57 minutes | Jan 31, 2020

Mary Malone and the Mulefa, Balthmos' Sorrow and Will's Bold Moves: Chapters 7 and 8 of The Amber Spyglass

As Father McPhail warns of the Tempter, Mary Malone bids farewell to the kind, elderly couple that assisted her when she first crossed into the world of Ci’gazze. Unsure where to go next, she consults the I Ching, a Chinese method of fortune telling kindred to the alethiometer. After hiking a mountain path for four hours, Mary discovers a window to another world. Once through, she is astounded by what she finds. Miniscule insects and tiny hummingbirds fly in sharp relief to the wide, red-gold trunks of the new world’s enormous trees. Yet nothing is as strange as the creatures Mary finds in the grove. Called mulefa, the creatures have short trunks like elephants, diamond-shaped bodies, and claws that they hook through wheel-shaped seedpods they ride through the countryside. Mary communicates with the mulefa, who are able to mimic her in broken English. They befriend her, gesturing for Mary to travel with them as they leave the safety of the grove. Meanwhile, in Lyra’s world, Balthamos suddenly senses that Baruch has died. He is overtaken by anguish and guilt, almost unable to go on, but Will is able to convince him to continue for Baruch’s sake. As they travel, Will and Balthamos encounter a priest who warns them of a village in the south that is plagued by armoured bears. The bears are attacking because the villagers refuse to refuel them. Will and Balthamos make their way to the village where Will comes up with a plan to stop the fighting. He says he will challenge one of the bears; if Will wins, the villagers must refuel the bear’s ship so they can be on their way. The bear agrees; but when Will displays the power of the subtle knife, he refuses to fight such a weapon. The villagers keep their word and refuel the bears’ boats. Will tells one of the bears that he is looking for Iorek Byrnison to help him find his friend, Lyra Silvertongue. The bear reveals to Wil that he is, in fact, Iorek Byrnison. Fascinated by Will’s knife, Iorek agrees to help Will find Lyra, allowing him to travel with the bears as they make their way toward the Himalayas. 
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