Philip Pullman's Dark Materials Trilogy.
"Stories are the most important thing in the world. Without stories, we wouldn't be human beings at all." Philip Pullman.
While each book is in its own right a masterpiece it is, in my opinion, simply impossibly to study the individual without appreciating the whole. For this reason I have chosen this trilogy as a means to express firstly the cultural importance of the books and secondly the profound impact that they subsequently had on me.
I believe that any cultural review of a series of books of such fantasy requires a certain understanding of the essential story line. Therefore the first part of this work shall be dedicated to explaining the often complicated and meandering tale that makes up Philip Pullman's Dark Materials Trilogy. Secondly the guts of this work shall be given over to a critical analysis of the principal themes that run throughout the series as crucial subplots. These themes include love, death, the environment and above all religion. I shall then conclude with a quick review of the topics under consideration and a brief synopsis of what the books meant to me personally.
The Northern Lights.
The Northern Lights forms the first part of a story in three volumes. The first volume is set in a world like ours, but different in many ways. The second volume is set partly in the world we know. The third moves between many worlds.
In The Northern Lights, readers meet for the first time 11-year-old Lyra Belacqua, a precocious orphan growing up within the precincts of Jordan College in Oxford, England. It quickly becomes clear that Lyra's Oxford is not precisely like our own - nor is her world. In Lyra's world, everyone has a personal dmon, a lifelong animal familiar. This is a world in which science, theology and magic are closely intertwined. .
These ideas are of little concern to Lyra, who at the outset of the story spends most of her time with her friend Roger, a kitchen boy.