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Discussion: Chapters 1-7 of The Subtle Knife #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!  I’m quite a bit behind, but here are my answers to the questions Jessie at The Daily Bookmark posted for Chapters 1-7 of The Subtle Knife:

1. In the beginning of The Subtle Knife, we’re introduced to Will. What do you think of our heroes, Will and Lyra as a pair? They have such different personalities – Lyra, a little scatter-brained, willful and independent and Will, responsible, somber and fully aware. Do their contrasting personalities help them in their quest or hinder it?

I like Will!  And I also like Lyra.  I think they’ll do well together, but as we’ve seen so far in the book, they know to trust each other but they each kind of had their own agendas, and they need to work together if they plan on succeeding in the future.

2. Lyra says that she trusts Will because she learns from the alethiometer that he’s a murderer. Why do you suppose this is? What benefits could a murderer have over any other sort of companion?

I thought that part was really funny! Because most people don’t think that way.  Most people, if they learned someone was a murderer, they wouldn’t want to be around them anymore, and they’d probably turn them in to the authorities! But Lyra’s situation is quite different.  She’s seen lots of people die, and she’s been very close to being killed herself.  So since Will is a murderer, she thinks that maybe she’s better being around him and being on his side than being against him.  Or that he can protect her, like Iorek did.

3. In Ci’gazze, Will and Lyra learn from the resident children about spectres. Why do you think they don’t feed on the souls of children? If you’ve read past this point and KNOW why, tell what you thought before you reached this point?

I don’t know why they don’t feed on the souls of children, but I think maybe it has to do with the fact that the Dust doesn’t flock towards children, but it does towards adults.  Oooh, wait, maybe the Spectres are Dust, just in a different, hostile form.  Maybe that’s completely wrong, though.  I have so many theories about this series that are probably completely wrong!  ;)

So there are my answers for this discussion.  Great questions, Jessie! Everyone can feel free to leave your own 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 here again tomorrow for my questions for Chapters 8-15 of The Subtle Knife!


  1. Rachel Hoyt

    October 5, 2012 at 12:10 am

    Oh my goodness, I had no idea there was a HDM readalong going on!! I read these books ages ago and have been dying to reread them recently. Your answers to the question are great. :) I may have to join in and catch up with y'all!

    Rachel @ Paper Cuts

  2. Kate Midnight Book Girl

    October 5, 2012 at 1:14 am

    Lyra is definitely an unusual character! I really liked Will, and although Lyra's reasoning for trusting him is a bit messed up, he's a good man to have on her team.

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