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His Dark Materials Books In Order

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Publication Order of His Dark Materials Books

Northern Lights / The Golden Compass (1995)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Subtle Knife (1997)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Amber Spyglass (2000)Description / Buy at Amazon
Lyra's Oxford (2003)Description / Buy at Amazon
Once Upon a Time in the North (2008)Description / Buy at Amazon
Serpentine (2020)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Imagination Chamber (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Collectors (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Publication Order of His Dark Materials Graphic Novels

By: Philip Pullman, Stéphane Melchior-Durand
The Golden Compass: The Graphic Novel, Volume 1 (2014)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Golden Compass: The Graphic Novel, Volume 2 (2015)Description / Buy at Amazon
The Subtle Knife Graphic Novel (2022)Description / Buy at Amazon

Writers such as Philip Pullman are few and far between, with him being one of the foremost novelists currently working within his field to date. An English author he has managed to become a world renowned writer, creating a whole host of fantasy novels for both children and Young Adults. These titles are also known to have a strong viewpoint on a number of different themes and ideas, one notably being that of theology. An influential voice not just within British culture and society, but the entire world, he has produced scores of novels that that have achieved bestselling status worldwide. Probably his most notable series though, is that of his much loved ‘His Dark Materials’ collection of books, which has really helped to establish his name. Incorporating a number of different themes, it bases itself around a coming-of-age central premise, as two children traverse a variety of different parallel universes. Using a fantastical framing device, it is, at its heart, a very human story, featuring many musings and big ideas on philosophy, physics and theology. Winning numerous awards for its highly personal take on the genre, it stands alone with its many idiosyncratic elements, making it one of the most unique fantasy series to date.

Attracting a lot of attention, the first book in the series ‘Northern Lights’ was made into the feature film ‘The Golden Compass’, although it wasn’t to get a sequel. It would also see ‘The London Royal National Theater’ staging a play prior to the film’s release as well, with a two-part adaptation being staged. With the series itself consisting of three novels in total, it being a trilogy, it has also had a further two short novels subsequently being released set in the same universe. Generating a mass conversation surrounding the works, it’s a series that still generates a high level of excitement to this day, with a legacy that’ll continue for some time yet.

Northern Lights

Originally coming out through the ‘Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers’ publishing outlet, this was to be the first book in the series also known as ‘The Golden Compass’. Setting up the ‘His Dark Materials’ franchise, this was first published on the 16th of April in 1996 to much acclaim, establishing the characters and the world. Introducing the premise for the first time too, it eases readers into this exciting new world, giving them a clear idea of what’s to come.

Much has been made of the theological themes within this book and the series as a whole, given that they’re atheistic in nature. Articulating how he feels about the subject, Pullman puts forward his viewpoint in a clear and open manner, in a similar fashion to C.S. Lewis, working with Narnia as his main point of inspiration. The characters themselves are well drawn, with the leading protagonist of Lyra Belacqua ultimately carrying the narrative and the story forwards. In regards to the secondary characters, it sees many of the once thought to be authority figures as not to be trusted, as Lyra finds her own way in the world. Using many locations set in the northern hemisphere, it incorporates a number of real world places, situating them alongside the more fantastical to great effect.

Starting out with the the young orphan Lyra Belacqua, it sees her living among the the scholars of Oxford’s Jordan College. That’s when Lord Asriel, her uncle, turns up with apparently photographic evidence of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that could be an alternative world. Left behind with Mrs. Coulter, she is then told that she will be given the attention that she never had previously, but not everything is as it seems. Heading off up North herself then, Lyra aims to find her playmate Roger who has apparently been kidnapped, along with an instrument that tells the truth. Will she be able to find him and instrument or have they both gone for good? Does this city really pose a threat and what does it mean for the safety of everyone? Just what are the secrets now transpiring behind the Northern Lights?

The Subtle Knife

Once again brought out through the ‘Knopf Books for Young Readers’ publishing house, this would continue the ‘His Dark Materials’ series. Marking the second book in the franchise, it was first released on the 22nd of July in 1997, continuing on directly from where the last left off. With it already having introduced the characters, it jumps straight into the action, developing the world and the characters in the process.

Now lost in another world, Lyra comes to find Will, a young boy who is on the run, as they come to be each others allies in this dangerous new world. Helping each other out, this is a place where specters stalk the streets below looking to consume souls, whilst troops of angels fly through the sky alongside witches. Both of them are searching for what’s important to them; Lyra is looking for the meaning that lies behind dark matter, whilst Will is searching for his father. It is then that they come into contact with a knife that holds vast amounts of power, as it could contain the secret to the intertwined destinies. Will they be able to help each other find who and what they are searching for? Can they cope once they’ve been split apart, finding one another again? What are the the true secrets that lie behind the Subtle Knife?

The His Dark Materials Series

Seeing a variety of iterations over the course of its lifespan, this is a series that has enjoyed many adaptations across various different mediums. From films to video-games, this is perhaps one of Pullman’s best loved series to date, with it resonating with readers from all across the globe. Essentially using the fantasy genre as a framing device for his unique perspective, he manages to create something that is vastly different here. With many authors and readers continuing to admire him to this very day, he has a legacy that will carry on growing from strength-to-strength for quite some time to come.

Book Series In Order » Characters » His Dark Materials

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