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    This is something that has always confused me - why is the name of Philip Pullman's book 'Northern Lights' titled 'The Golden Compass' in the US. I'm not trying to disparage the states or anything but to me it doesn't make much sense; it's not like the term northern lights is something culturally specific to the United Kingdom (where Pullman is from). I guess you could say the same for the Philosopher vs. Sorcerer difference between editions of the first Harry Potter book. Does anyone have a good reason for these changes?
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    I think it's because the other two books are named after items in the books. I don't really see the point either. Anyway, it wasn't a compass. I think it's the same reason that The Philosopher's Stone was changed to The Sorcerer's Stone in America. I think it's unnecessary and patronising.
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    no but the movie versoin was crap.
    i love philip pullman
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    I believe Philosopher's stone is not considered to be a well known term in the US, hence that change.
    As for the Northern Lights, I have no idea, I only know that the Golden Compass was supposed to be one idea Pullman had for the name of the trilogy, based on some painting.

    Edit: Wiki thinks that the Golden Compasses were something from 'Paradise Lost'.
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    Incidentally, the same editor who made the harry potter change made this change too.

    While I prefer "Northern Lights" I actually think "Golden Compass" is a good name too because it fits in the them of His Dark Materials and the items- a golden compass, a subtle knife and an amber spyglass. I also think (correct me if I'm wrong) that the Golden Compass was the first name Pullman thought of, but changed it to Northern Lights, however the US editors prefered Compass. And there's also another book in the states called A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (it's called A Gathering Light in the UK) I'm not sure when that was published but that might also be why.


    I am a wealth of useless trivia :p:
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    (Original post by Dijobla)
    Incidentally, the same editor who made the harry potter change made this change too.

    While I prefer "Northern Lights" I actually think "Golden Compass" is a good name too because it fits in the them of His Dark Materials and the items- a golden compass, a subtle knife and an amber spyglass. I also think (correct me if I'm wrong) that the Golden Compass was the first name Pullman thought of, but changed it to Northern Lights, however the US editors prefered Compass. And there's also another book in the states called A Northern Light by Jennifer Donnelly (it's called A Gathering Light in the UK) I'm not sure when that was published but that might also be why.


    I am a wealth of useless trivia :p:
    The golden compass is not an item in the books to the best of my recollection.
    Presumably you're thinking of the aliethiometer? An item which is neither golden, nor a compass.
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    (Original post by Slumpy)
    The golden compass is not an item in the books to the best of my recollection.
    Presumably you're thinking of the aliethiometer? An item which is neither golden, nor a compass.
    It is golden! It's made of gold.

    But I agree, it's not a compass, and I dislike 'The Golden Compass' title.
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    Northern Lights is a much better name.

    Did anyone hear about the American campaign to change the name of The Two Towers (the film version) because it might offend families of 911 victims?
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    (Original post by Slumpy)
    The golden compass is not an item in the books to the best of my recollection.
    Presumably you're thinking of the aliethiometer? An item which is neither golden, nor a compass.
    Yes I am talking about the alethiometer and I think it's fair to assume that is what the title The Golden Compass refers to also. Obviously it's not a compass but it is golden and it does resemble a compass. A quick wikipedia search seems to agree with me. Anyway I said I prefer Northern Lights, I just also happen to like Golden Compass too.
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    thanks alot, those are pretty much along the lines of what i was thinking. it's just always bothered me because Northern Lights is so much enigmatic a title than The Golden Compass, which just sounds a little rubbish and too fantasy-ish. haha but hey, that's just me
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    (Original post by Topaz_eyes)
    It is golden! It's made of gold.

    But I agree, it's not a compass, and I dislike 'The Golden Compass' title.
    Actually, it's brass-page 74 of the paperback 'Northern Lights' if you don't believe me:p:

    (Original post by Dijobla)
    Yes I am talking about the alethiometer and I think it's fair to assume that is what the title The Golden Compass refers to also. Obviously it's not a compass but it is golden and it does resemble a compass. A quick wikipedia search seems to agree with me. Anyway I said I prefer Northern Lights, I just also happen to like Golden Compass too.
    I would disagree.
    As I've said, it's not Gold, it's brass, and an equally quick search will suggest that I'm correct:


    (Original post by http://www.bridgetothestars.net/index.php?p=FAQ#4)
    My first discovery was the phrase THE GOLDEN COMPASSES (plural, note). This comes in Milton's Paradise Lost, a poem which inspired me a great deal. The line refers to the Son of God taking 'the golden compasses, prepared / In God's eternal store, to circumscribe / The universe, and all created things."

    In other words, these were compasses to draw a circle with, not a compass to find your way with. I liked the phrase, and the trilogy became temporarily, during the publication process, The Goldem Compasses. And we finally settled on Northern Lights for the title of the first book.
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    The trigoly was going to be The Golden Compasses (istead he ended up going with a different Paradise Lost quote)

    He ended up changing the name. But the Americams had madaged to get themselves confused and thought that The Golden Compass was the iten used in the story.

    When Pullman named the first book Northen Lights the American's wouldn't change the name because they liked it and prefered it.

    So really it came about due to a series of misunderstandings.
 
 
 
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