I got off to a very late start on joining in this readalong hosted by Jessie and Andrea!
I've always had it in the back of my mind to read The Golden Compass someday but I just hadn't gotten around to it yet.
I have finally finished the first and second parts of the book which cover chapters 1-17! Now, Jessie and Andrea have provided discussion questions geared to each part of the book, but unfortunately when I was in my car listening I forgot to stop it after the first part so that I could answer the questions before moving on. When I finally got the chance to read Andrea's questions I realized that my answers would be slightly skewed because I had already started the second part of the book.
So when I got to the end of the second part of the book I made sure to stop it until I had a chance to answer the questions for both part 1 and 2!
Without further ado here are my answers!!!
The Golden Compass Part One: Chapters 1-9 Discussion Questions by Andrea!
1. In Lyra's world, humans have dæmons, little creatures that take animal forms, who are connected to the humans in certain ways. The dæmons are kind of like an extension of the human. They can detect each other's feelings, and when one gets hurt, the other feels it as well. Do you think that these creatures serve a purpose in this world, other than companionship? And would you want a dæmon of your own? The dæmons apparently stay in one form once their human is past a certain age. What form do you think your dæmon would take once you became of age?
I definitely feel that in the book, the daemons represent the true essence of a person. The shape they take says a lot about who you are at the core. Because of this, I think that part of their purpose, other then companionship, is that the shape your daemon takes can tell a stranger a lot about you. Like I'm not sure I would trust someone right off the bat if I could see that their daemon was a snake or a weasel.
Would I want a daemon? Heck no! As the book moves on you really do start to see that the daemon doesn't just represent a part of the individuals soul, they literally are a part of that persons soul. Personally, I wouldn't want a part of my soul out in the open like that, where someone could touch or defile it. I mean yes, in this world they have rules that you aren't supposed to touch or address another persons daemon. But you know that there have to be creepy little perverts in that world that get off on doing just that.
That being said if I had a daemon, I think it would be an otter.
2. There is a lot of controversy surrounding the His Dark Materials series. Have you seen any kind of controversial subjects thus far in the book? If so, what are they?
I knew going into this book that their was a lot of controversy associated with, especially in regards to the Catholic church. Now, I am a Catholic and maybe I'm a bad Catholic because so far I'm not picking up on anything. Andrea has hinted to me that a majority of the controversial parts may be featured more later in the series, so that could be a part of it. So far the only thing I'm picking up on is an anti government / anti establishment feel to it. And I know that I heard the phrase "Vatican counsel" but so far that is it and I'm not too worried. Or again, I could just be a very bad Catholic and I'm not picking up on all the subtle digs at my faith. Who knows!?!
3. In Part One of The Golden Compass, we learn so much about this world and the plot of the novel, and yet somehow there are already several plot twists. Did you anticipate any of the plot twists? Or did they all take you by complete surprise?
I had seen the movie, so no big plot twists for me.
The Golden Compass Part Two: Chapters 10-17 Discussion Questions by Jessie!
1. We have met a large cast of characters now, many with names I find difficult to pronounce! There are people that have come into Lyra's life for good, some for bad, some with motives yet to be determined. Of all the characters, who's your favorite and why?
Hmm...a favorite character. Honestly, so far I don't think I have one that stands out above the rest. I really like Pan, Lyra's daemon. I love the Gypsies. I feel for Roger even though we haven't seen much of him yet. I like Iorek Byrnison. If I had to pick a favorite so far I would say Pan because I love the dynamic between him and Lyra.
2. One of the bigger topics for debate revolve around Lyra and her likeability. Do you like her? What are your opinions of her, her character and her actions? (Bonus: Based on this opinion, what do you think Pantalaimon will settle as?)
I would say that I like Lyra just fine. She may not be my favorite leading lady but I don't see anything wrong with her. She is fierce and strong. She is very brave and determined and couragous in ways most children aren't. She started out as a little bit of a trouble maker but with everything that she has been through you can really see her heart coming out in her. My favorite scene was when she scratched "Ratter" into the gold coin and places it in a boys mouth. That was very sweet. I could see Pan as a tiger; fierce, strong, noble, with a drive to lead others, intimidating but not as overwhelmingly dominating as a full on lion.
3. Have read two thirds of the book now, what has been your favorite scene and why? Keep in mind that Part II ends with the children escaping The Station in Bolvanger and the battle that ensues between the Gyptians and the Tartars/Gobblers.
I think I am still going to go with the scene I mentioned above, when Lyra gives the coin to the boy. It might sound strange to someone who hasn't read the book, but it is kind of like when people put coins or daisies over the eyelids of a corpse. That boy was so desperate and his pain was so severe that I really felt for him and when Lyra reacted the way she did I was right there next to her wanting to yell at the guy who took the fish even though he didn't mean anything by it.
4. (Optional) In Part II, Lyra befriends Jerry, a seaman who explains that one's daemon settles into a shape/form once the human's personality is determined and settles - a loyal and trustworthy person, for example with a labrador retriever daemon. Take a look at yourself, your personality and describe what you might think your daemon's final form would be. Is this the same/similar or different from what you chose in Part I?