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Nadine
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THE GOLDEN COMPASS -- Part 2, Bolvangar, Chapters 10-17

[ Edited ]
It is interesting that Bolvanger according to the book means "Fields of Evil." I'm not sure where the name comes from.

Page 187

"...there is an air of hatred and fear over the place and for miles around. Witches can see these things where other humans can't/ Animals keep away too. No birds fly ther; lemmings and foxes have fled. Hence the name Bolvanger: the fields of evil. They don't call it that. They call it 'the station.' But to everyone else it is Bolvangar."

Message Edited by ConnieK on 10-05-2007 09:08 AM
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Nadine
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Re: Part 2, Bolvangar, Chapters 10-17

The Prophecy

This is the second time we have heard that Lyra's destiny is significant, she is to save the world, she must not have help but must discover the way by herself. The Master first mentioned it to the Liberian. Now we have the Witch consul who knew of the the prophecy and knows that Lyra is the "choosen one." (do I see an HP parallel here?). The interesting addition here is that it has been foretold long before Lyra was born.

Chapt 10, page 176

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"The witches have talked about this child for centuries past," said the concul. "Because they live so close to the place where the veil between the worlds is thin, they hear immortal whispers from time to time, in the voices of those beings who pass between the worlds. And they have spoken of a child such as this, who has a great destiny that can only be fulfilled elsewhere--not in this world, but far beyond. Without this child, we shall all die. So the witches say. But she must fulfill this destiny in ignorance of what she is doing, because only in her ignorance can we be saved."

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Nadine
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Aurora or Northern Lights

The Aurora

Chapt 11, page 184

The sight filled the northern sky; the immensity of it was scarcely conceivable. As if from heaven itself, great curtains of delicate light hung and trembled. Pale green and rose-pink, and as transparent as the most fragile fabric, and at the bottom edge a profound and fiery crimson like the fires of Hell, they swung and shimmered loosely with more grace than the most skillful dancer.
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This is a good source for pictures and links to information on Northern Lights

http://www.geo.mtu.edu/weather/aurora/

This is an excellent explanation of the Aurora. Be sure to click on larger images of the pictures.

http://www.spaceweathercenter.org/our_protective_shield/04/04.html

Apparently September is the start of the Aurora season. This site will keep you up to date on the auroras that are particularly noticeable when the sun lets loose a big cosmic blast (no sun spot activity right now). This site will tell you when that happens and when it is expected to hit our planet and how far south it can be seen. Sometimes the aurora is seen as far south as Arizona. This site is kind of scary since it also reports our close encounters with asteroids!

http://www.spaceweather.com/



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Nadine
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Re: Part 2, Bolvangar, Chapters 10-17

Tony Makarios

One of the worst crimes against humanity in Lyra's world is doing something to someone's daemon. As pointed out in Chapter 13 the most horrifying thing is to encounter someone without a daemon. As bad as this crime is, I was equally disturbed by another thing. Tony didn't escape from Bolvangar or just wonder off. He was well dressed in warm clothes. And then there is this other passage where Iorek relates to Lyra what the villager has told him:

-------------------

"He says that it's not the only child of that kind. He's seen others in the forest. Sometimes they die quickly, sometimes they don't die. This one is tough, he thinks. But it would be better for him if he dies."
--------------------

The way I read this is that after doing the most cruel thing you can do to another human--"cutting" away their daemon, they then take the no longer useful child and throw him out to fend for himself in the arctic winter! Even a child with all his wits would be in trouble. These children have had the worse trauma a child can have, they are lost and bewildered. And then turned out to die alone!

I'm not even sure why they are doing the intercision (I think that is what they called it). And after the procedure were these children rejects? I am totally lost as to what the reason could be for such extraordinary cruelty!



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Re: Part 2, Bolvangar, Chapters 10-17

Chapter 15 - Daemon Cages

Somewhere in my first reading (just a couple of weeks ago) I though I had read something about some of the staff having severed daemons but they and their daemons were just placid but still together.

But as far as these kids are concerned, it seems they have severed their daemons, which they keep in cages, and then send the humans away, some of which somehhow escape, though they could not have much motivation to do so. I will probably encounter the meaning of all this later on, but in spite of the fact that I just read this book, I'm baffled.

It is bad enough that they are severing kids from their daemons but they are separating them as well. They just keep heaping cruelty on top of cruelty and it all doesn't seem to have much of purpose except in the name of scientific investigation for its own sake. Before I discover the answer, this prompts some comments.

1) We do this to animals in our world all the time. Animals feel pain and fear probably as keenly as we do, yet we generally sanction it as for the "greater good" of mankind (like experiments to cure diseases). In spite of the fact that these are human children, would you accept this as acceptable if it were for the "greater good?"

