Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 325–334 | Cite as

‘A Heaven of Hell, a Hell of Heaven’: His Dark Materials, Inverted Theology, and the End of Philip Pullman’s Authority

  • Jonathan Padley
  • Kenneth Padley
Original Paper


This article argues that Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials may be read as a series which attempts to assault the Christian doctrine of God. We believe that this demonstrably accords with Pullman’s personal views, and that, through his story, he seeks to foster such views in his readership. However, the accuracy of his attack falls short of its intended mark when it is examined alongside classical Christian theology. The Authority which Pullman’s narrative destroys is actually more akin to the Christian view of the devil than he is the divine, and the victories of Will and Lyra—as a new Adam and Eve—have strong resemblances to the victories which Christianity claims for Christ and Mary. Pullman’s narrative, therefore, becomes an inversion of his deicidal intention rather than an inverting and revolutionary destruction of theology.


Northern Lights/The Golden Compass The Subtle Knife The Amber Spyglass Devil God Christian theology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Blackpill, SwanseaUK
  2. 2.Marina, SwanseaUK

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