Mark Reads ‘The Subtle Knife’: Chapter 13

In the thirteenth chapter of The Subtle Knife, Lyra, Will, and the witches head for the mountains after attempting to heal Will’s hand. There, Ruta finds the group and informs them of what Lord Asriel is doing in his fortress, and we learn what it is Lyra is destined to do. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Subtle Knife.

Well, we’ve got a lot to get through today.


In hindsight, I noticed that Pullman followed up a chapter heavy on experimental science with one that’s heavy on the theology of the Abrahamic God. It’s becoming more blatant to me just why people dislike this trilogy and why, again, it seems to be written specifically with me in mind.

Before we get to the religion-heavy info dumping, chapter thirteen is largely responsible for character growth between Will and Lyra, especially as Will opens up about the difficult life that he’s had. (I mean, seriously, could his story be any more paralleled to my own? It’s like you’re all my little Lyras and I get to open up to all of you.) The witches do their best to cast a spell to heal Will’s hand, and it’s the effects of this that later cause Will to talk to Lyra. The ceremony itself is majestic, unlike anything we’ve seen in the series, and I’m glad we get another peak into the world of the witches. Serafina creates some sort of potion that can mend wounds of any sort, which she demonstrates by slicing open a hare in front of everyone and then using the mixture to heal it. I mean it works, so that’s comforting to know, but holy god.

Pullman prevents the ensuing bout of traveling from feeling stale by injecting it with a whole lot of character development. The alethiometer tells Lyra that they should head towards some distant mountains, and the witches agree that their primary goal should be to help Will get to his father. (OH GOD CANNOT WAIT UNTIL THAT REUNION.) It’s a long trip, taking more than a day to reach, and there’s a lot of conversation that happens that is vital to the growing world that Pullman has stuck us in. I was fascinated by the topic of Lyra and Pan’s talk regarding the events that brought them to this place, and what form Pantalaimon might end up as. I imagine that most people in Lyra’s world had this talk at one time or another, and I also imagine that dæmons are generally resistant to changing to a single form, enjoying the flexibility of their shapes over something so static. This book does seem to be happening in a fairly brief timeline, so I don’t know that we’ll see Pantalaimon settle into his final form. If he does, will Lyra be happy with it?

The two come upon Will resting on a rock and he joins them in their conversation, though the subject changes to the brutality of the kids they encountered in Cittágazze. Lyra stresses that she couldn’t even conceive of the idea of kids doing such a heinous thing, always considering adults to be the untrustworthy ones. Will, on the other hand, finally decides to open up about why the children in Cittágazze did not surprise: In his world, children were just as cruel as those who tried to kill them in this parallel world.

It’s a difficult section to read, both because you can tell that Will misses his mother so much, and because the memory is still fresh in his mind. The boys in Will’s story had the capacity to harm and torment a woman simply because she was different and for Will, that is an inconceivable idea. How could you hate someone just because they’re different? What sort of dynamic in a person’s life causes them to act with such violence and disrespect? For Will, though, it gave him enough reason to not trust anyone. It sheds light on why he was so stand-offish towards Lyra up until the past few days. In his world, you have to earn his trust, and he automatically distrusted people as a defense mechanism. It’s interesting that, in that sense, Will and I both derive our moral compass partially from our past. Will knows first hand from his past that people have a terrifying ability to harm and torture others, physically, mentally, and emotionally. He resolves, then, to avoid doing those very things himself. It doesn’t mean he’s perfect, but that he’s aware on a more empathetic level how such actions can ruin, frighten, and traumatize a person. And that’s absolutely one of the main reasons why I turned out the way I am. I know from experience how bullying and abuse wrecks a person, and I make it my mission to do my best not to perpetuate those things on to other people.

There’s a weird section here that I’m not sure how I feel about, though I think I can blame that mostly on the fact that I don’t have all of the pieces yet. Will elaborates on why he previously stated that he thinks Specters came from his world, and gives an example of his mother’s erratic desire to occupy herself with mundane tasks, such as counting all the leaves on a bush. He then points out that Tullio appeared to do the exact same thing before the Specters attacked. His theory is that this is a defense mechanism of sorts, a way of making one’s self feel important, of distracting the Specters away. It just makes me think, “What?” What is Pullman trying to say here? (Don’t answer that OH GOD RHETORICAL QUESTION)

I think at the end of this, I’d like to assemble a list of all the things the His Dark Materials trilogy possesses that makes me believe that Philip Pullman wrote this back in the mid nineties and somehow predicted what my life would become so that I would feel ~super special~ when I read it. I say that now because Will’s entire bit about friendship just hurts everything ever. I mean that as a compliment; it was kind of shocking to have a fictional character spell out my experience with friendship and how the concept was utterly foreign to me when I was a kid and a teenager. I mean, I was literally not allowed to ask friends over and even if I could have, Will hints at the same fear I had: They’d come to know my parents, and then they wouldn’t want to be friends anymore. Hell, that’s like a good seven year chunk of my life, described in a single paragraph. How do you do this, Philip Pullman?

The witches and Will and Lyra move through the world of Cittágazze, which at times reminds them of their own worlds, but is largely a new experience for everyone. There’s a bit of trading in a small village that seems to have no Specters in it (considering there are adults around, unscathed) and Will and Lyra manage to get some food and new clothing. I can’t imagine it was a pleasant sight to see the young boy come into their village with blood all over his shirt. Even with this refreshing stop, though, Will’s own temperament is calmed. When they finally make camp in a valley that evening, he discovers that his wound is still bleeding. Christ. This is bad, right? What sort of properties does the subtle knife have that would cause this?

I was touched that Will later speaks openly to Pantalaimon only, so worried about his own health and safety that he seeks the comfort of Lyra’s dæmon. I imagine he was rather lonely, maybe even a bit jealous that he did not have a dæmon of his own. He expresses his fears to Pan, who promptly admits that Lyra thinks he is the bravest fighter she has even seen. A bit shocked, Will is quiet for a moment before he tells Pan that Lyra is the best friend that he has ever had.

“She thinks that about you as well,” whispered the dæmon.

Presently Will closed his eyes.

Lyra lay unmoving, but her eyes were wide open in the dark, and her heart was beating hard.

UGH BE STILL MY HEART. How amazing is this? Especially after Will just told Lyra that he’s never really had friends before. They’ve come so from from when they first met. Have they been together for only a week or two? It seems so much longer than that. Time is irrelevant, though, because these two have been through some pretty awful shit, you know? And it makes me happy to see that Will finally knows that he can trust someone in his life.

