Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Philip Pullman

Here's a review of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials.
[Link via The Corner.]

All I know about Pullman's books is what I've read about them: that he's on record as saying he wanted his books to be the anti-Narnia; that his books support an atheistic, anti-priest, anti-Christianity worldview; that educators praise his books highly; and that J. K. Rowling is believed to have written a satirical portrait of Pullman, in her character Gilderoy Lockhart, an egocentric, shallow, boastful celebrity who eventually proves dangerous to the children under his charge (not by doing anything to them himself, but by not equipping them to deal with the dangers they face and by not helping protect them himself.) This review of Pullman's work goes into more detail than any comments I've read previously, and it reaffirms my suspicion I wouldn't like the books or be willing to hand them to a child; I may eventually read some of them myself to make sure, but, as life is too short to read all the books I want to read, Pullman would be wiser not to hold his breath waiting for a royalty from me.

Reading this review does bring up a question though: Where do so many Americans waste their breath complaining about an innocuous series of books that has repeatedly championed love, friendship, and a willingness to sacrifice for others; that rejected moral relativism in its very first book; that included a sort of mini-hymn to free will in its most recent book; that has its wisest character tell us that death is not the worst thing that can happen to a person; and that depicts its worst villain as having (if I'm not reading too much into this) a Gnostic-like hatred of humanity's physical bodies with their eventual decay and death--in short, why are people wasting their time complaining about Rowling's Harry Potter when Pullman's books sound so much worse?

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