Mark Reads ‘The Amber Spyglass’: Chapter 35

In the thirty-fifth chapter of The Amber Spyglass, Will and Lyra set off to find their dæmons and instead stumble on to a universe-changing epiphany. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Amber Spyglass.


The mere appearance of Father Gomez in the mulefa village gives this chapter a painful sensation of dread. He knows where they are. He knows that he is close, and he has a rifle. Who is he going to confront? Mary alone? Will and Lyra? CAN THIS NOT ALL END IN DISASTER?

I’m glad that Mary doesn’t hesitate to either stop the kids from going to find their dæmons, yet she’s not reluctant to tell them that this is dangerous. She respects them and their choices, but that doesn’t mean she can’t be concerned for them. Her instinct is correct, obviously, but Will and Lyra are far too set on locating their dæmons to listen.

A lot of chapter thirty-five also acknowledges some of the logistics of this trilogy, and I’m glad that it’s done in a way that doesn’t seem forced. I’ve been so enamored and immersed in this story that I truly forgot how far they all were from home. I forgot that Will had left his mother behind in the care of Mrs. Cooper. They’ve only been gone a few weeks, right?Maybe a month? It hasn’t been terribly long, but I’ve also been reading this series for quite some time, so it seems like an eternity ago that I was first introduced to Will Parry.

More questions are asked, and some are answered. I think we’ll see Lyra’s settled dæmon before the end of the series, though I’m not really sure what animal Pan will settle as. But there are hints that I noticed in retrospect that this chapter is all about Will and Lyra growing up and growing together. From the acknowledgment of the shame of touching one another’s dæmons, to the later conversation about marriage, it was pretty obvious that these two were beginning to develop something with one another that was far more than friendship.

But I’ll get to that in a second. While I was hoping that the reunion of Pan and Lyra would have been this perfectly joyous occasion, I’m beginning to realize that it’s much more realistic that Pan would have felt betrayed by her decision, so much so that he is resistant to return to her, even if that’s what he truly wants. It is frustrating to read Will and Lyra playing this reverse game of cat-and-mouse, pretending that their dæmons aren’t following them, hoping to lure them out and win their trust again. Of course, I just want them to get back together and for everything to be one gigantic hug party, but there’s something else at work here. It provides a vehicle for Pullman to give these two time to discuss their future, and it’s actually a conversation I think is necessary. They know that they’re near the end of their journey, as Lyra believes she’s fulfilled her end of the “prophecy” that the witches spoke of. Where are they going to go? Where is Will going to end up?

It is a tad obvious when Lyra asks Will if he’ll get married and he replies that there’s no one in his world that understands all that he’s gone through, but it does serve the purpose of getting these two to finally put forth some honesty about what they want. And it’s not like Pullman hasn’t been foreshadowing this moment for quite some time, either; there have been numerous moments throughout The Amber Spyglass that these two have traded looks or had thoughts that suggested a much deeper affinity for one another. And as they headed towards a grove at the bottom of a cascading stream, I knew that we were rapidly approaching the moment where Lyra was going to be tempted. But how was that going to play out?

Oh, by Pullman switching over to Father Gomez, WHO HAS BEEN FOLLOWING THEM THE ENTIRE TIME. Oh god, YOU BETTER NOT FUCK THIS UP. Especially considering this:

The one thing he didn’t want to do was hurt the boy. He had a horror of harming an innocent person.

I HOPE YOU CHOKE TO DEATH ON A BAG OF CACTI. Oh, what a convenient way for you to categorize all of this. But this is how this man’s mind works: this is a holy act for him, one ordained by God. Seriously, only Father Gomez would think about murdering Lyra and then planning to proselytize to the mulefa. YOU ARE THINKING OF CONVERTING THOSE CREATURES TO CHRISTIANS.

The first thing to do here would be to convince the four-legged creatures, who seems to have the rudiments of reason, that their habit of riding on wheels was abominable and Satanic, and contrary to the will of God. Break them of that, and salvation would follow.

WHY DOES THIS SOUND SO FAMILIAR TO ME? Oh, right, because Christians spent OVER A DECADE trying to tell me that my body, my desires, and my thoughts were abominable, Satanic, or contrary to the will of God. i h8 u catholic church

And just when I was convinced that Father Gomez would reveal himself, forcing Lyra and Will to do something terrible to defend themselves, something grabs his dæmon and he cries out in pain.

“Keep still,” said a voice form the air, “and be quiet. I have your dæmon in my hand.”

“But–where are you? Who are you?”

“My name is Balthamos,” said the voice.”



Pullman then has the nerve to immediately switch back to Will and Lyra as I want to leap into the air with joy, but I quickly forgave this when I realized what was happening. The two take a break from their reverse dæmon chase to snack on the food that Mary packed them, and that is when it happens: Lyra is tempted. (I think?)

Then Lyra took one of those little red fruits. With a fast-beating heart, she turned to him and said, “Will….”

And she lifted the fruit gently to his mouth.

She could see from his eyes that he knew at once what she meant, and that he was too joyful to speak. her fingers were still at his lips, and he felt them tremble, and he put his own hand up to hold hers there, and then neither of them could look; they were confused; they were brimming with happiness.

Like two moths clumsily bumping together, with no more weight than that, their lips touched. Then before they knew how it happened, they were clinging together, blindly pressing their faces toward each other.

I am absolutely enamored with this reversal of roles, that Lyra has offered the fruit to Will first, that it was done with the full knowledge that she loved him, with the expectation of joy, and that when they kissed, they experienced ecstasy and hope and connected with one another in a way that is pure and genuine. This is a complete rejection of the first Fall, and as symbolic as all of this is, I just have to smile at how well-conceived this is. Mary gave Lyra the fruit, but it was out of love and concern, not malice. Pullman does not do as God did to Adam and Eve. He does not excoriate or shame them for this choice. He celebrates the physical body, the sensation of knowledge, the experience of love. In every way, this is the opposite to the story of Genesis, and it fills me with such a unique sense of satisfaction. This is even better than I expected of the second Fall, and I cannot wait to see how this plays out.

Things are not so serene with Balthamos, however, who is battling multiple things at once: Father Gomez, the man’s beetle dæmon, and the worry he has over what is happening to Will and Lyra. He initially has the advantage: he is holding the priest’s dæmon and Father Gomez can’t see him. But Pullman doesn’t ignore how clever Father Gomez has been this whole time, enough to keep him alive up until this point. And so the priest gives the appearance that the angel has control of the situation, up until he can see the angel’s form, and in a moment of Balthamos’s weakness, he leaps at him, causing the angel to release his dæmon. But the angel is not a solid form, and because of this, the priest falls forward and Balthamos kicks aside the hand he reaches out to support himself.

Father Gomez fell hard. His head cracked against a stone, and he fell stunned with his face in the water. The cold shock woke him at once, but as he choked and feebly tried to rise, Balthamos, desperate, ignored the dæmon stinging his face and his eyes and his mouth, and used all the little weight he had to hold the man’s head down in the water, and he kept it there, and kept it there, and kept it there.

When the dæmon suddenly vanished, Balthamos let go. The man was dead.

WHAT THE FUCK?????? Oh my god, Balthamos, do you even realize what you’ve done? You’ve just saved Lyra’s life. You’ve saved EVERY UNIVERSE EVER.

“Baruch,” he said, “oh, Baruch, my dear, I can do no more. Will and the girl are safe, and everything will be well, but this is the end for me, though truly I died when you did, Baruch, my beloved.”

A moment later, he was gone.




Oh my god. My heart swelled with pride at what Balthamos had done, but I was so shocked by his sudden lost. Would he see Baruch in the world of the dead? Do angels even go there? Ugh, I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THIS.

But there is hope for the future, and that’s what this chapter ends with. Back in the mulefa village, the creatures are ecstatic over a new change in Dust, which Mary observes through the spyglass: the Dust has stopped flowing away.

In fact, if anything, it was falling like snowflakes.

