The first ghost to leave the world of the dead was Roger. He took a step forward, and turned to look back at Lyra, and laughed in surprise as he found himself turning into the night, the starlight, the air. . .and then he was gone, leaving behind such a vivid little burst of happiness.
And barely ten minutes later the soft sound of wingbeats came to their ears, and Balthamos stood up eagerly. The next moment, the two angels were embracing, and Will, gazing into the flames, saw their mutual affection. More than affection: they loved each other with a passion.
I've been surprised by how little criticism I've got. Harry Potter's been taking all the flak. I'm a great fan of J.K. Rowling, but the people—mainly from America's Bible Belt—who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven't got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I've been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God.
Symbols and emblems were everywhere. Buildings and pictures were designed to be read like books. Everything stood for something else; if you had the right dictionary, you could read Nature itself. It was hardly surprising to find philosophers using the symbolism of their time to interpret knowledge that came from a mysterious source.
What work do I have to do then?" said Will, but went on at once, "No, on second thought, don't tell me. I shall decide what I do. If you say my work is fighting, or healing, or exploring, or whatever you might say, I'll always be thinking about it. And if I do end up doing that, I'll be resentful because it'll feel as if I didn't have a choice, and if I don't do it, I'll feel guilty because I should. Whatever I do, I will choose it, no one else.
She wondered whether there would ever come an hour in her life when she didn't think of him -- didn't speak to him in her head, didn't relive every moment they'd been together, didn't long for his voice and his hands and his love. She had never dreamed of what it would feel like to love someone so much; of all the things that had astonished her in her adventures, that was what astonished her the most. She thought the tenderness it left in her heart was like a bruise that would never go away, but she would cherish it... Read more »
If we all gave all our goods to the poor, the church would fall apart. If we all hated our father and mother, as Jesus told us to, there'd be an end of the church's emphasis on the family as being the one important thing holding the whole society together. There are all sorts of ways in which the church's teachings contradict directly what Jesus says in the Gospel.
Lee saw the fireball and head through the roar in his ears Hester saying, "That's the last of 'em Lee." He said, or thought, "Those poor men didn't have to come to this, nor did we." She said, "We held 'em off. We held out. We're a-helping Lyra." Then she was pressing her little proud broken self against his face, as close as she could get, and then they died.
A story, to me, has a particular sprite, like the angel of the spirit of that story - and it's my job to attend to what it wants to do. When I tell the story of Cinderella, the sprite does not want me to make it into an allegory of the fall of communism. The sprite would be unhappy if I did that.
Corruption and envy and lust for power. Cruelty and coldness. A vicious probing curiousity. Pure, poisonous, toxic malice. You have never from your earliest years shown a shred of compassion for sympathy or kindness without calculating how it would return to your advantage. You have tortured and killed without regret or hesitation; you have betrayed and intrigued and gloried in your treachery. You are a cess-pit of moral filth.
I write almost always in the third person, and I don't think the narrator is male or female anyway. They're both, and young and old, and wise and silly, and sceptical and credulous, and innocent and experienced, all at once. Narrators are not even human - they're sprites.
I'll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you... We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams... And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they wont' just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be... Read more »
Tolkien, who created this marvellous vehicle, doesn't go anywhere in it. He just sits where he is. What I mean by that is that he always seems to be looking backwards, to a greater and more golden past; and what's more he doesn't allow girls or women any important part in the story at all. Life is bigger and more interesting than The Lord of the Rings thinks it is.
If I'm reading something I happen to know and gets it wrong, I just don't trust the book any more. What I ask of a novel I'm reading is that it should know a fraction more about the things I know than I do. When I'm writing...I ask myself: would I be convinced by this if I read it? If I knocked against this bit of scenery, would it feel solid?
After modernism, things changed. Indeed, modernism sometimes seems to me like an equivalent of the Fall. Remember, the first thing Adam and Eve did when they ate the fruit was to discover that they had no clothes on. They were embarrassed. Embarrassment was the first consequence of the Fall. And embarrassment was the first literary consequence of this modernist discovery of the surface. "Am I telling a story? Oh my God, this is terrible. I must stop telling a story and focus on the minute gradations of consciousness as they filter through somebody's...
