Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Gamecool Books: The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman

The Bookwarm Games project continues with its sister series, Gamecool Books. I'll alternate between series on games and books, and when I talk about books part of what I'll be doing is imagining how to adapt them as games.

I begin with The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman. New episodes will be released every Tuesday evening for the next 30 weeks or so. Generally, we'll be reading one chapter a week; every third or fourth episode I hope to have guests to speak to, and contributors are welcome to help with production, the imaginary adaptation, and support in the form of likes, comments, and questions. So if you'd like to be involved, let me know! Comment here or on the podcasts/videos, or contact me via the email in the about section of this page.

Here is the running list of audio and readings for the course:

Week 1: Lyra and her Daemon
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman, front matter and Chapter 1: The Decanter of Tokay
Books I-II of Paradise Lost, with Pullman's Introduction
"I have the feeling this all belongs to me," Pullman's autobiographical sketch

Week 2: A Picture of the Aurora
The Golden Compass Chapter 2: The Idea of North
Genesis 1-3, KJV
"Miss Goddard's Grave," an essay by Pullman

Week 3: Conversation with Sparrow Alden
Sparrow's page on Signum University
Sparrow's blog

Week 4: Let's Play Kids and Gobblers!
The Golden Compass Chapter 3: Lyra's Jordan
Songs of Innocence and Experience, by William Blake
Map of Lyra's Oxford

Week 5: The Smell of Glamour
The Golden Compass Chapter 4: The Alethiometer
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, by William Blake
Pullman's illustrations for the chapter headings

Week 6: Conversation with Verlyn Flieger
Verlyn's page on Signum University
Verlyn's site

Week 7: In Your Own Home
The Golden Compass Chapter 5: The Cocktail Party
Pullman's "Isis Lecture," on education
His "Reading in the Borderlands" talk on readers, books, and illustrations

Week 8: Into that Dark Maze
The Golden Compass Chapter 6: The Throwing Nets
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-glassby Lewis Carroll
Pullman's "Let's Write it in Red," "The Writing of Stories," and "Let's Pretend," essays in Daemon Voices

Week 9: Conversation with Gabriel Schenk
Gabriel's page on Signum University

Week 10: Don't Leave Anything Out
The Golden Compass Chapter 7: John Faa
Keats' Letter on Negative Capability
Pullman's "The Path through the Wood" in Daemon Voices
"The language of Philip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials,'" by Simon Horobin

Week 11: The Work You Have to Do
The Golden Compass Chapter 8: Frustration
"Leave the Libraries Alone," speech by Pullman
"Far from Narnia," article by Laura Miller
"Heat and Dust," interview by Huw Spanner
Interview on Textualities, by Jennie Renton

Week 12: You Oughter Stayed Below
The Golden Compass Chapter 9: The Spies
Clockwork, or All Wound Up
The alethiometer replica commissioned by Pullman and made by Tony Thompson, on display at the Bodleian

Week 13: Conversation with Mark Vernon
Mark's webpage
Mark's Guardian review of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ
Understand Humanism, by Mark Vernon, with a foreword by Pullman

Week 14: What Question Would You Ask?
The Golden Compass Chapter 10: The Consul and the Bear
Lyra's Oxford and Once Upon a Time in the North, by Philip Pullman
"Soft Beulah's Night," by Pullman (also subtitled "William Blake and Vision")

Week 15: Difficult Critters
The Golden Compass Chapter 11: Armor
His Dark Materials Illuminated: Critical Essays on Philip Pullman's Trilogy, edited by Millicent Lenz with Carole Scott
"Darkness Visible: An Interview with Philip Pullman," by Kerry Fried
Peril of the Pole board game included in Once Upon a Time in the North

