philip pullman

Three things to brighten a certain kind of person's Thursday:

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows to be made into two movies. OK, yes, this is yesterday's news. But it's still fantastic news; if only they'd taken that path around, say, the last film (Order of the Phoenix). Lots of talk about how it serves the story and not the bottom line is floating about, which raises my bullshit flags a little bit, but frankly, I don't care; I just want the movie(s) not to suck.

2. The possibility of the sequels to The Golden Compass getting made is ... still a possibility. As Variety reports, the film "is on course to make box office history as the first film to gross $300 million in foreign while failing to reach $100 million in North America." The film's producer, Deborah Forte, "won't give up the fight," and is quoted as saying, "I will make 'The Subtle Knife' and 'The Amber Spyglass.'"

As disappointed as I was in Compass, I still hope the sequels get made. And not just because it's more exposure for the fantastic Philip Pullman.

3. From USA Today comes this story: "Rapier Wit: Western Martial Arts tradition enjoys a renaissance." Why is it relevant locally? Because Northwest Academy of Arms' Maestro Sean Hayes is quoted in the story. (I admit to thinking this is extra cool because I take Maestro Hayes' fencing class, as does my colleague Chuck Adams.)

And with that, I have just one thing left to say for the day: Go Ducks!

OK, so I know there's an empty space in people's lives where they were reading all of the Harry Potter books and rereading obsessively to find out why, say, there's not enough Luna in the final battle or the epilogue or why in the hell ... oh, never mind.

(And the Harry Potter Theme Park isn't open yet either. I look forward to being sorted. Which, it occurs to me, is a lot funnier in British than it is in American. But anyway.)

Point is that people, especially the young ones among us, want something else to read. Something interesting. Something with a brilliant, vivid other world. Something wonderful.

Here are a couple of my faves.

First, as anyone who's seen Ratatouille knows, there's a gorgeous, high-production-value movie coming called The Golden Compass.

That's the film version, one I'm completely excited about, of Philip Pullman's glorious book of the same title (or Northern Lights in the U.K.).

The whole series, rich in world-building and alive with detail and invention, is called His Dark Materials after a line in "Paradise Lost." But more on that later.

Start with Lyra in Golden Compass. She'll take you on an amazing trip.

I just got the fourth and final book (from Molly; thanks, Molly) in Philip Reeve's Hungry City Chronicles quartet. I yelled out "No! No! NOOOOOO!" at the end of the last one, Infernal Devices, and I'm frankly scared to read this one. And it will be good. And I will be sad that it's over.

I don't know why 11 million people would buy HP7 on the first day it was out and not go for Darkling Plain, but I'm excited, nervous, thrilled and quite, quite invested. What happens to Hester?!?!?!?!? I like Tom and I sort of like their daughter, but really, Hester's had a bad deal. WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN?

As Flora Segunda says, "The only way out is through."

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