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ConnieAnnKirk
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THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 6-10

[ Edited ]
Use this thread to discuss the plot from Chapters 6-10 in THE SUBTLE KNIFE. The chapters are:

6: "Lighted Fliers"

7: "The Rolls-Royce"

8: "The Tower of the Angels"

9: "Theft"

10: "The Shaman"

Please avoid spoilers by not posting later plot points from Chapters 11-15 in THE SUBTLE KNIFE or anything at all from THE AMBER SPYGLASS. It is ok to assume readers have read THE GOLDEN COMPASS in this thread.

Enjoy!

~ConnieK

Message Edited by ConnieK on 10-01-2007 11:50 AM
~ConnieAnnKirk




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maxcat
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 6

The lighted fliers sounded very interesting as a title; I couldn't figure out what they were. As I read deep into the chapter, I find that they are angels and Serafina the witch asked if they were on some sort of mission. They were going to Lord Asriel's new home. Serafina decides to go along as she wants to talk to Lord Asriel. We find out a lot about the Spectors and how they came about. Gruesome characters they are.
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: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 7

The alethiometer has been stolen by a man that lyra met in a museum. He's wealthy and is a collector and he knows about the other world of Ci'gazze. He also knows about the Spectors and that there is a man in a tower holding a knife that he wants. He tells Lyra to go get the knife and bring it to him and he will give the alethiometer back to her. Will was with her and this man knows all about his past and that he's wanted by the police.
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: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 8

This chapter explains a lot about the subtle knife and its uses. Will gets into a fight with the crazed man in the tower and gets the knife away from him but at the cost of losing two fingers. In the meantime, he and Lyra find an old man on the top floor of the tower tied up and left to die. They free him and he begins to tell the story of the knife. He, it turns out is the bearer of the knife. He lets Will keep the knife and become the bearer as the old man has lost the same two fingers when he became bearer. It seems the knife can cut windows into other worlds and then you can close those windows by pinching the edges together. The knife also glows different colors. Now Will and Lyra have to go back to Oxford to get their alethiometer back. The old man said it wouldn't be easy as he knew the man who took the alethiometer and he is a liar and a cheat. I think their plan of attack is to steal the alethiometer.
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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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 8

maxcat (or other readers)--Thanks for posting summaries of these chapters. What do you think of the narrative so far? Is there something in particular in this section of THE SUBTLE KNIFE that has piqued your curiosity?

~ConnieK
~ConnieAnnKirk




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maxcat
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 8

This section of the trilogy seems to have more action and mystery to it. I find it intriguing and try and do a chapter a night. SK is definitely better than GC and I can't wait to start The Amber Spyglass as hopefully, it will tie everything together.
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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Nadine
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 8


maxcat wrote:
This section of the trilogy seems to have more action and mystery to it. I find it intriguing and try and do a chapter a night. SK is definitely better than GC and I can't wait to start The Amber Spyglass as hopefully, it will tie everything together.




I like the second book better as well, though most people prefer the first. There is more to think about in this book and a lot of the loose ends are starting to come together. I think as we get into this and the next book, we will be able to talk more about ideas and concepts which were only hinted at in the background of the first book and not as relevant to the story. I also like the idea of the different story threads attached to several major characters. I think it adds more interest beyond the adventures of wonder child Lyra. I also like the idea that Lyra is making mistakes now and is not as sure of herself. I think it makes her a more interesting character--a little more rounded.

I too am reading only about a chapter a night. Well, it is all I have time for. But it also slows me down so I can put some time into thinking about the book ideas and do some supplementary reading. Now I can read more of David's book and relate what he says to the actual story.
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapter 8

[ Edited ]
In Chapter 8, Will receives the subtle knife and learns how to use it. He is told the 4 rules of the knife, and the former bearer watches as he tries it out for the first time. Will is given more instruction in using the subtle knife than Lyra received when she was given the alethiometer. Lyra had to learn more through intuition and practice--a book explaining how to read the 'golden compass' exists, but it is not available to her. Does this difference suggest anything to you about the relative importance of the two devices or perhaps a difference in the characters receiving them?

