One of the greatest children;s novels in recent history will come out as a movie in December this year. It is the Golden Compass, first book in the trilogy His Dark Materials, and is the story of Lyra Belacqua and her adventures in an alternate reality. They were written by Philip Pullman, and the characterisation, especially of Lyra and the other children, is superb. The story is compelling and pulls no punches. However I don’t want to give too much away, except to say that in my life I’ve read more Fantasy and Science Fiction than most people, that I am very selective, and that I consider this book in particular, and the series in general, to be exceptional.
Because I admire the story and the characters so much, I have serious misgivings about how well the movie will capture the essence of both. However, some of the actors have given subtle and strong performances during their careers, including Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel, Sam Elliot as the Texan Lee Scoresby, and Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter. I’m also interested in seeing Eva Green again in the role of Serafina Pekkala; she was great in The Dreamers, as well as the latest Bond film, and Kingdom of Heaven. The most critical character is Lyra herself, and she’ll be played by Dakota Blue Richards. This will be her first performance, but the director thinks she is wonderful, and Philip Pullman said
“I’m delighted with the casting of Dakota Blue Richards as Lyra. As soon as I saw Dakota’s screen test, I realized that the search was over. Dakota has just the combination of qualities that make up the complicated character of this girl, and I very much look forward to seeing the film take shape, with Dakota’s Lyra at the heart of it.”
Given the above, and the really interesting previews of Lyra’s world, I have hope that it will be worth watching. It had better be, because I’m watching it!
One aspect of Lyra’s world is dæmons, which are external expressions of the soul of an individual, and are intelligent counterparts to the person. While one is a child the dæmon changes form almost at will, but when one matures sufficiently it takes a final form for the rest of ones life. They are usually of the opposite sex and cannot be separated far from their human without great pain. In our world the dæmon is hidden within the body.
My dæmon is Pelagia. With a name like that I thought she would be some aquatic life form, which may explain why I really despise being away from the ocean (pelagic refers to that part of the ocean not affects by the coast or the ocean bottom, or in short the open ocean). However she turns out to be a tiger. Try finding yours.