Which means that the Dust has returned to its original form in the mulefa world. And this is when Will and Lyra return to Mary, holding hands, “oblivious to everything,” and the true meaning of the second Fall is spelled out for us:

They would seem the true image of what human beings always could be, once they had come into their inheritance.

The Dust pouring down from the stars had found a living home again, and these children-no-longer-children, saturated with love, were the cause of it all.

My only questions remaining deal with this end result: Why Lyra? Why was it Lyra who had to do this, and why was it her actions that repaired the holes in between worlds? And is this the temptation, or is there something worse coming for our characters?


There’s a spiffy new banner this week (HOW COLORFUL), and here’s the link to the full image it is cropped from. Additionally, this week’s spoiler thread on BridgeToTheStars is up!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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263 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Amber Spyglass’: Chapter 35

  1. Dinah says:

    I don't think Lyra was tempted in this chapter. I think the temptation itself happened in Marzipan, with Mary giving Lyra the knowledge of how to bridge the gap between her and Will. That's the whole "been given the key to a dark house" bit.

    Tree of Knowledge, baby!

    • evocativecomma says:

      I agree–the temptation was Mary's story. That was when Lyra's body and consciousness were awakened to the truth about adult love (and I don't mean sex, but rather mature love and not immature, childlike love). It makes sense–we've known along that it would be Mary who would tempt Lyra. She's the one who gives her the fruit.

      Lyra putting the fruit to Will's mouth is the second half of the fall — Eve is tempted first, and she eats of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, and then she brings the fruit to Adam, and tempts him, and he eats of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge.

      And of course knowledge (consciousness) is Dust, etc.

  2. Jenny_M says:

    When I first read this book, I don't think I fully understood the importance of this chapter. Now that I'm a little older and wiser, I have to say that it is so, so beautifully done.

    Also, it makes me cry all the tears, especially when Balthamos comes back. ALL OF THEM, I SAY.

    <img src=""&gt;

    Seriously, Beek = me.

  3. enigmaticagentscully says:


    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    • burritosaurus says:

      That is exactly what my face looked like this whole review! I'm not even exaggerating, except that my face isn't that pink and is a little rounder.

  4. George says:

    Aaah, this chapter makes me so happy! But I am a confused…
    V gubhtug gur Qhfg jnf zbivat njnl orpnhfr bs gur jvaqbjf gur fhogyr xavsr unq znqr naq gur nolff gur obzo znqr. Fb jul qbrf gur ybir fhqqrayl fgbc nyy gung? Fheryl bayl pybfvat gur jvaqbjf jbhyq fgbc gur Qhfg sebz sybjvat njnl?

    Nz V zvffvat fbzrguvat?

    • Tilja says:

      This is what I think happened considering what I understand from the description of Dust given so far, and from a few definitions I take from spiritual philosophy. Just in case, it goes in rot13:

      Gur nolff jbhyq unir gur chyy bs n oynpx ubyr, gur fgebatrfg guvat Qhfg unq gb sbyybj va gung cynpr. Gur Zhyrsn znl or pbafpvbhf perngherf gb nggenpg Qhfg ohg gurl ner dhvgr vaabprag naq n tb jvgu gur sybj xvaq bs perngherf, naq sebz jung jr'ir frra, Qhfg zhfg unir n fgebat vagragvba gb znxr vg npg nppbeqvat gb vg. Jura Ybir fubjrq hc, n fgebatre sbepr naq gur fgebatrfg bs nyy sbeprf, Qhfg sbyybjrq gur fgebatre chyy vg perngrq naq punatrq gur pheerag.

      Abj guvf vf zl fcvevghny cuvybfbcul vagrecergngvba. Jura Znel fnvq gung znggre ybirf Qhfg vg zrnaf whfg gung; Ybir vf gur npghny anzr bs gur fgebatrfg sbepr bs nggenpgvba va gur havirefr, gur fgebatrfg sbepr bs zbirzrag, gung'f jul jr pnyy gung srryvat "ybir". Vgf bccbfvgr jbhyq or Vaqvssrerapr, gur sbepr bs varegvn, ncngul, gbgny ynpx bs zbirzrag. Gur nolff jbhyq or gung, gur abguvatarff, gur varegvn, jurer rirelguvat gung fgbcf zbivat tbrf. Gur bayl jnl gb fgbc varegvn vf gb perngr na bccbfvgr sbepr bs rdhny be terngre fgeratgu gb punatr gur qverpgvba bs gur sybj. Vg jnf nyfb fgngrq arkg puncgre nobhg ubj n gval tenva bs fnaq cynprq va gur evtug cynpr bs n pheerag pna punatr vgf qverpgvba. Naq guvf vf jung V pna pbzr hc jvgu ba gung. V ubcr vg'f abg gbb zrffl.

      • chrisjpardo says:

        That sounds absolutely perfect to me!

      • GCSKAS says:

        Vs lbh jnag gb gnxr gur vaqvssrerapr nanybtl shegure, lbh pbhyq gnyx nobhg gur Fcrpgref. Gurl ner pnyyrq gur Fcrpgref bs Vaqvssrerapr orpnhfr bs jung gurl qb – rng qhfg naq qnrzbaf. Gurl ner yngre pnyyrq, "Puvyqera bs gur Nolff," naq fvapr gur Nolff ercerfragf vaqvssrerapr, vg znxrf frafr gung gur Fcrpgref unir gur fnzr dhnyvgl.

        Does that make any sense at all?

        • Tilja says:

          Yes! I had forgotten about that name! It makes complete sense and goes with everything else. Since Pullman gave agency to ideas and forces, there's no wonder that one also has agents acting in the world.

      • I like that explanation rather a lot.

      • Vikinhaw says:

        I love this explaination but fheryl gurer'f nyernql orra ybir va gur zhyrsn'f jbeyq fvapr gur zhyrsn ner pbapvbhf orvatf jvgu gjb frkrf. Znlor Ylen'f naq Jvyy'f ybir punatrq gur sybj orpnhfr gurl'er fcrpvny qhr gb gur guvatf gurl'ir orra guebhtu (ynaq bs gur qrnq rgp.)?

        V'ir arire tbg gur vzcerffvba gung gur zhyrsn ner cnegvphyneyl vaabprag. Xvaq-angherq ohg abg 'vaabprag' nf va 'haxabjvat'. Whfg pnhfr gur yvir crnprshy ntenevna yvsr qbrfa'g zrna gurl'er yrff pbapvbhf guna Ylen, Jvyy be Znel.

      • ladykjane says:

        This is a great explanation. 600 thumbs up to you.

    • Anseflans says:

      Can you please tell me what this code thingy was called again? I want to read it. 😛

    • miriamdelirium says:

      V guvax vg nyfb unf gb qb jvgu gur cyrnfher bs eriryvat va gur culfvpny jbeyq, naq yvivat va gur urer naq abj; gung'f jung jnf unccravat jura Ylen naq Jvyy jrer rngvat gur sehvg naq xvffvat. V vagrecergrq veg nf gur qhfg jnf noyr gb or fhpxrq bhg orpnhfr crbcyr unq sbefnxra gur wbl bs orvat uhzna gb fnpevsvpr sbe gur nsgreyvsr, naq Ylen naq Jvyy'f npgvbaf oebhtug vg onpx. Creuncf vg tnir ubcr gb gur qhfg?

  5. monkeybutter says:

    Bye, Balthamos. 🙁 I'm glad he had a chance to redeem himself, and that he was a hero after all. I think it's bittersweet that he was motivated by his love of Baruch to save Will and Lyra's love, dying in the process. No, I don't think that angels go to the land of the dead, since they're Dust already. But maybe his Dust and Baruch's dust can intermingle the way Lee hopes to find Hester.

    • Tilja says:

      That was my comment exactly. I do hope they can join in atoms now.

    • rumantic says:

      I always imagined Balthamos finding the atoms of Baruch like Lee and Hester did. All the angels we've seen die in the series seem to dissolve like the people in the world of the dead, anyway.

