Pullman (spoilers for all 3 books)

Ania theania at freeuk.com
Tue Mar 19 18:52:17 EST 2002

I have now started rereading HDM. I'll probably send the next instalment of
comments when I get further into the series.
> 2) so a daemon fixes its shape when its person hits puberty, at about 12
> or 13. And the daemon's shape is *always* quite indicative of the person's
> profession, character, etc. Did all the soldiers know they were going to
> be soldiers? And how many people feel that they are currently the same
> person they were when they were 12? I really hope I've changed. I was a
> pretty unhappy 12-year-old.

It's not that way round. Early in the book it says that all servants have
dog daemons, and then we have the Tartars' wolves etc. I think that the way
it works is that only people of a particular nature are likely to want to be
servants. (I certainly do not take well to taking orders). Therefore, the
majority of servants who stayed in the profession for any length of time
without changing careers or simply being sacked would be of a particular
nature, which would be reflected in their daemons. Likewise with soldiers
etc. Also, Lyra's world is much more Victorian in nature, so most people
would probably be working by puberty. Long childhoods are a relatively
recent Western phenomenon, not necessarily the 'natural' or 'proper' way,
but a hallmark of privilege. In Lyra's world people would be far less likely
to cross class barriers, it seems to me, so I do not see as much of a
problem here as you do.

> There's about eight different points in #7. I guess it's that the original
> Eve story annoys me, so the new one does too. I don't see Mary as being so
> tempting; I don't really think a 12-year-old should be having sex; I don't
> understand children's vs. adults' (lack of) dust. Why is it such a
> revelation to the world when Lyra and Will go through this change? Why
> does it have to be them? Really, what does Dust care? And is it so
> completely tragic that they're separated? The boy I liked when I was 12
> was a total jerk by high school. The guy I dated two years ago apparently
> isn't even my friend now. If we'd been tragically separated after a month,
> it would've seemed really bad. Shrug.

I haven't reread HDM 3 yet, but here's a couple of things:  Why Lyra and
Will? because it's a story about momentous events in which L and W play
crucial parts. If someone else had their task, this person would be the hero
of Pullman's book, not L and W.
I loved the ending (after I got over the shock of no happily ever after)
precisely because even though it was so tragic  - to them at the time -
that they had to part, we know that adolescent love is an ephemeral thing.
It would have been totally unrealistic for them to live happily ever after
considering their age when they 'got together'. This was clumsily put, but I
can't seem to find the right words. I think I'm basically agreeing with you.
I am not entirely sure that they HAD sex. Probably. It may not be 'right',
but it does happen.


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