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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
Time and place written 1990s; Oxford, England
Date of first publication 1995 (The Golden Compass)
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
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.
Ace your assignments with our guide to His Dark Materials!