves of the Mastery I remember as particularly good; his descriptions of the fights are incredible.

      • leighzzz31 says:

        Me neither! And it's a shame because they're really good. Slaves of the Mastery is my favourite too – the way he described fighting and the dances was brilliant.

        • Gillyweed says:

          I LOVED those books as well. Mum was the best as far as I can remember (forgot her name). Didn't enjoy the ending that much though. But they were really really good all in all.

          • Billie says:

            Ah, those books! I felt like the only person who had read them for ages too 🙁

          • leighzzz31 says:

            Hmm, I had an issue with the ending as well but I do remember enjoying the overall ride. Was the mum the one that cursed all the time? I LOVED her!

        • ferriswheeljunky says:

          Yes! I remember wanting more than anything to learn that dance, which is hilarious because I have two left feet. But I'm glad there's still some love for them out there. 🙂

    • FuTeffla says:

      Argh, The Wind Singer was super-scary!

    • t09yavors says:

      I enjoyed Nicholson's Noble Warriors trilogy. But I have never heard of any other books of his, until now. (Though I suppose there is a possibility of multiple Nicholson's in the world.)

      • leighzzz31 says:

        Yep, same guy! I was thinking of getting those (the Noble Warriors Trilogy). They sounded interesting.

  11. Mauve_Avenger says:

    It took me the longest time to realize that the title of the chapter is a reference to the structure that Will and Lyra are standing on for over half of it.

  12. Hanah_banana says:

    There's so much tension in this chapter I don't think I can write an actual comment because the chewing on my fingernails has essentially reduced them to stubs which no longer work as actual fingers. Or some other poor excuse for why I can do nothing but flail in fear and concern as the kids attack EVEN THOUGH I KNEW THE WITCHES WERE COMING TO SAVE THEM BECAUSE I'VE READ THIS BOOK LIKE A HUNDRED TIMES.

    Oh Pullman, how do you do it?


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  13. Hanah_banana says:

    There's so much tension in this chapter I don't think I can write an actual comment because the chewing on my fingernails has essentially reduced them to stubs which no longer work as actual fingers. Or some other poor excuse for why I can do nothing but flail in fear and concern as the kids attack EVEN THOUGH I KNEW THE WITCHES WERE COMING TO SAVE THEM BECAUSE I'VE READ THIS BOOK LIKE A HUNDRED TIMES.

    Oh Pullman, how do you do it?


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  14. flootzavut says:

    The way Pullman makes those kids terrifying is… ugh. He's a bit too good at that. Still not quite as scary as The Empty Child, but…

    Re: Using the knife for a base purpose. I don't think that means, "Only use it to open windows into other worlds". What Giacomo meant was, for example, don't use it to break into a bankvault so you can retire to the Seychelles; it means don't use it for immoral or ignoble purposes. As the true bearer of the knife, it's perfectly reasonable for Will to use it to defend himself against those who would steal it (after all, one of the rules is not to let anyone else use it), and it's also fine for them to use it to retrieve the alethiometer which was taken from Lyra who is its true bearer.

    If Will started to use it to kill people for fun, or to steal food from starving children, on the other hand…

    So I don't see a problem with what Will has done so far, though obviously I'm not a hundred percent comfortable with collapsing a stone staircase on to a bunch of scared children… but he used it in the way it's supposed to be used.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Well, if it helps any, it wasn't a stone staircase, it was made of wrought iron. Which still isn't cotton candy, but lighter than stone, at least.

      • flootzavut says:

        Ahhh this is what I get for re-reading on the 'net. Not sure how much better it makes me feel about it 😉 but it is a touch less horrific than giant blocks of stone.

  15. Jamie S says:

    I so love that you are reading this book in your chapter-a-day format. Pullman manages the same breathtaking pacing of Suzanne Collins, but I think his books hold up much better than Hunger Games to a slow and careful reading. I've just never managed to pull off a slow reading of these books, no matter how many times I re-read them. So I very much appreciate this project. It lets me experience these fantastic books in a way I'd never be able to on my own.