~ConnieK

Message Edited by ConnieK on 10-11-2007 09:16 AM
~ConnieAnnKirk




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maxcat
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapter 8

I think Lyra knows enough about the alethiometer to use it skillfully. She is more suited for this tool than Will. Will seems more fitting to have the knife and to learn how to use it properly as i don't think Lyra could do a better job.
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: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 9

In this chapter, Will and Lyra go back to Oxford to retrieve the alethiometer. After opening several windows with the knife, they are successful but Lyra sees someone she would rather not have seen- Mrs. Coulter.
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: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 10

We learn more about Dr. Grumman here and that he is alive but his name is John Parry. This is Will's father and he has heart problems. He and Lee Scorcesby go Noth to find the window that leads to other worlds. Lee wants to make sure Lyra is safe.
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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Nadine
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapter 8


ConnieK wrote:
In Chapter 8, Will receives the subtle knife and learns how to use it. He is told the 4 rules of the knife, and the former bearer watches as he tries it out for the first time. Will is given more instruction in using the subtle knife than Lyra received when she was given the alethiometer. Lyra had to learn more through intuition and practice--a book explaining how to read the 'golden compass' exists, but it is not available to her. Does this difference suggest anything to you about the relative importance of the two devices or perhaps a difference in the characters receiving them?

~ConnieK

Message Edited by ConnieK on 10-11-2007 09:16 AM




This is an interesting point that I had not thought of. Pullman seems to play around a lot with male and female archetypes and I think this is becoming more apparent in the later books. Lyra is the female archetype and represents instincts and intuition. This is the way she acts and solves problems, so naturally she learns "her magical tool" instinctively. She never plans anything before hand but solves problems more by her intuition. Her internal male counterpart, Pan, is male and represents her logical side. Will, of course is the male archetype. He takes a more logical approach to things and plans his situations like his strategy to retrieve the alethiometer. He must be instructed in the use of "his magical tool" and must learn how to use it, while during the procedure Lyra already knows how to make it work but tries not to interfere with his instruction.
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DavidC
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapter 8


Nadine wrote:

...Pullman seems to play around a lot with male and female archetypes and I think this is becoming more apparent in the later books. Lyra is the female archetype and represents instincts and intuition. This is the way she acts and solves problems, so naturally she learns "her magical tool" instinctively. She never plans anything before hand but solves problems more by her intuition. Her internal male counterpart, Pan, is male and represents her logical side. Will, of course is the male archetype. He takes a more logical approach to things and plans his situations like his strategy to retrieve the alethiometer. He must be instructed in the use of "his magical tool" and must learn how to use it, while during the procedure Lyra already knows how to make it work but tries not to interfere with his instruction.




While I see how those categories make sense on paper, I don't know if they describe the cause and effect in this case. Seems to me the difference has more to do with the difference in the objects. Lyra has to rely on her intuition with the alethiometer because the device requires that approach. Logic won't work. She tried that first, I think.
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BarbaraN
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 6-10

I have found some very revealing things in Chapter 9, especially into the nature of Mrs. Coulter. I have always wondered about her experiments with "intercision" covered in the Golden Compass. She didn't seem to have the theological interest and knowing our Mrs. Coulters' desire for power, it seems it must have been something more than a mere effort to please the authorities. Here we find out that she is building her own private army of devoted followers. We also find out a bit more about Dust, the importance of Lyra, the interest of Sir Charles, and the Specters. Very revealing section.

This is from pages 199-200 during her conversation with Sir Charles.

Mrs. Coulter: "This is at the heart of everythin, this difference between children and adults! It contains the whole mystery of Dust! This is why I must find the child [Lyra]...She has the answer, somehow, and I must have it."

-------------------
So much for mother love! I think Mrs. Coulter is non-redeemable.

And then on to the results of her experiments.
-----------------

Sir Charles: Tell me about your curious bodyguards, Marisa....

