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From: "David Lebling" <dlebling@ucentric.com>
Subject: (urth) Witches, Daemons, Bears, Democrats
Date: Fri, 27 Apr 2001 09:21:41 

> From: <akt@attglobal.net>
> Well, sure! They're Lapland witches! Shakepeare, Milton and Goethe all
> refer to Lapland witches and I couldn't have been more thrilled to meet
> them, and so wonderfully described. A couple of the very best Xena eps
> have her running up against a Northern shamaness/witch. (I hope you
> appreciate the cultural juxtaposition.) There is also a rather
> pornographic Fuseli painting of them; you can find it on the Web--not
> Pullman's witches, for sure.

Which play is the Shakespeare reference in? And where in Milton? That's
interesting. I've always had a soft spot for Finnish mythology (which I know
isn't quite the same as Lapland mythology, but hey...). When I was a kid I
discovered Emil Petaja's series which was a thinly disguised _Kalevala_, and
loved it. I have to admit I've only Xena'd a few times, and not seen any
Lapland witches. One of my Everquest characters (admission of addiction
here) is a shaman, and they are very fun to play.

> And, hey, vizcacha, some of us on this list
> *do* have daemons--you do youself ;-)

Of course I have a daemon!

> Actually, the only place in the second book (perhaps aside from the many
> coincidences) that I thought went too far was the angels sending a
> message via Dr Malone's computer OTOH many people do find gremlins in
> their computers!

That was precisely the thing I was thinking of in the second book. It read
_exactly_ like those old five-minute-space-drive stories.

> Did you all like Hester? She was my favorite daemon. (I haven't yet read
> Book 3.)

Yes, but the bears were my absolute favorite. I think I've read only one
other story where bears have a civilization (as opposed to stories where
bears are intelligent -- even Tolkien did that, and I don't count "When
Bears Discover Fire"). I _think_ it was a Poul Anderson story, but I can't
recall the title. I just remember the bears were very bearish, rather than
just big humans in fur coats.

From: William Ansley <wansley@warwick.net>
> I was bothered enough to do so not because of the anti-religious
> message itself, but because of the vehemence with which Pullman
> presents it and because these books are putatively for children, who
> are likely, even in this day and age, to possess much less
> sophistication than those who write here.

Well, neither of my daughters have had any difficulty with that aspect so
far. Nor, for that matter, did they have any difficulty with the explicitly
pro-Christian messages in the Narnia books. It's true that the religious
aspect of _His Dark Materials_ gets stronger as it goes along, especially in
the third book, which they haven't gotten to yet. They don't have any strong
religious beliefs for the book to offend; we go to a Unitarian Universalist
church, the only sacrosanct belief system there is that of the Democratic

    Dave Lebling
    aka vizcacha

*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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