His Dark Materials, the book trilogy by Philip Pullman, tells a story of parallel worlds, the battle between opposing forces, life and death, and what is in between! In the centre of this compelling story we meet Lyra and her dæmon Pantalaimon, fighting lies and uncovering an evergrowing universe!
The Alethiometer is presented in the story as a truth telling devise, governed by an unseen force. Only six were ever made, and few people have the ability to read it. By a stroke of luck this "golden compass" ends up in Lyra's hands, and moreover she intuitively knows how to read it! Three hands let the reader point to a variety of symbols, each with their own and countless possible meanings to formulate a question. A specific state of mind is required, which Lyra so easily slips into, before the main hand starts to move giving a truthful reply to whatever is asked.
"It was very like a clock, or a compass, for there were hands pointing to places around the dial, but instead of the hours or the points of the compass there were several little pictures, each of them painted with the finest and slenderest sable brush." - (Description of the Alethiometer from the book)
The newly adaptation of the book series, brings Pullman and Lyra's world to the screen in the TV series His Dark Materials. The Alethiometer has received special attention and is designed beautifully. It fits perfectly in the hand and folds open to reveal the golden dial, with the symbols laid out in a circle. Just waiting for the right reader to come along.
I grew up reading these books and loving the story, how vast and complex the adventure gradually becomes, whilst still keeping it grounded in a sort of reality. This new adaptation to screen again has me looking to the corner of my eye trying to glimpse the parallel worlds, and imagining stepping through to the other side. I have always wanted an Alethiometer from the first time i read about them, a feeling I think other fans of the stories share.
The size, the symbols, the leap of faith and imagination required to use it, I think make the perfect lego set. The golden, though inconspicuous outer casing, reveals a highly detailed and enthralling inside when opened. The object can be laid flat on the table or be held in one's hand. Turn the wheels pointing the hands to the correct symbols, enter the special state of mind and perhaps see the main hand point to your answer! Like with the real Alethiometer an external force also controls this one. Gravity will point to the different symbols when the object is moved. It's up to its reader to discern the true meaning...