Originally posted in LaGremlin Land on 11/16/06. Note that this does not take the "Lost" episodes since that date into account. It also does not acknowledge the "Golden Compass" film. (But then again, who does?)
In Which A Fan of Both Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials Trilogy and Damon Lindelof/Carlton Cuse/J.J. Abrams' "Lost" Sets out to Prove That the Two Series are Basically The Same Thing
"This is a kid's book series? I can't imagine what kind of pale, boring, morose kids must dig this." - Devin Faraci of CHUD.com
Well, gee, ME for one. >:(
Also, if -for all it's sex and violence- the His Dark Materials series is a kid's book, then so is every other book where the protagonists *start out as* children. So I guess you can go read Lolita, kiddies. What an idjit. (I'm sorry, I read that article shortly before I wanted to post this feature and I just had to rant.)
Anyway, thanks to the title, there's not much left to explain here, I hope. Needless to say, this contains SPOILERS GALORE for both His Dark Materials and "Lost". Both series are wonderful and if you have not watched/read either of them, do so now. Then come back and read this.
As far as I know I'm the only one out there who sees these connections, which is weird cause I know that there are crazy "Lost" fans who want to sniff out every single possible cross-reference ever. I came up with a lot of these after rereading His Dark Materials (I started as soon as it was clear that the film adaptation was out of development limbo; I anticipate it with dread but that's irrelevant for now), and I finished the trilogy on a Wednesday. "Lost" night. And so, my fellow experimental theologians, similarities between His Dark Materials and "Lost":
Well, first, let's get the obvious stuff out of the way:
His Dark Materials: Polar Bears?
Lost: Polar Bears.
His Dark Materials: Science and faith?
Lost: Science and faith.
His Dark Materials: Brings together a disparate group of characters who find themselves in a strange conflict involving forces way beyond human understanding?
Lost: Brings together a disparate group of characters who find themselves in a strange conflict involving forces way beyond human understanding. We think.
Now, here's where things get interesting:
His Dark Materials: The main antagonists in the first book are the "Gobblers". They are a mysterious group of high-ranking people with shady intentions. The Gobblers are, by all evidence, in allegiance with a larger and far shadier organization. We do not learn much about them in the early chapters -- but we do know that they are obsessed with children…
Lost: The main antagonists in the second season are the "Others". They are a mysterious group of islanders with shady intentions. The Others are, by strong implication, in allegiance with a larger, far shadier organization. We don't know much about them by the end of Season Two -- but we do know that they are obsessed with children…
His Dark Materials: Very near the beginning of the first book, it is revealed that the Gobblers have kidnapped countless children. Lyra, the heroine of the trilogy, is stunned to learn that this includes her best friend, Roger.
Lost: By the end of the first season and the beginning of the second, it is revealed that the Others have kidnapped Rousseau's daughter Alex, Claire (who was pregnant with Aaron at the time), the children from the tail end, and Michael's son Walt.
His Dark Materials: The Gobblers operate from a remote location (near the Arctic Circle) which nonetheless has state-of-the-art facilities.
Lost: The Others operate from a remote location (Craphole Island) which nonetheless has state-of-the-art facilities.
His Dark Materials: Here's the kicker. When she meets one of the kidnapped children who has managed to escape, and when she is captured by the Gobblers shortly thereafter, Lyra learns firsthand the horrifying truth of what the Gobblers are up to. Basically, the Gobblers make the children take tests before performing bizarre and cruel experiments on them. It's implied that the point of some of these experiments is to harness a potential power that the children have…
Lost: Here's the kicker. When Michael sets out to rescue Walt, and is captured by the Others, he *sort of* learns firsthand what they're up to when he is allowed to talk with Walt. Walt is able to tell his father that the Others make him "take tests" before Ms. Clue tells him to shut up.
Furthermore, in the episode "Maternity Leave", it's very clear that the Others are performing some kind of bizarre experiments on Aaron before he is even born. A popular theory, backed up by some of the questions that Ms. Clue asks of Michael, has it that the Others are looking for the potential powers that "special" children have…
It really is the same story!
His Dark Materials: At one point, some of the characters must travel through a place that is very like Purgatory.
Lost: A commonly held, though long-dismissed, theory has it that Craphole Island is Purgatory.
His Dark Materials: A certain World in the Multiverse is inhabited by beings called Phantoms. Phantoms are very interested in adults' souls -- by all evidence they eat adult souls.
Lost: Craphole Island is home to a "monster" that looks like a great, dark phantom. "Smoky" seems to be very interested in the contents of peoples' heads -- as evidenced by it’s encounters with Mr. Eko and B'enry, it can basically "read" your soul.
His Dark Materials: In an incredibly sad scene, Lyra encounters Tony, a lost boy who she first takes to be a ghost.
Lost: In an incredibly creepy scene, Shannon sees the lost Walt as a sort of ghost.
His Dark Materials: Creepy Guy In A Boat - "HE (Pantalaimon) can't come."
Lost: Creepy Guy In A Boat - "We're gonna hafta take the boy (Walt)."
His Dark Materials: Climaxes with an epic, apocalyptic battle involving about a zillion characters which sets about several major shakeups in the foundations of the Multiverse.
Lost: Err, well, we still don't know what really happened during the season finale...
Related Links and Sources:
The Wikipedia entries for "Lost", and His Dark Materials are as good enough places as any to start.
"Lost" Fansites: The "Lost" Encyclopedia, Television Without Pity
His Dark Materials Fansites: HisDarkMaterials.org, The Bridge to the Stars
And more recently, This Article that popped up on the Entertainment Weekly website a little while ago and covers several of the more recent seasons. And which also recommends His Dark Materials to "Lost" followers. (As well as the "Matrix" trilogy, which I have just watched again recently and which plays quite differently in a "Lost" world. And I might talk much more about all this later... when I have something much better than a laptop keyboard to tpewith -- err, type with.)