2) Because we mainly view these people at Bolvangar as doctors or scientists, we feel this is evil. Science gone bad. Because this is science and the doctors seem very clinical, would you consider this act bad because these people are inherently evil?

3) But in Lyra's world science and religion seem to be intertwined. What if we viewed this as religion and not science and this was considered a necessary procedure to insure salvation? How would you feel if you accepted the religious objectives of this society?

I guess the thought that is running through my mind is that we are dealing with a given act that seems excessively cruel yet our judgment of it might depend on our perspective of the situation.
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Re: Part 2, Bolvangar, Chapters 10-17

Chapter 16: True Character Revealed

The meeting in the conference room is the first time we get to meet some of the adults when the are not trying to fool children and it is really chilling.

They do a bit of talking about their experiments and how they progressed in their human-daemon separation. It is quite painful to realize they are doing this to scared, innocent children. Their tone is quite scientific and clinical:

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"Ah,...there's a real advance. with the first model we could never entirely overcome the risk of the patient dying of shock, but we've improved that no end."

....

"But simply tearing was the only option for some time...however distressing that was to the adult operators. If you remember, we had to discharge quite a number for reasons of stress-related anxiety. But the first big breakthrough was the use of anesthesia combined with the Maystadt anbaric scalpel. We were able to reduce death from operative shock to below five percent."

....

"We're investigating what happens when the intercision is made with the patient in a conscious state, and of course that couldn't be done with the Maystadt process. So we've developed a kind of quillotine..."

--------------------------

It is interesting to note, though Mrs. Coulter is very much in charge of this project and the boss, that the "scientists" here do not hold her in high esteem. The implication is that Mrs. Coulter does not hold to the philosophical (or belief) values of the group and her interest was not "scientific" but sadistic.

----------------------------

"Her attitude worries me...."

"Not philosophical, you mean."

"Exactly: A personal interest. I don't like to use the word, but it's almost goulish."

"That's a bit strong."

"But do you remember the first experiments, when she was so keen to see them pulled apart---"

-------------------------------

Science, religion, or sadism--it all seems the same to me.
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Re: Aurora or Northern Lights

When I grew up in Philadelphia, Pa., my Dad summoned me to the back door at around 10PM and told me to dress warmly as I was in my PJ's. Outside and to the north was a beautiful curtain of green shimmering and waving. I was fascinated and he told me it was the Aurora. I didn't get much sleep that night as my bedroom faced north and I watched for a long time. Now that I'm in NC, we don't get them here and I,m glad my Dad gave me the opportunity to watch something so delicate looking and colorful.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Re: Part 2, Bolvangar, Chapters 10-17

I think Lyra knows she is special and that she has to find these children and possibly that other world that her father saw.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Re: Part 2, Bolvangar, Chapters 10-17

Chapter 11 was grueling and cruel. It broke my heart to see that Tony lost his daemon. His fate seemed to be sealed as when one dies doesn't the owner die too.I can't understand the concept here except to think that Tony didn't live up to standards and he was rejected and thrown out. Very cruel indeed!
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Re: Part 2, Bolvangar, Chapters 10-17



maxcat wrote:
Chapter 11 was grueling and cruel. It broke my heart to see that Tony lost his daemon. His fate seemed to be sealed as when one dies doesn't the owner die too.I can't understand the concept here except to think that Tony didn't live up to standards and he was rejected and thrown out. Very cruel indeed!




I haven't been able to make sense out of that either, maxicat. They obviously kept some severed people, like the nurses, as complacent employees, and these people at least got to keep their daemons. But why did they put the children's daemons in cages and then turn them out in the cold without their daemons, most likely to freeze and starve since no one would help such mutilated children? Theoretically, they were trying to "help" these children--eliminate the effects of "original sin"--that is keeping dust from settling on them. If they were acting for religious reasons, for their own good, you would have thought they would show some sort of compassion.
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Re: Part 2, Bolvangar, Chapters 10-17

I agree...it is science gone bad. To cut the daemons away from the kids and keep them in cages is another cruelty. Sounds like a zoo to me. I was glad the goose daemon was able to save them and lead them away from that miserable place. Whether they find their owners is questionable as probably some never made it alive.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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Re: Part 2, Bolvangar, Chapters 10-17

Yes, that makes Mrs. Coulter the evil one. Lyra certainly needs to worry about her except she has her own problems with the gentlemen in the confernce room and she and Pan almost get separated for good. Mrs. Coulter stops the procedure when she sees it is Lyra and takes her to her room. Lyra now understands that in order to survive with Pan, she must get out of there.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
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