wDec 8, 2007

The Golden Compass

I feel like most of this post will not be helpful to my friends who are avid readers, especially of the fantasy genre. But I do have friends who don't read much fantasy, and haven't read The Golden Compass, so I'm imagining it will be more helpful to people who read my blog, as opposed to LJ friends.

No, I haven't seen the movie yet. (And, I am afraid for when I do, as a couple of my friends who are fans of the books have posted in their LiveJournals that they didn't like it, :( )

I've been exchanging a couple of messages with a friend from middle/high school via Facebook, after she joined one of the many "Boycott the Golden Compass movie" groups.

For the life of me, I simply cannot understand the line of logic that would lead a person to boycott the movie.

Yes, in the plot of this fictional story, the goal is to kill God (aka, The Authority). And, all over, the message from people is, "OMG! These movies/books will teach our children to be atheists!"

(PS: The Golden Compass was originally published over 10 years ago, and I don't recall any similar outcry. This furthers my belief that fundamentalists who enjoy boycotting things DO NOT READ.)

I don't think so. At least, I grew up with The Golden Compass being one of my favorite books (and it still is), and I am still a Christian. I am even still Catholic, despite the book's portrayal of "the Church." Like the Harry Potter series, I think that the books do an excellent job of teaching children that it is okay, and even honorable, to question authority.

But this all beside my point. So, the books are supposedly anti-Christian because of a corrupt Church, and a plot that revolves around killing God.

Has anyone ever read Paradise Lost, by John Milton, on which the books are based? (Even taking the title of the trilogy, "His Dark Materials," from a line in Milton's work. In Paradise Lost, Satan is a protagonist! Oh no! Think of the children! Think of all the students who are forced to read Paradise Lost in university! They will all instantly become atheists, due to a sympathetic portrayal of Lucifer!

But where could the plot of Paradise Lost possibly have come from, this blasphemous work that has influenced The Golden Compass and its sequels? Where else could one find such a story of a character rebelling against God? Wait, that sounds familiar - the Bible! What a horrible thing for a book to teach our children! Our mindless, influential children, who will believe and emulate every story they ever read! Let us boycott the Bible without reading it in its entirety! Let us call upon others to do the same!

Seriously. In general, I have always failed to understand why people would boycott books like To Kill a Mockingbird or Harry Potter because of their subject matter (or for any other reason). But I guess I just feel like the controversy surrounding this movie (and, only now, the books) is beyond idiotic.

I've already heard from friends who didn't like the movie. Here are my hopes for the movie:
  • The armored bears will be called by their proper name, panserbjørne
  • Lyra will remain a quick-witted and contrary 11-year-old girl
  • Lord Asriel will be really hot
  • the daemons will be well-done, specifically Pantalaimon
  • the panserbjørne will kick ass (not worried about this one in the slightest)
  • Lyra's world is still late-Victorian-esque (judging by the costumes in promotional pieces, it is)
  • Dust will still be important, and referred to

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scribbled mystickeeper at 11:16 AM

I swear I didn't see your post before I wrote mine. lol.

I need to read those books!

By Blogger OgRe, at 11:41 AM, December 08, 2007  

To me it seems that if Christianity is The Truth they have nothing to worry about, as any amount of questioning will lead the people back Home again. After all, what option do we have other than The Truth? The only way it is absent is when one gives up before they get to it. By refusing to consider alternatives, these groups protesting books are missing out on important growth, because any contrary idea, if fully explored, is capable of teaching you more about your own beliefs than tempting you to the other side. A little game of devils advocate (aptly named) is healthy to the development of one's own beliefs.

Boycotting something and refusing to think about it because authority tells you to would seem to only to encourage people to be snowballed by things that are similar to The Truth but corrupt in some way. After all, what have you got to lose? If anything, the anxiety makes it look like these people are worried that others will realize that Christianity is not The Truth.

For these reasons I see no benefit in sealing one's self off from intellectualism. It just makes you ignorant and boisterous with no faith in the power of your own religion.

I'm sorry if anyone is religious and offended by this, but when an argument for religion follows neither the "our faith has power argument," nor logic, I'm a little troubled by the soundness of the conclusions. I could be wrong, but I would need convincing.

By Blogger Steph, at 1:51 PM, December 08, 2007  

I hope they don't ignore dust, also. I'm kind of afraid they made the movie so that it has a definite ending, just in case it doesn't make enough money to make movies about the other two books.

I really want to see it though, let me know/post about it if you see it soon.

By Blogger Dave, at 4:23 PM, December 08, 2007  

A new, very long interview with Pullman can found here at the rather snobby-sounding More Intelligent Life. A particularly relevant passage:

'Pullman says that people who are tempted to take offence should first see the film or read the books. "They'll find a story that attacks such things as cruelty, oppression, intolerance, unkindness, narrow-mindedness, and celebrates love, kindness, open-mindedness, tolerance, curiosity, human intelligence. It's very hard to disagree with those. But people will."'

By Blogger Dan Erdman, at 1:13 AM, December 09, 2007  


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:45 AM, December 09, 2007  

I agree with Anonymous. You guys do not understand how important faith is, and how much this series does nothing but try to indoctrinate kids to become anti-religious heathens. I pray for you all.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:05 PM, December 09, 2007  

Dear Anonymous #2,
I'm pretty sure Anonymous #1 was being tongue-in-cheek, so as to show the absurdity of declarations like yours.

Why do you assume that I do not understand how important faith is? That my faith is not, perhaps, the most important thing in my life - that it has not, in fact, saved my life?

Your comments about the books make it perfectly clear that you have never, in fact, read them.

Go ahead and pray for me. I'll pray for you, too, while I'm in mass every Sunday.

By Blogger Jackie, at 5:54 PM, December 09, 2007  

Yes Anonymous Number 2, I'll pray for you too. I find it fascinating you can put "faith" in a box. Everyone is on a different path and the sheer fact that you told us "that you'll pray for all of us" in that usual condecending "i'm right you're wrong" fashion shows that you really don't care for any of us on this blog post.

If you really cared, you would have tried to be the hands and feet of Christ and explained your reasoning behind our so-called unimportantance that I guess we place in our faith. That whole "pray for you" statement is just a cop-out from your responibility.

By Blogger OgRe, at 11:31 PM, December 09, 2007  

Creighton and I saw the movie this weekend with Louise & Co. Apparently your enjoyment of the movie depends heavily on whether or not you've read the book. Creighton and I have never read them, and we therefore liked it. We weren't annoyed by the character changes, and we weren't frustrated by the omissions. Standalone, it's a fine movie. If you're looking for a movie of the book, however, it sounds like you'll be disappointed. *shrugs* Your bulleted list of hopes are perfectly accurate, so if that's all you need to enjoy it, then you will.

By Anonymous Carolyn, at 10:20 AM, December 11, 2007  

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