The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials: His Dark Materials - Book I

by PHILIP PULLMAN

Random House Children's Books | April 16, 1996 | Hardcover

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials: His Dark Materials - Book I is rated 4.71428571428571 out of 5 by 21.
The modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an “All-Time Greatest Novel” and Newsweek hailed as a “Top 100 Book of All Time.” Philip Pullman takes readers to a world where humans have animal familiars and where parallel universes are within reach.

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal--including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.

But what Lyra doesn't know is that to help on of them will be to betray the other...

A masterwork of storytelling and suspense, Philip Pullman's award-winning The Golden Compass is the first in the His Dark Materials series, which contintues with The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass.

A #1 New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction
Published in 40 Countries

"Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years." --The Washington Post

"Very grand indeed." --The New York Times

"Pullman is quite possibly a genius." --Newsweek

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 416 pages, 8.62 × 5.82 × 1.25 in

Published: April 16, 1996

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679879242

ISBN - 13: 9780679879244

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! This was a geat book I am so glad I read it!!!! My favorite character is Pan. He and Lyra always make me laugh!
Date published: 2015-06-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A good book, but just that, not great. This was definitely a page turner. However, I would not call this a series for kids. The subject material is kind of dark. I also couldn't really empathize with the main character.
Date published: 2014-11-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! I've read and re-read this book since I was 7 and it I still love it to this day
Date published: 2014-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a bold move Started as a child like adventure, finished as philosofical challenge
Date published: 2013-04-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Okay... I saw the movie first and did not really like it. The book is better but it took me a while to get into it. In the last third of the book, I could not put it down. A mixture of suspense, magic, strange instruments, a prophecy, your soul living outside the body, dust ; strange concepts. Looking foreward to book II.
Date published: 2008-07-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from More than a YA Fantasy For people wishing an alternative – for whatever reason – to the insanely popular “Harry Potter” fantasies (to which Philip Pullman’s trilogy has been compared), Pullman’s tale offers a bracing change. Here’s why: even though it has very obvious fantasy elements such as magic and witches and talking bears, it doesn’t fit the traditional mold of a fantasy because it draws upon scientific knowledge and theory, which pushes it into SF. However, like other good fantasy, Pullman’s tale is also strongly interwoven in myth. Milton’s “Paradise Lost” forms the basis of Pullman’s overarching theme, woven by a rich fabric of setting and characters, each journeying toward their own sense of purpose and final destiny on this world. This is a book of great scope, unfolding, aptly, through the eyes of a child.
Date published: 2007-12-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Really Good! A little slow in the begining but once you got into the book it was quite good.
Date published: 2006-06-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from the best book this is one of the best books i have ever read im 12 years old and when people ask me what my favorite book is i say The Golden Compass
Date published: 2005-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Trilogy to Remember Lyra will capture the hearts of readers everywhere and draw them in to her world of Oxford. However, this beloved world is suddenly upturned and leads to the great adventure that is The Golden Compass. Pullman has created a masterpiece in the His Dark Materials Trilogy.
Date published: 2004-08-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I LOVE IT! This is one of my favourite books now and trust me you should read it. When i read i am usually very picky and it's hard for me to find a good fantasy book that i will like. This book can definitely compare to harry potter and lord of the rings. The only complaint i have about this book is at the beginning it's a little bit boring (maybe 20-40 pages) but from there i just couldn't put it down, it took me 2 days to read it and then i jumped right into the sequel! The first 2 out of this series are great and i'm sure the last one will be even better.
Date published: 2002-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass: Part 1 I loved this book "The Golden Compass". It's about this girl, Lyra, in search of her father, she thought, was her uncle. She starts at Oxford and the master gives her a golden compass. She uses it to find her father. She ends up in different places, in the arctic, in a home with her mother, which she didn't know about, in a hot air balloon and riding a polar bear. She travels with her friend Roger, Lee Scoresbe, witches and a whole lot of other people. I'd say this is my favorite book ever.
Date published: 2001-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Too amazing! This is the begining of a great series. Pullman goes into the characters, bringing them into your living room and then some. You truly feel everything the characters feel. And the world, controled by The Church, populated by humans and their daemons. The whole thing is overwhelming. And if you think you're sucked in already, just wait till you read the Subtle Knife...
Date published: 2001-04-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good Book I first picked up this book because a friend had recommended it. I started reading it and couldn't put it down. Anybody who has read and liked Redwall will love this book. It has the same good descriptions and would go under the same genre. At first I was kind of confused about the time period until I learned that it was in another world. I think that Philip Pullman should write another book because he writes so well.
Date published: 2001-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Golden Compass I think that this book makes you really put you own life in perspective because of the hardship that Lyra (the main character) has to under go to basically save her world and maybe even ours.And dont forget to read the sequels to this great trilogy.
Date published: 2001-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Incredible! Non stop Action! I am one of the 13 year olds that reads a little more than my firneds. I was quite disapointed to read a book which I thought (at first) was dull. But then, I couldn't put it down! I was surprised how interested I was! I Recomend this book to every student out there!
Date published: 2001-01-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Blew Me Away!!! When I first received this book I thought it was going to be boring and dull. I was not a fan of fantasy...untill I read this book. The only time I could put it down was if someone forced it out of my hand. Phillip Pullman is an extrodinary writer! All the characters were well developed and the setting descriptive. Reading this book made me want a daemon of my own. This is deffinitly one of the best fantasy novels ever written
Date published: 2000-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Extraordinary - reminded me why I read books Pullman captures the minds of his characters with great artistry while creating a strange and beautiful world. His language is beautiful, and his characters are wonderful. The Golden Compass introduces some genuinely new blood into fantasy.
Date published: 2000-06-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow! There is so many words to describe this book but the list would be so long. I loved this book so much and the sequel. I couldn't put it down. I just love it and its something I would consider reading over and over again. I loved it!
Date published: 2000-06-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Stunning Fantasy/ Adventure Packed Book The Golden Compass was brilliant and every question I asked myself, such as what are daemons and what are they there for were answered in full detail! The plot is non stop action and thrills that keeps your fingers turning each page in anticipation to see what happens next! The Stubtle Knife was also brilliant and continued the non stop action. Even if you don't like fantasies, I strongly suggest you READ THIS BOOK!!! You won't regret it!
Date published: 2000-02-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING BOOK!!! At first, I didn't really want to read this book, because I don't really like fantasies. But once I started I couldn't put it down!!! Everyone will love this book, and the one that follows it, the Subtle Knife. I can't wait for the third book, the Amber Spyglass!!!
Date published: 2000-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book The Golden Compass is one of the best books I have ever read. I read the 2nd book in about 1 day. I could not stop reading it. I am extremly anxious about the arrival of the 3rd book. I hope that all of you give Golden Compass a try. It truly is brillant.
Date published: 1999-06-17