      As an aside, I noticed back in Northern Lights, when they were fighting the guards at bolvangar, that one of the daemons was killed rather than the person, and they were described as having "bright flame" (or something) where you would expect blood to leak out of a real animal injured like that – I noticed it this reread, because I wondered if it was actually Dust and it just looked like a flame from the POV of whoever noticed it at that point, as they wouldn't have been aware of Dust. A couple of chapters ago it was stated that when Dust gathers together in a large amount it is visible to the naked eye.

  6. chrisjpardo says:

    LONG comment coming up, that I wrote earlier today in preparation for this


    Oh my, this chapter just makes my heart swell with joy. And I'd forgotten just how much happens in this, so I'm just going to go all sickeningly fanboyish, and list out things that I love about this chapter:

    Balthamos gets such a bad-ass return! "My name is Balthamos". He's like an angel Jack Bauer (Jack Baulthamos?) Then to prove this he holds Father Gomez down until he's dead. BAMF. My only wish here is that Will should know that when he really needed him, Balthamos was there. Baruch would have been proud.

    The Fall! Mary played her part as the serpent two chapters ago when she tempted Lyra, making her aware of her incipient sexuality, which was the thing a few of us were worried about 'spoiling' for you if it hadn't sunk in, Mark. And here we have Eve in turn tempting Adam. I think there's something so ingrained in me/us, that despite not really being a religious person myself, I still think of "temptation" as this big bad thing. But it's NOT. Here it's simply the acceptance of awareness, of knowledge. And this opens up a whole world of things to Lyra and Will, not least of which is the fact that they love each other. Will's comments that the body is the best part of a person also has a nice relevance here (as you've mentioned Mark). I'll leave the final word on this to Philip Pullman himself; "This so-called original sin is anything but. It’s the thing that makes us fully human."

    First time through, when I was 20 (no excuses!), I didn't see this coming. I flew through this book, and I'm not sure if I ever stopped to think about a bigger picture. I appreciated the whole 'Fall' thing, but I didn't put all the pieces together until these last few chapters. Having the gift of hindsight this time, it's been really nice to see the relationship between Will and Lyra grow, subtle hints here and there, getting more obvious as we approached this point. But I love that it references the real start of these feelings, from possibly my favourite moment of the entire series:

    "I suppose I better try not to seem frightened, then," Will said. He was quiet for a minute or so, and then he said,"I think Lyra's braver than me. I think shes the best friend I 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.

    Just, wow. We go from this, to Lyra's heart 'faltering' when Will smiles at her in the world of the dead, Will feeling the same when Lyra smiled at him while they were telling Mary their stories, the feeling of 'excitement' when they accidentally held each other's dæmons, their sudden shyness around each other at times… Even in this chapter alone, Lyra is so pre-occupied with other things (even if she doesn't conciously know what), Will feeling the warmth of her hand on his arm, and so on… I can see how I missed all this first time around, as it feels natural to me, not forced or tacked on to the story. Others may disagree, but I think this is all done perfectly.

    But most of all, I love the love. I think I've made that obvious; I'm a foolish romantic at heart. One of the key things about Lyra is her amazing ability to love. Mark's picked up on it may times. She loves Roger. She loves Iorek. She loves Lee Scoresby. She has so much love and compassion she just wants to comfort the children in the world of the dead. And it's great that this amazing quality is the one that can save the worlds. Is this perhaps a little too convenient that this stops the flow of dust? I don't care; I've bought into the idea completely. Love can save everything.

    A lot of people see this series as about religion, as a message. I'm sure there are many ways to interpret it, and none are wrong. That is what is great about art and literature. But for me, at the very heart of it (no pun intended) this is a love story. Or more accurately, a story about love.


    • I agree with everything you just said. So much. In fact, I'm kind of annoyed that you just said it, because now if I say it it will just be redundant. 🙂

    • burritosaurus says:

      First time through, when I was 20 (no excuses!), I didn't see this coming

      Um. Ditto. In my defense, I inhaled this book and barely had a second to think.

      And I love what you said about Lyra's ability to love, especially considering how little love she was shown as a child. I think that's why she had to be the one to bring about the second fall. Anyone who lacked her upbringing might not have the drive to go rescue Roger from the gobblers in the start or the ferocious desire to make things right when she took him to Lord Asriel. It's that intense capacity to love that took her through the whole story and guided her actions without giving a thought about what she was "supposed to" do.

      I'm such a sap for love stories like this.

    • ChronicReader91 says:

      "He's like an angel Jack Bauer (Jack Baulthamos?) "
      YES. 24 would have been infinitely better if Balthamos had been the main character. B)

      Don't worry; I'm 20, and reading it for the first time. I actually started to read The Golden Compass when I was about 11 or 12, and didn't make it every far- in a way, I'm glad, because so much of the deeper meaning would have gone right over my head back then, but I can really appreciate it at this point in my life.

      • chrisjpardo says:

        I'm delighted there are people reading this book for the first time; I think you gain so much by reading it slowly. I say this on my first week of reading at this pace (I made myself catch up from the start of the series, from about the time you all started TAS), and the thought of 2 days without this is killing me.

        But I really thing it's a great way to properly absorb what's going on. And if you miss things out, people on here will have inevitably spotted it!

        Also I love first-timers reactions!

      • chrisjpardo says:

        I feel like I'm spamming tonight, but I have a genuine question; as someone who's reading for the first time, when did you pick up on the developing romance between Lyra and Will?

        • ChronicReader91 says:

          Hmmmm….there were little signs throughout TSK and TAS of how close they were growing (probably starting with the scene mentioned, where Lyra over hears Will talking to Pan), but I’d have to say the part where I knew for sure that they had feeling that went beyond friendship was in the World of the Dead, after Lyra was saved from falling into the abyss and it describes how she and Will were just clinging to each other for a while. Really,the whole World of the Dead section shows how much they'd come to trust and depend on each other. 🙂

          • chrisjpardo says:

            Will talking to Pan is just adorable; I loved it initially just for the idea that he's so comfortable in talking directly to her dæmon. It's kind of like he's taken her best friend aside to find out what she thinks of him :p. But with hindsight (and on a second read through) it really is just this beautiful moment when things start happening between them.

            I wish I could remember the exact moment I realised. I think I flew through the chapters at such a pace that I all but missed the little signs until it was right there in flashing lights in the mulefa world. But this time, I think if I was reading it at Mark's pace, it would have have been another bit from the world of the dead:

            He turned and gave her a true smile, so warm and happy she felt something stumble and falter inside her; at least, it felt like that, but without Pantalaimon she couldn’t ask herself what it meant. It might have been a new way for her heart to beat. Deeply surprised, she told herself to walk straight and stop feeling giddy.

            If the world of the dead doesn't make you realise how much you care for someone, I don't know what would.

    • muselinotte says:

      Ermm, where can I sign this comment?

      Yes, my thoughts exactly.
      I'm so glad that I'm re-reading it at Mark's pace this time, because the first time (also at 20), I just ploughed through the whole thing, never grasping the finer details…
      Now, this is all so unbelievably beautiful to me

      I want to swoon at this chaper all night, please…

      • chrisjpardo says:

        20 seems to be a common age for reading this for the first time! I'm glad, I always figured I was a little older than most first time readers. I did read the first book at 17, but then took 3 years to get to the others.

        I'm a soppy, over-emotional, romantic fool, but I don't remember this chapter being quite this beautiful the first time. And it took me ages to read; I must have re-read each key passage 4 or 5 times as I went, just to take it all in. And as I read the next day's chapter before I go to bed (Mark's reviews appear mid-afternoon here in the UK, and I can never wait until I've finished work to read them), I couldn't sleep last night, haha. My heart was all excited.

        • muselinotte says:

          Funny, how we are quite a lot to discover this world at 20…
          I remembered the other day that the trilogy was a friend's favourite book while I was in high-school, but I was always put off by the German editions who looked too childlike for the unbelievably cool 15 year-old that I was… err, yes. 😀

          I mostly read during my work break, I always get to read Mark's reviews when I come home. It's my after work-goody ^^
          But I had trouble getting back to work after this particular chapter 😉

        • notemily says:

          "20 seems to be a common age for reading this for the first time!"

