The Golden Compass

by

Philip Pullman

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The Golden Compass: Chapter Thirteen Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lyra feels ill and afraid; a human without a dæmon is unnatural and horrid. The boy introduces himself as Tony Makarios and asks for Ratter. Lyra and Pan rush outside and sit in the snow for a minute to collect themselves. Then, Lyra calls for Tony to come out. He follows Lyra and shows no fear or emotion when he sees Iorek. He continues to ask for Ratter. The villager asks Iorek to pay for Tony's fish, but Lyra refuses. Lyra helps Tony onto Iorek and scrambles up behind him. Pan huddles in Lyra's hood, sad and wishing he could cuddle Tony.
As far as Lyra can see, letting Tony leave with the fish is a small kindness that will have a big impact on his quality of life, grim as it may be. The villager's insistence that Lyra pay for the fish appears heartless and makes the villagers seem cruel and unfeeling. Tony's behavior shows that losing one's soul makes a person blank and unresponsive, robbing them of all personality.
Themes
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Related Quotes
When they catch up with the gyptians, the men fall back in horror at the sight of Tony Makarios. Lyra explains that the Gobblers cut children's dæmons away. Iorek reprimands the men for shying away from Tony. The men build up the fire and warm soup. Lyra starts to fall asleep before she can mention the witches, so she asks Iorek to tell John Faa and thanks him for helping her. When Lyra wakes up, Farder Coram approaches. Lyra begins to tell him how she misinterpreted the alethiometer's reading about Tony, but Farder Coram says that Tony died an hour ago. The ground is too hard for a grave, so they're going to cremate him. He praises Lyra for saving him.
Here, Iorek shows that he might be terrifying, but he also has a heart and understands the importance of compassion. This suggests that while Iorek's soul may differ in significant ways from a human soul, morality and a sense of right, wrong, and kindness are things that transcend differences—and that kindness is something that everyone deserves, whether they have a soul or not.
Themes
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Lyra asks to see Tony Makarios's body. He looks like any other human in death. She hugs Pan and thinks of Tony's fish. She pulls the blanket down and sees that his fish is gone. Lyra turns on the men and asks where his fish went. Some start to laugh, but one man explains that he fed it to his dog, thinking that Tony was just eating it. Lyra fishes for a coin in her pocket and borrows the man's knife. She carves Ratter's name into the coin, just like the Jordan Scholars, and puts the coin in Tony's mouth.
Given that humans' dæmons disappear when their person dies, Tony truly is just like anyone else in death. Lyra's willingness to reprimand the men for taking Tony's fish shows that she's continuing to hone her sense of what's right and what's wrong, and at this point, she's finding that she comes down most often on the side of compassion and kindness.
Themes
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Back at the fire, Lyra sips soup and she and Farder Coram discuss the witches and where they might've been going. They all stand respectfully while Tony Makarios's body is cremated, and then they head north. During one stop, Lyra asks Farder Coram about the clockwork fly-spy and where it is. When he's not looking, she snatches the tin out of his bag and asks Iorek to help her create a decoy tin to leave with Farder Coram, as well as another larger tin to put the fly-spy in. She sits with the bear and asks Iorek if he's lonely without a dæmon. He says he doesn't know what lonely means, just like he doesn't feel cold. He says that bears are solitary creatures.
This conversation with Iorek allows Lyra to flesh out her understanding of souls and difference even more. That Lyra and Iorek are being so truthful with each other and forming this bond indicates that it's possible to become friends with someone whose soul is completely different; both parties just need to be willing to be kind, curious, and open to learning.
Themes
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
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Lyra asks about the Svalbard bears, which live together. Iorek doesn't respond, and Lyra apologizes for offending him. She explains that Lord Asriel is a captive on Svalbard and Iorek claims to know nothing, as he's no longer a Svalbard bear: he killed another bear and has been sent away and deprived of his wealth and armor as punishment. Lyra is awed, as this is also what happened to Lord Asriel. The two discuss Svalbard's geography, and then Lyra asks where Iorek got this set of armor. He explains that he made it himself from sky metal. Lyra is impressed that bears can make their own souls.
While it may be more obvious that bears can shape their souls when they create their armor, it's worth keeping in mind that Lyra isn't giving herself quite enough credit for the role she plays in shaping her identity and how Pan conducts himself. Pan reflects Lyra and behaves the way she does to balance out her curiosity and love of mischief. In this way, she can still shape Pan and her soul, just not in such a tangible way.
Themes
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
They discuss the king of the bears and Iorek says that the king's name is Iofur Raknison. Lyra remembers that she heard the name in the Retiring Room. She tries to remember what the Palmerian Professor said about Iofur. Iorek says that if the bears have Lord Asriel, he's never getting out. Lyra asks if the bears could be tricked. Iorek shows Lyra his claws and says that bears can't be tricked. He proves this by inviting Lyra to fence with him. Lyra jabs at him with a stick, cautiously and then furiously. Iorek blocks every attempt, and explains that he can do this because he's not human: bears can see through tricks. He says it's similar to how Lyra can interpret the alethiometer as a child, while adults can't. Puzzled, Lyra wonders if she'll stop being able to read it when she grows up.
It's worth keeping in mind that while Iorek insists that he's not a Svalbard bear, he's still a bear and proud of his identity. This will be important later, especially given these attributes that he ties to bears and to no other beings. The possibility that Lyra might lose the ability to interpret the alethiometer as an adult suggests that even though adulthood may be linked to experience and understanding, humans still lose something—in this case, an innate ability to pinpoint the truth—when they become adults.
Themes
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Related Quotes
At the next stopping point, Lee Scoresby plans to take his balloon up and spy from the air. They forbid Lyra from joining him, but she pesters him with questions about Svalbard, what would happen if Iorek wanted to go back, and how to inflate a balloon. Lyra also asks about the Tartars and the holes they drill in their skulls. Scoresby explains that the Tartars do it to each other so they can talk to the gods. Lyra asks if Scoresby knew Grumman, and says that she saw his head. Scoresby says that since Grumman was an honorary Tartar, the Tartars must not have scalped him. Scoresby suggests that the head that Lord Asriel showed wasn't Grumman's head at all.
While Lyra doesn't seem to take it this way, it's worth considering the possibility that, given what Scoresby says about Grumman, Lord Asriel lied on purpose. Again, though it's possible that he has good reasons for doing so that would make his lies look acceptable in the long run, at this point it's impossible to say—and to the reader, who should suspect Lord Asriel more than Lyra does, this creates more questions about Lord Asriel's character than Lyra might like.
Themes
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon