Inspiration Challenge: Phillip Pullman and ‘His Dark Materials’

(a box of things I took with me to uni including ‘His Dark Materials’ and the very close runner up in my favourite books list, The Book Thief)
I don’t really know where to start with these books.
So why not start, at the beginning. Over a period of around 2 years from towards the end of 2011 and into 2013 some tough stuff went on in my life that I guess gave me reason or you could say, finally pushed me into picking up a book. My mum had recommended that I read them years and years ago when I was young but I was too busy wanting to play outside and had this rather odd and stunted belief that anything that is worth reading will come out as a film and I’d rather watch the film (oh now stupid I was), but anyway, she recommended I read them, in  an effort to escape the outside world for a few hours every night.
I instantly loved them, finally at an age where I could fully appreciate the intelligence of Pullmans storytelling and writing. I loved the first one and finished it pretty quickly, for someone who considered themselves to be a slow reader and a non-reader most importantly.
I had *puts an ashamed voice on* unfortunately seen the disaster that was The Golden Compass film, so kinda new a little about the story for the Northern Lights, but there is so so SO much more substance at its heart that I found myself being extremely engaged and then devastated by the ending. The opening to the second book (The Subtle Knife) completely threw me off and I loved it. The way he introduces Will Parry’s character is probably one of my most favourite first chapters out of all the things I have now read, ‘The Cat and the Hornbeam Trees’, I was falling more and more in love with his writing and very quickly with the character of Will. I very often get more attached to the male characters in things, I don’t know why, and not in a romantic way at all, not at all, I just find their characters more easy to relate to.
(me reading the subtle knife for the second time)
By the time the second book had finished I had firmly decided Will Parry was going to be my most favourite fictional character EVER and none would ever be able to change my mind (stubborn me, as per). I also cried my eyes out at the second book, which is something I had never done before and when my mum used to talk about crying at books I kind of found it all a little strange…But there I was wimpering at a deamon turning to dust.
So the third book, The Amber Spyglass, in The Subtle Knife we were given I might dare to say, my second fave character from this trilogy, Mary Malone. The third book is something else, it completely transforms the entire trilogy, it is amazing, it is genius, it is controversial, its heartbreaking and wondrous and everything you could want from a book. When I talk to people and they say they only read the first book because then the film came out and they waited for a second one but it never came I feel really upset for them (and just a little bit angry, on Pullmans behalf) because, WHO would ever just read the first Lord of The Rings? Or the first two Harry Potter’s? If you’re going to read a series/trilogy you have to commit to it, if nothing is standing in your way (the authors writing style etc) you have to read them all because half way through or one book in isn’t the complete piece its a part of the story.
When I finished these books I literally cried for hours, it broke me in two, completely. And after reading the last few chapters a couple of times and it finally sinking in, I experienced something I had never had before, I missed it. I missed that world and going to it every night, I missed Will and Lyra and Iorek. I missed Mary’s adventure with the Mulefa. It was horrible haha, missing people that don’t even exist. Either way, I finally understood why my mother loved reading all these years, and I felt like I had stumbled into this amazing world that had always been there but that I had never bothered to explore. I felt like, I had so much catching up to do…There was so much I now wanted to read, to talk about, it was great.

Eventually the end of this story comes when I decided I wanted to be a writer. I can honestly say, this is thanks to Phillip Pullman, I had always loved writing poetry and the odd story at school but reading that trilogy, sprouted something in me that yearned to write something that could make someone, anyone feel the same way I felt about ‘His Dark Materials’. I wanted to both be alive forever in something tangible made of words but I also wanted to give something to the world, and I felt like my imagination was strong enough to one day do it. – this is an entry that I posted in Waterstones ‘The Book That Made Me’. And I in much briefer terms talk about all of this here, so you can see I aren’t just being dramatic and over exaggerating about Pullman inspiring me to become a writer because its right there, from August, last year.
I have read it 3 times and in between have read things from Psychological/Crime/Thriller/Detective novels (the amazing Mo Hayder), to classics like ‘Wuthering Heights’, and ‘Pride and Prejudice’, and modern ‘teen’ novels like ‘Perks of Being a Wallflower’ and gothic classics like ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘Dracula’. However the only book that has come close to my love for ‘His Dark Materials’ was The Book Thief which I read last year, I love the characters in that book and Rudy Steiner came close to matching Will Parry for my favourite fictional character but Will, he remains my favourite character, and I have a feeling that due to a mixture of my stubbornness and my love for his character, he probably always will be.
So, there you go, the man who through a story of angels, witches, other worlds, a boy who is braver than anyone I know and a girl searching for truth, Phillip Pullman, persuaded me to become a writer
Thank you Phillip!


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