          Well, I was 19 when I read Amber Spyglass, but I was I think 13 or so when I read The Golden Compass. There was, I think, a 3-year gap between Subtle Knife and Amber Spyglass, and by then I had gone to college and had other things to concentrate on, so I sort of forgot about the series. Then when I was 19 I saw a beautiful box set in the local bookstore and bought them all, and finally read the third one.

          It was weird because at the time I read the first book, it seemed like a "children's book," since kids tend to read about characters a couple of years older than they are but Lyra was younger than I was when I was reading it, so I wondered if I was too old to be the right audience. But Amber Spyglass doesn't seem like a kids' book at all. I'm glad I read them at the time I did.

  7. Ash says:

    One thing that seemed a bit forced to me is that when Father Gomez saw the mulefa, first thing he thought was that riding wheel is against God's will. There was no explanation as to why he thought that. I don't really care about that, but it kind of bugged me. Also i don't understand why Will and Lyra's kiss stopped Dust from falling.

  8. Ithinkimme says:

    First of all- yay yay yay! Despite having followed/stalked Mark since Twilight, this is my First Ever Comment! So again, yay! And nice to meet you, everyone. 🙂
    Second of all- I've been waiting for Mark to reach this chapter. That image of Lyra feeding Will the fruit is so strong that it has stayed in my mind for years, ever since I first read it. Other YA authors should take note- this is how a new love should be developed. The description of them being like moths is perfect for making you visualise that eager clumsiness of a first kiss. And the way that coming into their sexuality is shown as not only good but as the natural force that makes the world work is amazing. Pullman is literally saying that love makes the world go around.
    On another note, I had forgotten what happened to Father Gomez, so it was a great surprise to find out that it was Balthamos who Saves The Day. I love that Pullman manages to get rid of an annoying character whilst at the same time letting a favourite one get to act badass before tying up his story. And it's so bittersweet that no one else ever knows about it.

    • Glad you decided to comment! I've been stalking for a while too but I finally had to comment a while ago.

      I always thought the lead up to Will and Lyra's love here was particularly well done too. It's just a bunch of little moments over time. Nothing exceptionally significant or distracting in a bad way. It just develops so naturally. Very well written.

  9. HieronymusGrbrd says:

    Lyra is tempted. (I think?)

    Notes taken while reading ahaed, because I had to return my copy of the book to the library:

    There are too many predections in this series, so I’m confused now: This red fruit is very guggestive, but is Lyra declaring her love for Will really what was prophesized, or is her crucial decision still to come? And in which way was Mary Malone “the serpent”? Oh, I see! Marzipan!

    I love the last lines of this chapter. But I don’t believe that this poetic magic really works. Isn’t it far more probable that the joined forces of angels, witches, ghosts and what-know-I just coincidentally closed the Abyss? May it be significant that Mary, not using the Amber Spyglass, only imagines Lyra and Will bathed in gold?

    • t09yavors says:

      It was never said that the abyss was closed, did it? Just that the Dust was no longer flowing away I thought.

      • HieronymusGrbrd says:

        That's right. But Mary's first hypothesis (from the previous chapter) is, that Dust trickled out of open windows for threehundred years, and that opening the abyss was the catastrope that made Dust flooding away much more rapidly.

        While closing the abyss (if this is even possible) would be an action that should slow down the flow of Dust again, Mary's second hypothesis is that Will and Lyra's love did this. Isn't this confusing and quite unscientific?

        But then, Dust falling like snowflakes looks as if the situation was restored to how it was more than 300 years ago, not just how it was when Mary first watched Dust drifting slowly out to the sea?

        • t09yavors says:

          rot13 just to be safe:

          Guvax bs vg yvxr n fgernz bs zrgny funeqf sybjvat qbja n fybcr, gura fbzrbar cynprf n ernyyl cbjreshy zntarg evtug arkg gb vg. Gur zntarg jvyy zrff hc gur sybj naq teno nyy gur zrgny funeqf ohg tenivgl vf fgvyy gurer b riraghnyyl pbagvahr gb qent gurz qbja.

          At least thats how I see it.

    • Jaya says:

      I always thought it was the sheer concentration of Dust being drawn to them (which stopped the flood) that made it visible to the naked eye.

      • HieronymusGrbrd says:

        My german translation may be wrong, but it didn't tell me that Mary could see Dust gathering around Will and Lyra. She just imagined what she would see if she looked at them through the Amber Spyglass. So we actually don't know if there was more Dust than could be expected for any grown-ups.

        I admit that Will and Lyra did grow up rapidly during the last few weeks.

  10. knut_knut says:

    SO MANY EMOTIONS! From gushing over how freaking adorable Will and Lyra are while pretending to look for their daemons (“Lyra made a great fuss of an ant she claimed to have trodden on, sympathizing with its bruises, saying its face was just like Pan’s, asking in mock sorrow why it was refusing to speak to her”- I thought that was really cute!) to RAGE AT FATHER GOMEZ, WHY ARE YOU SUCH A PERFECT VILLAIN? AND WHAT IS SO SATANIC ABOUT USING WHEELS? HMM? (I know it’s probably more complicated than that but I have no idea why the mulefa’s use of wheels would be an abomination of God). AND THEN BALTHAMOS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! No words, just exclamation points.

    I thought Lyra’s temptation was last chapter when Mary told her the marzipan story, and this time it’s Eve tempting Adam. But either way, both temptations were quite beautiful. No trickery, no shame, none of that nonsense. I do second Mark’s question of why Lyra, though. I don’t really understand the prophecy other than as a very important plot point, but we’ll see.

    • aliciaspinnet says:

      I would say that the marzipan story is Lyra being tempted and what happens in this chapter is Lyra giving in to that temptation.

    • barnswallowkate says:

      “Lyra made a great fuss of an ant she claimed to have trodden on, sympathizing with its bruises, saying its face was just like Pan’s, asking in mock sorrow why it was refusing to speak to her.”

      Cutest line in the whole series Y/Y/Y/Y?

    • BradSmith5 says:

      Wheels were on the car that hit Lyra in book two. Death to wheels! DESTROY ALL CARS.

    • John Small Berries says:

      "(I know it’s probably more complicated than that but I have no idea why the mulefa’s use of wheels would be an abomination of God)."

      Because they are clearly not natural. Well, they're natural, being seed-pods, but if the Authority had wanted them to get around on wheels, He would have made them be born that way. Now if you'll excuse Father Gomez, he has to take the rifle he came out of the womb with out of the knapsack he was born wearing, and kill someone from a distance, the way the Authority intended him to.

  11. Meg says:

    fun fact: a lot of readers interpret certain sections of this chapter as saying that lyra and will have sex. it's one of the more controversial moments in the series, as they're like 12. pullman is, of course, vague enough that there's no real way to tell what went on.

  12. leighzzz31 says:

    This chapter gets me feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and my cynical side pretty much hides away while I'm reading it.

    First of all, BALTHAMOS. I never got to comment on your first introduction to him, Mark, but he's one of my favourite characters and watching him return to redeem himself for Will's sake and then die (*sobs*) was just wonderful and heartbreaking and beautiful. Please be reunited with Baruch, please, please, please! (You would not know me as a cynic simply from my reaction to this chapter. Pullman makes me turn into a googley eyed romantic here.)

    Second, WELL. I knew it was coming the first time I read it but Lyra and Will's reactions to each other throughout this chapter (and throughout the story in hindsight) put the tiniest of smiles on my face every time I encounter them. And I definitely appreciate them more as I get older. Once again, Pullman's descriptions of those first flutters of falling in love are written perfectly; that half-frightened, half-excited feeling is just so familiar to me. The sudden shyness, Lyra hoping Will sounds unsure when talking about going home, their unsubtle talk of marriage, the formal looks at each other, the half-happy, half-painful emotions…All of this is so wonderfully expressive and real. And the culmination of all that, after all they've been through, after Mary's 'marzipan' story, is the reversal of Fall in that amazingly powerful image of Lyra giving Will the red fruit. I've always thought the mulefa world is one that Pullman strives to describe in full detail and this setting actually jumps out of the page and provides a brilliant backdrop for that moment. My personal favourite line of this chapter is the description of Lyra and Will as 'two moths clumsily bumping together'. I find it says so much in very few words.

