I recently watched the movie, "The Golden Compass" and since I could not find the sequels, I read the books. I enjoyed them, and I will be reading the first one, Northern Lights, starting tomorrow, since it just arrived via inter-library loan. During my research to locate the sequels, I found an article about why the other two books in the series, The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass, were not made into a movie. Here is the link:  http://freethinker.co.uk/2009/12/16/there-will-be-no-sequels-to-the...  . 

This article, https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2009/dec/15/golden-compas... , makes a point how other things that the Catholic Church "hates" were successful, such as "Harry Potter" and "The Da Vinci Code". I have seen all those movies and, I must be blind, because I do not see anything AGAINST the Catholic Church in them. As a side note, I used to be Christian, so, I do not understand why a Christian author would write stories involving magic, since the bible specifically states to avoid such things. I also will make it a point that the "Lord of the Rings" series is written by a Christian author, involved magic, and is successful.

The only difference I see between the successful movies that the Catholic Church supposedly hates and the His Dark Materials collection is that in either The Subtle Knife and/or The Amber Spyglass, the belief in a god and afterlife is blatantly disagreed with and further states that religion/god is evil and that the church is an evil creation of men used to control and dumb down the masses. I do not know if anything like that is written in the first novel of the series. My opinion is that it is not the content of the movie (magic, etc.), but the outright calling of the church as evil is why the Catholic Church [supposedly] hindered the creation of sequels.  Also, whereas the other authors are Christian, Pullman has stated that he is a Atheist. That can be considered as another reason why the Church "hates" the series. This is from Wikipedia :

Pullman is a supporter of the British Humanist Association and an Honorary Associate of the National Secular Society. He has called himself an atheist, though adding, "I am a Church of England atheist, and a 1662 Book of Common Prayer atheist, because that’s the tradition I was brought up in”,[39] he has also said he is technically an agnostic.[40] Pullman has singled out certain elements of Christianity for criticism : "if there is a God, and he is as the Christians describe him, then he deserves to be put down and rebelled against".[40] However, Pullman has also said that his argument can extend to all religions.[41][42] Pullman has also referred to himself as knowingly "of the Devil's party", a reference to William Blake's revisionist take on Milton in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.[43]

On 15 September 2010, Pullman along with 54 other public figures (including Stephen Fry, Professor Richard Dawkins, Terry Pratchett, Jonathan Miller and Ken Follett) signed an open letter, published in The Guardian newspaper, stating their opposition to Pope Benedict XVI being given "the honour of a state visit" to the UK; the letter argued that the Pope has led and condoned global abuses of human rights, leading a state which has "resisted signing many major human rights treaties and has formed its own treaties ("concordats") with many states which negatively affect the human rights of citizens of those states".[

Another interesting link: http://www.tor.com/2013/09/24/banned-books-week-philip-pullmans-his...

I would like to read the thoughts and opinions of others in this group concerning this matter. Thanks!

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Replies to This Discussion

Very pleasant discoveries in the books were for me:

The main story line is not the single hero who shoulders the burden and saves the world, as in Lord of the Rings, but one person who fulfills a promise to a friend. End of the story brought about by lots of people who play their parts. The heroine doesn't get the partner at the end of story.

Religion is pictured as an outdated institute that was taken over by groups that wanted to exploit it for personal gain - very funny! I can imagine the anger of the catholic church!

Too tired to read your links now, they'll keep till tomorrow.

Why do you think this series was supposedly attacked by the Catholic church, but the others were not "blocked",
so to speak?

In the Harry Potter series, magic is a "force of nature", there's no parallel to "God", and people rely on themselves and each other. Threatening enough to some, but His Dark Materials goes further with a powerful, corrupt, and evil religious institution that's easily recognized as parallel to the Catholic Church. The portrayal of God in the final book doesn't help either.

(Much more explicit than Jim Huber's parable "Kissing Hank's Ass", which conservative Christians still interpret as an attack on their theology.)

I enjoyed the trilogy very much and yes, it does reject the idea of an afterlife. I'm not suprised that organised religion dislikes it. Perhaps they see it as a rival for the attention of young minds as it's a series for young adults. Pullman's "The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ" is worth reading too.


I think I will read it, but it will have to be via Inter library loan...I doubt the library where I live will have something like that.... But, I will look.

Your question can be answered in one word, Tonya: "Magisterium."  Its power and influence in the Golden Compass universe is directly analogous to the RCC.

Worthy of note that the complete Dark Materials trilogy was originally supposed to be produced, but the controversy surrounding it torpedoed those efforts.  Multiple comments in the Trivia portion of IMDB's entry on The Golden Compass give further testimony to this.

What is RCC?

RCC = Roman Catholic Church

I read an interview with Sam Elliot (Linked in my original post) about how the Catholic Church stopped the sequels from being produced. Yet others say it was not continued because the first one was crappy.

Loren. I read some of your profile. Why do you think the 9/11 attacks were religious in nature? One would think that if the Muslims who supposedly did it, did it for religious reasons, they would have attacked churches and/or whatever place that the Catholic Church is situated in and not a financial or political location.

Tonya, Al Qaeda, Al Shabaab, ISIS ... in the final analysis, they all have their foundations in Islam, more specifically radical Islam, and we as atheists cannot afford to ignore that critical element to their concept.  These are the ones with the signs which say, "Behead those who insult Islam" and "Down with free speech," never mind cutting the heads off of journalists and using women as sex slaves (yes, ISIS does PRECISELY this).

They are anathema to western civilization and secularism and they need to be opposed.

Loren told it better than I could, and I can add that protestant churches - as I know them - start with the premisse that everyone and everything outside their church is evil, and there's no distinction between bigger and smaller evil. They just shrug their shoulders...


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