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Discussion: Chapters 8-15 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!  Welcome to the discussion of Chapters 8-15 of The Subtle Knife.  Just a few notes before we begin:

  • This is a discussion for The Subtle Knife, focusing on Chapters 8-15. If you haven’t read this far in the series yet, please be warned, as there will be spoilers.  If you have already read The Amber Spyglass, please do not leave any spoilers, as many of our participants haven’t read past the end of this 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.  The Subtle Knife has introduced us to some new characters, and we’ve left a few of the characters from The Golden Compass behind (at least for the time being).  Has your favorite character changed, or have you grown to like certain characters more or less than you did before?

2.  Will is “chosen” to be the bearer of the knife.  Why do you think he was chosen?  Do you think he was simply in the right place at the right time, or that it has something to do with his father?  Or do you think he was chosen for another reason altogether?

3.  Grumman/John Parry’s dæmon just appeared out of nowhere when he came into Lyra’s world.  Do you think his dæmon was in him all along, as Lyra suspects Will’s is, or do you think something else happened?  And what do you make of the fact that his dæmon can go much further from him than other dæmons can, except for those of witches?

My Answers

1.  I still really like Iorek Byrnison the most, but I have started to like a lot of the other characters more.  I still like Lyra a lot, and I like Will, too.  But I really began to like Lee Scoresby a lot, as well as his dæmon, Hester!  (So sad…)  And I like Dr. Malone, and I look forward to seeing more of her in the next book.

2.  At first I kind of thought that Pullman just made Will the bearer because Lyra already had a large role in this whole thing, and it was fair to give Will something kind of magical.  But as I read on, I began to think that maybe he had planned that whole thing all along.  Maybe it has to do with who his father was but I think maybe it has more to do with Lyra’s “true name” than anything else…

3.  When I first read that part where you find out that Grumman is really John Parry, I was like, “But he has a dæmon!  Is that not really a dæmon?”  But then he said that it was a dæmon and it just appeared when he went into Lyra’s world.  So then I thought to myself, “Did it come out of him or was it just chilling in Lyra’s world, waiting for him to show up?”  And I really wondered why his dæmon was able to get so far from him when other dæmons couldn’t get so far from their humans without immense pain on both sides.  Lee Scoresby questioned it, but it never was cleared up (at least not so far).  So I just wonder if it’s something as simple as the fact that humans have dæmons in Lyra’s world even if they don’t in another world, and that maybe the fact that his could get so far from him was that he was a shaman and he had certain powers just like witches.  Or maybe it’s something more than that, and we’ll find out in the next book…  I guess I don’t really have an answer to this one myself, but I wanted to know what other people thought of it!

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 1-12 of The Amber Spyglass!

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