Mark Reads ‘The Amber Spyglass’: Chapter 36

In the thirty-sixth chapter of The Amber Spyglass, just when we think everything might end well for these characters, Pullman hints at the worst possible thing in all universes ever in all perpetuity and forever and there will not be enough boxes of tissues if this really happens. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to read The Amber Spyglass.


I’ve got a bad feeling about this.

Even here at the end of this book and trilogy, Pullman still has surprises in store for us, and I loved that we opened this chapter with the perspective of Will and Lyra’s dæmons. Dæmon POV!!!

The two dæmons, still distrustful of their owners (is that the right terminology?) after they left them behind on that shore in the world of the dead, slowly and quietly creep into the house where Will and Lyra are sleeping “in each other’s arms.” (BE STILL, MY HEART.) Oh god, Pan, JUST RETURN BACK TO LYRA! What else do you need to be convinced? She came back, as she promised, and she’s looking for you. SHE HAD TO DO IT. What could possibly persuade you?

Serafina Pekkala.

When she appears before Pan and Will’s dæmon to speak to them, I may have shrieked a little. Look, I love Serafina, she has been gone too long. Is there a companion book that is solely composed of stories of her being better than absolutely everyone else? I’d read that.

Taking the dæmons away from the village to discuss…well, about a billion head explosions. She opens their conversation with a sign that the end is near: Pan and Will’s nameless dæmon will soon take their final forms. OH GOD, WHAT WILL PAN BE. I’m guessing SOMETHING THAT STAYS ON LAND. Or maybe A POLAR BEAR. Wait, that would be weird. Maybe an ermine, since he’s been an ermine so often?

Regardless, that’s not even the most important part. Serafina points out something so obvious, I feel embarrassed that I had not picked it up earlier:

“Listen,” said Serafina Pekkala, “and I’ll tell you some with-lore that none but witches know. The reason I can do that is that you are here with me, and your humans are down there, sleeping. Who are the only people for whom that is possible?”

“Witches,” said Pantalaimon, “and shamans. So…”


Serafina reveals that without even knowing what they had done, both Will and Lyra had done what witches do SINCE WITCHES EXISTED. She refers to a “desolate, abominable place, where a great catastrophe happened in the childhood of the world,” and describes how each witch must leave their dæmon behind and enter this world alone, and in that process, that is how their dæmons can separate from their bodies.

WHICH MEANS THAT WILL AND LYRA ARE BASICALLY WITCHES. Or at least some version of it. Those two appeared to have changed the very definition of the word, too, and I was pleasantly surprised that Serafina was willing to admit as much; she does not appear to be resistant to such a change at all, either. But what hasn’t changed is the fact that these two dæmons need to return to their humans, and she insists on it.

She also takes it upon herself to name Will’s dæmon “Kirjava” and then won’t tell her WHY and then…I get confused. I get really confused. Serafina begins to tell the dæmons something deeply important that they must do, and Kirjava refuses to immediately, before she can even state what it is. Pantalaimon is quick to join this, even though Serafina says it must be done, with Kirjava agreeing, stating that it’s “much too soon.”

Well, what the fuck? How do they know what she’s talking about? WHAT IS SHE TALKING ABOUT? And why are they so desperate to convince Serafina that they can’t do what they need to?

I mean, they’re so upset by what Serafina wants to tell them that they revert to a childish state, telling stories to distract Serafina. It doesn’t work, of course, despite that it’s a convincing mental image. Serafina simply waits them out until they have nothing more to say. She tires them out. And then she tells them what they don’t want to hear: That they must return to their humans to help them through the final step, and tell them what they know. WHICH WE ARE AGAIN NOT TOLD AT ALL. What the hell? I don’t get this. I AM DEEPLY UPSET.

After Kirjava and Pantalaimon settle after a bout of fury, the sadness sets in, and Serafina tells them that the gyptians are on their way (!!!!!! OMG YES !!!!!!) and they she has faith that they’ll make the best choice and I DON’T GET IT. WHAT CHOICE IS LEFT. Wasn’t Lyra already tempted? Did I misread or misunderstand the last chapter?

Serafina visits Mary Malone next, and I’d not thought about the fact that they had never met. The way in which they do meet is kind of strange, as Serafina inserts herself into Mary’s dream so that when she wakes up, she’s not frightened. Because a person appearing in your dream while they are right next to you in real life is never frightening? Don’t get me wrong, I would welcome Serafina into my dreams, but it is kind of weird, isn’t it?

