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His Dark Materials

Philip Pullman

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full title · The His Dark Materials trilogy, consisting of The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass

author  · Philip Pullman

type of work  · Novels

genre  · Fantasy; young adult

language  · English

time and place written  · 1990s; Oxford, England

date of first publication

 · 1995 (The Golden Compass)
 · 1997 (The Subtle Knife)
 · 2000 (The Amber Spyglass)

publisher  · Scholastic Children’s Books

narrator  · Omniscient third person

point of view  · In The Golden Compass, the narrator focuses primarily on what Lyra is thinking and doing. In The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, the narrator describes the thoughts of several characters.

tone · Serious, sympathetic

tense  · Past

setting (time)  · Present day

setting (place)  · Many different worlds, including our own, the world of the dead, the world of the mulefa, the world of Ci’gazze, and Lyra’s world

protagonist  · Lyra Belacqua

major conflict  · The attempts of the Church to subjugate all conscious beings

rising action  · Lord Asriel kills Roger and opens a window into another world; Lyra escapes into the other world; Lyra and Will meet; Lyra meets Mary Malone; Will meets his father; the Church discovers that Lyra is the new Eve; Will and Lyra free the dead

climax  · Lord Asriel’s forces battle Metatron’s forces

falling action  · Lyra and Will escape into the world of the mulefa and discover that they are in love

themes · Will and grace; freedom through knowledge; the importance of sex to maturation

motifs · Destiny; innocence; physical pleasure

symbols · Daemons; feeding; the aurora borealis

foreshadowing  · Throughout the books, characters refer to Lyra’s mysterious destiny.

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