The Golden Compass goes online

Ever since it was first announced that a screen version was in the works, fans of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series, part children's fantasy and part scathing criticism of organised religion, have speculated heavily on how the adaptation will come out. The first film in the series, The Golden Compass, isn't due for release until 7 December 2007 so we've got a while to wait, but in the meantime, the official website has just gone live and there's plenty up there for fans to ogle.

The site gives us our first look at how the world - an alternate version of our own - will look, as well as the first publicity photos of the cast, including newcomer Dakota Blue Richards, the 12-year-old who's been cast as heroine Lyra Belacqua. There's also a full cast list and a news section, which we expect will be regularly updated as production goes on.

Our favourite part of the site, though, is the alethiometer. Anyone who's ever read the books will have wanted an alethiometer, a compass-like device that can be used to read the future, to play with, and now you can. Apparently certain symbol combinations can also unlock hidden parts of the website, so feel free to explore.

You can visit the website at .

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