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The Amber Spyglass excerpt - slow down you crazy child
you're so ambitious for a juvenile

Alice For Tea
Date: 2006-08-16 20:25
Subject: The Amber Spyglass excerpt
Security: Public
Tags:books, excerpts
I remember ages ago that bubbleforest, on her journal (GJ or LJ, I forget), typed out passages from Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx and The Farseer Trilogy by Robin Hobb. Mainly they were slashy or subtexty slashy scenes. And I'm reading the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman, and I came across these two characters, who are thousands-years-old angels, in the third book of the trilogy. And it just felt so poignantly sweet, so I did the same.

“Here!” he said, and his voice was free of disapproval and sarcasm for once. “Baruch came this way! And there is one of those windows, almost invisible. Come—come. Come now.”

Will followed eagerly, his weariness forgotten. The window, he saw when he reached it, opened onto a dim, tundra-like landscape that was flatter than the mountains in the Cittàgazze world, and colder, with an overcast sky. He went through, and Balthamos followed him at once.

“Which world is this?” Will said.

“The girl’s own world. This is where they came through. Baruch has gone ahead to follow them.”

“How do you know? Do you read his mind?”

“Of course I read his mind. Wherever he goes, my heart goes with him; we feel as one, though we are two.”


And barely ten minutes later the soft sound of wingbeats came to their ears, and Balthamos stood up eagerly. The next moment, the two angels were embracing, and Will, gazing into the flames, saw their mutual affection. More than affection: they loved each other with a passion.

Baruch sat down beside his companion, and Will stirred the fire, so that a cloud of smoke drifted past the two of them. It had the effect of outlining their bodies so that he could see them both clearly for the first time. Balthamos was slender; his narrow wings were folded elegantly behind his shoulders, and his face bore an expression that mingled haughty disdain with a tender, ardent sympathy, as if he would love all things if only his nature could let him forget their defects. But he saw no defects in Baruch, that was clear. Baruch seemed younger, as Balthamos had said he was, and was more powerfully built, his wings snow-white and massive. He had a simpler nature; he looked up to Balthamos as to the fount of all knowledge and joy. Will found himself intrigued and moved by their love for each other.


Baruch said, “We are sorry. I shall go on my own to Lord Asriel and give him our information, and ask him to send you help to find his daughter. It will be two days’ flying time, if I navigate truly.”

“And I shall stay with you, Will,” said Balthamos.

“Well,” said Will, “thank you.”

The two angels embraced. Then Baruch folded his arms around Will and kissed him on both cheeks. The kiss was light and cool, alike the hands of Balthamos.

“If we keep moving toward Lyra,” Will said, “will you find us?”

“I shall never lose Balthamos,” said Baruch, and stepped back.

Then he leapt into the air, soared swiftly into the sky, and vanished among the scattered stars. Balthamos was looking after him with desperate longing.

“Shall we sleep here, or should we move on?” he said finally, turning to Will.

- The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

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