    As for the final lines of this chapter? Well, it wouldn't be Phillip Pullman if everything suddenly made sense. But the image of Dust falling like snowflakes is very poetic, I think.

  13. barnswallowkate says:

    I completely forgot that Balthamos showed up so when he did I was so excited. I was also kind of excited that he drowned Father Gomez, which might be a little weird. And then I was grinning ridiculously when Lyra & Will said they loved each other awwwwwwww.

    Last night I wanted to read the next chapter after I finished this one, but I didn't because I wanted to be good, and then I dreamed that I did! I was convinced that Mark would be disappointed and I was so ashamed! When I woke up I had to check the book to make sure I hadn't actually read ahead. I'm glad I didn't give in to that temptation =P

  14. Hanah_banana says:

    I love this chapter, it's adorable at the same time as being heart-stoppingly worrying as Gomez seems like he's inevitably going to kill Lyra. Until Balthamos comes along like the true BAMF he is of course…although actually the thing I like about Balthamos is that he ISN'T a BAMF. He's just a little angel, without any superpowers or any especial strength of character. He ran away because he was scared, and he's still scared but he's ashamed and he wants to make up for it but he's too weak to do it. It's Gomez's over-confidence which kills him in the end really, more than Balthamos having a BAMF moment and punching him or anything. And I just think that's brilliant, it's so consistent with his character. He can't just jump in and kill Gomez, but he can grab his daemon and run so he does until he finds a way to kill him.

    And it's interesting too that the way he kills Gomez isn't off his own back – he specifically thinks of 'what Baruch would have done'. So basically love conquers all and Will and Lyra are adorable and in love (although being older with a heavy case of scepticism in terms of how long it takes to fall in love I find it kind of hilarious that they are all so in love when they are essentially still twelve year olds. I mean, I remember being twelve. And okay I was never as awesome as Lyra and never went through anything like Lyra and Will did, but I cannot imagine twelve year old girl being actually in love. But my bitter scepticism is beside the point and the chapter is adorable and I ship them like crazy so it's irrelevant really) and Balthamos with his love of Baruch takes Gomez down and everything is beautiful.

    I can't believe how close we are to the end of this book. It's heartbreaking, really, this has been such a fabulous experience. <3

  15. nanaki says:

    Chapter 35 Epigraph!
    <img src=""&gt;
    Image reads: The birthday of my life is come, my love is come to me. – Christina Rossetti

    • arctic_hare says:

      I love this one. It evokes a feeling of such warmth and happiness and joy, and that fits so perfectly with this chapter, which gives me those same feelings.

  16. Alexis says:

    I haven't had the review yet but I just want to share that I totally had a dream last night that Mark announced his next week was The Trumpet of the Swan and told us he was going to be doing an E.B. White theme for a while

  17. arctic_hare says:

    That doesn't happen in this chapter.

  18. BradSmith5 says:

    Oh man, I LOVE ironic dooms! He fell through the "mighty" angel, HaHAHAHA,ha-ha. I came up with an idea a few chapters ago that Balthamos could just convince Gomez that God wanted him to jump off a cliff, but this way is MUCH better than what I had imagined. BONK.

    And I could just hear the smooth voice of Sebastian the crab singing "Kiss the Girl" during that picnic scene in the grotto. I think it all might have been a bit too corny for me if it weren't for the dude with the sniper rifle in the bushes, ha,ha,ha.

  19. Ahh!!!

    Love this chapter SO MUCH.

    Lyra and Will being adorable just gives me all the happy in the world.

    I know that this has been said before and much more eloquently but I just need to say that I really appreciate the whole idea behind this story and this chapter specifically. That love is not wrong and neither is knowledge or enjoying life. The fact that we are alive and can experience all of these wonderful feelings is beautiful and not at all sinful. I love this because it really does seem counter intuitive to everything that society wants people to behave like. And I think it is so wonderful that this whole idea of the beauty of being alive is encapsulated in this moment of young love, between these two characters we have come to love over the course of three books and are now finally growing up. And far from being treated as a bad thing, it's treated as the best of things. SO. MUCH. LOVE.

    I am going to be a weepy mess when this book is over.

  20. arctic_hare says:

    Oh, I've been waiting for you to get to this chapter, Mark. <3 It's so beautiful. Everything comes to fruition here: the prophecy that Lyra would be the second Eve, Mary's role as the serpent, and Lyra's temptation in "Marzipan". That's why it so infuriates me that that chapter was edited, because the unedited version properly sets up what we see here: Lyra's sexual awakening. This is the payoff of that moment she had when Mary told them that story. It's such a brilliant take on the story of the original Fall, with Mary having inadvertently tempted Lyra with that tale, and then giving them that fruit out of concern for their hunger, and Lyra offering it to Will. Only – it's so much better than the Genesis story. So much better. No one is being condemned for being tempted, for reaching out and taking that knowledge; quite the opposite. Pullman is celebrating these awakenings, the desire for knowledge of the world, of ourselves, and intimate knowledge of others. Sexual feelings are not an evil, something to be ashamed of, but instead are something wonderful, to take joy in. And that's an amazing message to send, in a book that many children have read or will read. I can see why the church is so afraid of this series: not only because it takes aim at the church hierarchy, or has characters making war against God, but especially because of this. Because it tells people that it's not only okay to have these feelings, to want knowledge of the world around you, but that it's completely natural and makes us human. That remaining ignorant and being ashamed of our impulses and desires is what's unnatural. No wonder they want to ban books such as these! They're terrified that people will read them and take these things to heart. IIRC Pullman is delighted to have landed on banned books lists, though I can't remember the exact reason why; but I can guess. Not only does it ensure more attention to your book (because people desire that which is forbidden, and thus they'll be more curious), but to take an idea from the first book of this trilogy, if these fundies hate a book so much, it's probably good.

    Part of the reason Christianity has never resonated with me is because of the story of the Fall, and the fact that seeking knowledge about yourself and the world is explicitly said by that tale to be a bad thing, and I never really understood that. Isn't learning good? Isn't knowledge good? Why would anyone think ignorance is to be commended and valued? I've talked about it before, but I see this attitude in the anti-intellectualism pushed by many conservatives in America, and it baffles and angers and scares me. Obviously I'm not saying that all Christians feel that way, but certainly the most vocal ones do, and unfortunately they're the ones running the show. I'm on the side that Pullman is: that it's okay and natural to want to learn more about yourself and the world, that science is a good thing and ignorance a bad one, and that sexual feelings are nothing to be ashamed of.

    And then there's Balthamos, poor Balthamos. :'( I do love that he finally returns, though – we'd seemed to have seen the last of him when he fled during the escape from the cave. But he does come back, and even though he's still scared, he makes up for his failure there to protect Will, by doing something that protects not only Will and Lyra, but all of creation. He helped save all the worlds, and the saddest thing is that no one will ever know it. I'm not sure if he realized the full importance of what he did, but it remains nevertheless. I'm terribly sad that he died right afterwards and never got to talk to Will again, or Lyra. 🙁 I like to think, though, that somewhere out there his atoms found Baruch's, and they got to be together again, for ever and always, just like Lee and Hester. No, no, I'm not crying, just something in my eye, a speck of dirt or something…

    • notemily says:

      I like the idea that Balthamos has been following them the whole time, knowing he couldn't help much but trying to do what he could.

    • Andreas says:

      As a response to your second paragraph: Have you read the essay "on the marionette theater", which gave Pullman inspiration to write the series? You can just google it…

    • Your point about anti-intellectualism in America was interesting to me. The thought that knowledge seems to be frowned upon instead of encouraged really disturbs and scares me. I honestly have no idea where it comes from. At my most cynical, I think that it is probably because ignorant people are easier to control.

