I never bothered to read any of the novellas Philip Pullman wrote that tie in to the His Dark Materials series. But after re-reading the series and watching the HBO show, I felt some interest.
Once Upon a Time in the North is the story of how Lee Scoresby met Iorek Byrnison and their first adventure together. Newly in possession of his balloon, Scoresby finds himself in an isolated arctic town and in the thick of a deadly fight. Always one to help the underdogs, Scoresby agrees to help a ship’s captain defy the oil magnate controlling the town and load his detained cargo. But it’s gonna take more than Scoresby and his gun to get the ship underway.
This was a quick little read that filled in some of the history Pullman hints at in the series. And it’s a fun way to dip back in to Pullman’s world without going all the way back through the series.
In Lyra’s Oxford, Lyra has returned from her adventures and has taken up studies at St. Sophia’s. When a witch’s dæmon comes to her for help, Lyra can’t keep from getting involved. But her trusting innocence may yet be her undoing.
This story was a little less interesting, as it didn’t tie in to the history of the series but was more a little snapshot at Lyra’s life after the North. But it was only 50 pages, so worth reading if you’ve got a hankering for just a little bit more of Lyra’s story.