Saturday, January 26, 2008

Without a compass

I have been reading The Golden Compass aloud to Progeny, who is not quite seven.

I'm smart enough to know that this is not really appropriate reading material, but we were led here by a slippery slope. First he saw the ad for the movie while we were at another movie, and begged to see it. I reasoned (rightly) that he would be so entranced by the armored bears that seeing the movie would not occasion any emotional or theological difficulties, so we went to see it. Also, I should mention, we have read all the Harry Potter books, bowdlerizing them in the early years, but increasingly less now. And I have a Bruno Bettelheim-like regard for reading fairy tales to children in their original form.

After the movie, inevitably, Progeny prevailed on me to read the books, which I effectively dragged my feet about for a while, but eventually I caved, and we're gobbling up chapters (that would be a truly egregious pun if I had meant it). I am trying to trust myself to come up with the right answers (or the right questions) when we come to the hard stuff. It's helpful that Pullman draws in the concept of intercission slowly, and through rumor (and of course Progeny already knows about it from the movie). It's harder to figure out how to talk about Dust, and why the Oblation Board is so afraid of it, and how this connects--and disconnects--with my own beliefs about the institutional church.

I tell you, I'm trying to trust myself, to stay loose and observant and responsive like a fighter. Like Lyra.


Scrivener said...

I'm reading The Subtle Knife myself right now, and Eldest has been asking a bunch of questions about it and Golden Compass because she heard about the movie from her friends. But we have to finish The Hobbit first, and then te third HP novel. Then I think there's another list of chapter books, so I don't know if we'll end up back to these novels anytime soon. But you never can tell.

I am with you on the Bettelheim tendencies, too.

The Simpleton said...

Well, as I said before, I'll be thrilled to have someone adult to talk about the trilogy with when you're done.

Progeny and I bombed out on The Hobbit, which his elder brother gave him for Christmas. I'm not sure why it never got off the ground for him. No armored bears?