Week 16: Conversation with Kevin Hensler
Kevin's page on Temple University

Week 17: Like Riding the Bear
The Golden Compass Chapter 12: The Lost Boy
"So She Went Into the Garden," Pullman's 2002 Arbuthnot Lecture (still trying to hunt this one down)
"I'm Quite Against a Sentimental Vision of Childhood," interview by Nicholas Tucker
"What Makes a Children's Classic? Daemons and Dual Audience..." by Susan R. Bobby

Week 18: Do You Want To See Proof?
The Golden Compass Chapter 13: Fencing
von Kleist, "On the Marionette Theatre"
Pullman's "Heinrich von Kleist: On the Marionette Theatre - Grace Lost and Regained," in Daemon Voices
"A word or two about myths," originally accompanying Karen Armstrong's Myths Series

Week 19: Conversation with Marek Oziewicz
Marek's page on UMN
Papers available on

Week 20: Nice Place. Nice Peoples.
The Golden Compass Chapter 14: Bolvangar Lights
Pullman's talk on A Bar at the Folies-Bergere (audio)
Pullman's Introduction to the Folio Society edition of Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (excerpt)

The Golden Compass Chapter 15: The Daemon Cages
Gospels of Mark and John, in any red-letter edition
Pullman's The Good Man Jesus and The Scoundrel Christ, along with the Afterword included in the paperback edition and/or the related essay "How to Read The Good Man Jesus..."

Week 22: Conversation with Lauren Shohet
Lauren's page

Week 23: As a Compass Needle is Drawn to the Pole
The Golden Compass Chapter 16: The Silver Guillotine
Ian Beck's Appendix materials in the Tenth Anniversary Edition
The Broken Bridge, by Pullman

Week 24: We Are Strong
The Golden Compass Chapter 17: The Witches
The Firework-Maker's Daughter, by Philip Pullman
with his essay, "The Firework-Maker's Daughter on Stage"

Week 25: Conversation with Maggie Parke
Maggie's page
Her profile on Signum

Week 26: We Can't Read the Darkness (or, Mayhem and Ructions)
The Golden Compass Chapter 18: Fog and Ice
"Magic Carpets," "Balloon Debate," and "Writing Fantasy Realistically" essays in Daemon Voices
The Scarecrow and his Servant, by Pullman
(or maybe The White Mercedes, aka The Butterfly Tattoo, but I haven't read it)

Week 27: True, Every Word
The Golden Compass Chapter 19: Captivity
"Poco a Poco," in Daemon Voices
I Was a Rat! and Count Karlstein, two more of Pullman's shorter books

Week 28: A Ritual Faithfully Followed
The Golden Compass Chapter 20: Mortal Combat
Pullman's essays "Epics," "As Clear as Water," and "Imaginary Friends," in Daemon Voices
Some of his retellings of Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm 

Week 29: Conversation with Leanna, aka Musical33, of HDM Fandom
His Dark Materials fandom wiki

Week 30: A Prisoner Acting Like a King
The Golden Compass Chapter 21: Lord Asriel's Welcome
"Dreaming of Spires" and "God and Dust" in Daemon Voices
Tony Watkins' interview with Pullman

Week 31: Beyond Sleep and Waking
The Golden Compass Chapter 22: Betrayal
"The Republic of Heaven," by Pullman
"On Fairy-stories," by JRR Tolkien

Week 32: Forms Among the Dust
The Golden Compass Chapter 23: The Bridge to the Stars
Entruckung [Transcendence], Stefan George
Schoenberg String Quartet no. 2

Week 33: Concluding Q&A on The Golden Compass
(With special attention to da Vinci's Lady with an Ermine, and special thanks to the Bells and Mom and Dad)
Recorded live 4/30/19 on the Bookwarm Games Twitch channel

A rough transcript of the lectures can be found here.

If this were a real course, there'd be a writing component. For research, I'm working on an updated bibliography. I've also started reviewing the scholarly literature. And I submitted an essay of my own to a peer-reviewed journal, which one way or another I'll post a link to here soon!

The project continues here with discussions of The Subtle Knife.

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