“Northern Lights deals with large themes; love, betrayal, religion and science” Discuss
Northern Light deals with the forces of love, betrayal, religion and science; all of these themes spur from one source, power. Each character in the novel experiences these topics, because each character is powerful. Northern Lights shows us that all individuals must either choose to use or be overcome these forces.
Ever since the dawn of time, love has been a fundamental part of every human’s lives. Northern Lights demonstrates to us that the love of a friend or the love of spouse can create either great power or bring misery and unhappiness. Iorek and Lyra are a perfect example a powerful relationship. Iorek has been denied power, Lyra is on a quest to find power and with out the love the two shared as friends, neither would be able to complete their missions. However, this is not to say the love and power are a perfect combination. To illustrate, look at Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel. “His hands, still clasped her head, tensed suddenly and drew her towards him in a passionate kiss. Lyra thought this looked more like cruelty than love” both are powerful in their own right, but neither is truly happy with the other. They cannot agree or conform with each others beliefs of Dust, meaning no physical love could keep them together. Although there was a strong romantic interest between the two, both came from different sides of power, her religion and he science. Northern Lights shows its readers that when true love is evident, than true power is achievable.
Betrayal is a key aspect in the journey to power. Most characters in Northern Lights weave many webs of lies to cover up the truth. Not every character relies on betrayal to achieve power, however like this world, there are individuals that will stop at no lengths to meet their desires. For example, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter betray Lyra in order to help themselves. They lie about who they are (in relation to being her parents), Mrs. coulter tries to take the alethiometer and Lord Asriel kills her dear friend Roger.Iofur, brother of Iorek is another who betrayed those closest to him. After killing his own father, he denied ever doing such a hideous act. Not only that, he exiled his own brother, and became king of Armored Bears. He meets his end most unfortunately when “The lower part of Iofur’s jaw clean off… Iorek sliced open the dead kings chest, peeling fur back…into the ribcage…plucked out Iofur’s heart…and ate it””. Although betrayal is used to obtain power, it’s clear that is achieves the complete opposite.
In a sense, religion in Northern Lights is power. Throughout the text, there is no referral to the alternate reality having any form of democratic leader or king, just the constant mention of the Pope or the Church. The novel shows us the scary truth about what could happen.