      But I also don't believe that all or even most Christians are like that. It's strange that the vocal minority can seem like the majority sometimes. I say this mostly because I know that there are many Christians that read these comments and I don't want them to feel like I'm attacking them in any way.

      • hpfish13 says:

        Speaking as a Christian, I think most Christians are embarrassed by those outspoken few, but we try to ignore them and hope that they'll just go away. It's like having an obnoxious relative that you don't want to have anything to do with, but who is always associated with you and you can't get rid of.

        • You know, it's probably the same with atheists. People have this idea that atheists are all huge jerks that hate the world and love feeling superior to everyone else. But really that's just the loud ones and I think most atheists wish they'd go away as well. Funny how that stuff is.

          • notemily says:

            Yeah, as an atheist, I don't care whether you believe in God or not so long as you don't try to convert ME to your religion. I'm not going to go around actively trying to get people to STOP believing, because that's their business. But some atheists seem to want to prove to the entire world that they're right, which just seems like a futile exercise to me.

  21. SecretGirl127 says:

    My only thought is THEY ARE 12 YEARS OLD! What exactly are they doing!!!! I found it highly disturbing. 16 years old, ok, maybe even 15 years old, but barely 12 years old, well, I had a problem with that.

    • hpfish13 says:

      Yeah, this is where I'm at as well. It's a bit like in Avatar: The Last Airbender and Aang and Katara's relationship.

      • monkeybutter says:

        lol I was reminded of Aang and Katara, too, and I was trying to keep my mouth shut. I've become more accepting since I first read and watched, but I'm still taken aback by the idea of 12-year-olds meeting and falling in love for the first time, forever. Like, you know Aang and Katara are going to get married and have a million babies, and it's weird knowing that. I think it's perfectly normal for kids their age to experiment, but they're not to the point mentally where they can make lifelong decisions. Though, admittedly, some people do meet their partners when they're that young; I just have a hard time coping with the idea.

        I'm actually okay with this chapter because they're believably acting like young people in love, ohg zl Tbq, gurve tbbqolr vf fb bire gur gbc naq abg jevggra va xvqf' ibvprf. V zrna, gurl'er zber zngher abj, gung'f gur cbvag, ohg vg'f evqvphybhf. Vg'f bss-chggvat. V guvax fnvq guvf orsber, ohg ebznapr jevgvat vf abg Chyyzna'f fgebat fhvg. Ohg yhym sbe qnlf ng gurz crggvat rnpu bgure'f qnrzbaf. Guvf puncgre vf cerggl inthr, ohg gur crggvat VF FB JEBAT.

    • FlameRaven says:

      They're kissing. It's really not that odd.

      People as young as 12 or 13 have been having children of their own for hundreds of years. Women in many parts of the world still today find themselves mothers at that age. Quite frankly, the beginning of puberty (which is usually 12 or 13) is when the hormones kick in and kids start to explore sexuality and what that means, because their bodies are telling them that they are physically ready to have kids. Now, are they mentally ready for that? No, but biology hasn't caught up to our modern ideas of adulthood or maturity.

      My take on it is that kids are going to explore, and really all you can do is educate them as much as possible. It is obviously best if they hold off on having actual sex until they're older and can deal with the potential consequences, but that doesn't always happen. But freaking out at the idea that kids are interested and curious about sex doesn't do any good at all. No one really wants to think about their kids having sex, just like no one wants to think about their parents having sex, but it happens whether you want to think about it or not.

      • hpfish13 says:

        See, if they were just kissing I wouldn't flinch, but like muzzery said in a reply to another comment "Also, as to your last point…I think you eh, missed the allusions Pullman was making, because he was implying there that Lyra and Will did something more than kiss…" Because it is unclear exactly what they are getting up to, it throws me a bit.

      • Quandary says:

        "Women in many parts of the world still today find themselves mothers at that age." – And it sure is good for their health… and the health of the babies. That something can, and does, happen does not necessarily mean it's a good thing. Now, maybe this is not the place for a debate as to letting children/teenagers/youngsters of non-human species mature early, or whether it's better to stretch out the process, as it were… I am studying to be a vet, though, and I can certainly say that while animals may reach sexual maturity before they reach full physical maturity, letting them breed as soon as they are capable of it is not without risks. I am fairly sure this applies to humans, too. There would be a risk to a teen mother and there would be a risk to the baby, and in Western society at least it would not be without mental scars for either; and in Pullman's trilogy we see a society close to ours, from this point of view at least.

        Sure, hormones do kick in, and exploring sexuality is natural, but I am not sure how the knowledge of Lyra and Will having gone the whole length would sit with today's Western audience. There's been a shift away from early maturity to a lengthier growing-up process, so that 12/13-year-olds are still thought of as children, mature as they may be.

        It may have been better to have a bit more clarity in this matter – Pullman leaves room to speculation, and you may picture them doing anything from kissing to sex. It might be because of how conventions work in literature – you have two lovers – for want of a better word – in a secluded spot of great natural beauty, they will generally not stop at kissing… only usually they are not 12-year-olds, and somehow I had the feeling Pullman did not consider the implications when writing this and maybe "forgot" about their ages for a moment.

        Yes, it has been bugging me a bit, I'll admit.

        • FlameRaven says:

          Weird. Usually I get an e-mail when someone replies to me.

          To clarify, I'm not saying that teens should have sex. I don't think they're ready for it in pretty much any way, and you're right that it's not without risks. There are reasons why childbirth killed so many women. But I do get riled when people refuse to talk about it like kids don't think about these things, or won't tell the kids anything, because then they're going to mess around as kids do, and probably get into more trouble for not knowing what they're about.

          I don't personally think Pullman intended for them to have sex; they are still young, and who knows if either of them really know the details of what's involved there. I would believe that Will learned about it, I somehow doubt that Lyra could have been corralled long enough for the talk. I honestly think they were probably just kissing and that was exciting enough, but as you say, it probably would have been best of Pullman said one way or another.

          • notemily says:

            "I somehow doubt that Lyra could have been corralled long enough for the talk."

            Also, she was educated by Jordan Scholars–which one of them would have been brave/un-embarrassed enough to even try?

    • notemily says:

      Hmm, nope. I was definitely into boys when I was twelve, and it was the age I had my first kiss. I definitely thought I was in love with the guy I kissed, and as Adama says, "that's all love is: thoughts."

      I mean, I know when you're an adult you don't really want to see twelve-year-olds kissing, but from the perspective of many twelve-year-olds, kissing is awesome. And one thing that really rankles me is when people pretend that adolescents have no sexual feelings whatsoever and never feel attraction to anyone.

      It's puberty! Puberty is when the hormones start a-ragin'! (How many people first learned to masturbate around that age? I am just saying.) I'm not saying it's a good idea to have sex when you're twelve, but loving and kissing, yes, twelve-year-olds are capable of those things.

      • arctic_hare says:

        Yeah; I understand not wanting, when you're older, to see twelve year olds kissing, and I admit to being weirded out by the Aang/Katara kiss, but I think that was also a combination of how very young he still seemed to me, and the very adult way they were making out, as opposed to the adorable awkwardness of Will and Lyra here… but it's very true that adolescents have those feelings, are capable of those things, etc. basically everything you said.

    • hummingbrdheart says:

      I know some people read this as them having sex, and I'm not saying that they didn't — but either way, 12 years is a pretty normal age to begin to be interested in that whole arena.

      You also have to remember that these two particular twelve-year-olds have been through so much together, and shared adventures and danger and sorrow, and their bond is deeper than what we might expect. They're not just buddies, they are truly bound together by their shared experiences.

      In those conditions, them kissing/falling in love/having sex (which I doubt happened, but isn't impossible) is not only not unusual or squicky, it's practically a foregone conclusion, at least in fiction.

      • Yeah. I don't think they DID have sex, more because I think they wouldn't really know how or why, but I don't find it that squicky. Normal circumstances, normal twelve year olds yeah. That's a bit squicky. But these are not normal 12/13 year olds and these are nowhere near normal circumstances. I believe that they love each other very deeply, and definitely more deeply than many "mature" adults I have met.

