Philip Pullman wrote this story 16 years ago for a theater auction, and it is now available to the general public for the first time.
Everything regarding the first story arc of His Dark Materials has already passed; the events of that wonderful first trilogy are over.
However, nothing short of a changing experience can truly be overcome by time alone. There are doubts that will increase in both Lyra’s and her daemon’s mind, and these are explored in this short… medium-sized story: it’s only 80 pages long, after all. However, if you want to understand the events of The Book of Dust trilogy, this may be very important.
In Serpentine, we see them journey to the far North, to the town of Trollesund, the excuse a paleontological dig. Lyra has jumped at the opportunity, hoping to ask the witch consul, Dr. Lanselius, a question.
Now, this question begs an answer about the nature of the relationship between people and their daemons. Now that HBO is about to bring us the second season of this extraordinary tale, the question dwells deeply in what a human mind or soul can hide to itself. Behind their ability to separate (as yet undisclosed) lies the idea that a human’s bond with their dæmon can be irreparably broken.
Philip Pullman says:
Why are we publishing this story now? Because with the development of The Book of Dust, especially after the events described in The Secret Commonwealth, we can see a change in the way Lyra understands herself, and her relationship with Pantalaimon, which is prefigured in this little Arctic episode. When I wrote Serpentine, I had no idea that I was going on to write another trilogy, showing Lyra as an adult, but she and her world wouldn’t leave me alone. When it comes to human affairs, a billion invisible filaments connect us to our own pasts, as well as to the most remote things we can imagine; and I hope that, above all, these books are about being alive and being human.
The book features illustrations by Tom Duxbury, and the audiobook edition is narrated by Academy Award–winning actress Olivia Colman.
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: October 15, 2020
BISAC Categories: Classics Fantasy & Magic Social Themes – Emotions & Feelings
Featured image by Tom Duxbury, all images belong to Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers