For years, when thinking about Philip Pullman’s ‘Northern Lights’, the first thing that came into my mind was a great flour explosion.
That and worlds floating in the sky, of course.
The first time I read the book, I was still in middle school and I probably hadn’t stepped into Harry Potter’s world yet. I remember my friend of those days reading it and me wishing for a chance to have a glimpse at that world she talked so fondly about.
Finally she finished the first book of the trilogy – ‘His Dark Materials – and my journey with Lyra could start, right there at Jordan College, in an Oxford of a different world, a different universe.
In my sweet 12, if Harry Potter made me long for a magic wand and an invisibility cloak, Lyra Belacqua definitely made me wish for a dæmon as a best friend and worlds floating among the Northern Lights of the Aurora Borealis.
The world Lyra lives in is already a world quite different from the one we know.
There people have dæmons as life companions. A child and a dæmon grow up together, learn together, so strongly bound one to the other, that they are almost a single entity.
Breaking the bond, even if possible, is a sacrilege that no one would ever attempt.
So Lyra lives, carefree and half-wild, with her dæmon Pantalaimon and her best friend Roger.
Until her uncle Lord Asriel comes back from the North, with mysterious pictures of a world floating in the sky and of the strange behavior of the mysterious Dust.
Meanwhile, children start disappearing, taken by the so-called Gobblers. Some say they are cannibals, some say they are a secret cult. Only the gypsies know that they take children to the dangerous North.
So, when Roger suddenly disappears, Lyra and Pantalaimon must find her way to the dangerous and cold North as well, taking with her a weird compass that always tells the truth.
Reading this book again last month (I found it at the bookshop, I just couldn’t say no…), it felt like going back to my 12, riding on an armored bear and flying on a zeppelin pulled by flying witches.
Some say it’s a Christian book. I don’t care.
It’s a wonderful fairytale and Philip Pullman is definitely one of the best storytellers I’ve ever come across.
If you want to know more about this book: Goodreads
If you want to buy this book: Amazon