When Mary awakes, she and Serafina walk away from the house to talk, and I was filled with dread about what they would say. Mary is not a dæmon. Wouldn’t Serafina have to spell it out for her? I wondered. She doesn’t, not at first, at least; instead, she tells Mary what her dæmon is.

um can we just take a moment:

i mean everything is perfect and nothing hurts and oh my god this is so perfect for Mary.

Then she told Mary what she had said to the dæmons, and what it meant.

“And the dæmons will have to tell them?” Mary said.

“I thought of waking them to tell them myself. I thought of telling you and letting you have the responsibility. But I saw their dæmons, and I knew that would be best.”

“They’re in love.”

“I know.”

“They’ve only just discovered it…”

WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU EVEN TALKING ABOUT? I DON’T LIKE THIS ONE BIT. Why is this a concern? Are they going to have to do something unbearably horrible? Again, we don’t find out because Philip Pullman is EVIL and MEAN and ENJOYS MY SUFFERING. As these characters moved on to discuss the amazing act of Lyra and Will that somehow saved the flow of Dust from all universes, I even expected an explanation of why it had to be those two who would save everything and everyone. I enjoyed the metaphor of the pebble in the river that Mary used; it suggests that even the smallest act can have powerful ramifications, and Lyra’s sexual epiphany must have been a small act to her, but enormous in the scope of the world. Even Serafina understands what has happened, remarking that all will be safe as soon as “the angels fill the great chasm in the underworld.” Is that where Dust was escaping to? Why? That’s what I still don’t understand.

Even more confusing, Serafina reveals that the war against Heaven IS NOT EVEN OVER YET. Just because Metatron and God are dead, the forces of the Authority will still band together. I liked the tiny detail that Serafina learned this all from Xphania, the angel that was helping Lord Asriel, but I found myself more bewildered than before. I understand the dichotomy that was being built here: the Authority has tried for a long time to shut off the minds of all beings, and all beings have had to either follow along or fight against it. It’s the same point Pullman has been building up to throughout the whole series, and it’s what the Temptation and the Fall was meant to represent: the Authority would rather that Lyra not feel what she did at all.

I get that. But I feel like I’m missing the final piece of this puzzle: Why these people? Why not anyone else?

But we’re getting to the heartbreak, and Pullman gives us a double dose of it, one right after the other. When Mary hears that Lord Asriel died while fighting Metratron, she asks about Mrs. Coulter. Serafina picks out the most perfect arrow from her quiver and breaks it in two:

“Once in my world,” she said, “I saw that woman torturing a witch, and I swore to myself that I would send that arrow into her throat. Now I shall never do that. She sacrificed herself with Lord Asriel to fight the angel and make the world safe for Lyra. They could not have done it alone, but together they did it.”

No, I’m not crying at all, no, not in the slightest, there’s just something in my eye, nope, not crying. What a character arc, by the way. Oh, Mrs. Coulter. There is not a character like you in all of literature.

And that’s when we reach (what I think is) the moment that Pullman reveals what exactly Will and Lyra must decide, and it’s for those who paid attention (or at least have a good memory).

“Can you see ahead and guess what they’ll choose to do?” said Mary.

“No, but if Lyra returns to her own world, then I will be her sister as long as she lives. What will you do?”

In an instant, a memory of an earlier chapter in The Amber Spyglass popped into my head. John Parry. He’s telling his son that Lord Asriel’s plan will fail, because the new kingdom of heaven will never work unless it is built in each person’s world they were born. His warning that dæmons cannot survive in a parallel universe for very long. 

Why else would Serafina ask Mary what she will do, with a heavy emphasis on where she will go? Will and Lyra will be faced with a choice: to separate and go to their own worlds to live out their lives, or live together for a short period before one of them (based on where they are) will die early.

and if this happens i will cry for all eternity and you cannot stop me.

I don’t often make predictions like this because I like living in the moment for these reviews. It’s fun, and it allows me to experience these events and people in a very immediate way. But I couldn’t help but make this connection: this is what’s going to happen, isn’t it? It’s horrible, and it’s inevitable. What will they choose?

I could see how some folks might find the ending to chapter thirty-six rather revolting or offensive as a Catholic. Surprise, I don’t at all. I think the idea that Father Gomez’s body, forever trapped in this parallel world, becomes a part of it, and that is the most offensive act to him and his church and his God. He becomes a part of the natural order, and there is no God or Heaven or Savior to lift him out of this place. He becomes part of the food chain, and the blue lizards that live in the mulefa world have no concept of his “importance” to other people. He is a part of nature, and that is it.

