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Nadine
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THE GOLDEN COMPASS -- Part 3, Svalbard, Chapters 18-23

[ Edited ]
My overall feeling about this section of the book is that Pullman suddenly discovered he had a lot of information to communicate and also should finish up this book. We do find out a lot in this section but we find out in long dialogs between two characters rather than the give and take type dialog amid action drama. Though the material is interesting I also found the long unbroken stretches a bit tedious. This was particularly true in chapters 18 and 21. However, all the information is very important not only for filling out the story but I think probably as a foundation for the rest of the series. For that reason I am doing a fairly close reading of the material both by reading the text and listening to the CDs.

Message Edited by ConnieK on 10-05-2007 09:07 AM
Distinguished Bibliophile
Nadine
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Re: Part 3, Svalbard, Chapters 18-23: Bears and Being Human

Bears and Being Human

The bears are an interesting species. They don't have daemons so they are not considered human--I guess they haven't got a soul but I'm not sure. But something that was mentioned in the meeting at Jordan College, Lyra remembers in Chapter 19 about Iofur Raknison (the bad bear now in charge) wanting a daemon more than anything else.

Pg 333 "But now it was plain. Everything she'd heard about the bear-king added up: the mighty Iofur Raknison wanted nothing more than to be a human being, with a daemon of his own." He was modeling his kingdom on a human model and had a little doll human daemon that looked like Mrs. Coulter. Lyra even tricks him by saying she is a daemon and wants to be his daemon. Apparently, (on page 341-342) Mrs. Coulter had promised him he could be baptized as a Christian even if he didn't have a daemon. Lyra cleverly adds that the Magisterium in Geneva would probably never agree to the baptism because he didn't have a daemon. But if she, Lyra, was his daemon they would have to baptize him.

This is an interesting bit of HDM theology that I'm not sure I fully understand. But the physical possession of daemon, whether inherent to the species or not, seems to make a difference, at least according to Lyra's and Mrs. Coulter's reasoning, in whether a being is acceptable into the religious community.

There is a bit of a conflict here, though. The Church is out severing children from their daemons to rid them of Dust (or Original Sin I think). In short you are damned if you have one and damned if you don't. Now Mrs. Coulter and Lyra have their own personal agendas and are trying to fool Iofur Raknison. Still that leaves me with the puzzling theological logic behind severing children from their daemons--unless everyone actually has ulterior motives not related to religion.
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Nadine
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Re: Part 3, Svalbard, Chapters 18-23: Bears and Being Human

Interestingly enough Mrs. Coulter was planning to turn Svalbard into another Bolvangar (pg 357) and then build her power base here. In fact, (page 359) she is on her way to Svalbard with Tartars to take over Svalbard. So much for promises of baptism.

I think this pretty well sets the idea in my mind that Mrs. Coulter is not really a religious fanatic but someone who is just using religion to get power. Maybe this is everyone's motive and the trilogy is not really about theology but using religion as a tool to gain power.
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maxcat
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Re: Part 3, Svalbard, Chapters 18-23: Bears and Being Human

I think Iofur just wanted a daemon like anyone else. Lyra did a good job in getting Iofur to believe that she could be his daemon. Of course if you are an animal, you should get a human daemon. He was carrying a doll, I believe.
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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maxcat
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Re: Part 3, Svalbard, Chapters 18-23: Bears and Being Human

Yes, Mrs. Coulter was not a religious fanatic. She was cruel and mean and expected to turn Svalbard into another Bolvanger except larger. I didn't think she would go with Lord Asriel into the city in the universe. She had bigger plans.
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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