The first official still from His Dark Materials: The Golden Compass (or The Northern Lights if you live outside the US) has arrived, and it gives us our first look at the girl playing the heroine of the trilogy, Lyra. The actress is Dakota Blue Richards, and in this picture she’s sitting with Nicole Kidman as the nasty Ms. Coulter. If I had to guess I would say this picture is from a scene where Ms. Coulter, who has recently adopted the young girl, is having a dinner party and Lyra learns terrible secrets. As with everything else in these books, Lyra learns these secrets in a speech from another character that plays like a cinema scene from a video game.

I recently finished reading the His Dark Materials trilogy and I must say I have no idea how they’re going to make them into movies. And not just because the books are vocally anti-God and anti-Church – the second book features almost nothing happening, while the third is overstuffed. If I were making these movies I would include the first hundred pages of book three (right up to the SPOILER! breaking of the subtle knife) at the end of the second film. Also, I have a major problem with the books’ very fucked up timeline, in which massive military and construction undertakings are achieved in weeks, and in which characters gain knowledge off-page whenever Philip Pullman, the writer, needs for them to just suddenly know stuff.