His Dark Materials
|Name:||His Dark Materials|
|Date(s):||1995-2000, 2007 (movie)|
|Medium:||book series, movie|
|Country of Origin:||UK|
|External Links:||wikipedia, author's site|
|Click here for related articles on Fanlore.|
His Dark Materials is a fantasy trilogy by Philip Pullman. The trilogy consists of The Golden Compass (1995; published in the UK as Northern Lights), The Subtle Knife (1997), and The Amber Spyglass (2000). There are currently two companion novellas: Lyra's Oxford (2003) and Once Upon A Time In The North (2008). A movie adaptation of the first book was released in theatres in late 2007.
Lyra Belacqua lives in an alternate Oxford University, where every human has a dæmon, i.e. a physical manifestation of the soul in the form of a talking animal. While children's dæmons are changeable, the animal form settles during adolescence, a signal of maturity and symbol of the human's personality. Lyra gets involved in hijinks with her dæmon Pan, flees the scary Mrs. Coulter (and her golden monkey dæmon) and ends up on a trek into the northern wilderness among armored bears and secret authoritarian experimenters. Lyra charges into a gap between universes, and meets Will Parry, a boy from our world, who is fleeing his own problems. Together they embark on a many-worlds adventure involving angels, ghosts, witches, magical tools, people who look like bicycles, and the sapience of the universe. Ultimately the children become embroiled in a war against Heaven.
The title of the trilogy is a quote from Paradise Lost, and in addition to its function as story, the series may be taken as a rebuke to Milton and a refusal of the parameters of Christianity (or possibly all organized religions). Aspects of the series are also intended to counter-point Lewis's Narnia books.
Fanfic for the series itself is uncommon enough that it is a perennial source for Yuletide. Most fic for the series is set post-Series, although some pre- or mid-series also occurs. A popular category at fanfiction.net is post-series reunion fic. In addition, there are several works which seek to expand Lyra's universe. Because of the nature of the series with its universe hopping protagonists, crossovers are not uncommon.
The most popular pairing is Lyra Belacqua/Will Parry.
Its other most popular usage is in fusions with other fandoms, usually stories in which characters from other universes have dæmons. See Daemons. This eventually became a much-discussed problem as other, more popular fandoms overran the His Dark Materials tag on AO3, making it impossible to find actual HDM fanfiction on the site.
- The Ivory Horn by kaydee falls. A breakout hit from Yuletide which has since been cited by non-fans and academics as an example of the potential of fanwork to reflect on the fandom itself. This fic stars Will Parry, post-series as he enters university.
- Christingle by Raven. A story of Will's first year of university which grapples with the personal implications of his actions in the series on religious belief.
- The Exquisite Barometer by vehemently. Another post-series look at Will, this one has him traveling to America, learning about baseball, and deciding how to live with the abilities he returned with.
- Dinosaurs in the Architecture by lilacsigil. Pre-series fic featuring an OC and her unusual dæmon and what the church and its dogma do about them.