I remember the day when I first got La Belle Sauvage (it was a good day) and the first thing I did was to slip off the cover to the book to see this big black hardback book covered in golden dots - obviously depicting Dust but what intrigued me later on was the quote on the side of the book, that read " 'Ah, it's a proper canoe,' said Lord Asriel, as if he'd been expecting a toy. Malcolm felt a little affronted on behalf of La Belle Sauvage, and said nothing as he turned her over and let her slip quietly down the grass and on to the water. "
Once I'd finished the book I came back to this quote which, if you're interested, is on Chapter 10, page 178 about halfway down the page, I thought why on Earth had Philip Pullman picked that quote. It's not exactly the most thrilling quote in the world nor is the best in the book, the book contains plenty of great ones! So why does he pick this one? Does it somehow contribute to the story? Or is it merely because it describes the La Belle Sauvage canoe. The quote on the blurb explained Dust...so why doesn't this quote have something to do with Dust?
I thought about it for a while and maybe the connection Pullman has with this quote, maybe something personal yet that was to no avail! But maybe, this one phrase, sums up something we missed in the first series about Lord Asriel's character. Or maybe it has something to do with Malcolm's personality.
We established from the first series not too much about Asriel, he was suspicious, nice and horrid (to put it lightly) at different stages yet at this point in the book, Lord Asriel has just told Malcolm that people are trying to capture him and he must flee though he seems perfectly calm. Is it just because he's cool under pressure? Or maybe Malcolm reminds him somewhat of Lyra and what she could be.
Then, there's Malcolm, we see him in different ways, either through baby Lyra's eyes, a 'hero' somewhat or Alice's eyes, a *insert insult here*. You may have seen Malcolm as passionate in the book, or something different but this phrase shows something new about Malcolm. Not just caring, but a real connection to his small tiny boat before it has had the chance to save his life. Then again, maybe not and I think there may be a better reason. I think this quote shows a relationship between the two.
Lord Asriel, a sort of father figure, thinking of Malcolm as a child and so, thinking he has a toy boat but then Malcolm who is affronted by his words, but maybe this isn't just because of his care for the canoe as it hasn't saved lives just yet, maybe he looks into Lord Asriel's eyes and thinks of Lyra, just the same. But the Lyra who was abandoned by her father, Lord Asriel, and he's not all too happy about it.
So, that's my theory for why the great Philip Pullman put that quote on the back. I'd love to hear what anyone else thinks :D
I was looking through some of the policies, for once, and I found a link to a rather old wiki related to HDM - the fanfiction wiki found at: https://his-dark-materials-fanfiction.wikia.com/wiki/ (or, if you are seeing this sometime in the future, maybe https://his-dark-materials-fanfiction.fandom.com/wiki/). It's an abandoned wiki that was used for fanfiction - do you think I should adopt the wiki and reuse it or let it lie and collect dust?
I'm not sure if this is the sort of stuff I should be putting on here but I had some theories for the Secret Commonwealth that I wanted to share.
So in La Belle Sauvage there was that enchanted island where the river giant and those forgotten people were. That was never fully explained and I think that could link to the next book.
Another thing that happened was that Malcolm (or maybe someone else, I don't remember too well) looked into the Thames and saw some lights under water. Someone later described that as the secret commonwealth.
We know that in the book Lyra will be travelling through the Levant. In Lyra's Oxford there is a catalogue for a trip on the S.S Zenobia (thanks to Amyosaurus for reminding me of this!) and there is a note on it written by Lyra saying she will meet someone. The S.S Zenobia cruises are oriental and Levantine. These 2 parts of the catalogue lead me to believe that this is related to the Secret Commonwealth.
If anyone has any idea about these theories let me know!