    • flootzavut says:

      "I think his books hold up much better than Hunger Games to a slow and careful reading."

      Yes. I think maybe Hunger Games relies too much on the breakneck pace, whereas HDM has the fine detail that allows for a more measured approach too.

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:

        I think I'll agree with this. THG trilogy is most certainly intense and I loved it, but this is totally different.

        • muselinotte says:

          I'll second this…
          I don't think that THG games suffered from me reading it at break-neck speed (I really admire your willpower where that series is concerned), but upon re-reading HDM at a slower pace with you, I see how it grows in me taking my time…

  16. frogANDsquid says:

    Seriously the kids attacking Lyra and Will gave me nightmares. Ok not nightmareS but ONE nightmare.

  17. Becky_J_ says:

    I really don't know how you are doing one chapter a day. I did that with you for all of… lets see….. four days. andddd I just finished the Amber Spyglass last night.


  18. Ellalalalala says:

    Too much angst. Can't comment. Except holy COW badass Lyra swinging her railing-sword into a kid's head. Justified by the terror, but WOAH Pullman, way to not pull your punches. And Will keeps breaking my heart. Get the boy a blood-transfusion already, he's earned it.

    I. need. respite. At least Serafina Pekkala is here now. She will take care of me and keep me safe and all will be well again.

    I just realised I'd completely forgotten about Ruta and the angels – we need an update on them!

  19. pennylane27 says:

    Ugh the tension is killing me, and I've already read the book. I think that at some point I had to force myself to stop reading and do something else. I realised I was gripping the book so hard and turning the pages so fast that I just had to stop and bake some cookies. Which I ate while reading the rest of the book. I needed comfort food, ok?

    And violent children scare me. I'm a teacher. I think I even had a nightmare which involved my students getting into a rage from the homework I had set and I woke up when they started advancing on me with murderous stares. My brain. WTF.

  20. hokieblood says:

    i have finally finished my hp readthrough, and finished tgc last night, so i think i'll be catching up to mark soon =)

  21. knut_knut says:

    I have a stupid question! what is the difference between having your daemon eaten by a Spectre and having it cut away from you? Either way you've lost it, right? I don't entirely understand why people who have had their daemons eaten act differently than those who have had them cut away

    • SecretGirl127 says:

      When they are cut away, the adults can still function, like the nurses in the first book. But when the Spectres "eat" your daemon, you can't function and are unresponsive. Tulio (whatever his name was) couldn't even continue counting bricks. I think if faced with either, I'd go the way of the monk and just kill myself.

  22. Laura says:

    Mark!You mixed up who said the "maybe specters come from my world" comment, but they WERE mentioned in "The Golden Compass"!

    What you wrote in your chapter six review: "Then there are Windsuckers, which clump in trees and suck the power out of you."

    And the full passage from the book:

    " They drift about in the air. You come across clumps of 'em floated together sometimes, or caught snagged on a bramble. As soon as they touch you, all the strength goes out of you. You can't see 'em except as a kind of shimmer in the air."


  23. Billie says:

    This time reading it, when Will and the other boy are about to fight and Will is all "Come on, come on…" all I could think was "come at me bro". It was…distracting haha.

  24. I'm just glad I finally caught up with you! I powered through the Harry Potter reviews, especially once I heard you were reading one of my all time favorite trilogies. I am so excite.

    The children of Ci'gazze always strike me as utterly terrifying. Their moods change and then they literally just SWARM you if they happen to dislike you at the time. These are kids that Lyra could easily get along with! Creeps me out, man.

  25. Brieana says:

    Guys, I don't remember this shit at all. Maybe it's time for a good reread.

    So you know how in TGC, we hardly ever leave Lyra and usually only for a short period of time? Well, I read somewhere that we see all these different points of view because Lyra's world has opened up. Literally and metaphorically.

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