It’s at this point that chapter thirteen goes right back into that oh-so-familiar mode of Pullman’s, known to me as YOU WERE FOREVER UNPREPARED. Because I was. It seems that all of our characters, all of the disparate story lines, are finally ready to come together. Some witches were able to spot a balloon with two men in it off in the distance, which is CLEARLY the balloon with Lee Scoresby and John Parry in it. Then they hear the cry of a bird that is most definitely a dæmon and Serafina is sure that it belongs to Ruta, who appears to also have located them. But first, a beast falls out of a sky.

Well, ok, the witches fly up at the sound of a possible fight and then a creature resembling a cliff-ghast falls to the ground, still alive, and Will slices its head off with the subtle knife. Dude doesn’t even hesitate for a second. DAMN. After a couple more fall to the ground, all dead, the gorgeous and fierce Ruta Skadi arrives. Oh, this is gonna be good, I thought. And I was not disappointed in the slightest.

But before we get any information at all, I’d have to say my favorite part of this whole chapter is when Ruta sizes up Will, sees the end result of what he’d done, and smiles at him in approval. When a witch gives you that sort of approval, I’m pretty sure you’re a certified badass. RIGHT???

Let’s move on to Ruta’s incredible story about what she learned from traveling with the angels to Lord Asriel’s fortress. It’s a seeming impossibility to Ruta that he was able to build a place so large and impressive in such a short span of time, but we learn that Lord Asriel has assembled an army out of beings from an innumerable amount of universes. How the HELL was he able to do that? How did they know to come?

Also, how many of you laughed at this line?

Every witch there knew what had happened next, and neither Will nor Lyra dreamed of it. So Ruta Skadi had no need to tell, and she went on…

I MEAN THEY CLEARLY HAD SEX, RIGHT. Apparently, who could resist. I bet even I couldn’t.

Anyway, this is not that important. What is important is that it’s spelled out quite clearly that Asriel is gathering an army to rebel against the “Authority,” which represents God, I’m sure, and that Ruta was convinced to join because of the destructive nature of the Authority and His agents. Of course, I’d like a bit more specificity to this, as I stated during the last book, but I’m willing to go this far. So, they’re setting up a rebellion against God for what his people have enacted throughout the many worlds. (So there’s some form of the Church/religion in every world?)

Ruta also overheard the creatures that followed her to the camp site discussing Lord Asriel’s war with what appeared to be the leader of these cliff-ghast creatures. The leader is certain Lord Asriel would win based on passion and drive alone, but remarks that he cannot without the Æsahættr.

OH, OKAY. HI THERE, WORD THAT LOOKS LIKE NOTHING I HAVE EVER SEEN. WHAT DO YOU MEAN. What is the Æsahættr? I wondered. Is that another name for the knife that Will possesses? We know from Will’s father that the knife is completely important for the war against the Authority, but still haven’t been told what it will be needed for.

For a second, I thought we weren’t going to find out anything more: Serafina declines the opportunity to meet up with Lord Asriel and join his cause, stating that it’s her duty to guide Will to his father. Ruta is understandably disappointed, but understands Serafina. As she walks off, though, Serafina follows after her in order to speak privately. Ruta is greatly impressed by what Lord Asriel has done and is eager to join the rebellion. It’s weird that none of these characters are like, “Holy shit, you want to kill God? No, thank you.” I also didn’t expect the series to posit that God was real either, though, so mostly I’m just wallowing through this all as unprepared as possible. For instance, I had no expectation that Serafina would reveal the definition of the word Æsahættr:

“Maybe it’s not a him, sister. We know as little as the young cliff-ghast. Maybe the old grandfather was laughing at his ignorance. The word sounds as if it means ‘god destroyer.’ Did you know that?”

NO. NO, I DID NOT KNOW THAT. And if it’s possibly not a dude, then…Lyra will have to destroy God???? Serafina again repeats that Lyra’s prophecy said she was be the one who “would put an end to destiny.” Does that mean God is destiny? What sort of destiny does a God give us? The only thing I can think of is that in a world with an Abrahamic God, we are all destined to live in a system of original sin. It’s something we don’t have a choice about: Because Adam and Eve sinned, we’re all stained with this choice, even though it happened long ago and we had nothing to do it. That concept always irked me, especially when I was a Catholic, and it was the one thing I asked the most questions about. It always seemed so bizarre to me: Why was I born into a system without that first choice, where the cards are always perpetually stacked against me? Of course, I recognize that I am coming at this from the angle of someone who was born as a gay man, one who was bullied and abused extensively, and a lot of what I was brought up to believe about God never helped those things make sense to me.

I think I’ll wait to elaborate more on the idea, but I sort of despise the idea of original sin, and if it is indeed a very real thing, then I’d probably side myself with Lord Asriel in the war against the heavens. But I think I’ll also wait because I COULD BE VERY WRONG ABOUT ALL OF THIS.

So HOW FUCKING RAD IS THE ANGEL SCENE? I was reminded of the tale of the Three Kings from the Bible, specifically because Pullman, through Serafina, calls their collective action a pilgrimmage. They need to be close to something important and the angels know that Will and Lyra are important to the war against the Authority, and they just came to see them, to be in their presence. Again, this is another scene in this book that gives me chills. Even Serafina knows she has just witnessed something pure and special, and it’s a sign of the journey to come. The angels leave the camp, and soon Ruta does too, off to assemble the witches of the north from her world to join Lord Asriel. Serafina returns to camp, but not before appreciating both the compassion of the angels, who are both matter and spirit at the same time.

Oh god, only two more chapters left. UGH CAN THIS NEVER END.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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154 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Subtle Knife’: Chapter 13

  1. Sherry says:

    I finished Amber Spyglass last week, and I've thought about it since. I can't decide if I like the ending or not. Of course, we can't discuss it yet, but I was wondering: Did you guys like it? (For Mark's sake, please just say yes or no – don't explain/justify your answer!)

  2. Araniapriime says:

    he’s aware on a more empathetic level how such actions can ruin, frighten, and traumatize a person. And that’s absolutely one of the main reasons why I turned out the way I am. I know from experience how bullying and abuse wrecks a person, and I make it my mission to do my best not to perpetuate those things on to other people.

    This. Exactly. I was the pariah when I was a child and subjected to intense bullying, in addition to what was going on at home. Plus, I had a disabled sister who got her own share of abuse from kids and couldn't do a damn thing about it, so I had to defend her too. I am so grateful for the empathy those experiences gave me — including the ability to empathize with you entirely. <3

  3. Ryan Lohner says:

    According to the audio book, Aesahaettr is pronounced "Essa-hay-(tongue vibration)". Try it, it's fun!

  4. Patrick721 says:

    Apparently, who could resist. I bet even I couldn’t.
    Couldn't resist Ruta or Asriel? Kidding, no one could resist Daniel Craig.

    How the HELL was he able to do that? How did they know to come?

