Literature archives

Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) Discussion Guide

First published on, 2004. Summary Lyra is a high-spirited eleven-year-old girl who is growing up under the care of the Master and scholars of an Oxford college . . . that happens to be in a parallel universe. In this other world, everyone has adæmon – an animal-shaped companion which is actually part of […]

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Firework-makers and fairy tales

'A thousand miles ago, in a country east of the jungle and south of the mountains, there lived a Firework-Maker called Lalchand and his daughter Lila.' Lila's mother died when Lila was very young, so she has spent much time in her father's workshop. More than anything else Lila wants to be a Firework-Maker too; […]

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The Butterfly Tattoo

This discussion guide was first published on Summary 'Chris Marshall met the girl he was going to kill on a warm night in early June . . .' (The Butterfly Tattoo, (Macmillan 2001) p. 3). Chris is seventeen , studying for A-levels but working part time and during holidays for a sound and lighting […]

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The Broken Bridge

This discussion guide was first published on Summary Ginny Howard is sixteen - a contented, carefree teenager who is a talented artist. She lives near a Welsh coastal town with her father. Her mother, a Haitian artist, died when Ginny was a baby. The summer holidays are about to start and her great friend […]

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A few useful websites on Pullman

There's stacks of stuff on His Dark Materials on the web. What I've realised during my research is that a lot of it is recycled endlessly round loads of sites - including mistakes. Some of the stuff around is innacurate or poorly thought out, some just trivial. And some is fabulous! These are a few […]

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More on the book

Here's an outline of what the book will include: Part 1: Chapters about Philip Pullman, the influences on him, etc., and chapters about the three volumes of His Dark Materials. Part 2: Chapters about the big philosophical and theological themes which Pullman explores. Since it's a 'thinking fan's guide' it will be both enthusiastic about […]

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Philip Pullman book

True to my word, here I am telling you a little about the book I'm writing on Pullman. The focus, of course, will be on his magnum opus, His Dark Materials. It will be the second in a series of 'thinking fan's guides' from Damaris Publishing. I was a contributor to the first book, Matrix […]

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Lyra's Oxford

This article was first published on Two recent events made a strange conjunction. First, I met a student who argued passionately that life has no meaning - nothing means anything. Second, I read Philip Pullman's latest book, Lyra's Oxford, in which he suggests that everything means something. These two atheists share some assumptions. Both […]

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Philip Pullman: not as cynical as we think?

This article was first published on in 2002. I have developed my views on Philip Pullman and his work significantly since then and I no longer quite agree all the points made in this article. See my book Dark Matter: A Thinking Fan's Guide to Philip Pullman for more developed ideas.   Philip Pullman is a brilliant writer. That's why he won […]

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© Tony Watkins, 2020
The Tony and Jane Watkins Trust oversees and supports the ministries of Tony and Jane Watkins in Christian training, education, and communication. It is a charity registered in England and Wales, no. 1062254.
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