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The Magical Worlds of Philip Pullman Paperback – 7 Sep 2006

5.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books (7 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141318759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141318752
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 1.4 x 20 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,473,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

The Magical Worlds of Philip Pullman Enter the realm of His Dark Materials-soon to be a major motion picture starring Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. After exploring the worlds of Harry Potter, The Lord of the Rings, and Narnia, David Colbert turns to Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. From the philosophy of William Blake and John Milton's poem Paradise Lost to quantum physics and the Bible, this book reveals the complex o... Full description

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This is a superb introduction to the ideas and the literary traditions that underpin Philip Pullman's brilliant Northern Lights trilogy. It touches on Blake, Milton and Gnosticism in a simple but incisive way, and tackles such questions as to whether Lord Asriel is a hero or a villain. If you're likely to get into a heated argument or even a civilised discussion with an anti-Pullmanite (and there are a few out of them out there, sadly!) arm yourself with this book! Then you too can argue the case for 'The Republic of Heaven' against the forces of religious oppression! Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 4.0 out of 5 stars 3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Illuminating, but hardly inspiring, look at Pullman's trilogy 5 Mar. 2008
By Kaeli Vandertulip - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book explains some of the inspiration for the "His Dark Materials" series (including the reason behind the American title, for the Brits who get so annoyed by the American title-it has nothing to do the alethiometer-of course, this made the movie that much more agrivating to watch). Colbert doesn't stop with the obvious influences (though he does a good job of making them accessible)-of Blake and Milton. He explains the poetry, lives, and evolution of the characters and their creator. As with so much writing, knowing about the author's life helps understand his writing; this is especially true of the literature studying, Anglican reared, agnostic/atheist writing this series.

However, Colbert's writing is often scattered and doesn't flow very well. The sidebars often take away from the writing. The inserts (the grey pages) are annoyingly put in right in the middle of a sentence. Put them at the end of the freaking chapters!
He could have also spent more time discussing daemons-I felt the chapter just got thrown in as an afterthought. Gyptians, the armoured bears, the witches, and all the otherworldly creatures also seemed to be glossed over. There are so many layers to the Dark Materials trilogy. While this book certainly helps uncover many of them, there are still more layers to unearth-this book is often just a boring explanation, much like an English class analysing Beowulf.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully informative without being overwhelming 25 April 2006
By L.S. Jaszczak - Published on
Format: Paperback
Philip Pullman's _His Dark Materials_ trilogy is so full of references and allusions to subjects and works of literature that the average adult, never mind the average teenager, knows nothing about, that I was afraid this book would be either absurdly simplified or overwhelming in its scope. Happily, David Colbert seems to strike a near-perfect balance between making his subject matter understandable and doing justice to it at least in an introductory way, which is no more than he aims to do. I'm sure that the fact that Colbert had access to Pullman and was able to discuss his ideas with him also helped immeasurably.

Where did Pullman get the idea of daemons, and how did it change as he wrote? What other author wrote about the impossibility of winning a sparring match with a bear? Is Lord Asriel "on the side of" good or evil? These are only a few of the questions that are answered (or not, in the case of the last one), in this illustrated guide to the background of _His Dark Materials_, with the added bonus of some direct peeks into the mind that created this brilliantl work.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great as an overview, as a 29 Oct. 2006
By Heather E. Waddell - Published on
Format: Paperback
I'm writing a college thesis on Pullman's His Dark Materials, so I was excited to find this book. However, I was slightly disappointed when it arrived. It's well written and a great overview, but if you've already started doing some looking and thinking on your own it doesn't give you much that's new.

This book is a great starting point, and great for a fun read. I don't so much reccomend it as a primary reference, but as a helpful guide it's very well done.
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