    I'm not sure if it is in this chapter, or an earlier one, but I love how Pullman describes the angels as being more like architecture in their true forms, rather than anything remotely human. Maybe because I've always liked the ways that angels were described in the Old Testament and stuff. Those were some hardcore angels.

    • flootzavut says:

      "I love how Pullman describes the angels as being more like architecture in their true forms, rather than anything remotely human."

      I don't remember that – that's pretty cool 🙂

    • Tilja says:

      That's a description of Lighted Fliers. I also remember that the ones talking throught the Cave called themselves structures, complexifications of the Dark Matter, so it fits right into that description.

    • t09yavors says:

      Of Course! Craigslist 😛

      Wanted: Heretics of all shapes, sizes, colors, species. Opposers of oppression a must. Please bring tools, weapons, or anything usefull. Pets welcome.
      Join us at Giant Fortress; Mountain Top; Far Far North, Another World.
      Ask for Lord Asriel.

  5. Inseriousity. says:

    I don't mind being your mini-Lyra Mark… as long as I get an alethiometer to give me answers!

  6. stellaaaaakris says:

    And this is the chapter where I fell in love with Will. Pretty sure he's the first fictional character I fell in love with, soon followed by Gilbert Blythe, Neville, Peeta, etc. You know how some girls say that Disney movies ruined real romance for them? I feel like I'm always comparing the guys I'm dating to these fictional characters who stole my heart (at whatever age I was at the time). I mean, they're so badass. And most of them have intriguing accents. Half of them live in a world(s) with magic. How are real guys supposed to compare? Hehe, just kidding, but my fictional loves do hold a very special place in my heart. But back to Will. He's so awesome and full of heart and he now trusts Lyra and he's opening up and…oh my heart.

    The bit about the Specters and people counting to distract them kind of reminded me of how patronuses (patroni? I think patronuses) could drive off the Dementors. Dementors feed on fear and I assume when Specters eat people's souls, the victims are afraid right before. But the Dementors can be put off by hope and maybe the Specters lose interest when their victims apply their whole mind to something else, putting away their fear for the time being. I first read this book right after PoA, so I can't help making these comparisons all the time.

    • hpfish13 says:

      I'm pretty sure that the first fictional character I fell in love with was Prince Char from Ella Enchanted (the book version). Fictional characters are the hardest to compete with!

    • @sab39 says:

      I've been in love with Kaylee ever since watching Firefly. Actually, Firefly helped me get through my divorce – I remember thinking that no matter how much I simultaneously didn't want to lose the relationship I had and was also completely miserable in it, maybe in the future I might meet someone like Kaylee and be happy.

      It's definitely Kaylee and not the actress that plays her that I'm in love with, though. Jewel Staite is beautiful and awesome and all that and I've met her at a couple of cons, but she's not the same as Kaylee and just doesn't have the same effect on me. Am I weird?

      (don't answer that 😉 )

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      I think the first character I fell in love with was Jessie from Team Rocket in the Pokemon anime. 😛
      Then Scully from the X Files.

      It's utterly hilarious to me how long it took me to figure out I was gay. I kept going "oh yeah I would totally go gay for…*insert name here*" And then I realised – hang on a minute, I would be gay for all these female characters…but I have no interest in the male ones…MAYBE THERE'S A MESSAGE IN HERE SOMEWHERE.

    • notemily says:

      You know how some girls say that Disney movies ruined real romance for them?

      *raises hand* Aladdin, over here.

      • hazelwillow says:

        How about Eugenides? ;-D

        Actually, on second thoughts, although he is awesome I really DON"T want a romance like his.

        • notemily says:

          ROT-13'd for spoilers for the Queen's Thief series because I REALLY HOPE MARK WILL READ IT SOMEDAY HINT HINT

          Jryy abg vs V unir gb PHG BSS UVF UNAQ svefg

  7. clodia_risa says:

    Mark, I am not being at all hyperbolic when I say that reading your reactions to this book makes me want to give you all the hugs.

    Also, you are so incredibly not prepared.

  8. The leader is certain Lord Asriel would win based on passion and drive alone, but remarks that he cannot without the Æsahættr.

    Looks to me like Asshatter.

    • Jenny_M says:

      This made me snicker at my desk.

    • nomdeplume says:

      Aargh, was just about to say this! It really did look like ‘asshatter’ when I recently reread TSK, and I don’t even spell the word ‘arse’ like that. Glad to see I’m not the only one with a mind that works that way!

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      Ok, you've officially ruined the rest of this book for me. But in the best possible way. ^^

    • notemily says:


  9. It's been quite some time since I read the Subtle Knife, and I have a question about an event that occurs in this chapter, but might have ramifications that extend beyond this chapter, so I might possibly be spoiling. If I am spoiling, please take measures to stop it. That said…




    …does the witches' spell work on Will's hand? My memory is telling me no, no it did not, but I can't remember how how he stopped bleeding all of the blood everywhere.

  10. Mauve_Avenger says:

    This post is brought to you by the Norse words 'Æsir' and 'hættr.' (Don't click if you don't want Serafina Pekkala's theory confirmed or denied, I suppose?)

    First the quotes, then the notes.
    This chapter. I said in a review post for the last book that I'd probably only mention the whole "presently" thing again if it got completely out of hand. I (mistakenly) said that chapter 8 was the first instance of two uses per chapter, and then didn't mention it again (it was actually chapter 6; chapter 8 was the second time it happened).

    But here there are FIVE instances of Pullman using "presently" in one chapter. Three of which are on consecutive pages. Two of which are close enough to each other that in a different edition they could be on the same page.

    …Lyra waited and sat still, and presently he went on. “It was when my mother was having one of her bad times…”

    From page 265 in my edition:

    Presently Will was strong enough to go on, and they moved together along the path, with the great forest quiet around them

    From the bottom of page 266 in my edition:

    “As darkness fell, he heard Lyra come to lie down close by, and presently he heard a soft purring. Her daemon, cat-formed, was dozing with folded paws only a foot or two away from him…”

    From the middle of page 267 in my edition:

    “Presently Will closed his eyes.
    Lyra lay unmoving, but her eyes were wide open in the dark, and her heart was beating hard.”

    And finally:

    “Pantalaimon, a snow-white ermine, opened his black eyes sleepily and gazed around unafraid. Later, Lyra would remember it as a dream. Pantalaimon seemed to accept the attention as Lyra’s due, and presently he curled up again and closed his eyes.”

    Presently the reader discovered that this book was edited by Lyra Belacqua herself, who obviously thinks that copious use of the word presently "en't a real problem."

    ”I used to pretend that he was a prisoner and I’d help him escape.”