"Men, that's all. But...they've undergone intercision. Thjey have no daemonsm, so they have no fear and no imagination and no free will, and they'll fight till they're torn apart."

Sir Charles: "I'd like to see whether the Specters are interested in them."
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 6-10

It strikes me as a bit of a paradox that the men who have undergone intercision "will fight till they're torn apart." I understand that because they have no free will they are now like robots and will act as commanded to act. However, aren't the best fighters those who have a passion or vested interest in what's at stake? I'm thinking, for example, of today's terrorists or suicide bombers in "our world" who blow themselves up for religious reasons--or so we've been told. The sense is that terrorists, etc. have the passion to "fight till they're torn apart." Free will and imagination fuel passion, don't they?

~ConnieK



BarbaraN wrote:
I have found some very revealing things in Chapter 9, especially into the nature of Mrs. Coulter. I have always wondered about her experiments with "intercision" covered in the Golden Compass. She didn't seem to have the theological interest and knowing our Mrs. Coulters' desire for power, it seems it must have been something more than a mere effort to please the authorities. Here we find out that she is building her own private army of devoted followers. We also find out a bit more about Dust, the importance of Lyra, the interest of Sir Charles, and the Specters. Very revealing section.

This is from pages 199-200 during her conversation with Sir Charles.

Mrs. Coulter: "This is at the heart of everythin, this difference between children and adults! It contains the whole mystery of Dust! This is why I must find the child [Lyra]...She has the answer, somehow, and I must have it."

-------------------
So much for mother love! I think Mrs. Coulter is non-redeemable.

And then on to the results of her experiments.
-----------------

Sir Charles: Tell me about your curious bodyguards, Marisa....

"Men, that's all. But...they've undergone intercision. Thjey have no daemonsm, so they have no fear and no imagination and no free will, and they'll fight till they're torn apart."

Sir Charles: "I'd like to see whether the Specters are interested in them."


~ConnieAnnKirk




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BarbaraN
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 6-10

[ Edited ]
It strikes me as a bit of a paradox that the men who have undergone intercision "will fight till they're torn apart." I understand that because they have no free will they are now like robots and will act as commanded to act. However, aren't the best fighters those who have a passion or vested interest in what's at stake? I'm thinking, for example, of today's terrorists or suicide bombers in "our world" who blow themselves up for religious reasons--or so we've been told. The sense is that terrorists, etc. have the passion to "fight till they're torn apart." Free will and imagination fuel passion, don't they?

~ConnieK
-----------------------------------------

I don't think they are acting out of free will but just the opposite--they have been indoctrinated by someone else imposing their ideology on them. I believe Islam forbids suicide and most religions killing but the "magisterium" has its own agenda.

But you have hit upon the key word here--Free Will. That is where it all started with Adam and Eve, which seems to have some bearing on where this story is going and might be the point that Pullman is making. (See end of Compass).

Message Edited by BarbaraN on 10-17-2007 10:13 AM
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: THE SUBTLE KNIFE -- Chapters 6-10

I guess maybe there are 2 issues at play--whether or not many of today's terrorists are brainwashed radicals who are not really operating out of an individual sense of free will, or whether they fully know what they are doing and choose to act out their ideology through violence. If at least some violent terrorists are of the former category, maybe we can argue that they are like those soldiers in Pullman's world who have suffered "incision?" I'm still wondering, though, if soldiers not operating out of free will are as impassioned to fight to the death. I'm thinking, for example, of drafted soldiers during Vietnam, vs. enlisted soldiers fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan after 9-11.

And you're so right--Free will in general is definitely a big theme in these books!

~ConnieK



BarbaraN wrote:
I don't think they are acting out of free will but just the opposite--they have been indoctrinated by someone else imposing their ideology on them. I believe Islam forbids suicide and most religions killing but the "magisterium" has its own agenda.

But you have hit upon the key word here--Free Will. That is where it all started with Adam and Eve, which seems to have some bearing on where this story is going and might be the point that Pullman is making. (See end of Compass).

Message Edited by BarbaraN on 10-17-2007 10:13 AM


~ConnieAnnKirk




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