The Golden Compass Characters

The Golden Compass Character List

Lyra Belacqua

Lyra Belacqua is one of the central protagonists of the His Dark Materials, and the main character of the first novel, The Golden Compass. She is eleven years old, lives in Oxford under the care of her uncle, and believes herself to be an orphan due to her parents' alleged death in a zeppelin crash many years ago. Her daemon is named Pantalaimon and has yet to settle on a permanent form. She is clever, courageous, and has a bit of a wild streak. This, coupled with her tendency to tell tall tales, gets her into trouble more often than not. Her double life as a wild street urchin/child of nobility is interrupted when she meets the mysterious Mrs. Coulter, and she soon discovers she has a destiny that could determine the fate of the human race.


Pantalaimon is Lyra’s unsettled daemon, and acts (or at least attempts to act) as a Jiminy-Cricket type conscience for his more reckless human partner. He is, like other daemons, equivalent to a physical manifestation of Lyra’s soul, and they are as close as two beings can possibly be without being one entity. Often refered to as simply “Pan” by Lyra, he is a lot more cautious and suspicious than his partner, and thus tends to pick up of the danger they run into much quicker.

Lord Asriel

Lord Asriel is Lyra’s uncle, and a darkly ambitious figure that borders on the Byronic. He is intense and charismatic, and a fascinating figure for Lyra for much of the beginning of the novel, but, as we see later, has a substantial dark side. He seeks to eliminate Dust (and therefore original sin) by any means necessary, putting him at odds with both Lyra and Mrs. Coulter. His core ambitions may be morally grey, but over the course of the novel, he takes many actions that make him a terrifying antagonist for the plucky young Lyra.

Mrs. Coulter

Mrs. Coulter is a beautiful, captivating, and enigmatic woman that Lyra meets for the first time at Oxford. This seemingly glamourous and generous woman whisks Lyra away to a world of fancy parties and fancy people, teaching her to be more feminine and seemingly helping her grow up and become ‘the right kind of woman’. Soon however, her true nature comes out, and Lyra and Pan experience just how cruel Mrs. Coulter and her golden monkey daemon can be. Her wickedness only becomes more apparent as the story goes on and more of her crimes come to light, and her relationship to Lyra and Lord Asriel become clear.

Iorek Byrnison

Iorek Byrnison is an armored bear, or panserbjørne, originally from the frozen land of Svalbard. When Lyra first encounters him, he is drunk and demoralized, his armor (the bear equivalent of a daemon) having been stolen by some local humans. Lyra returns his armor to him, and in return, he pledges himself to her quest. It is later revealed that Iorek is banished royalty, and the story of him regaining his throne from the evil king Iofur Rakinson is a story of redemption for himself and his people. Over the course of the novel, he becomes a sort of surrogate father figure to Lyra, and she even remarks that she may have a better relationship with him than her own father.

Lee Scoresby

Lee Scoresby is an aeronaut from Texas, which in this universe is a country, not a state. When Lyra arrives in Trollesund, the gyptians hire Lee to transport her in his enormous hot air balloon, and they become allies and even friends as the story goes on. Lee is a simple man with simple desires, and believes people are entitled to freedom and personal choice above all things

Serafina Pekkala

Serafina Pekkala is the queen of a group of witches Lyra encounters on her travels. She is beautiful, nearly immortal, and like all witches has a daemon that can travel great distances from her. Her character contrasts with that of Lee Scoresby, in that she believes in the power of fate to direct destinies. She was once in a relationship with Farder Coram of the gyptians, and had two sons, both of whom died.

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