– More About This Product –

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials: His Dark Materials - Book I

The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials: His Dark Materials - Book I

by PHILIP PULLMAN

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 416 pages, 8.62 × 5.82 × 1.25 in

Published: April 16, 1996

Publisher: Random House Children's Books

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0679879242

ISBN - 13: 9780679879244

Read from the Book

OneTHE DECANTER OF TOKAYLyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen. The three great tables that ran the length of the hall were laid already, the silver and the glass catching what little light there was, and the long benches were pulled out ready for the guests. Portraits of former Masters hung high up in the gloom along the walls. Lyra reached the dais and looked back at the open kitchen door, and, seeing no one, stepped up beside the high table. The places here were laid with gold, not silver, and the fourteen seats were not oak benches but mahogany chairs with velvet cushions.Lyra stopped beside the Master's chair and flicked the biggest glass gently with a fingernail. The sound rang clearly through the hall."You're not taking this seriously," whispered her daemon. "Behave yourself."Her daemon's name was Pantalaimon, and he was currently in the form of a moth, a dark brown one so as not to show up in the darkness of the hall."They're making too much noise to hear from the kitchen," Lyra whispered back. "And the Steward doesn't come in till the first bell. Stop fussing."But she put her palm over the ringing crystal anyway, and Pantalaimon fluttered ahead and through the slightly open door of the Retiring Room at the other end of the dais. After a moment he appeared again."There's no one there," he whispered. "But we must be quick."Crouching behind the high table, Lyra darted along and through the door
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From the Publisher

The modern fantasy classic that Entertainment Weekly named an “All-Time Greatest Novel” and Newsweek hailed as a “Top 100 Book of All Time.” Philip Pullman takes readers to a world where humans have animal familiars and where parallel universes are within reach.

Lyra is rushing to the cold, far North, where witch clans and armored bears rule. North, where the Gobblers take the children they steal--including her friend Roger. North, where her fearsome uncle Asriel is trying to build a bridge to a parallel world.

Can one small girl make a difference in such great and terrible endeavors? This is Lyra: a savage, a schemer, a liar, and as fierce and true a champion as Roger or Asriel could want.

But what Lyra doesn't know is that to help on of them will be to betray the other...

A masterwork of storytelling and suspense, Philip Pullman's award-winning The Golden Compass is the first in the His Dark Materials series, which contintues with The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass.

A #1 New York Times Bestseller
Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children's Fiction
Published in 40 Countries

"Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years." --The Washington Post

"Very grand indeed." --The New York Times

"Pullman is quite possibly a genius." --Newsweek

From the Jacket

In a landmark epic of fantasy and storytelling, Philip Pullman invites readers into a world as convincing and thoroughly realized as Narnia, Earthsea, or Redwall. Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, "nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the compass of the title. All around her children are disappearing--victims of so-called "Gobblers"--and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.

About the Author

Philip Pullman has won many distinguished prizes, including the Carnegie Medal for The Golden Compass (and the reader-voted "Carnegie of Carnegies" for the best children's book of the past seventy years); the Whitbread (now Costa) Book of the Year Award for The Amber Spyglass; a Booker Prize long-list nomination (The Amber Spyglass); Parents' Choice Gold Awards (The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass); and the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, in honor of his body of work. In 2004, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

Philip Pullman is the author of many books for young readers, including two volumes related to the His Dark Materials trilogy: Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North. He lives in Oxford, England. To learn more, please visit www.philip-pullman.com and www.hisdarkmaterials.com.

