Book Discussion: The Golden Compass

I finished the book “The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman. This was a very interesting book to say the least! It is set in this world where everyone has a daemon within themselves. These deamons are like the character’s inner beings or psyches if you will. Everyone in the story has one and as the person is growing through adolescent, their inner deamon will shift until they have reached the end of puberty. This aspect of the story really added a lot of conflict within everything else that was going on in the plot. There is always this cognitive implication within the story that all the characters have to deal with and I think that played into the theme of inner struggle and everyone being different in their own way. A difference that nobody can really see but start to show the more time with a person, a lot like other emotional implications that everyone struggles with.


Photo by John-Mark Smith on Unsplash

This story is centered around a 12-year-old, ambitious character named Lyra Belacqua who is ultimately looking for her lost friend, Roger Parslow and her uncle, Lord Asriel. Lyra has a deamon that she refers to as Pantalaimon, which I thought was a very creative name at that, especially to describe such a headstrong and unique deamon that Lyra has within her. Lyra begins the story as an orphan who is taken care of by the community of scholars at a college in Oxford named Jordan College. A different spin I didn’t see coming when thinking of Lyra being an orphan and how it is usually some dumpy foster care but this aspect was out of the ordinary for sure. Spoilers ahead! Lyra is adopted by a wealthier woman named Mrs. Coulter. Lyra is given a truth device that is called an alethiometer that helps Lyra find out who Mrs. Coulter really is. She works as the head of a group called the Gobblers who run experiments on children to try and separate their deamons from their actual consciousness. This is very risky business, and as soon as Lyra finds out about it, she leaves Mrs. Coulter’s house and flees to find help from a group called the Gyptians. These are the family members and parents of the children that the Gobblers have taken, Roger being one of them.

Spoilers Ahead! As Lyra and the Gyptians try to find the missing children, they go into a town searching for a building ran by the Gobblers called Bolvangar. Amongst the search, the team finds a child who has been experimented on and left to die; the point where they all realized how brutal these experimentations are and just how much all the danger the children are in. All of a sudden, the team is swarmed by hunters who have been trailing them, ultimately taking Lyra captive in the Bolvangar location. Here Lyra shows some smart reactions to her problems and starts using her knowledge to the best of her advantage to escape from the Gobblers. In all, very exciting read! Glad I picked this book this week.