  22. xpanasonicyouthx says:

    Huh. My kindle edition does not have either edited passage. What about yours, my fellow Kindle users? DID WE LUCK OUT?

  23. Andreas says:

    As to why it had to be Lyra… I think she was the only person who was child of mrs Coulter and lord Asriel, which led her to get to know about Dust and the windows to other worlds, who was friend of Roger, which made her want to go find out the place he was, who had that most unique character, which gave her determination so that she did whatever she wanted, and who had a reason to go to the world of the dead… Is that enough?

  24. notemily says:

    "My name is Balthamos," said the voice.


    Like, best use of a Chekhov's gun ever, right? (If that's the correct trope.) We remember that Balthamos left, but we don't know what happened to him after that and then he comes back and it's awesome.

    I don't really have words for Lyra and Will. It's too wonderful. I can't.

    (I know I said in an earlier chapter that I don't really believe in love and relationships right now, and that's true for ME, in the real world, but I still love it in fiction. This chapter always fills me with joy and tears and an aching wistfulness.)

    "The first thing to do here would be to convince the four-legged creatures, who seems to have the rudiments of reason, that their habit of riding on wheels was abominable and Satanic, and contrary to the will of God. Break them of that, and salvation would follow."

    This is the most obvious way that Pullman has the Church be antithetical to all that is good in people, because WE know that the wheels and the oil are what keep the mulefa alive and curious and steeped in wonder, even if Gomez doesn't. It's a bit obvious, but it's supposed to be.

    Also, the phrase "break them of that." Here's a hint: if your "salvation" involves "breaking" people, it's probably not salvation?

    Mary gave Lyra the fruit, but it was out of love and concern, not malice.

    Yes, and Mary was the one who told Lyra about love, about the pleasures of simply loving someone. She opened those doors in Lyra's inner house. She gave her both fruit and knowledge, although those two things weren't directly connected.

    Would he see Baruch in the world of the dead? Do angels even go there? Ugh, I DON’T WANT TO THINK ABOUT THIS.

    I assumed from the way that Baruch just dissolved that they would go directly to being atoms or whatever, or that since they're made of Dust, they would just go back to being part of the great stream of Dust that covers everything sentient. So yes, I think they are together now, in some way. But it's sad, you know? Even though we know now that everyone becomes atoms in the end and joins together with all the other atoms, their personalities aren't there anymore. The people they were are gone. I guess what I'm saying is, death still sucks.

  25. @KCoxDC says:

    As regards the "wait, did a pair of 12-13 year olds just… ew… sex?" issue…

    V'ir nyjnlf orra svezyl bs gur bcvavba gung guvf puncgre vf, ng vgf zbfg fpnaqnybhf, n pyhzfl znxr-bhg frffvba. Vg nyjnlf frrzrq gb zr gung yngre va gur grkg, jura gurl ibyhagnevyl gbhpu rnpu bguref' qnrzbaf, vf gur npghny frkhny njnxravat — naq V'z cerggl fher gurer'f ab xabpxvat bs obbgf gurer, rvgure.

    • chrisjpardo says:

      V nterr jvyy nyy bs guvf. Naq crefbanyyl V qba'g ernyyl pner vs gurl qvq be gurl qvqa'g gb or ubarfg, gung dhrfgvba qbrfa'g znggre gb zr. Ubjrire gurer'f n 106 cntr guernq bire ng gur OGGF sbehzf, fb pyrneyl vg'f n fhowrpg gung trgf n ybg bs crbcyr ntvgngrq!

    • notemily says:

      I agree with this!

  26. ChronicReader91 says:

    Balthamos!!! I had actually completely forgotten about him. But he’s back, and he’s being badass… and then he’s gone. 🙁 But at least he took care of our little Father Gomez problem first.

    Well, that wassn't what I expected the second Fall to be like, but it fits, completely fits, with the theme Pullman has woven through the series; of “temptation”, and maturity, and life experience, and knowledge being good and beautiful things to be celebrated. Yeah, I kind of felt my heart swelling with the beauty of that message, and especially when Mary sees the sraf falling and knows that it worked, that the mulefa world (and probably all other worlds) have been saved.

    And, speaking as someone who’s never been in love or had a romantic encounter, I thought Lyra and Will’s confession of love felt more real and natural than just about any I’ve read. (Definitely less forced than romance is in most young adult novels.) “Like two moths clumsily bumping together, with no more weight than that, their lips touched.” I don’t know if I mentioned before how much I love Pullman’s metaphors, but this has to be one of my favorites by far. <3

    • chrisjpardo says:

      I'm 26 and can relate and agree with every word of that last paragraph!

    • notemily says:

      It actually reminds me of another Mark Reads project–the end of The Book Thief, when Liesel finally kisses Rudy, and she's clumsy about it too, just the way first kisses often are.

    • chrisjpardo says:

      Maybe it's for the best that these films never got made. While I'm sure some of the worlds and creatures could have been spectacular (the CG in TGC were excellent), if they'd screwed up this part and made the romance ham-fisted and appear tacked on, I'm not sure I could have forgiven them.

  27. Quandary says:

    Something I found mildly annoying: after two-and-a-half books of being told how strong and special the bond between human and daemon was, we had Lyra and Will finally escape from the world of the dead, be reunited with their daemons for a (very) short time and move to another world… where the daemons did not stay with their respective humans.

    Now, I do understand the daemons were still hurting from the betrayal at the gates of the world of the dead. Had I been a daemon, I'd probably have crawled to my humans lap with all the speed I'd have been capable of, but that's just me, clingy and emotional; I get it that these daemons may want a kind of 'revenge'.

    However, it felt odd throughout these chapters that Lyra and Will were not more anxious to be reunited with their respective daemons. They seemed much too detached for me. They may have been rationalizing this whole thing, of course (which is how they ended up pretending not to look for the daemons while going to look for them), but I sure would have liked to see that stated if only in one sentence. It just came across as "Lyra and Will are in a new world with Mary and the mulefa and they no longer care about their daemons" – and after all that build-up concerning the human-daemon bond, this just bothered me no end. I would be reading of their talking with Mary and all the while I'd have "but where are your daemons, why don't you go look for them" gnawing at the back of my mind.

    It may be just me, I suppose. 😛

    • Quandary says:

      *"my human's lap" instead of "my humans lap", of course…

    • @sab39 says:

      I took it as a kind of respect for the daemons.

      The previous chapter explained that both of them felt that even though their daemons weren't actually present with them, they no longer felt cut off from them the way they had in the world of the dead and through the battle of the plain. The "psychic bond" or whatever that links human to daemon was restored when they grabbed them and cut through to the mulefa world – the physical separation now is very different from the complete wrenching absence they felt prior to that point.

      So their choice to let the daemons return in their own time didn't seem implausible to me. Lyra knows she betrayed Pan by letting him go – even though she knew she was making the right choice at the time. They know the daemons are close, and are playing with them or teasing them with their proximity. Like the game that the young girl played with her daemon in the waterfall near the cave, they're playing a game with their daemons, seeing who will give in first. And they know the daemons know it's a game and are playing along. If they didn't know that, they'd act very differently. But they're letting the daemons set the rules of the game out of respect for the fact that the daemons are the ones who were wronged, and it's their choice when to stop teasing the humans and let them off the hook.

  28. Allison says:

    Will and Lyra! Will and Lyra! My poor heart. I love how their relationship unfolds in these two books because their love feels so natural. Its the most romantic, cute and lovely chapters I've ever read. But Mark, you are still not prepared.

  29. muselinotte says:

    Re-reading this chapter today really made me feeling like my heart could burst at any moment…

    First, we have Balthamos, coming to SAVE THE DAY!!!
    And then, Lyra & Will… and oh, everything about it is just beautiful and positive and wonderful and everything has been leading up to this… a kiss.

    I nearly cried at work today. Over a book. I salute you, Mr. Pullman.

