The Golden Compass

by

Philip Pullman

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Lee Scoresby Character Analysis

A balloonist from Texas whom John Faa hires in Trollesund. He's a lean and scrappy man with a similarly scrappy hare dæmon. He has, in the past, sold his ballooning services and fought in several battles alongside Iorek. A loyal friend, Lee Scoresby helps Lyra and Iorek get Iorek's armor back, and then guards the armor while Iorek fetches seal blubber. Despite enjoying his job, Lee Scoresby wants to know exactly what he's getting into, especially when he learns that the gyptians and the witches are going to ask him to land on Svalbard, a dangerous proposition. In a conversation with Serafina Pekkala, Lee Scoresby says that for him, his involvement is all about the money and not at all about his emotional investment in what's going on. Ballooning isn't something he loves to do for the sake of it—it's a way to make money and to eventually fund his farm in Texas. He wants to make sure that he has a choice in the matter of his participation, as he sees destiny as something unethical that deprives him of choice. He's extremely kind to Lyra and humors her questions about the balloon and Iorek as best he can.

Lee Scoresby Quotes in The Golden Compass

The The Golden Compass quotes below are all either spoken by Lee Scoresby or refer to Lee Scoresby. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of The Golden Compass published in 1995.
Chapter Eighteen Quotes

"We are all subject to the fates. But we must all act as if we are not," said the witch, "or die of despair."

Related Characters: Serafina Pekkala (speaker), Lyra, Lee Scoresby
Page Number: 310
Explanation and Analysis:
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Lee Scoresby Character Timeline in The Golden Compass

The timeline below shows where the character Lee Scoresby appears in The Golden Compass. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Eleven
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...Iorek. A tall lean man with a hare dæmon sits down, introduces himself as Lee Scoresby, the balloonist, and says that he knows Iorek. He invites the gyptians to play cards... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...as a crowd begins to gather. She turns back to Iorek's armor to find Lee Scoresby sitting on top of it with a long pistol. He reprimands the townsfolk for how... (full context)
Chapter Twelve
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...when she couldn't interpret the chameleon, and says that this is the same thing. Lee Scoresby vouches for Iorek and finally, John Faa agrees. Lyra climbs onto Iorek's back and they... (full context)
Chapter Thirteen
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
At the next stopping point, Lee Scoresby plans to take his balloon up and spy from the air. They forbid Lyra from... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
The expedition stops to fill Lee Scoresby's balloon, but then a mist descends. Suddenly, men start to fall as arrows strike them.... (full context)
Chapter Seventeen
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...Makarios and the ghostly dæmons. One child points back toward Bolvanger and Lyra sees Lee Scoresby's balloon, which he's inflating using the gas from the zeppelin. The children begin to shiver,... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...up. She grabs Roger and sees that witches are lifting her. She lands in Lee Scoresby's balloon and a moment later, Iorek crawls in. The balloon surges up through a cloud.... (full context)
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...on that Bolvanger is in ruins, the children are safe, and Mrs. Coulter escaped. Lee Scoresby attaches a rope to his balloon, throws it to the witches, and six witches pull... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Lee Scoresby covers Lyra in furs and after a while, confirms that Lyra is very important. He... (full context)
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...talk about choice. She says that witches live hundreds of years and own nothing, while Scoresby needs money to care for his balloon. She says that witches don't consider money when... (full context)
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...to do with Iorek's argument with the king of the bears, which also involves Lyra. Scoresby suggests that this is unethical as well as unlikely: Lyra seems freer than anyone. Serafina... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...Farder Coram. Because of this, they're also connected to Lord Asriel. She promises to help Scoresby back to Trollesund if she can, but says that she has no idea what they'll... (full context)
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...particles are linked. Cold, Lyra covers herself in furs and falls asleep again. Serafina wakes Scoresby a while later. Something is wrong; the balloon swings wildly. Roger and Lyra wake up... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
...a minute, they get up to try to find the balloon. They find sandbags that Scoresby must've thrown over. A massive shape appears behind Lyra. She thinks it's Iorek, but it's... (full context)
Chapter Twenty
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...he and Iorek fell out of the balloon and he has no idea where Lee Scoresby or the witches are. The young bear shows Lyra and Roger how to eat warm,... (full context)
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...do things that would be illegal elsewhere. Lyra consults the alethiometer and discovers that Lee Scoresby is airborne somewhere far away. She ascertains that Mrs. Coulter is on her way to... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Two
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...ground, Iorek grabs Lyra and they race after Lord Asriel. Iorek promises to find Lee Scoresby and to tell Serafina Pekkala what happened. They stop when they reach a deep chasm... (full context)