From Our Editors

Pullman introduces readers to a world as convincing and thoroughly realized as Narnia, Earthsea, of Redwall, wherein lives a half-wild, half-civilized girl named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars of Jordan College is about the shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors

Editorial Reviews

“Extraordinary storytelling at its very best.” —The Detroit Free Press    “Superb . . . all-stops-out thrilling.” —The Washington Post   "Very grand indeed." —The New York Times   "Powerful […] a fantasy adventure that sparkles with childlike wonder." —The Boston Sunday Globe   "Marvelous […]  the writing is elegant and challenging." —The New Yorker   "Arguably the best juvenile fantasy novel of the past twenty years […]  If [The Subtle Knife] is as good as The Golden Compass, we'll be two thirds of the way to the completion of a modern fantasy classic." —The Washington Post Book World   “Pullman is quite possibly a genius…using the lineaments of fantasy to tell the truth about the universal experience of growing up.”  —Newsweek"Masterful storytelling […]  with a cast of instantly beguiling characters." —The Dallas Morning News   “The most magnificent fantasy series since Lord of the Rings.”  —The Oregonian “Pullman has created the last great fantasy masterpiece of the twentieth century.  An astounding achievement.”  —The Cincinnati Enquirer "Once in a lifetime a children's author emerges who is so extraordinary that the imagination of generations is altered. Lewis Carroll, E. Nesbit, C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien were all of this cast. So, too, is Philip Pullman, whose Dark Materials trilogy will be devoured by anyone between eight and eighty. The most ambitious work since The Lord of the Rings, it is as intellectually thrilling as it is magnificently written." — New Statesman  
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Bookclub Guide

US

1. The author tells us that The Golden Compass takes place "in a universe like ours, but different in many ways." How do you think Lyra's universe relates to ours?

2. What is a dæmon? How do they make humans different from other creatures? Why do you think servants' dæmons are always dogs? What sort of dæmons might your friends, relatives, classmates, or coworkers have? Describe your own dæmon.

3. The world of The Golden Compass is ruled by the Church. However, the nature of its power is unclear. What power do you think the Church holds over its people?

4. On pages 89-90, the General Oblation Board is explained in reference to the historical sacrifice of children to cloistered life. "Oblation" refers to the act of making a religious offering. What offering does the General Oblation Board make and to whom?

5. Human knowledge and experience are made physical in Dust. What other psychological, intellectual, or spiritual activities does the author physicalize?

6. What is the relationship between "severing" and death? Is the author using this fantasy to explore the notion of psychic or moral death?

7. Why do you think the author stresses that Lyra is not an imaginative child? Why would "imagination" be dangerous to her? How would it affect her understanding of the alethiometer? Is Lyra a truth-seeker? Who is Lyra Belacqua and/or what does she symbolize?

8. In what ways is gender a significant or stratifying element in the novel? Why do you think all witches are female? Why are dæmons usually the opposite gender of their human counterparts? Is the fact that Lyra is a girl-child relevant to the themes of the story?

9. Alongside human society in The Golden Compass, there exists the community of the armored bears, who have their own hierarchical structure and moral code. In one way Svalbard seems little more than an interesting foil to the human condition, yet the bear kingdom is also a final destination, the site of the story's climactic conclusion. What do you think is the author's purpose in inventing - and exploring - the world of the armored bear?

10. The author has filled this novel with binary imagery: person-dæmon; mother-father; Iorek-Iofur; Lyra's universe-the universe in the Aurora. What other binarisms can you find in the structure, landscape imagery, and vocabulary of this fantasy? How do these dualistic elements affect the novel's larger themes?

11. Discuss Lyra's "betrayal" of Roger in relation to other betrayals that occur in the novel. Has reading The Golden Compass altered your understanding of the act of betrayal?

12. Are Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter in collusion or are they fighting each other? How and in what way?

13. Curiously absent from The Golden Compass are four words that are prevalent in most fantasy adventures: right, wrong, good, and evil. Can these terms be applied to this story? How and why, or why not?

14. On the last page of the book, Lyra and Pantalaimon recognize that they are still "one being; both of us are one." The expression resonates with a phrase from marriage ceremonies. Contrast this moment in the story with the preceding interplay between Lyra's parents.

15. The Golden Compass is the first book in the trilogy His Dark Materials, which gets its name from a passage in John Milton's Paradise Lost, quoted at the beginning of the novel. Philip Pullman has said, "Milton's angels are not seriously meant to be believed - beings with wings and halos and white robes. They are psychological qualities, conceived and pictured as personalities. With them, Milton tells one of the central tales of our world: the story of the temptation and fall of humankind." Discuss the passage from Paradise Lost and this statement from the author in relation to The Golden Compass.

16. When Lyra walks "into the sky" at the end of Book One, we can presume that she is walking into the world of Book Two of His Dark Materials - "the universe that we know." What do you think will happen to her and Pantalaimon when they cross the bridge?

Appropriate for ages: 9 - 12