    <img src=""&gt;

    “How has he done this? I think he must have been preparing this for a long time, for eons. He was preparing this before we were born, sisters, even though he is so much younger…But how can that be? I don’t know. I can’t understand. I think he commands time, he makes it run fast or slow according to his will.”

    So does this mean what I think it means? Does this mean that Lord Asriel is a…
    <img src=""&gt;

    • flootzavut says:

      I guess his misuse of presently just goes to show no one is perfect, even a master storyteller like Pullman.

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      The dæmon stuff in this chapter is fairly superficial, but we do have a case of Pantalaimon becoming a hare in sympathy to the one that got temporarily killed, which suggests that a dæmon might generally feel some sort of positive connection to real animals that take the same form. I'm guessing it might feel a mite bit uncomfortable eating an animal that looks like your soul. We also have the first instance of a person (temporarily, at least) having a hooved dæmon, when Pantalaimon goes all wiggly piggly after saying that he wants to become a flea just to tick Lyra off during their alethiometer dispute.

      Ieva Kasku and Reina Miti are listed as queens of other witch clans, though Ruta Skadi doesn't mention where their clans are located. EDIT: There was another witch-fact I wanted to bring up here, but it occurs to me that it might better wait until later.

      I'm not sure if my thoughts about this are going to be as clear as they could be, but….I can't help but think that there was perhaps another aspect to Elaine Parry's torment, but that Will was either too distraught to say it or too young to actually understand it. Maybe this is just me, but it doesn't seem like Pullman would've added in a detail like "she wasn't wearing very much" just to say that she was tormented by those boys about being mentally ill. I think that the detail of "partially naked woman out in public" does establish that Elaine Parry would be seen by those boys as "different," but there are a lot of other ways for Pullman to establish her as someone who those boys would torment for perceived mental illness, and the "wasn't wearing very much" detail seems very…weighted, I guess? toward making Elaine's torment seem slightly sexual in nature as well. At least, this is how I've read the scene pretty much since first reading the book; I remember having to stop reading, thinking 'oh no oh no oh noohno' when Will trailed off in his explanation of what happened, and I think it definitely colored my interpretation of what happened to Ariana Dumbledore when I read that later, too.

    • Becky_J_ says:

      I love the moment when Pan wakes up and Lyra remembers it all as a dream…. such an interesting concept. Thanks for reminding me of it!

    • Tilja says:

      Nope, in my edition they don't come in the same page luckily. In fact, it's like they avoid each other from being in the same page.

      Your 265 –> bottom of my 276.
      Your bottom of 266 –> first half of my 278.
      Your middle of 267 –> top of my 279.

      At least they chase each other away.

    • drop_and_roll says:

      Christopher Eccleston and Daniel Craig are forever connected in my mind because years ago they were both in Our Friends In The North on the BBC. So Lord Asriel and Nine have totally met.

    • Brieana says:

      Why do the "presently"s exist anyway? There's no need to keep using that word.

    • enigmaticagentscully says:

      You know, it's a weird coincidence, before I saw the movie with Daniel Craig, I always kind of imagined Lord Asriel as Christopher Eccleston. I think he could totally pull it off.

    • Danielle says:

      …Wow. I can't believe I never realised that the word Æsir was in there. I feel dumb.

  11. Noybusiness says:

    "It’s weird that none of these characters are like, “Holy shit, you want to kill God? No, thank you.”"

    Well, the witches don't worship the Abrahamic god and until this knew/cared nothing about Christianity, and Will and Lyra are mostly concerned with practical things.

    • RoseFyre says:

      Yeah, we pretty much haven't seen how the people who ACTUALLY believe in God react to this knowledge. After all, Lord Asriel is rather a rebel who got excommunicated, the witches have their own pantheon, and, as you say, Will and Lyra are probably both nominally Christian (Will most likely Anglican, Lyra whatever Christians are called in her world) – but neither of them is really paying attention to all of this. Mary Malone, meanwhile, lost her faith, and seems to be taking the instructions of the rebel angels. There is no one who we have seen react who is all that religious, but it is clear that there will likely be opposition from the Church in Lyra's world, at least, if not in others.

    • Brieana says:

      Those agents of the Authority burned fellow witches at the stake in other worlds.
      I think they'd be happy to see him go.

  12. Becky_J_ says:

    Also, how many of you laughed at this line?

    Every witch there knew what had happened next, and neither Will nor Lyra dreamed of it. So Ruta Skadi had no need to tell, and she went on…

    raises hand
    I giggled like a little girl, in fact. For a long time. Until I figured that there was probably something wrong with me.

    Also, when Will is talking to Pan….. BRB I'm just going to go sob in a corner for a while, don't mind me….

    • samibear says:

      When I first read this (around the age of 8) I didn't know what they were talking about at all. I was like: "'What had happened next'? What? What happened?" However, since Will and Lyra didn't understand what they were going on about either, I felt validated. It was probably just some boring adult stuff.

      And then when I was a bit older and I did finally realise what they were talking about, I giggled like an idiot too. Is it worrying that I'm trying to giggle as I'm writing this now?

      Also, bravo Pullman for not putting any wink, wink, nudge, nudge's in there. It's what I would have done. Clearly he is a much more mature person than I.

      • Becky_J_ says:

        Hehe. I'm giggling at this entire conversation. So either we both need to be worried, or we're totally normal! Well, maybe not totally …..

        Also, I'm fairly certain that Pullman is a much more mature person than the entire following of Mark Reads. Possibly including Mark himself.

  13. hokieblood says:

    you have 38 more chapters mark after those last two…don't panic…yet

  14. flootzavut says:

    "It’s like you’re all my little Lyras and I get to open up to all of you."

    Oh Mark. We love you! (And as a fellow abuse/bullies survivor, I salute you, too. Your openness during MarkReads has been awesome and brave.)

    I think people who get bullied/abused tend to go one of two ways: either they take out the pain of that abuse on others, or they do everything they can not to perpetuate it. I know that holds true for everyone I've ever met who has been bullied or abused. It also makes me mad when people who had bad childhoods use it as an excuse: I'm a bully/an abuser/a downright horrible person because I had a bad childhood. It's a reason; it's not, ever, ever an excuse.

    "“She thinks that about you as well,” whispered the dæmon."

    At the grand old age of 32 I finally have a friend like that in my life. It still stops my heart and amazes me and makes me terrified to lose him all at the same time. I can totally identify with Will.

    • Tilja says:

      That gives me something to look forward to in the next two years, then, when I reach your age. Still, I don't believe it yet, but I can just look for it. 🙂

      Same here about bullied and abused people. I'm forever thankful I always considered the damage something I never want to see in another person so I take care not to inflict it myself because I know how awful the feeling is. I salute you, fellow survivor traveller.

