The Golden Compass

by

Philip Pullman

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The Gobblers Character Analysis

The name that laypeople assign to the mysterious entity that steals poor and gyptian children. Among laypeople, the Gobblers are thought of as an urban legend, if a terrifying and real one, and parents use them to threaten children into behaving. Lyra later learns that the Gobblers are real and are actually the General Oblation Board, the organization run by Mrs. Coulter and the Magisterium that kidnaps children, ships them north, and performs intercision on them.

The Gobblers Quotes in The Golden Compass

The The Golden Compass quotes below are all either spoken by The Gobblers or refer to The Gobblers. 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 Three Quotes

Lyra was frightened. No one worried about a child gone missing for a few hours, certainly not a gyptian: in the tight-knit gyptian boat world, all children were precious and extravagantly loved, and a mother knew that if a child was out of sight, it wouldn't be far from someone else's who would protect it instinctively.

Related Characters: Lyra, Ma Costa, The Gobblers, Billy Costa
Page Number: 55
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twelve Quotes

"Because, Iorek, listen: I got this symbol reader that tells me things, you see, and it's told me that there's something important I got to do over in that village, and Lord Faa won't let me go there. He just wants to get on quick, and I know that's important too. But unless I go and find out what it is, we might not know what the Gobblers are really doing."

Related Characters: Lyra (speaker), Iorek Byrnison, Tony Makarios, The Gobblers
Related Symbols: The Alethiometer
Page Number: 206
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Fifteen Quotes

"We dunno," said Annie. "Just something from space. Not real dust. If you en't got any Dust, that's good. But everyone gets Dust in the end."

Related Characters: Annie (speaker), Lyra, The Gobblers
Related Symbols: Dust
Page Number: 246
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Sixteen Quotes

"I think he's got an entirely different idea of the nature of Dust. That's the point. It's profoundly heretical, you see, and the Consistorial Court of Discipline can't allow any other interpretation than the authorized one. And besides, he wants to experiment—"

"To experiment? With Dust?"

Related Characters: The Gobblers (speaker), Lyra, Lord Asriel
Related Symbols: Dust
Page Number: 274
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Seventeen Quotes

"If he's got Dust and you've got Dust, and the Master of Jordan and every other grownup's got Dust, it must be all right. When I get out I'm going to tell all the kids in the world about this. Anyway, if it was so good, why'd you stop them doing it to me? If it was good, you should've let them do it. You should have been glad."

Related Characters: Lyra (speaker), Mrs. Coulter, Pan, The Master, The Gobblers
Related Symbols: Dust
Page Number: 283
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twenty-Three Quotes

"We've heard them all talk about Dust, and they're so afraid of it, and you know what? We believed them, even though we could see that what they were doing was wicked and evil and wrong...We thought Dust must be bad too, because they were grown up and they said so. But what if it isn't? What if it's—"

She said breathlessly, "Yeah! What if it's really good..."

Related Characters: Lyra (speaker), Pan (speaker), Mrs. Coulter, Lord Asriel, The Gobblers
Related Symbols: Dust
Page Number: 398
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Gobblers Character Timeline in The Golden Compass

The timeline below shows where the character The Gobblers appears in The Golden Compass. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter Three
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...stories differ as to who is stealing the children, but everyone calls the culprits the Gobblers. One day, Lyra suggests to Roger that they play kids and Gobblers, which she says... (full context)
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...Lyra and Roger begin spending more time underground. Lyra suspects that they'll find and capture Gobblers there. One day, they wander into the crypt and inspect the inscriptions on the dead... (full context)
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...crypts, Lyra and Roger return to the streets. Just as they lose interest in the Gobblers, however, the Gobblers arrive in Oxford. (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Ma Costa stumbles away, yelling for Billy, and the children discuss what the Gobblers actually are. One boy says that they throw kids in a white truck and they're... (full context)
Chapter Five
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...safe and mentions the dangers that plague children in Oxford, including a werewolf and the Gobblers. At this, the man interrupts and says that that's what they call the Oblation Board.... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...must know about the alethiometer. Lyra looks around for the professor who knew about the Gobblers, but she sees the man leave. She feels anxious and exposed, so she wanders around... (full context)
Chapter Six
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...clumsily, leaving out only the alethiometer, and says that Mrs. Coulter is one of the Gobblers. She starts to say what they do to the kids, but Ma Costa hurriedly leaves.... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...also explains that they know what happens to the kidnapped kids because they caught a Gobbler. He says that the Gobblers target gyptian kids more than others, so the gyptians are... (full context)
Chapter Seven
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...cash in on the thousand-sovereign reward can leave. Then, he states what they know: the Gobblers are taking gyptian and "landloper" children to the North. They don't know exactly what happens,... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...John Faa about running away from Mrs. Coulter, who she says is one of the Gobblers. She says that Mrs. Coulter didn’t realize that Lyra knows children who were taken, and... (full context)
Chapter Eight
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...charter a ship and sail north, and then invites questions. One man asks why the Gobblers are capturing children, and John Faa says that all they know is that it's "a... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...however, look for information. Another woman asks if they plan to take revenge on the Gobblers for what they've done. John Faa says that it's more important to rescue the kids... (full context)
Chapter Nine
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...Ministry of Theology. His dæmon takes up the tale and says that they captured three Gobblers, who suggested they find out more about the Ministry and Lord Boreal. (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...time is difficult. Tony Costa tells her about strange rumors that she escaped from the Gobblers, or that she and Pan are spirits or spies for the Tartars. Lyra longs to... (full context)
Chapter Ten
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...Farder Coram state the gyptians' business. Farder Coram asks if Dr. Lanselius knows about the Gobblers. Lyra watches as the men seem to play a game of withholding information. Finally, Dr.... (full context)
Chapter Twelve
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...is telling her she has to go there in order to figure out what the Gobblers are doing. Iorek says that if John Faa agrees, he can take Lyra there. (full context)
Chapter Thirteen
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...their captors look like Tartars. Lyra knows that these people are taking them to the Gobblers, and she and Pan assure each other that they'll fight to stay together. (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...comes. Lyra chokes back a shriek and the girls explain that Mrs. Coulter is the Gobbler who trapped most of them. She apparently likes watching what happens when the adults take... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-One
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...but Roger says he'd rather not know the future after his horrible experience with the Gobblers. After they bathe and eat, Thorold takes Roger to bed and sends Lyra to speak... (full context)
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Lyra asks about the Gobblers, and Lord Asriel explains that Mrs. Coulter started the General Oblation Board. He says that... (full context)