Goddamn it, I love this book so much.


New banner this week, and make sure to check the full image that it is cropped from. Additionally, this week’s final spoiler discussion thread on BridgeToTheStars is up.

Even better, BTTS is running a new contest for September: Ask Philip Pullman a question! Make sure to check it out.

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
This entry was posted in His Dark Materials, The Amber Spyglass and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

135 Responses to Mark Reads ‘The Amber Spyglass’: Chapter 36

  1. barnswallowkate says:

    This is another chapter that's so tied to the rest that I can't really say anything about it on its own.

    For a second I thought you were crying because Serafina wouldn't get to use that arrow on Mrs. Coulter. It's ok Mark, I'm sure she'll find lots of other opportunities for badassery in the future!

    I liked the image of Father Gomez's rifle being left to rust and return to the dirt. It's kind of saying that even gross destructive things can be erased and absorbed by nature and life if you give it enough time.

  2. chrisjpardo says:

    Mark, you understood the last chapter just fine(ish). Mary's marzipan story was the temptation, and then Lyra gave in and in turn tempted Will in the last chapter. Or at least that's my/quite a few others' understanding. Anyway, on to today.

    My comments are going to be short until the end of the book. These chapters all flow neatly into one another, and I might get a little spoilery if I talk too much, so I shan't. I'm pretty sure Philip Pullman is evil incarnate though; I've never known someone pull out a sense of unbearable tension so well. Didn't Lord Boreal survive in both worlds just fine though? Long enough to become a 'Sir' in Will's world at least.

    I'd not really thought about how long it's been since we've seen Pan, but I've missed him! I didn't realise how much until he spoke again. And amongst all the worrying unease, I adore "the love each one had for the other's voice".


  3. Marie the Bookwyrm says:

    So, after last chapter's uplifting ending we are cast back into uncertainty. *cue ominous music*

    I assume the reason Mary didn't freak out at waking & finding Serafina is that Serafina told Mary in her dream that she was actually there–that she had contacted Mary in her dreams first in order not to frighten her. And talking about Mary's dreams makes me wonder about the young/old woman who told her in a dream about Will and Lyra coming to the mulefa world and where to find them. Since neither of them mentions it, I guess it wasn't Seraphina. Maybe it was Xaphania.

  4. pica_scribit says:

    I don't think I've mentioned this before, but I want to thank you, Mark, for getting me to re-read these books again (the 4th or 5th time, I think), and for making me do it s-l-o-w-l-y. Because this time, I'm getting it in a way that I've never fully understood or appreciated this series before. Sure, I read them and enjoyed them, but I tend to swallow books whole, without thinking too much about the small details as I am reading. But now I think I see much more clearly why these books are so good and so important. I am going to make sure I always have copies so that, one day, my niece (and theoretical future siblings and maybe my own kids, too, someday) will come across them. Thanks.

    Also…. Oh, God! The banner! Now I'm not crying either….

    Also, also, wasn't an alpine cough daemon mentioned somewhere earlier in the series? Help me out here, people! I feel that this is terribly important.

  5. George says:

    Seriously Mark how? I never cease to be amazed at your willpower to stop reading after a chapter like this. I wouldn't have been able to even put the book down!

  6. stellaaaaakris says:

    The two dæmons, still distrustful of their owners (is that the right terminology?)
    Personally, I'd probably call them their humans. I don't think Pan is something Lyra owns, it's more like he's another manifestation of herself.

    Also, didn't Ruta Skadi already find witches in other worlds who are short-lived and of both sexes? I'm pretty sure she mentioned them in TSK. I'm also pretty sure those witches were graduates of Hogwarts.

    I really liked the detail that Kirjava was just as fierce as Will and Serafina Pekkala couldn't look her in the eye. We haven't really met Kirjava yet, but it's nice to see something familiar about her. It's a good introduction.

    • leighzzz31 says:

      I'm also pretty sure those witches were graduates of Hogwarts.

      That is the most perfect of perfect things ever. Excuse me while I add this to my headcanon.

