In a message dated 10/8/3 11:32:45 AM, Lizzie wrote:
<<but I have
actually spoken to people in bookstores who seemed otherwise well read and
stuff, one was a librarian in fact, who enjoyed Pullman because he gave his
characters more of a semblance of independence. Something like that>>
My problem with it was that there was *no* semblance of independence in the
characters -- that they seemed to be manipulated like puppets on strings by the
author in order to make his ideological points, without any regard for
consistency of character. For example, Lyra (one of the two main characters) is
indeed, at first, presented as independent-minded, so much so that even by the end
of the second volume one expects her to be able to avoid the no-win either-or
choice she (and the reader) is presented with: either the cruelty of the
Church or the cruelty of Lord Asriel (Lyra's father, and the story's Stan-figure).
However, Pullman suddenly makes her entirely passive, unable or unwilling to
influence events, siding with her father by default rather than through
conviction. The reader hasn't been led to anticipate such behaviour from her, and
the effect is terribly jarring.
My reaction to the trilogy was the same as Mary's: bowled over by the
first book, made uneasy by the second one, and horribly disappointed by the third.
The fact that it was the third book that was singled out for a high literary
award implies that the judges were moved by its ideological content more than
by its literary merits, since by any objective literary standards it's a