I have maintained a passionate interest in education, which leads me occasionally to make foolish and ill-considered remarks alleging that not everything is well in our schools. My main concern is that an over-emphasis on testing and league tables has led to a lack of time and freedom for a true, imaginative and humane engagement with literature.
We feel cold, but we don't mind it, because we will not come to harm. And if we wrapped up against the cold, we wouldn't feel other things, like the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the aurora, or best of all the silky feeling of moonlight on our skin. It's worth being cold for that.
Disney is a huge presence when it comes to fairy tales because he's made of them such brilliant artifacts in terms of movie-making. But it's very hard to ignore what he's done to them.I'm not interested in denigrating Disney or even commenting on him very much. I'm more interested in seeing what I can do with the stories myself.
One of the ways in which writers most show their inventiveness is in the things they tell us about how they write. Generally speaking, I don't like to make a plan before I've written a story. I find it kills the story - deadens it, makes it uninteresting. Unless I'm surprised by something in a story, the reader's not going to be surprised either.
People should decide on the books' meanings for themselves. They'll find a story that attacks such things as cruelty, oppression, intolerance, unkindness, narrow-mindedness, and celebrates love, kindness, open-mindedness, tolerance, curiosity, human intelligence.
The best way to get kids to read a book is to say: 'This book is not appropriate for your age, and it has all sorts of horrible things in it like sex and death and some really big and complicated ideas, and you're better off not touching it until you're all grown up. I'm going to put it on this shelf and leave the room for a while. Don't open it.
He meant the Kingdom was over, the Kingdom of Heaven, it was all finished. We shouldn't live as if it mattered more than this life in this world, because where we are is always the most important place.... We have to be all those difficult things like cheerful and kind and curious and patient, and we've got to study and think and work hard, all of us, in all our different world, and then we'll build... The Republic of Heaven.
I don't expect Christians to see God as a metaphor, but that's what he is. Perhaps it might be clearer to call him a character in fiction, and a very interesting one too: one of the greatest and most complex villains of all - savage, petty, boastful and jealous, and yet capable of moments of tenderness and extremes of arbitrary affection - for David, for example. But he's not real, any more than Hamlet or Mr Pickwick are real. They are real in the context of their stories, but you won't find them in the phone book.
My mother married again after my father's death - another Royal Air Force officer, and a very different kind of man. We went to Australia when I was eight or nine. We lived there for a couple of years, and then came back and lived in North Wales for the whole of my teenage years. I learned how to write poems quite a lot. I just had a good time reading and reading and reading. So that's where I did most of my growing up.
All writing is difficult. The most you can hope for is a day when it goes reasonably easily. Plumbers don't get plumber's block, and doctors don't get doctor's block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it?
To get the best out of life here ...Good grief. There's plenty of it about, so indulge. Give yourself some thing to remember. Fall in love. Fall out of love. Gamble. Get drunk. See how long you can stay awake. Go for long walks at night. Discover what you're afraid of doing, and then do it.
Lyra learns to her great cost that fantasy isn’t enough. She has been lying all her life, telling stories to people, making up fantasies, and suddenly she comes to a point where that’s not enough. All she can do is tell the truth. She tells the truth about her childhood, about the experiences she had in Oxford, and that is what saves her. True experience, not fantasy - reality, not lies - is what saves us in the end.
I feel with some passion that what we truly are is private, and almost infinitely complex, and ambiguous, and both external and internal, and double- or triple- or multiply natured, and largely mysterious even to ourselves; and furthermore that what we are is only part of us, because identity, unlike "identity", must include what we do. And I think that to find oneself and every aspect of this complexity reduced in the public mind to one property that apparently subsumes all the rest ("gay", "black", "Muslim", whatever) is to be the victim of a piece of extraordinary intellectual vulgarity.