Thinking about reading THE GOLDEN COMPASS? Dive into the basics now!
If you’ve never read Philip Pullman‘s His Dark Materials trilogy, now is the perfect time. Pullman is releasing a companion trilogy called The Book of Dust and the first book, La Belle Sauvage, will be out in October. You’ll be hearing more about this series than ever before, so we want you to know what it’s all about!
The His Dark Materials trilogy follows a young girl in a mythical alternate society who discovers a wild conspiracy involving magic, childhood innocence, and the very fabric of the soul. Let’s break down down with a quick guide of the important details, shall we?
Lyra Belacqua – Our main character is a young orphan raised in the prestigious Jordan College, among scholars and servants alike. The girl was collectively raised by the college’s community and developed a flair for adventure and a curious spirit that sometimes gets her into trouble.
Daemons – In Lyra’s world, every person has a physical manifestation of their soul known as a daemon, each of which takes the unique form of an animal based on the human’s disposition. The form of the daemon flickers throughout childhood before eventually “settling” toward adulthood.
Pantalaimon – Pan is Lyra’s daemon, who hasn’t settled yet but often takes the form of an ermine. He changes shape when doing so will best suit Lyra on her adventures and provides her with a constant companion. The way other people’s daemons treat Pan is an indicator of how they’ll treat Lyra.
Roger Parslow – The young kitchen boy at Jordan College is Lyra’s best friend, one of the few children of her own age that she sees regularly. The two are known for getting into mischief together.
Dust (Ruskov particles) – This strange particle is the cause of much of the story’s plot. It’s a conscious element that affects some species, including humans, but it’s only found in people after their daemon settles in adulthood. Some believe Dust is a manifestation of Original Sin and many powerful people want to discover its secrets.
Lord Asriel – Lyra’s mysterious guardian is a disgraced former politician, explorer, and experimental theologian who has his own theories about the power of Dust and will do just about anything to harness it.
Alethiometer – An ultra-rare, complex device given to Lyra by the Master at Jordan College, the alethiometer allows her communicate with Dust and uncovers truthful answers to her burning questions. The device comes in handy throughout the series, but you’ll have to read to find out more!
General Oblation Board (The Gobblers) – The institution that runs Lyra’s world is called The Church or The Magisterium. The branch of The Church responsible for studying Dust is called the General Oblation Board, nicknamed The Gobblers by Lyra due to their penchant for snatching unattended children for their studies. No one knows just what they do, but when Roger is captured, Lyra makes it her mission to find out.
Mrs. Coulter – The leader of the General Oblation Board who unexpectedly becomes Lyra’s guardian. Mrs. Coulter appears kind and teaches Lyra several useful lessons about exploration and surviving in the wild in hopes of taking her on an expedition someday, but there’s something devious under the woman’s polished surface.
Gyptians – Lyra’s isn’t part of this nomadic culture, but she owes quite a bit to them. It was a Gyptian named Ma Costa who first saved Lyra and a child, and when she heads off to find the missing children, the Gyptians are right alongside her.
Iorek Byrnison – Part of a bearlike species called the panserbjørn, Iorek was once meant to be king. When he mets Lyra, he’s shamed after having lost his armor, which is the panserbjørn equivalent of a daemon. But perhaps these two can help each other.
Lee Scoresby – On her adventures, Lyra meets Lee, an aeronaut from Texas who mans a hot air balloon for a living. An older man who has been on many an adventure, Lee vows to help Lyra save the stolen children.
Serafina Pekkala – Lyra’s world is also full of witches, and the most badass among them is Serafina Pekkala, queen of the Lake Enara clan. With a cunning edge and a rich history, Serafina is a character that it’s easy to grow attached to. Plus, magic!
As you can see, The Golden Compass and the His Dark Materials series encompasses a rich fantasy world full of mystery, whimsy, and adventure. Dive in and give it a try!
If you’re just acquainting yourself with this classic story, order The Golden Compass now via Amazon. The ebook is just $1.99!
If you’ve already read the original trilogy, preorder La Belle Sauvage: The Book of Dust Volume One via Amazon now.