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Discussion: Chapters 13-26 of The Amber Spyglass #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 13-26 of The Amber Spyglass.  Just a few notes before we begin:

  • This is a discussion for The Amber Spyglass, focusing on Chapters 13-26. If you haven’t read this far in the series yet, please be warned, as there will be spoilers.  If you have already read further in The Amber Spyglass, please do not leave any spoilers, as our participants may not have read that far yet.
  • 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.  And forgive me if I forget some information–it has been several days since I read this part.

1.  In Chapter 14, Iorek says to Will, “With it you can do strange things.  What you don’t know is what the knife does on its own.  Your intentions may be good.  The knife has intentions, too.”  And when Lyra asks the alethiometer if it was a good idea to repair the knife, it says that yes, it should be mended, but Lyra didn’t completely understand all that the alethiometer was telling her.  Do you think that there are more sinister things that the knife could be “intending”?  If so, what?

2.  To go into the land of the dead, Lyra has to leave her dæmon, Pantalaimon, behind.  This is not only emotionally agonizing for both of them, but physically painful as well.  If you were in her place, do you think that you would have left your dæmon there, simply to apologize to a friend whom you wronged?

3.  Once in the land of the dead, Lyra decides to free all of the ghosts that are trapped there.  But there’s a catch–if you leave the land of the dead, you are no longer yourself, but you dissolve and become a part of the rest of the world around you.  Some of the ghosts believe that it is better to stay in the land of the dead.  If you were one of the ghosts, which do you think you would choose?

My Answers

1.  I definitely think the knife will be used for more than just opening worlds and defending Will and the others.  Obviously each side in this war wants the knife on their side, because of its immense power.  And as we’ve seen, Will’s father and the angels have told Will that he needs to take the knife to Asriel, to be on Asriel’s side.  And I’m pretty sure that Will won’t be just defending himself when it comes time–he’ll be at least asked to kill someone, most likely the Authority.

2.  I personally think it was a bit crazy that Lyra left Pan there.  I mean, seriously?  It causes you physical and emotional pain to be like 10 feet from your dæmon.  Why would you go into a whole other land without them?  I don’t think I would have done it.  I mean, I know that it turns out that they did a lot more while they were there than just apologize to Roger and find Will’s dad, but I still think it was kind of drastic for Lyra to just desert Pan like that.  Poor Pan! :(

3.  It’s kind of a Catch-22, that whole escaping the land of the dead thing. For one thing, you’re already dead, so it doesn’t really matter so much if you’re not in your own physical form anymore.  Although, if you’re really upset about being dead, I can see why you wouldn’t want to dissolve and not really be yourself anymore.  However, it seems like the longer you’re in the land of the dead, the less you remember about yourself and your life, so you wouldn’t really be yourself anymore anyway.  And then there’s the harpies to deal with.  But you would maybe be able to see your loved ones if you stayed there.  I personally would want to stay, see my loved ones, and leave just when I’ve got one last shred of my memory left.

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, when Jessie will post the last discussion questions for The Amber Spyglass!

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