    • chrisjpardo says:

      Oh man, I wish I got HP references. And Dr Who references. Then over half the comments on here wouldn't go over my head…

      • Appachu says:

        Well, you know what the solution is, right? Read/watch ALL THE THINGS. 😉

        • hpfish13 says:

          This is my solution to this problem as well! I'm good on HP, but I'm still working on Dr. Who (because I'm ridiculous and started at the beginning of Classic Who–I've made it to the Sixth Doctor, woot!)

          • ChronicReader91 says:

            Ha, one of the main reasons I intend to watch Dr. Who at some point is to get all of the references on Mark’s blogs (and elsewhere). So far I’ve seen…one whole episode! And it was a newer one, which was probably a bad idea since I was more than a little lost, but still… go me!

            • hpfish13 says:

              I had been intending to watch Dr. Who for a while, but what got me started was Mark watching the show! I wanted to read the reviews! And now, almost 9 months later, I've made tremendous progress.

          • muselinotte says:

            I'm still wondering about where to begin with Dr. Who…
            Would you recommend starting at the very beggining?

            • hpfish13 says:

              Well, I'm a purist, so I always end up starting at the beginning of things. I haven't seen the new Dr. Who yet, so I'm not sure how qualified I am to say whether the old stuff is necessary. But there are pluses and minuses on both sides. The major plus is that I really feel like I understand the world of the Doctor and his personality quirks. I have grown to love each of the 5 doctors I've watched so far and in very different ways. Also, I feel like when I'm done I'll really understand all the references made regarding the show.

              The major difficulties are two-fold: 1) that I started this project back in December and I still have 5 seasons of Classic Who, the Movie, and 6 seasons of the new stuff to go & 2) that there are definite hits and misses with the older stuff. Some of the serials are excellent, but some are very flat. Also, a there are a bunch of serials that aren't available (mostly because they were lost), so there are episodes I just ended up

              If you want to invest the time, then watching the show from the start has been a lot of fun, but another option might be to find out which serials from each doctor are either then most necessary (due to information introduced–whether about villans, the time lords, the doctor himself), or the of the best quality (choosing a few from each doctor) Then, Wikipedia does have very detailed summaries of each episode which you could read to fill in the gaps.

              If you end up deciding to watch the whole thing, Netflix has most of them on disc, but also there is a Dailymotion (which I think is the Canadian version of Youtube) user Tardismedia, who has pretty much all of the available episodes uploaded and divided into playlists.

              • muselinotte says:

                Thanks for the reply!
                Yeah, I'm like that aswell, I think I'll just have to watch it from the very beginning
                I just have so much other stuff to catch up on, so I think it'll have to wait a tiny little bit more 🙂

                As I'm in Germany, Netflix isn't really an option, but I'll find a way…
                Thanks again!

  7. knut_knut says:

    I just realized that when Serafina said the angels will fill the chasm in the underworld, she didn’t necessarily mean with themselves -_- I thought all the angels were going to band together to create a giant drain plug. Anyway… I was really content with the way the last chapter ended so I’m amazed that Pullman was able to make this chapter engaging but in a way so that it doesn’t feel out of place at all. Sure, it’s basically a giant tease, but normally when the main conflict is over, I tend to zone out because the rest is usually just tying up loose ends. Pullman managed to keep me interested and OMG IF LYRA AND WILL HAVE TO LEAVE EACH OTHER I WILL CRY FOREVER. AND WHAT ABOUT MARY AND THE MULEFA??? Maybe Will can cut a window into Lyra’s world so that they can live in their respective worlds but still be bffs through the window? Because that’s not creepy at all and totally plausible *shifty eyes*

    I love the banner, by the way! It’s such a change from the really elaborate ones you had before that it took my breath away

  8. Ithinkimme says:

    'Oh, Mrs. Coulter. There is not a character like you in all of literature.'

    No kidding. I hated her so much in TGC where she was soooo evil and does pretty much the only thing garuanteed to make everyone hate her- torturing children. Yet at the point of her death in TAS, you feel sad about it and almost think of her as a heroine. To get from TGC to TAS and have such a 180 on her character shows the strength of Pullman's writing and characterisation skills. Oh, to see inside his brain!

  9. leighzzz31 says:

    Oh, the banner. Sigh.

    The fact that Pan and Kirjava (badass name, by the way, Serafina) try and distract Seradina Pekkala from talking about whatever it is they DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT by telling stories is the saddest part of the chapter for me. It's such a flimsy attempt at denying what's going to happen that I just want to hug them both. And it makes you realise that whatever they may have been through, they're still children and will react childishly when faced with something that frightens them.

