362 Lyras

What makes Phillip Pullman’s heroine Lyra Belacqua such a compulsively likable character? Going to be watching the F out of the new tv series coming. Already looks 1000% better than the movie trash that came out a while back.

Where did Lyra herself come from? She has, I think, DNA from many places: from the tricksters in old English ballads, from William Brown and his Outlaws, from the orphaned Cinderella (not the Disney one; the versions from the 17th and 18th centuries, who had wit and guile and an edge of ruthlessness on their side. In Giambattista Basile’s La Gatta Cenerentola, Zezolla murders her stepmother by chopping off her head with the lid of a trunk.) Pullman told me: “Lyra just came to me as she was. I didn’t change a bit, or alter anything to her advantage. Having taught in middle schools for 12 years or so, I was well aware that there was a Lyra in every class. The point I always make, when asked about it, is that Lyra is not special. She’s ordinary, not to say common. But it’s the qualities she shares with so many real girls that help her when she finds herself in extraordinary circumstances.”

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