YMMV / His Dark Materials

  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Lord Asriel. Is he a callous would-be dictator? A misguided freedom fighter? An amoral ubermensch? An anti-hero? An anti-villain? Even Pullman sometimes seems to be at odds over this character.
  • Broken Base: This has proven to be a fairly polarizing series. For some, the author seems to be constantly railing against religion, and in the third book that the message bursts out of the plot's chest and devours it. Others argue that this angle is at least handled much more tastefully than other series with similar tendencies.
  • Death of the Author: Interviews with Philip Pullman show that this is his view of how his books should be regarded ("I don't think it's the task of the author of a book to tell the reader what it means.")
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Iorek Byrnison, and by extension the rest of the Panserbjorne. This one's to be expected.
  • Fridge Horror: It must be somewhat uncomfortable to have your inner nature projected for everyone to see, if not outright dangerous in some cases (eg the same-sex daemons = homosexuality theory)
  • Genius Bonus:
  • "Holy Shit!" Quotient: In The Amber Spyglass we get a battle scene in another dimension between armies composed of angels, witches, ghosts, cosmic horrors, interdimensional aliens, jet fighters, at least one Physical God as well as God himself, badass lilliputians, steampunk airships, soldiers armed with rifles, machine guns, flamethrowers and poison gas guns, monsters, animal spirits, floating fortresses, thunder and lightning, and, of course, armored polar bears. It is undermined - intentionally - by the fact that the battle is not really focused on. Instead the story follows the two protagonists' brief appearance where they search for their daemons before killing God and hauling ass.