These are the daemons in your neighbourhood

I have deeply mixed feelings about The Golden Compass.

The trilogy of which the book is the first part is deeply antithetical to my beliefs — just as author Philip Pullman intended it to be — and to make it worse, the trilogy gets more and more didactic as it goes. But the first book, which takes place in a parallel universe, is extremely well written, and a lot of its mystery and wonder and suspense hinges on a great concept called the “daemon” — i.e., an external animal manifestation of the soul of each human being.

So, while I hesitate to contribute to the publicity for the upcoming movie, I also cannot help but take advantage of a feature on the movie’s official website that invites people to “meet your daemon”. I answered 20 questions, and the website gave me this:

http://goldencompassmovie.com/goldenCompass_blog.swf?id=93277

And now, if you answer five questions within the next 12 days, my daemon might change form. (Actually, I already changed it accidentally when I tested the second questionnaire; I answered “neutral” to all questions, but apparently, to the website, that meant my daemon had to change, rather than stay the same. The image below shows what my daemon looked like originally.)

One thing I will say: I do like the name “Sophistra”.

Incidentally, some people have said the movie will tone down the anti-religious aspects of the trilogy — which isn’t saying a whole lot, since in this respect the first book is the least overt of the entire series — but what are we to make of this description of the evil Magisterium, taken from the movie’s website? Click on the image below for a higher-res copy, and note the word “dogma”.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/03529720659996664523 Roney Belhassof

    Hello!

    I don’t speak English very well, sorry.

    If you think your religion is against free will and try to force people to accept it’s true than His Dark Materials is against It for sure!

    It looks like the Catholic Church have seen Itself in the Magisterium, and God not in the Dust, but in a false God… Maybe there are problems in the Catholic Church… I was catholic 3 decades ago, but I became desapointed with It and now I am kind of humanist.

    His Dark Materials, I think, is an important chance to think about our true beliefs!


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