    I loved Mary and Serafina's conversation as well, if only for the fact that they are the most awesome (adult) female characters ever and I'd wanted them to meet since Mary's introduction.

  10. drippingmercury says:

    The way in which they do meet is kind of strange, as Serafina inserts herself into Mary’s dream so that when she wakes up, she’s not frightened. Because a person appearing in your dream while they are right next to you in real life is never frightening? Don’t get me wrong, I would welcome Serafina into my dreams, but it is kind of weird, isn’t it?

    That’s not weird at all. If I were dreaming about someone and woke up with them next to me I would be ABSOLUTELY TERRIFIED, more so than if I had just woken up to them creepily sitting next to me. I would be peacefully dreaming: “Oh, hey there person. That’s cool.” Then I’d wake up and see them sitting there: “OH GOD! THAT’S THE SAME PERSON FROM MY DREAM!” why is this person from my dream sitting in front of me oh god what is happening.
    It would not go well. No matter how awesome Serafina is.

    As for everything else:

    ETA: eeeh, my attempt to embed did not work. SO HERE:

  11. HieronymusGrbrd says:

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

    Well, I was wrong. Will and Lyra’s love is what made the “Dust falling like snowflakes” again. Now there is only one thing left to do: Since the abyss served it’s purpose to swallow Metatron, the angels have to close it in some way so nobody else will accidentally fall into nothingness.

    But why did Serafina Pekkala, Pantalaimon and Kirjava spent half of this chapter on not speaking out what the daemons have to tell Will and Lyra, and why could we only watch Sarafina’s moving lips, but not hear what she said to Mary about this? Is sombody still planning something big for Will and Lyra? Sorry, I don’t appreciate this method to create suspension.

    (Edited to repair the link)

    • chrisjpardo says:

      But why did Serafina Pekkala, Pantalaimon and Kirjava spent half of this chapter on not speaking out what the daemons have to tell Will and Lyra, and why could we only watch Sarafina’s moving lips, but not hear what she said to Mary about this?

      I agree in a way; this is usually a pretty annoying and frustrating way to keep things from the reader. However, as there are only 2 chapters left, I can forgive this as it's not likely that we'll have to wait long to find out. It's all building a horrible, uneasy tension.

  12. notemily says:

    I wonder where the desolate place that the witches go to is, and if it's somewhere we would recognize.

    The alpine chough IS so perfect for Mary. <3.

    I can't really say more about this chapter; I don't want to spoil. I'm glad Serafina is back. I always feel better when she's around.

  13. FlameRaven says:

    Not related to the actual review, but… Firefox is blocking both Mark Watches and the site forum as an "attack site" and making it quite difficult to access. :/ Anyone else having this problem?

  14. Jahizzle says:

    I was wondering how other people (namely Lyra) would find out about Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel dying but man I do not envy Mary having to tell her that. Speaking of Mrs. Coulter, she is seriously one of the most fascinating characters I’ve ever read about. Pullman wrote her so perfectly evil that I honestly wasn’t convinced about her love for Lyra till she jumped on Metatron to take him down. It’s so sad that all Lyra has are terrible memories of her.


    ahem…/end nervous rant.

  15. MRB says:

    *tip-toes in*

    Can't say anything about this chapter as it would be too spoilery, so I'll just say: I love the name Kirjava.

    *tip-toes out again*

  16. monkeybutter says:

    I dunno, I was hoping Mary's daemon would be a penguin. 😉

    "It's too soon," said the nightingale. "It's much too soon."

    Avpr Ebzrb & Whyvrg ersrerapr. Vg nyfb qbrfa'g qb zhpu gb qvfcry gur srryvat gung gurl ner sne gbb lbhat gb or znxvat yvsrybat qrpvfvbaf nobhg ybir, unun. Ernyyl gubhtu, gung naq gur yvar nobhg gurz orvat yvxr jvgpurf, jub pna'g fgnl jvgu gur crbcyr gurl ybir, ner dhvgr zrynapubyl.

    It's too bad that flawless protagonists make for boring reading, otherwise I'd love a Iorek and Serafina spinoff. They could fight crime and mercilessly kill their enemies. Good times.

    I also like that the gnostic influences are most explicit in this chapter. Wisdom/Sophia versus the Authority/Demiurge.

    • arctic_hare says:

      Haha, you and me both. Cause penguins are awesome.

