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.
  • Counterpart Comparison: Lyra and Roger's roles in Northern Lights are similar to that of Gerda and Kai in The Snow Queen, although unlike Kai, Roger's behaviour doesn't change before his disappearance.
  • 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:
    • Shortly after they meet, Will and Lyra question why "electricity" refers to what is called "anbarism" in Lyra's world, and why the stone called "electrum" in Lyra's world is called "amber" in Will's. Though neither child realizes the connection, the evolution of both terms alludes to the fact that the first observations of electricity (in our world, anyway!) came from pieces of amber imparting static charges to feathers and other small particles.
    • Lyra's last name, Belaqua, comes from The Divine Comedy, where in Purgatory Dante meets a brilliant but lazy friend who is working their way towards Heaven, but gradually, and is trapped between the world of Purgatory and the shores of Hell.
    • The daemons themselves are rooted in Greek mythology and philosophy: there is a story mentioned by Platon as well that way back when, humans weren't singular entities like today but like conjoined pairs of twins called androgynes- since most were a pair of man and woman but there were in fact man-man and woman-woman pairs as well. The gods, however, fearing the power the androgynes might have, separated them, creating the current status quo, and it is said that if you find your soulmate, it's the person who was your other half before you were torn apart.
  • "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.