  30. Adelaide says:

    Balthamos is my favourite character in this book, he's sort of a Percy Weasley- someone snarky and awesome, who gets redeemed. Someone you love to hate, and then love to love, if that makes sense.

  31. chrisjpardo says:

    For those who are not reading this book for the first time (spoilers):

    Gung jnf n ybiryl, ebznagvp raq gb gur obbx jnfa'g vg? Guvegl-svir tybevbhf puncgref, naq jr'ir svavfurq gur ynfg obbx bs gur frevrf. Qbar. Qhfgrq. Lrc, abguvat gb frr urer. Gubfr ynfg srj cntrf? Whfg nqiregf; qba'g rira obgure gheavat gurz bire. Whfg chg gur obbx qbja, jnyx njnl, naq jr pna nyy whfg nterr gung guvf vf gur erny raq naq nofbyhgryl abguvat onq gung jvyy znxr n gjragl-fvk-lrne-byq shyyl tebja zna jrrc yvxr n puvyq jvyy unccra arkg jrrx.

    Frevbhfyl, V'z bayl pbcvat ol abg guvaxvat nurnq; whfg tbg gb rawbl gur ybiryl zbzrag.

    • muselinotte says:

      V xabj V xabj V xabj… V'z qernqvat gb ernq ba.
      V jnag gb or bar bs gur guerr zbaxrlf (abg tbyqra barf, gubhtu)… cersrenoyl gur bar gung qbrfa'g frr… fb V pna'g ernq ba. V xabj vg'yy uheg fb onq

  32. Becky_J_ says:

    I think it was this moment, for some odd reason, that made me realize just how far away we are from Jordan College and Gobblers and all that. I mean, in reality, only a couple of weeks (in Lyra's time) and a couple of months (in our's) has passed, but it barely seems like the same story.

    I think that's why I don't really care what age they are….. They have seen so much, done so much.

    To me, they are old souls, and that's what counts.

  33. Raenef says:

    I read somewhere on the bridgetothestars forum that upon an interview with Philip Pullman that he clarified they only made out in this scene. However, I can't find a source to this information, is anyone else able to verify?

    • Danja says:

      I remember reading the interview with Pullman on this very topic back in 2006! I found a snippet at… and here's the relevant bit from Pullman himself:

      "His teenage Adam and Eve are encouraged into physical union by the most unlikely temptress, Mary Malone, a former nun turned scientist. But he rejects the critics who have accused him of advocating underage sex. 'Nowhere in the book do I talk about anything more than a kiss. And as a child, a kiss is enough. A kiss can change the world.'"

  34. Darenna00 says:

    I'm just going to say that I completely believe they did not have sex.
    Dust has always been about the mind. Dust is concious, when you put thought into making things Dust is attracted to it… since when has it been physical? Animals mate all the time, but it has been made clear that dust is not attracted to non "concious" beings.
    I believe that the loss of innocence is self awareness… when you look inwards and start to realise yourself. You start to worry about your image and what others think of you. I also think the bit in the previous chapter about an unlocking door is Lyra realising that her mind is capeable of so much, that there is so much more to life than she thought… It's scary but it's wonderful. Mary shows her that and as she realises herself she starts to realise that she loves Will. When she fully realises and falls for him (the fall = FALLING IN LOVE? Maybe?!) she becomes aware and concious of a feeling so strong and alive that dust can't help but be attracted.

  35. gloomial says:

    Mark, I don't mean to be picky or anything, but I have to call you out on something:

    "i h8 u catholic church"

    How is that ok to say? You've been saying during many reviews that you don't hate all Christians or all Catholics and that you're just going from your experience and then you say you hate my entire religion? I'm a member of the Catholic Church, and a pretty darn orthodox one at that. I really respect you and LOVE your reviews and then you just go and say that? I'm sorry, I just don't even….

    You shared the experience of what happened to you when you became Catholic, right? And I'm assuming you know that not all Catholics are like those people (Examples: I've ever had profound feelings of God during communion or any of the sacraments, most Catholics I know haven't, Mother Teresa famously didn't. Also, most Catholics (and the Catechism) don't think you can just stop being gay by praying, and that being attracted to people of the same-sex probably something you will experience your whole life). You had a really bad experience with really awful people who frankly sound like they wouldn't know Catholic doctrine if it came up and slapped them. However, they are not the only people in the Church, and coming from a girl who' been Catholic for 22 years, met Catholics from all over the world, and has studied Church teaching almost obsessively, I have to say that the people you met are an anomaly. They should not be used to judge the Church, nor her teachings, nor her people.

    You don't have to agree with us. You don't even have to like us. But "hate"? That's a pretty strong word.

  36. Danielle says:

    I have a confession to make: every time I read this book and reach "My name is Balthamos," I punch the air and whoop with joy.

  37. Danja says:

    I want to repost something I said earlier upthread, since it'll probably get lost in the shuffle of collapsed threads, and because it'll answer the debates people are having about whether or not Will and Lyra had sex (if people actually see this since I'm so late! 🙂 Here goes:

    I remember reading the interview with Pullman on this very topic back in 2006! I found a snippet at…. and here's the relevant bit from Pullman himself:

    "[Pullman's] teenage Adam and Eve are encouraged into physical union by the most unlikely temptress, Mary Malone, a former nun turned scientist. But [Pullman] rejects the critics who have accused him of advocating underage sex. 'Nowhere in the book do I talk about anything more than a kiss. And as a child, a kiss is enough. A kiss can change the world.'"

  38. chrisjpardo says:

    notemily pointed out on Tuesday that the little red fruits are growing on the lovely banner by BTTS! In fact, despite having come here from BTTS, I'd managed to miss that the plant around the "You En't Prepared" sign has been slowly growing every week!

    Also, I only just 'got' the moths on the full banner. So cute!

  39. hazelwillow says:

    Most people seem to see these books as a critique on religion, and i can see that, of course. But what really struck me about them was how they critiqued children's literature, as well. Because i grew up reaching a lot of children's books, including classics like Peter Pan and E Nesbit and Narnia, a lot of the ways i saw the world were shaped by books like that. And, at the age of 11 or 12, I was quite worried about "growing up", because those books portrayed that process as having to leave Narnia, or Neverland –basically, losing your imagination and everything exciting, and becoming something very… dull. And worst of all, they all implied that, when this growing up thing happened to you, you'd WANT to give those things up. But there was nothing about what would replace them, or about any positive aspects of getting older.

    And Philip Pullman was the first author to deal with that process in an actually well-rounded and wise way. He was the first children's author I read who said, growing up is GOOD. That was very important to the 12 year old that i was.

    So, i just think it worth pointing out that Pullman is responding to a tradition of children's literature as well as to Christian theology, both of which idealize innocence in a one-sided way.

    For that reason and others, these books are incredibly important to me. And this chapter is the heart of it…

  40. cait0716 says:

    I have serious issues with this chapter. And what it means for the trilogy as a whole. The entire thing has been building up to this moment with two twelve-year-olds. And I just can't get past that. Will and Lyra are twelve. They've known each other for less than a month. And, yes, they've been through a lot together, but this chapter feels wrong to me. It makes me feel dirty to read about them. And it kind of spoils the book as a whole for me.

  41. Steph says:

    For those concerned about the physical relationship between Will and Lyra, here is a quote from Mr Pullman himself: "Nowhere in the book do I talk about anything more than a kiss. And as a child, a kiss is enough. A kiss can change the world."

  42. flootzavut says:

    The thing that infuriates me about this is that somehow the possibility of love and sexuality is against religion and that may be true of Catholicism but like I said elsewhere, read the song of songs and there is a bit in one of Paul's letters saying husbands and wives should NOT abstain from sex, and I just get irritated that the "fall" is equated with being "allowed" to be sexual… I mean Adam and Eve were told to be fruitful and multiply before the fall and I'm pretty sure they are not supposed to be doing so asexually. *headdesk* it just irritates me!

    With that off my chest, I do love the scenes between Lyra and Will, and it's so easy to buy into their attraction and love because it's beautifully written.

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