      • flootzavut says:

        I wish you every blessing that comes with such a friend, Tilja. Everyone deserves a friend like that but I think people with rough childhoods probably need it more than most, and it is so hard for them to find.

        He's moving away – I am beyond gutted – but for the first time in my life I have a friend who I believe (except on very bad days!) will stick around even if it's long distance for a while. And having one friend like that has made me more able to trust other friends, so although I will be bereft, I won't be alone. It means a lot.

        I never believed it would happen for me: I figured there was something wrong with me. I have been lonely my entire life, and it is weird and wonderful not to feel lonely at least some of the time.

        It took a lot of time and effort on his part to break through and convince me that he really did care and did want to be my friend and wasn't about to run away at the first sign of my craziness.

        I don't think I can ever adequately express to him how much that means, though I keep trying. I wrote a poem to say thank you:… – it's the closest I've got to expressing it.

        *salutes* there should be some kind of formal honour for survivors; in the meantime, though, we can give that honour to one another.


        • Tilja says:

          Ah, see, that's where we're different. I don't feel lonely. I'm contented with being alone, I actually like it better. I've thought about it being either true contentment or choosing the lesser of two evils, but either way I don't feel loneliness being by myself. I only feel loneliness when I'm around people and they're all completely alien to me; in a crowd I'm completely alone and bereft but in solitude I'm perfectly fine.

          There are people who have come and stayed through all my craziness but I can live without them. I don't regret their going, I can continue the same as ever. That probably means I don't open up enough to feel the need in my life so I can say I remain by myself. I give others what I want to be given; if they want me around, I stay, if they want me to go, I go. I don't grudge them their needs and if they use me it's my choice to be there to be used or not, not their fault. That's also why I can't consider anyone a "friend", I don't give people that much importance in my life.

          I guess that's the way I've managed to cope with the hurt I was given while growing up. And I don't have deep feelings so that's perfectly fine for me.

          *Salutes with a wide smile*

          • flootzavut says:

            "I only feel loneliness when I'm around people and they're all completely alien to me; in a crowd I'm completely alone and bereft but in solitude I'm perfectly fine."

            I can understand that, actually, even though I DO get lonely when I'm on my own.

            I don't think I used to, actually, or not nearly so much – my friend really broke down some big barriers to actually get me to open up and be able to be a friend. I was very much a cat who walked by herself, but more by necessity than choice. I was very self reliant, but looking back I was not very happy. I guess that is something that is sometimes necessary for simple survival! I think I'd consider myself to have deep feelings, but also tend to be very guarded in them… I don't know if that makes sense, it's gone midnight, that's my excuse and I am sticking to it :p 🙂

            Getting to the stage where I have true friends is both scary and amazing, and to be honest sometimes it is far more the former than the latter. But that said: I very much wish you the right friend at the right time if it is right for you, and hope you are blessed as much as I have been in that friendship when/if it comes.

            *high five!* 😉

        • Tilja says:

          On a different comment. I like your poem and I liked your page 🙂

          • flootzavut says:

            Thank you 😀 I still have a childish case of the warm fuzzies every time someone "likes" my page *grin*

  15. Partes says:

    I like how Pan sees angels watching Lyra and, rather than wondering wtf is going on, just kind of shrugs and goes "Well, yeah. It's Lyra. She's awesome."

    • flootzavut says:

      He has a point. Much as I think Lyra and Will are awesome, I think Pan is awesome of the highest order!

      Vs zrzbel freirf, Jvyy'f qnrzba Xvewnin vf nyfb cerggl njrfbzr. V yvxr obgu gurve svany sbezf, gbb.

    • Tilja says:

      Yes. Pan had also been mentioning before how important they are and how important their mission is, so it stands to reason he'd think Lyra deserves that much attention. He should've considered that he deserves just as much attention as Lyra for being Pan.

      This chapter with the kids showing so much trust and confidence in each other made me tear bend, to quote an expression from The Ember Island Performers xD

      • flootzavut says:

        "He should've considered that he deserves just as much attention as Lyra for being Pan."

        ^ YES.

  16. James says:

    Will is the most badass of ever and I have all of the inappropriate feelings towards him oh god /o

  17. ‘ she was to be the one who “would put an end to destiny.” Does that mean God is destiny? What sort of destiny does a God give us? ‘

    Oh Mark. You always ask the right questions. 🙂

  18. Hanah_banana says:

    I was going to do another gif-spam today, but it seems the internet is still a cruel and heartless place and lots of people hotlinked all my gifs yesterday and used up all of my bandwidth. 🙁 So I am sadly lacking in flaily emotion. But I suppose that's a good thing for this chapter which is (generally, apart from the cliff-ghast attack and Will CHOPPING OFF A HEAD I LOVE THE CASUAL DESCRIPTION OF THAT) not quite so massively exciting and reveal-y-y. Also there is less Mary, and I heart Mary.

    • rumantic says:

      They might not have been hotlinked – this blog gets a lot of traffic 😛

      • Hanah_banana says:

        Does just viewing them have an effect on bandwidth as well then? Good to know, although a shame as it means I probably can't do many gif-spams if I keep exceeding my bandwidth with each post!

        • Mauve_Avenger says:

          If it's a Photobucket account, you can go under "account settings" and then "account status" to see some of the sites that are using your bandwidth. Posting images on Mark's sites does use up a lot of bandwidth, but in my experience it's often also a case of other sites hotlinking from your account.

          I few months back I lost half of my bandwidth in the space of a few days because someone posted an image from my account onto a very high-traffic skateboarding website. This last cycle I barely posted any images from my account, but my bandwidth almost topped out because a military photos forum (of all things) hotlinked to a gif of mine.

          • Hanah_banana says:

            Ooh thanks for letting me know! It's not giving me masses of detail because I've only got a free account, but it seems like it's mostly just been hits here, which is reassuring in terms of people being nice and hotlinking at least although it's a shame there's obviously a few too many people for my account limit here! (Not that I'm lamenting Mark's high level of traffic, I love how many people are on here.)

  19. Jenny_M says:

    I'm glad I got to re-read this chapter. The first time I read it, I knew I was close to the end of the book, so I was just sort of speed-reading through it.

  20. arctic_hare says:

    Also, how many of you laughed at this line?

    Every witch there knew what had happened next, and neither Will nor Lyra dreamed of it. So Ruta Skadi had no need to tell, and she went on…

    Ooh, me, me! I laughed! 😀 Also, when I read this line –

    "I think he commands time, he makes it run fast or slow according to his will."

