Pullman Needs a New Compass

When Krista and I heard that certain Christian groups were boycotting The Golden Compass, it made us want to go see it. But after reading more about it, there is room for caution. If you are planning on going to see the movie, which is based on the first book in a trilogy of novels written by British author Philip Pullman, keep in mind that the studio filtered out his religious views from the movie. The books are much more blatant in their allegorical presentation of his atheism.

I don’t skip movies because the authors, the directors or the actors don’t believe in God. If I made decisions on where to go and what to do based on that criteria, then I would have to lock myself in my home. However, my main reason for skipping The Golden Compass is his disregard for the accomplishments of great authors like Tolkien and C. S. Lewis who have paved the way for him in this genre.

He has commented that the Chronicles of Narnia is “morally loathsome,” and “one of the most ugly and poisonous things I’ve ever read.” He has also referred to The Lord of the Rings as an “infantile work.”

I refuse to give the guy a dime for his movie or novels. I don’t know if Pullman has actually read these two great works, but his comments reveal an ignorance and arrogance beyond what I would expect from an accomplished author who has found his success in part due to the foundation laid by LOTR and Narnia.

Philip Pullman can keep his Compass.

12 thoughts on “Pullman Needs a New Compass

  1. Excellent critique! I’ve heard of the hoopla revolving around this film and I hope that it doesn’t increase the box office take. The recent spate of anti-war films have all flopped; so there is hope that this film will also suffer at the box office.

  2. Thanks, Jon, for the question. That’s definitely not my point here. My concern is Pullman’s blind arrogance in calling LOTR a lesser work than his own.

  3. Umm, yes… So let me get this straight: we should eliminate any postings which are a response to a person’s opinion.

    NEWSFLASH: 90% of all blogging has been permanently halted by “Jon.” More at 11 after our story about people having opinions.


  4. Before you write off The Golden Compass, have you looked closely at Pullman’s actual opinions?

    I’m a big fan of LotR and a fair admirer of the Chronicles of Narnia, but I can see Pullman’s points… Is he a little brashly vocal? Perhaps. Could he be more diplomatic? Certainly.

    But Tolkein is longwinded, and concerned largely with things that were cool to him. It’s an awesome story idea wrapped inside a lot of self-indulgence in writing. But the guy was a linguist, not a novelist. Doesn’t mean I don’t love the story, but my love doesn’t prevent it from being bad novel writing.

    And Lewis — he promotes Christian ideals: there’s lots of good story but it ends, basically, with the idea life on earth is less important than the afterlife. Someone (Susan) who values worldly things has in-point-of-fact rendered themselves incapable of wanting to go to heaven. That’s kind of a lot to swallow; is it any surprise that someone with Pullman’s views would find it offensive?

    I’m of course not saying don’t avoid Pullman if you disagree with his views, or if you feel that he denigrates your beliefs. However, if the only thing you dislike is his dislike of other authors, check out the first book. It’s quite good. The second one is decent as well. The third is rather meh, but you end up reading just finish things off.

  5. Umm, yes… So let me get this straight: we should eliminate any postings which are a response to a person’s opinion.

    Yes, because obviously I was the one advocating boycotting something because that something’s author said something I disagreed with.


  6. Thanks, Tage, for your comment. Well said.

    I don’t share your opinion that Tolkien was a good linguist, but not a good novelist. But it may be because my enjoyment of the books is directly tied to his brilliant use of language (and the story, of course).

  7. Jon, it appears that you have mistakenly taken my statement that “I refuse to give the guy a dime for his movie or novels” to mean that I was “advocating boycotting something.” I think you have taken my point to mean more than it does.

    The sentence actually means that I am not going to see the movies or read the books (though Tage’s competent recommendation was near convincing). I don’t advocate boycotts. They are useless and wrong-headed, in my opinion (which you are welcome to disagree with, by the way).

  8. My bad, then, Jason. Every other Christian blog I’ve read this week says something like that. I just assumed that was what you were implying. 🙂

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