    • FlameRaven says:

      jvgpurf, jub pna'g fgnl jvgu gur crbcyr gurl ybir

      V jnf vzcerffrq jvgu Znex sbe thrffvat gur pubvpr (fbzrguvat V arire chg gbtrgure ba zl svefg ernq) ohg lbh whfg znqr vg rira pyrnere jul Ylen naq Jvyy'f sngr vf cerggl zhpu varivgnoyr. Univat n qnrzba jub pna geniry sne sebz lbh vf abg jvgubhg pbfg. Gurve pbfg vf whfg n yvggyr uvture. Ohg gura, gurer'f nyjnlf fbzrguvat gung unf gb or tvira hc gb fnir gur jbeyq.

      • monkeybutter says:

        Well said. It's not supposed to be easy 🙁

        • chrisjpardo says:

          V jnf vzcerffrq ur'f cerggl zhpu jbexrq vg bhg gbb! VS V'q unir jbexrq vg bhg urer (juvpu V qvqa'g), V'q unir fgvyy orra guvaxvat, "nu, vg'f bxnl, gurl unir gur xavsr".

          Va zl bja cbfg rneyvre V vagragvbanyyl oebhtug hc gung Ybeq Oberny unq fheivirq va bgure jbeyqf. Vf guvf n yvggyr zrna bs zr gb qb fb? Jryy, lrf. Ohg vg'f jung V gubhtug svefg gvzr guebhtu gbb. Gur shyy erirny vfa'g zrnag gb or hagvy gur arkg puncgre.

          Nyfb, V qba'g pner nobhg 'rnfl', vg'f whfg abg snve qnzzvg! Zhfg ubyq zlfrys gbtrgure sbe nabgure qnl ng yrnfg…

          • monkeybutter says:

            V'z tynq ur'f jbexrq vg bhg whfg orpnhfr V xabj gung fbzr crbcyr UNGR gung gurl unir gb frcnengr, naq guvf jnl gur oybj vf fbzrjung fbsgrarq. Tbbq yhpx ubyqvat vg gbtrgure.

          • FlameRaven says:

            Vg'f abg snve– ohg V zrna, yvsr VFA'G snve zbfg bs gur gvzr. V guvax vg'f nofbyhgryl n urnegoernxvat raqvat, ohg V qba'g xabj, V thrff V znqr zl crnpr jvgu vg. V'yy cebonoyl qvfphff vg zber qhevat gur npghny puncgre.

            Ohg zna, gur snpg gung gur onaare vf gur orapu naq Znex unf AB VQRN jung gung'f nobhg vf xvaq bs oernxvat zl urneg.

            • chrisjpardo says:

              V'z jvgu lbh nobhg gur orapu. V sryg zl purfg gvtugra n yvggyr jura V fnj vg.

              Ba n crefbany, rzbgvbany yriry, V ungr gur raqvat. Ohg vg'f cresrpg. V ubcr gung znxrf frafr. Naljnl, rabhtu bs gung sbe abj; V'z cynaavat n ybat pbzzrag ba Guhefqnl. Lrf, npghnyyl cynaavat vg. Bgurejvfr vg'yy nyy trg ybfg va nzbatfg gur fboovat.

  17. arctic_hare says:

    Is there a companion book that is solely composed of stories of her being better than absolutely everyone else? I’d read that.

    I WISH. I actually emailed Pullman a while back, cause he answers questions from fans on his website, to ask if he was planning a little book on Serafina like Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North, but sadly I don't think it was ever answered. 🙁 Eternal sadness.

    One of the most haunting images of this chapter for me, that contributed so much to that feeling of dread and uncertainty of what's to come, is of Pan crying out, and the description of how it so deeply frightened any animal that heard it, because there are no owls in that world and so that sound had never been heard before. I always found it – still find it – an unsettling and deeply sad moment because the way Pullman writes it, you can almost hear Pan's cry for yourself, and how alien it would be for the creatures of the mulefa's world. And we're not told why he's so upset, which only builds up the anxiety about what's going to happen next. I really like that about this book, that even though the big battle is over and done with, there's still important things to be done and happening and none of this is boring to me. Well done, Pullman.

    Also, Mary's daemon is so wonderfully perfect for her. I smiled when I read about it – Mary, who loves rock climbing, has a bird of the mountains as her daemon. It suits her.