    – my brain immediately filled in "Lord Asriel is a timebender!" 😀

  21. nomdeplume says:

    Sorry for the tl;dr in advance 🙂

    Will reminds me of Harry Potter. Harry’s early life/time spent under the care of the Dursleys was certainly traumatic and abusive. If he had joined Voldie, I could understand why his experiences might lead to that. But instead, he was an empathetic person. He never looked down on the Weasleys for being poor; he was kind to house-elves and tried to be respectful of other magical creatures; he felt a connection to those who magical society had ostracized, such as Lupin and Hagrid. (Please correct me if I’m wrong or have missed other instances of Harry’s empathy; I’m sure there are more examples!)

    I can relate to that, having had a difficult childhood myself, what with living in poverty, an alcoholic, abusive father and a overly religious, downtrodden mother. I understand what it’s like to feel bullied, controlled, humiliated, shamed etc and would never seek to inflict that on others. I see this in Will, Harry, Mark (you lovely man!) and a lot of the members here.

    • flootzavut says:

      Yes… empathy vs using it as an excuse to behave badly. It's heartening to see that so many people on here who've experienced that sort of pain have chosen to redeem it instead of using it as an excuse.

      *GROUP HUG* (for them as it huggy…)

  22. nomdeplume says:

    Just realised my comment wasn’t as long as I had imagined it to be! I’m on my mobile though, so it seemed that way. Makes me look kind of stupid! Oh well!

  23. Andrew (Chagrin) says:

    “She thinks that about you as well,” whispered the dæmon.

    Aaaaaaaaaaaaaah goddamn it Will and Lyra (and Pantalaimon~), stop being so perfect.

  24. @GalFawkes says:

    1. Am I the only one who gaped in horror at what Will describes the boys doing to his mom and thought of sexual assault? Because that's how it read to me. More so, even, than when I read Aberforth Dumbledore's account of what the Muggle boys did to Ariana.
    2. LOL, Ruta Skadi's so obsessed with Lord Asriel. The line about "if I'd borne his daughter, she'd be a QUEEN" made me roll my eyes so hard. I'm not a fan of Ruta Skadi, not sorry to say. It's actually for the same reasons I'm not a fan of Asriel – yes, both are big picture people, and fight the good fight (arguably) but they don't give a shit about the very real people that are involved, they only care about the endgame. (Compare and contrast Ruta Skadi and Serafina Pekkala, the same way you would Asriel and Lyra.) Well, OK, mostly Asriel, but Ruta Skadi is willing to gloss over that just because Asriel's so ~suave.

  25. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    They’ve come so far from when they first met. Have they been together for only a week or two? It seems so much longer than that. Time is irrelevant, though, because these two have been through some pretty awful shit, you know?

    This is so true, Mark, and it is actually only their forth day:
    Day 0: Will meets Lyra (chapter 1).
    Day 1: Will takes Lyra to his world (chapters 3 – 5)
    Day 2: Lyra revisits Dr. Malone, Will and Lyra visit Lord Latrom, conquer the subtle knife and, in this night, steal the alethiometer back (chapters 7 – 9)
    Day 3: From the belvedere to the cave (chapter 11)
    Day 4. From the cave to the mountains (chapter 13)

    Chapters 2, 6 and 10 don’t seem to fit this pattern, but these may partially be flashbacks to the time before Lyra met Will, or the flow of time may be different in different worlds.

    • flootzavut says:


      (Yes, that is the entirety of my intelligent comment on this. Sorry. But kudos for the timeline. And… crumbs.)

  26. Jaya says:

    Considering the above comment, I'm pretty sure that the events of The Subtle Knife take place over one week. We have a timeline somewhere over at BTTS… But can't link it because obviously it mentions the end.

  27. Feanna says:

    I hated the concept of original sin too when I first heard of it, and I still do (also, because if I remember this right (never been Catholic) it's all the woma/en's fault), but I have also kind of changed my mind on the concept of inherited responsibility?

    I mean, the history behind that is a lot more direct (like, I'm German, hello WWII, and I'm also white (and also mostly hetetosexual and also cis, but these aren't inherited like the others even though they are inborn)) and things that our grandparents (or thereabouts) did are a lot more relatable than some dude and dudess at the start of time, but there was a time where I didn't get why I should be resposible for my grandparent's actions either, when there was no way for me to change any of that ever (still no time machine). Of course I'm not saying that I'm to blame, but I also don't exist indepently of my history.

    So, I'm not saying I'll ever buy into original sin (not that I know anything much about it, so if I'm completely screwing up the comparison, then please forgive me) but I do find it interesting to think about as a concept of responsibility in relation to history and priviledge.

    • FlameRaven says:

      I think original sin is so problematic for two reasons:

      1) it kind of undermines the whole message about free will. There's a lot of talk in Christianity about how we all have free will and we're not just pawns being moved around by God (except when we are, see 'God moves in mysterious ways') and so therefore we are free to choose what we will do. Except… if you choose something besides a specific path of redemption, you're going to hell. Which makes it not really a choice at all, right? If you really believe that acting in any way besides the approved path is going to end in eternal torment for you, of course you would not choose that path. But it's intensely problematic because the approved path can be so restrictive.

      2) to me at least… the whole Adam and Eve story is also problematic because it feels a lot like God is setting them up to fail. It's pretty much the same deal as the "Bluebeard" stories: Wife marries husband, husband gives her a key to every room in the house, than shows her the one locked door that she must never, under any circumstances open. And then he leaves, so naturally she is going to open the door. (See also Pandora's Box.) Why create beings that are curious, then dangle a mystery in front of them and then punish them when they naturally follow their curious nature? Also, all people for the rest of time are punished because of that one mistake? It just seems awfully unfair.

      Of course, a lot of this doesn't come up until you actually sit down and think about it. For the most part, the story never seems to be discussed all that thoroughly, it's just provided as a catch-all reason for why there are bad things in the world. Not a very good reason, either, which is why I think people do avoid thinking too hard about it most of the time.

      • myshadow says:

        Another thing from the Bible, I think, is where God punishes Job even though God wanted it to happen. God gives Satan the power to hurt Job to test if Job will still be faithful. And then God instead of answering starts asking Job if he was there when God made everything. Seriously? You're getting upset when you're the one who let Satan torture Job! Just ofjaofnvoafn!!! I'm a Christian but sometimes the stuff in the Bible just really pisses me the fuck off. And it just makes my head hurt because I just don't understand why God would even do that.

        Also if God knows everything that is going to happen then why bother making Satan, Adam or Eve when he knows what happens. Unless I have that completely wrong then please correct me.

        • Brieana says:

          God, the story of Job is so fucked up.
          A problem that I have is that there's clearly a double standard when it comes to God vs us. God can be a horrible person but he's still "perfect". We so much as feel lustful thoughts and we're sinful little fucks even though we were biologically set up to feel that way.
          If there was the story of a couple where the boyfriend decided to "test" his girlfriend's loyalty by killing her family, beating the shit out of her, and doing other torturous things, we'd all reasonably say that that guy was completely horrible and abusive and she's much better off without him. But when God does that, what? That's perfectly okay?

