Timeline entry for 2007: The Golden Compass

Banned Books Week, Censorship

Happy Day 3 of Banned Books Week! Throughout the week, we will continue to highlight one book from our timeline of banned and challenged books each day. Today we feature the year 2007 and “The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman.

The Golden Compass“Northern Lights,” published as “The Golden Compass” in North America, is the first in Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” trilogy of fantasy novels for young readers. In 2007, it was pulled from the St. John Neumann Middle and Lourdes High School in Oshkosh, WI because of concerns about what critics call its “anti-Christian message.” It was also challenged at the Conkwright Middle School in Winchester, KY because the main character drinks wine and ingests poppy with her meals, and for anti-Christian doctrine. It was challenged at the Shallowater Middle School in Lubbock, TX and pulled from library shelves at Ortega Middle School in Alamosa, CO, in both cases due to “anti-religious messages.” Similar concerns prompted the Catholic League, a Roman Catholic anti-defamation organization in the U.S., to urge parents to boycott a movie version of the book that was released in December 2007. “Northern Lights” won the prestigious Carnegie Medal in 1995 and was voted the all-time “Carnegie of Carnegies” in 2007.


For more information about Banned Books Week, please visit www.ala.org/bbooks.


  • I love that book, i never knew that it was killing god, but now that i know this makes alot of sense!
    but i still love it

  • Dear lord, what a mess the makers and writers made out of this film.

    It started off interesting with hope then very quickly it descended into a mess of re-written scripts TOTALLY different to the book. The scenes themselves looked beautiful but everything else after that was a complete mess. Plots were left unexplained, the reasons for many, many characters existents and actions were not even explained or touched on

    as well as their very actions being completely changed or invented

    totally from thin air! You were left wondering many a time “why is this happening” – “who did that happen?” – “what has this got to do with the story” – what the heck is going on?” and “would someone please explain why ALL of the characters are doing what they are doing? And that’s just the tip of the iceberg…

    The makers of this film TOTALLY took a meat cleaver to the story. Cut huge and I mean HUGE chunks out, totally twisted scenes around to an unbelievable extent, let characters live that actually die, NEVER explained backgrounds of anything! Leaving out the fact that they rewrote the whole book and made a complete shambles of it, just as a non-reader, many have commented to me in the cinema, on the way out and afterward to this present day (June 2008) the equivalent of “you could tell they pulled the good guts out of it”.

    Dear god, if your going to make a film from a book, stick with the book or make up one of your own completely. Don’t waste our time and your own by buying the rights to a book and then ripping it to shreds and sticking it back together again in an unintelligible mess. What is the point of buying the rights to a book in the first place if your going to totally re-write it (and screw it up in the process too to boot)?

    I understand that the makers were spineless and cowered to the religious nuts by removing anything that made any intelligence to those with brains. The effect of this cowardice left behind a film that was a total waste of time, an insult to the original writer of the book and a waste of talent that should have been used better in a greater film than this mixed, unexplained unmitigated disaster.

    If there is going to be sequels and going by this film, I hope to all heavens there is NOT – can we the audience have a change of makers, scriptwriters and a producer, a director with a brain and at least someone with guts to stand up against the zealous religious right.

    To sum up: what a complete mess and waste of talent.

    This film could have been so, so so much better.

    Rating: one out of ten.

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