Book Events & Blog Events, Discussions

Discussion: Chapters 18-23 of The Golden Compass #HDMreadalong

The His Dark Materials Readalong is hosted by Andrea at The Overstuffed Bookcase and Jessie at The Daily Bookmark. We’ll have discussion questions, reviews, and a giveaway! Go here for more information, or here for the list of all the HDM Readalong posts.

Hi, everyone!  Welcome to the discussion of Chapters 18-23 (Part Three: Svalbard) of The Golden Compass.  Just a few notes before we begin:

  • This is a discussion for The Golden Compass ONLY, focusing on Chapters 18-23 (Part Three).  If you haven’t read all of The Golden Compass, please be warned, as there will be spoilers.  If you have read the other books in the series, please do not leave any spoilers, as many of our participants haven’t read past the first book.
  • You can simply answer these questions in the comments below, or you can write your responses on your own blog.  If you choose the second option, you can use that post as an entry in our giveaway. Go here for more information about the giveaway.

So let’s get to it!  I’ve listed all the questions first, and then answered them below.

1.  Without trying to get too political, did some of the events in the book seem controversial to you?  What parts were they?  And did they bother you or did you just see them as part of the story?

2.  Several of the characters in this book turned out to be very different than they first appear.  What characters were you surprised by (if any), and what did they do that surprised you?

3.  In the end, Lyra and Pantalaimon “walked into the sky.”  If you haven’t yet read The Subtle Knife, what kind of other world do you think they’re going to end up in?  If you have read The Subtle Knife, or if you know where they end up already, (or if you just want to answer this part of the question) what kind of dimension or other world would you want to end up in if you were in Lyra’s place?  A futuristic city, an underwater realm, a type of heaven, etc?

My Answers

1.  There did seem, to me, to be more controversial events in the later parts of the book.  For instance, Lord Asriel’s description of the Church regarding the Dust as proof of Original Sin, and the fact that in this world, the dæmons are what separate people from animals, much like certain religions feel that souls are what separate people from animals.  I don’t necessarily think, though, that he’s completely bashing the Church for these things.  However, it remains to be seen what will happen in the other books.

2.  I found myself throwing the book down and saying, “Nooooooooo!” when I read the part near the end where you find out that Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter were kind of working together on things all along.  I knew Mrs. Coulter was bad from the beginning, and I suspected that Lord Asriel wasn’t as good-hearted as Lyra thought him to be, but I really didn’t see that whole thing coming that they were in cahoots.  Which is kind of surprising, because they were obviously on the same side at one point long ago because they fell in love and had Lyra…  So it seems like I should have seen that coming, but I didn’t.

3.  I haven’t read The Subtle Knife yet, but I’ve seen a hint of what is to come so I won’t answer the first part of this question.  And to answer the second part, my mind immediately jumps to an underwater futuristic city, like an Atlantis in the 30th century or something.  But then again I’d like to see all kinds of different worlds, which I think may explain my love for the show Doctor Who.  We get to go all over time and space and dimensions with that show!  

So there are my answers for this discussion.  Feel free to leave your answers in the comments, or if you write your answers on your own blog, leave me the link in the comments and I’ll add your post to our master list!  And be sure to stop by The Daily Bookmark next Friday for Jessie’s discussion of Chapters 1-7 of The Subtle Knife!


  1. Johnna

    September 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    I think in The Golden Compass there is just a certain negative attitude about the Church. It's powerful, it wants to control everything, it wants to hide evidence that doesn't agree with its teaching, it will commit atrocities just to get what it wants. Not a very pretty picture.

  2. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    September 22, 2012 at 1:34 am

    Yeah, I was disappointed about Lord Asriel too. I wanted him to be a better person than he was.

  3. Adriana

    September 25, 2012 at 9:51 pm

    Did this kind of late but it's done! The Subtle Knife should be interesting.

  4. Bittner

    October 15, 2012 at 8:42 pm

    I think it is funny that your mind went to Atlantis! That seems to random to me! I don't think my mind would have ever gone there but that is probably because I have no imagination!

Leave a Reply

Want to include a link to one of your blog posts below your comment? Enter your URL in the website field, then click the button below to get started.