His Dark Materials - the real story behind the The Golden Compass movie

You may have heard me say that I rate the His Dark Materials trilogy as one of the finest pieces of fiction I have ever been privileged to read and that it's only a small step behind The Lord Of The Rings as my top read of all time (so far).

The reason that both these works (and they are works, not merely books) rate so highly is with the depth the writers place within them. LOTR is famously steeped in worldly detail - detail of Middle Earth that is - both in its descriptions of its present but how its own history and mythology seep into the current story.

His Dark Materials also has a "descriptive" layer (not quite LOTR) but it's true depth comes from Philip Pullman's philosophy of 'who we are' and his subtle insistence that we should open our minds to the big questions of life. It is a trilogy that can never been fully appreciated in one read as the questions it asks of us become fuller, closer and scarier each time.

For a background on the themes and thinking behind the books Philip Pullman's interview with FilmChat, Philip Pullman -- the extended e-mail interview, is excellent and I urge you to take some time to sit back and read it.

He also lists another, Barnes & Noble, on his site that I hold out much hope.

It will put the wee film you've hopefully seen into context!

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