          • FlameRaven says:

            Yeah, I had never really been familiar with the story of Job (I'm sure I'd learned about it at some point but I more or less forgot) and then a friend of mine started talking about it and I was like "….seriously? What the fuck?" Because, yeah, why would you do that, God? Especially to one of your most devout followers?

            I also find it a bit hard to believe Job kept faith after that. Like, I can understand turning to God in dark times, I did so myself. It can be comforting to feel like someone is watching over you. Except if God actually admitted that it was his fault all those horrible things happened, I think I'd be like "…yeah, okay, we're done now." :/

            The same friend who got into this discussion tended to talk about God's treatment of Israel in the Old Testament as that of an abusive husband, so your metaphor is apt. I can't remember enough of the overall books to decide whether or not I totally agree with that, but God definitely does some pretty problematic things.

          • myshadow says:

            Don't forget that he let the Angel of Death kill all the firstborns in Egypt if the people didn't put lambs blood on their doors. And the whole Cain and Abel story is another example of God being horrible. Oh and if your city worships an Idol then God will be sure to give his followers the power to overtake the city.

            • FlameRaven says:

              I was going to say that with Egypt you can sort of see the justification, because it's an escalating conflict– Pharoah keeps saying no again and again, and God keeps sending the plagues to convince him of His power. I had actually forgotten most of these, but this is some seriously impressive/horrific stuff:

              -turning ALL THE WATER into blood, killing all the fish
              -swarms of frogs
              -turning dust into lice/gnats
              -biting flies
              -diseased livestock
              -thunder and hail
              -three days of darkness

              All that before the death of the firstborn. Quite honestly, just the first plague alone would have been enough to completely screw over Egypt (which awfully dependant on the Nile) but all of them together should have been enough to make Pharoah relent.

              Now, like I said, originally I was going to say it was justified, but then in looking up that list I found out that God hardened Pharoah's heart against the pleas of Moses, so that he would not say yes despite all common sense. Which basically just turns the whole thing into a power play to terrify everyone with the power of God and get word of the religion to spread. An effective move, since at that point Judaism was a pretty small and powerless religion, but that is an awful lot of suffering to inflict just to make a point. D:

              (On a side note, it's also rather interesting that the story states that the Egyptian sorcerors were able to duplicate everything Moses did up until the second plague, frogs. So it kind of acknowledges that there was magic going on, or possibly that the Egyptian gods did have some influence?)

    • Brieana says:

      About the whole woman's fault business, I think that's just a biased interpretation. Like how when two people "wrongly" decide to have sex, it's for some reason the woman's fault because girls are supposed to be well behaved or some bullshit like that.
      Both Adam and Eve decided to eat from that fruit, but I don't see it as Eve's fault because she was the first one out of the two to eat. If the serpent had gone to Adam first I'm sure he would have done the same thing.
      I think sexist pigs were simply looking for a reason to justify their hatred towards women and they came up with that.

      • crimsongirl says:

        Maybe this is weak reasoning, but with original sin, I took it as, we all inherit, because you can't go back. When Adam and Eve had kids, they obviously would inherit their "awareness" for lack of better word. It's like…innocence (?) I guess or viginity. Once it's gone, it's gone. Not saying it justifies anything, but yeah.

        Also, I agree with Brienna. To say it is sexist is bullshit. Yes, you can argue that Eve was the "temptress" and convinced Adam, but she only did it because she was convinced by the snake. And clearly the fruit was awesome, so shouldn't she share it?

        Just my two cents 🙂

        • FlameRaven says:

          It's true that all the people after Adam/Eve would be aware and have knowledge of good and evil. The question is, why is that knowledge considered a sin?

          Rot13 for spoilers: Ubarfgyl, erernqvat guvf abj, V'z cerggl fher guvf vf Chyyzna'f jubyr zrffntr: xabjyrqtr naq gur chefhvg bs xabjyrqtr vf cbegenlrq va gur Ovoyr nf bevtvany fva, ohg vg'f abg– vg'f whfg cneg bs gur uhzna rkcrevrapr. Chyyzna'f obbxf (naq guvf vf rfcrpvnyyl pyrne va Nzore Fcltynff) frrz vafgrnq gb or ervagrecergvat guvf fgbel va erirefr: jr fubhyq pryroengr gur Snyy, orpnhfr vg bcrarq gur tngrf gb xabjyrqtr naq rkcrevrapr, vafgrnq bs xrrcvat hf genccrq, uhzoyr naq vtabenag naq borqvrag.

  28. pica_scribit says:

    You know, Mark, you are the only person who could possibly drag me away from my current total-immersion reading of "A Dance With Dragons".

  29. Billie says:

    Pan is my favourite. I always feel like maybe he knows more than he's letting on about everything because of how he knows she is "Lyra" and that's important and how when Will's hand gets wounded he does the impossible and comforts him because he knows then that they are bestest pals. Of course, I don't know if it's actually possible for Daemons to know things independent of their people but, I just think Pan is awesome. Every time him and Will interact I get teary eyed. With the exception of the witches Daemons, we never really see them acknowledge other people, and I always saw Pan and Will as sort of special in the way that they talk and are friends just like Lyra and Will are. Maybe I'm just making stuff up, who knows.

    • flootzavut says:

      Pan is my favourite character in the series I think 🙂

    • hazelwillow says:

      I agree. I like it when Will addresses Pan and the dynamic between them. I think in part it's because Will himself doesn't have a daemon, so he just addresses the both of them himself. Someone like Roger wouldn't address Pan because Roger's daemon would do it for him.

  30. bradycardia says:

    This might be just me, but I know there are a few other Irish reading here.

    Every time I see the words "holy god" (as used by Mark in his 2nd paragraph), I hear Mick Lally as Miley Byrne. Well holy god!

  31. Wang Fire says:

    I giggled too. It helps that I just got my Dad to start reading the first book and he commented on the stuff in a so-called children's book. Drugs, underage drinking, now add blatent implications of casual sex. It also helps with the note that it goes right over Lyra and Will's heads.

    I was just glad to know what the chapter title was about when it first came up. It was good to get some actual clarification on what it actually means, though. Pullman has used the brief cutaways to hype up Lyra's destiny a few times now but this one is a very memorable take on the "unknowing chosen one" concept. Think about how the angels are portrayed as superior beings who think of a centuries-old witch as a child and then watch as they are eternally affected for simply having briefly been in Lyra's presence. It really displays how important Lyra is to so many people despite really just being a girl trying to do what she thinks is right.

