No need to speculate about what Pullman’s stories are about when he keeps coming right out and saying things like this.
In Pullman’s trilogy, Lyra is the new-age Eve, and Will is the modern-day Adam. God is a wizened spent force of an “Authority”. And “The Fall” is to be celebrated as the defining moment of mankind, rather than the source of all worldly evil. Little wonder that His Dark Materials has been denounced by some religious zealots.
Pullman, though, expected more. I’ve been surprised by how little criticism I’ve got. Harry Potter’s been taking all the flak . . . the people – mainly from America’s Bible Belt – who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven’t got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I’ve been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God.
As a teenager, he fell in love with Paradise Lost. “Books I and II, when the angels have just been thrown into Hell after the war in Heaven. They plot a terrible revenge, to destroy, subvert and ruin the new world God has made.”
Pullman has no qualms with critics who label his books sacrilegious, so how does he describe himself? “If we’re talking on the scale of human life and the things we see around us, I’m an atheist. There’s no God here. There never was. But if you go out into the vastness of space, well, I’m not so sure. On that level, I’m an agnostic.(interview in the Sydney Morning Herald)
Wouldn’t it be nice if Dan Brown was so straightforward?