    And oh, Mrs. Coulter. 🙁 I never dreamed, when I first started reading TGC, that I'd be so sad that she died. I bet you never did either. Yet, here we are; and she proved herself to be one of the most fascinating characters in fiction. Who was indeed swallowed up by the earth, but she was doing a good thing, and helping to save all the worlds and her daughter. She did a lot of horrible things, but she died doing wonderful things, and never once bored me. I loved seeing her journey over the course of the books.

    I'll close this with a familiar refrain, Mark: you are not prepared. 😉

  18. BradSmith5 says:

    I'm not sad Coulter died. Kid-gobbling, finger-snapping Coulter? Shoot––I think she's STILL up to something. Better watch your back, Serafina; Mrs. Coulter's gonna grab your broken arrow and stab you in the BACK.

    And what in the world? The dæmons just wandered out of the Land of the Dead on their own? Then just happened to cross an infinite amount of universes to end up where the final fight was? PSsssssht. Oops, sorry, just airing up my truck tires. I'm not doubting this series of events at all.

    It WAS a nice surprise to find out that Will and Lyra had gone through the witch ceremony, unaware. Oh man, what will they be called? Necromancers? Wizards? Marzipans? So exciting!

    • avonleaapples says:

      Much as Pullman annoys me sometimes, the battle coincidence makes sense. The place the ghosts were leaving the land of the dead was right near the battle. If the daemons left by the same door, ta da! In the battle.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        But I thought that the dæmons were stuck on the other side of the river? It would be pretty funny if they just turned into birds and flew across, hahaha.

    • knut_knut says:

      I bet Mrs. Coulter is the one who hacked Mark Watches. We were busy praising her while that goddamn Golden Monkey was in the internets, breaking everything!

      • ChronicReader91 says:

        WTF? Mark Watches was hacked? 😮 This is what I get for not having a Twitter!

        Anyway, damn Golden Monkey. Even eternally falling in the abyss can't stop him from getting up to his usual shenanigans.

      • chrisjpardo says:

        I bet he was just ripping cables out. The little shit.

      • BradSmith5 says:

        Ha,ha,ha. "Those Battlestar heathens aim to steal the spotlight from OUR big redemption chapter. You know what to do."

  19. Noybusiness says:

    "still distrustful of their owners (is that the right terminology?)"

    Only in the sense that you own your heart.

  20. Mari says:

    Mark, I got a malware warning from markwatches. Is it just my computer or is something wrong?

  21. SorrowsSolace says:

    No problems using IE though

  22. ChronicReader91 says:

    Serafina!!!! I was just thinking that the only thing TAS needed was more of her. I especially love Serafina telling Mary what her daemon looked like, and Mary letting her look through the amber spyglass to see dust.

    It’s incredibly frustrating the way they won’t come out and tell us what that the daemons have to tell Lyra and Will- but just from their reactions, and from what we learned earlier about the how the daemons can only live in their own world, that was my immediate assumption. What I don’t understand is WHY they react so strongly to that. I mean, unless Lyra and Will can’t travel between worlds AT ALL without harming their daemons, can’t they,I don;t know, alternate between his world and hers or something? Or go into each others world for a weekend? As long as will has the Subtle Knife, can't he basically pop in to say hi whenever he wants?

    I want to read ahead and get the answers, but at the same time, I want to read even less than a chapter at a time. That's what always happens when I get close to the end of a story I'm really invested in- I start deliberately slowing down, just to make it last longer. Dammit, I can't believe there are only two chapters left. 🙁

  23. Tilja says:

    I'm posting here because I've got no other place right now. I tried to open the Mark Watches page and I get blocked by a warning sing of malware on the page. It also says has already been informed of the malware.

    Anyone knows anything about this?

    • hpfish13 says:

      Yeah, Mark's site got hacked this weekend. He's not going to post anymore reviews until it's fixed (which should be just a couple of days). So, everyone is getting the warning.

  24. celestineangel1 says:

    So, off topic, but my browser is suddenly giving me a malware warning for :/

  25. GCSKAS says:


  26. RoseFyre says:

    One comment that I noticed no one had made:

    According to an interview with Pullman (I believe that was the source, though don't quote me), the explanation for Will and Lyra being "witches" also explains how John Parry both got his daemon and can travel far from her. Remember, he said that she appeared when he went into Lyra's world, but we saw Will go into Lyra's world and he didn't get a separate daemon…until the forced separation of the world of the dead. So John Parry walked into the north of the world, either through a hole into that land the witches use or through a hole near it and then through that land, and was separated from his daemon that way – and that was when she appeared.

Comments are closed.