    I had completely forgotten about Juta Kamainen. There's another interesting aspect to the story as it falls together. I'm guessing John Parry was still loyal to his wife?

    • flootzavut says:

      I read somewhere recently (and I've no idea if it's true or not) that the books were marketed as primarily children's books in the States and initially as adult books in the UK. Given the relative prudishness of the States it seems slightly ironic.

      • hazelwillow says:

        From what I've read, I don't think that's true about the marketing… but, I could be wrong!

        Wait, when are there drugs? …the cooked poppy in the Retiring Room? Hm… I guess that might have an effect on the Scholars. Underage drinking… oh right, in the crypt. Haha, but we don't know if that's underage, we have no info on the drinking ages in Lyra's England. Maybe they never developed minimum drinking ages there, as a holdover from the middle ages! 😛

        I usually don't notice these kinds of things as being "out of place" in a kids book, and I'm always surprised when people bring them up! I guess when I'm reading I just see everything within the context of the world in the book. I don't know, it's interesting though.
        Perhaps it's a cultural thing. Maybe American? (I don't know, I'm just guessing? I'm in Canada). I have an idea there is a little more touchiness about these kinds of things south of the border… for instance, movie ratings are more restrictive in the US than here, things like that. I could also be assuming things about Canada that aren't true too though.

        • flootzavut says:

          I can't even remember where I saw it to be honest, so it may well be a figment of my overactive imagination 😉

          With the disclaimer that I am not American – British actually – yes it seems that way sometimes to me. Our film ratings draw a lot on the American ones, but culturally (as opposed to according to the ratings) I think we are less bothered about things. I always find it strange the level of violence and gore one can get away with in programmes where an F bomb would be a total no no.

          Just frixampul – NCIS frequently has gory murders, violence – I watched an episode recently where one of the characters visibly had a bone broken through the skin on his hand *wince*, and obviously they have a lot of forensic detail, bloated bodies, mutilated bodies, bodies open on the table… but they have to have a modesty cover to block out the bodies' genital regions and female autopsy figures almost always have their chests open to avoid the risk of nipples!

          I mean, don't get me wrong, I don't especially want to see silicone genitals flying round my TV screen, but it is very weird to me that an open body corpse is fine but a nipple is a no-no! (And of course, they never ever swear: which is fine with me because I don't especially appreciate bad language, but when a character saying shit would be out of order but you can have a mutilated body, it's just very strange…)

          It also strikes me when a film which has some fairly bad language as its worst feature is at the same or a higher rating than a film with graphic torture detail. Personally I would have much more trouble with a torture scene than a character who swears a lot, but I have to be pretty careful about why a film has attracted a certain rating (the UK's 15 certificate is generally where this gets tricky) because a film with a surprisingly low rating can have way more violence than I am comfortable with, even though there are some films with, say, an 18 certificate, that I don't have a problem with because it's for an entirely different reason.

          Erm… yeah tl;dr, but I guess I'm basically agreeing with you and thinking how weird some of our standards and taboos are.

  32. t09yavors says:

    “How has he done this? I think he must have been preparing this for a long time, for eons. He was preparing this before we were born, sisters, even though he is so much younger…But how can that be? I don’t know. I can’t understand. I think he commands time, he makes it run fast or slow according to his will.”

    I don't mean to sound blasphemous (that might be a lie. I dont really know what I mean but I want to put that out there) but does this passage sound like a second coming of Jesus sort of thing to anyone else? I had been trying to think of an alternate interpretation of the series and this came to mind. He can call people to him, travel between worlds, and has been planning this for longer than he has been alive.

    I suppose his jerkness might make him into more of an anti-christ but since it is Pullman I dont think he would make a Jesus character perfect (ex: The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. ). Just a thought.

    On a completely unrelated note: my favorite part of this chapter is when Serifina says that she hasn't dared to look Will in the eyes.

  33. karate0kat says:

    I am so very very late to this party. As in nearly two books late. Which is what I get for tuning out when you were reading books I didn't know. I missed what came next.

    So, yeah, this comment would have been more appropriate back at, say, chapter one of the Golden Compass, but it'll do here.

    I totally thought that daemon was pronounced day-mun until I saw the movie. I don't know, it just made more sense to me. Then again, I also though Hermione was pronounced Herm-oi-n. I was such a smart child.

    OK, you may now return to your regularly scheduled discussion of deep issues.

  34. Kelly says:

    Every time I read these books, I have one question about Will's injury….why does no one try to cauterize the wounds?! I'll give Lyra and Will a pass since they are kids and Will probably isn't thinking too clearly from shock and blood loss, and the witches have their own medical rituals, but surely the old guy who had the knife before should have thought of it? I mean, I'm sure HIS severed fingers didn't stop bleeding with just a dab of Neosporin and since he's traveled in other worlds (including ours) it's reasonable to assume he's at least heard of cauterization.

    Just crazy to me that up to this point, no one's thought of that solution.

  35. Ellalalalala says:

    I am broken hearted, because I don't have time to read all the comments, and I'm away tomorrow and won't be able to read the review til Sunday night, AND WHY IS THIS SITE NOW SO IMPORTANT IN MY DAILY ROUTINE?

    There must be something wrong with me.

    I am seriously seriously concerned about Will's hand. If witches can't cure you, I'm pretty sure you're screwed. And I love Will! And Lyra! And their friendship! And Pan being awesome! There should be no more gushing wounds and trauma and really disturbing memories and NEGATIVE THINGS, and only butterflies and rainbows from here on in because I really don't know how much more unpreparedness I can take.

    I really really don't like Ruta Skadi. Can't put my finger on why, but she makes my skin a bit crawly. Anyone else?

    • FlameRaven says:

      Seriously! I read this at work a lot, and I definitely look forward to the two points in my day when the new reviews go up (which is about 10am and 4pm usually). Although Mark is doing BSG next and I'm not terribly interested in the reviews for that, so I'll only have MarkReads for awhile.

    • pica_scribit says:

      Awww…I'll miss your comments. I know this is your first read though, so it's fun to see your reactions as well as Mark's.

  36. nomdeplume says:

    I think Ruta Skadi reminds me slightly of Bellatrix Lestrange; she has that same creepy devotion to a man, and while we don't really know that she's clear-cut good or bad, it's this that made me suspicious of her on rereading. I always seem to use Harry Potter as a basis for comparison for everything! 😀

  37. Tinna says:

    Æsahættr could mean one of two things (in the meaning of the word in ancient icelandic/norwegian, this is not a spoiler)
    It's either "the way of the gods" or, "dangers to the gods"

    This icelandic tidbid was delivered by you by a nerdy Icelander.
    Hope you enjoyed.

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