Is he expecting controversy? He pauses: "I am beset, not beset, that's too strong, I am attended by crazy people." The day before our interview he had given a reading at the Sheldonian Theatre as part of the Oxford Chamber Music Festival. There were 750 children from primary schools in the Oxford area listening to music and readings. A small boy from one of the schools was taken out "rather ostentatiously" before each of Pullman's readings and brought back in again when the reading was over. "Apparently his parents objected to his hearing anything of mine on the grounds that he might go to hell if he did."
Pullman says that people who are tempted to take offence should first see the film or read the books. "They'll find a story that attacks such things as cruelty, oppression, intolerance, unkindness, narrow-mindedness, and celebrates love, kindness, open-mindedness, tolerance, curiosity, human intelligence. It's very hard to disagree with those. But people will."
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