11-19-2007 03:50 PM
DON'T READ ON UNLESS YOU HAVE FINISHED THE SERIES
If you have reached the end of the series, you know it ends with a terrible choice on the part of Lyra and Will. They fall in love and after a brief time together must part forever. Dramatically this works well in the book and ends with the two of them making a supreme sacrifice for the good of all the worlds.
The problem was that all the openings between the Universes had to be shut to keep the Dust from leaking out, no more windows could be opened without creating a new Specter, and one and only one could be left opened and maintained safely and that was so the dead could escape their horrible limbo and rejoin the stuff of the universe. Also if one of them, Will or Lyra, tried to live in another world, they would eventually die in a short life-span of ten years. Neither could stand by and watch the other sacrifice their life span. So the choice was to close all the windows between universes, not to open any more and break the knife, and for each of them to return to their world to live out their normal lives.
I was wondering what choices the rest of you might make?
I personally looked at it differently. The Gallivespians led relatively short but fruitful lives of about 8 years--that was the nature of their existence and they were satisfied with the time they had. The witches had extremely long lives of hundreds of years and that was the way of their species. When their time came to die, it was OK. They had lived their full allocation. Humans live on an average of about 75 or 80 years.
Pullman has already brought up the subject of "what is a lifetime." I think I personally would have chosen the "lifetime" of ten years together. They could have gone to a third world like Chi'gazze where they both would have aged together. Will did have the problem of his mother, but after all his father left her and his family to follow his dream and chose the shorter life. Mary was planning on helping Will and his mother out back in their world so I think his mother would have faired just fine since Mary was returning. Dramatically, their choice worked but Pullman did leave a lot of alternatives that could have been taken with, what appeared to me, little real danger. So which solution would you have chosen:
1. Will and Lyra's choice of returning to their own worlds and destroying the knife?
2. The ten years together in a third world?
3. One living in the other's world where one would live a long life and the other die early?
4. Cutting through a window say once a year to spend some time together and only letting out one specter a year? The angel already said they could deal with specters and they had lots they had to deal with then. What was one more a year?
5. Leaving one window open? Dust could leak out but it would probably take billions of years, but it could be replenished by human behavior, and who knows what else might happen in the very far distance future.
01-27-2008 07:31 AM
01-27-2008 05:04 PM
01-28-2008 10:31 PM
I think that if I were the writer, I would have found a way for Lyra and Will to stay together -- even if, like you say, it leads to a shortened life for both. I think, however, Pullman needed an ending that left the reader dissatisfied, but understanding -- if that makes sense? The whole idea of the series comes down to individuals -- not partnerships. If you notice, nearly every friendship or relationship in the novels is torn apart at some point (on the most concrete level, the children and their daemons...) Pullman would have lost some of the integrity of the novel imo if he left it all warm and fuzzy at the end with Lyra and Will living happily ever after.
02-08-2008 11:05 AM
03-20-2008 03:55 PM
- the creation of specters each time the window was opened;
- as for the creation of the Republic of Heaven for each universe, I understand that Pullman is speaking about the metaphorical sense of doing good and spreading that, etc. However, some universes simply have more grim circumstances, i.e., our world (Will's world) with constant world wars and such. In my opinion, he could do more good spreading love and goodness together with Lyra. The two of them were invincible and what the two did together was greater than what they did individually; &
- offer an alternative where due to their witch statuses, that witches lead a different life. Despite not having the ability to fly, does their status also grant them longer lives?
However, I do wish that the ending was a little bit fuller. It feels like things were thrown together too quickly and lacked imagination. Lyra was always one to do the impossible. But it seemed like once all the "grown-ups" (Xanphania, etc.) came into the picture at the end, creativity died... and simply that Dust was "using" Will's and Lyra's innocence through the alethiometer and the knife... and then dumped them off when it was all said and done. And it seems like whatever ending happened, readers are willing to pardon Pullman for a "lemon" ending because of our love for the characters.
03-30-2008 12:52 AM
As an alternative to Will and Lyra returning to their own worlds, I thought for sure that Pullman was going to have them put their witch-like powers to use, and abandon their dæmons once more to live in another world together, since it was their dæmons who couldn't live outside of their own worlds. It would have been rather poetic - Will and Lyra each giving up the most intimate part of themselves for each other. Perhaps to live in Cittàgazze and help destroy the Specters with the knife. I think it would have been a lot more bittersweet(in a good way) to see Lyra abandoning Pan once more, for the sake of love. Abandoning Will to become a normal girl back in Oxford seems a bit lackluster in comparison, to me. But hey, I didn't write the books, and I know Pullman had his reasons for ending it the way he did. I just think it could have been done with a lot more flair, personally. As a writer, I don't think you should let the ending of your story be outdone by the rest of it, and in a story where they travel to the underworld, release all of the souls trapped within, and essentially wage war against heaven and overthrow God, an ending where Lyra and Will abandon their love for eachother and return to their normal lives doesn't cut it for me.
09-19-2008 05:49 PM