The Golden Compass Quotes


"No, no, that's the saddest thing: she will be the betrayer, and the experience will be terrible. She mustn't know that, of course, but there's no reason for her not to know about the problem of Dust. And you might be wrong, Charles; she might well take an interest in it, if it were explained in a simple way. And it might help her later on. It would certainly help me to be less anxious about her."

The Librarian

In the final book of the series, it is revealed that Lyra is the new Eve. Dust represents what the church calls original sin; however, Pullman believes that they are wrong. He sees Eve as the woman who brought knowledge for human's to learn and grow with, not as a bringer of destruction.

Little Tony Makarios wasn't the only child to be caught by the lady with the golden monkey. He found a dozen others in the cellar of the warehouse, boys and girls, none older than twelve or so; though since all of them had histories like his, none could be sure of their age. What Tony didn't notice, of course, was the factor that they all had in common. None of the children in that warm and steamy cellar had reached the age of puberty.


Mrs Coulter is kidnapping children of poor families who do not have the power to get their children back in order to perform experiments on them by removing their daemons. She believes that to become pure their soul (personified by their daemons) should exist on the inside of their bodies.

"When you're young, you do think that things last forever. Unfortunately, they don't. Lyra, it won't be long – a couple of years at most – before you will be a young woman, and not a child anymore. A young lady. And believe me, you'll find Jordan College a far from easy place to live in then."

The Master of Jordan College

Lyra has no interest in growing up at the beginning of the novel, not understanding what the Master could mean when he implies she will not like the place when you is a young woman instead of a child.

"Anyway, there's compensations for a settled form."

"What are they?"

"Knowing what kind of person you are. Take old Belisaria. She's a seagull, and that means I'm a kind of seagull too. I'm not grand and splendid nor beautiful, but I'm a tough old thing and I can survive anywhere and always find a bit of food and company. That's worth knowing, that is. And when your daemon settles, you'll know the sort of person you are."

"But suppose your daemon settles in a shape you don't like?"

"Well, then, you're disconnected, en't you?"


A daemon is a soul personified. It is a conscious being of its own, yet still part of its human and a reflection of that human's inner self. While young, a daemon can take on the form of any animal, reflecting the changing nature of childhood, yet when a child hits puberty and begins to grow, the daemon takes on a single form that represents who they are.

The great bear was helpless. Lyra found her power over him almost intoxicating, and if Pantalaimon hadn't nipped her hand sharply to remind her of the danger they were all in, she might have lost all sense of proportion.


Here we see a small bit of the taste for power that Lyra's parents share. Unlike her parents, however, she knows this hunger for power to be wrong, her Daemon remaining absolute in his morals and helping her stay on track.

"Somewhere out there is the origin of all the Dust, all the death, the sin, the misery, the destructiveness in the world. Human beings can't see anything without wanting to destroy it, Lyra. That's original sin. And I'm going to destroy it. Death is going to die."

Lord Asriel

Lyra's father wants to destroy dust, as he believes that it is what causes human suffering, in the same way the church believes that Eve's eating of the apple became the original sin and bought death into the world. He believes that in destroying dust he will restore man's immortality.

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