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Chapter 8 - Frustration

I spent all day shoveling snow, I’m tired and lonely and don’t feel like re-reading Chapter 8 right now, but since I have nothing better to do I might as well go ahead and do it.

Since I’m listening to the audio book version, I can say that Joanna Wyatt does a knockout performance as Lyra telling the story about Lord Asriel and the Turkish ambassador to the gyptian kids, you can really feel how thrilled Lyra is to be telling this lie and having the gyptian kids eat it up.

I find it kind of creepy that immediately after blowing Edward Coulter’s brains out Ma Costa describes Lord Asriel as being in good humor and walking up an down the hall bouncing Lyra on his shoulder while Ma Costa deals with Mr. Coulter’s body.

The reason I found this disturbing upon re-reading is because in the same moment we are introduced to Lord Asriel’s nonchalant attitude towards killing and also see the only thing resembling a happy, loving moment between Lyra and Lord Asriel in the entire trilogy.

At the second roping, John Faa reminds Raymond van Gerrit that Lord Asriel, among other things, assisted the gyptians during the floods of ’53. The floods of 1953 were an actual disaster in which more than 300 people died. It is generally presumed that The Golden Compass takes place around the year AD 1995, which is supported by the description of Will’s world in The Subtle Knife, which we are told is the same world that we, the readers are living in.

If The Golden Compass does take place in 1995, that would make Lord Asriel something around 60 years old if he was able to help the gyptians during the floods of 1953, which simply doesn't comply the description of Lord Asriel in the narration or what is said of him by other characters, not to mention that it would have made him 48 by the time Lyra was born, which would mean either Mrs. Coulter is either older than the narration suggests, or digs much older men.

Perhaps time moves slower in Lyra’s universe, so their present might be in the mid 20th century while our present with it’s faster time-flow might be in 1995 with 1953 having passed decades ago.

To make a reasonable guess based on the few clues available, lets say that Lord Asriel was 30 when Lyra was born. The youngest age I could imagine Lord Asriel being to have the status and resources to provide assistance the gyptians during the flood would be perhaps 25. So, If Lord Asriel was 25 in 1953, that would place Lyra’s birth in the year 1958, which means if she’s twelve during The Golden Compass then the present year in Lyra’s world is 1970, which proves absolutely nothing other than the fact that I just wasted a good fifteen minutes figuring out something that has minimal importance to the story and is regardless almost definitely incorrect.

What if my time flow difference idea is total nonsense and the calendar used in Lyra’s world has simply no relation to the AD calendar of our world and the “flood of 53” similarity is just a coincidence, though I couldn’t imagine Pullman referencing a concrete real life event if he didn’t intend for it to have some context in his universe.
Whatever, I’m done with this, I wasted enough time, this is starting to look like one of those crazy Zelda timeline theories.

More relevant, regarding John Faa’s speech about Lord Asriel, is the fact that the reader is being smothered with propaganda glorifying Lord Asriel as a great, brave hero. Some of these stories may be justified, as with Lord Faa’s speech, but much of it made up by Lyra herself, which despite the reader knowing is false, leave a lingering positive impression. Other bits of this sort of propaganda are even slipped in the narration itself in spots you’d barely even notice.

Well, thats all I have to say about Chapter 8, and I’m glad I’ve said it, because it distracted me from how tired I was for well over an hour.

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