The Golden Compass

by

Philip Pullman

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Dæmon Term Analysis

The term for humans' souls, which in Lyra's world take the form of animals. When humans are children their dæmons can change form, but they settle into a permanent form once their person reaches puberty. They act as a conscience and a moral compass, and are intimately and mysteriously bound to their human.

Dæmon Quotes in The Golden Compass

The The Golden Compass quotes below are all either spoken by Dæmon or refer to Dæmon. For each quote, you can also see the other terms 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 One Quotes

"I didn't have anything in mind, and well you know it," she snapped quietly. "But now I've seen what the Master did, I haven't got any choice. You're supposed to know about conscience, aren't you? How can I just go and sit in the library or somewhere and twiddle my thumbs, knowing what's going to happen? I don't intend to do that, I promise you."

Related Characters: Lyra (speaker), Pan, Lord Asriel, The Master
Page Number: 9
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Four Quotes

The Master sighed. In his black suit and black tie he looked as much like his dæmon as anyone could, and suddenly Lyra thought that one day, quite soon, he would be buried in the crypt under the oratory, and an artist would engrave a picture of his dæmon on the brass plate for his coffin, and her name would share the space with his.

Related Characters: Lyra, The Master
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

Mrs. Coulter came into the bathroom to wash Lyra's hair, and she didn't rub and scrape like Mrs. Lonsdale either. She was gentle. Pantalaimon watched with powerful curiosity until Mrs. Coulter looked at him, and he knew what she meant and turned away, averting his eyes modestly from these feminine mysteries as the golden monkey was doing. He had never had to look away from Lyra before.

Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Ten Quotes

He had to stay close to the ship, of course, for he could never go far from her; but she sensed his desire to speed as far and as fast as he could, for pure exhilaration. She shared his pleasure, but for her it wasn't simple pleasure, for there was pain and fear in it too. Suppose he loved being a dolphin more than he loved being with her on land? What would she do then?

Related Characters: Lyra, Pan, Jerry
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:

"Anyway, there's compensations for a settled form."

"What are they?"

"Knowing what kind of person you are. Take old Belisaria. She's a seagull, and that means I'm kind of a seagull too. I'm not grand and splendid nor beautiful, but I'm a tough old thing and I can survive anywhere and always find a bit of food and company. That's worth knowing, that is. And when your dæmon settles, you'll know the sort of person you are."

Related Characters: Lyra (speaker), Jerry (speaker), Pan
Page Number: 167
Explanation and Analysis:

Lyra's heart was thumping hard, because something in the bear's presence made her feel close to coldness, danger, brutal power, but a power controlled by intelligence; and not a human intelligence, nothing like a human, because of course bears had no dæmons. The strange hulking presence gnawing its meat was like nothing she had ever imagined, and she felt a profound admiration and pity for the lonely creature.

Related Characters: Lyra, Iorek Byrnison, Pan
Page Number: 179-80
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Eleven Quotes

She felt angry and miserable. His badger claws dug into the earth and he walked forward. It was such a strange tormenting feeling when your dæmon was pulling at the link between you; part physical pain deep in the chest, part intense sadness and love. And she knew it was the same for him. Everyone tested it when they were growing up: Seeing how far they could pull apart, coming back with intense relief.

Related Characters: Lyra, Iorek Byrnison, Pan
Page Number: 195
Explanation and Analysis:

"My armor is made of sky iron, made for me. A bear's armor is his soul, just as your dæmon is your soul. You might as well take him away"—indicating Pantalaimon—"and replace him with a doll full of sawdust. That is the difference."

Related Characters: Iorek Byrnison (speaker), Lyra, Pan
Page Number: 196-97
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Thirteen Quotes

Her first impulse was to turn and run, or to be sick. A human being with no dæmon was like someone without a face, or with their ribs laid open and their heart torn out: something unnatural and uncanny that belonged to the world of night-ghasts, not the waking world of sense.

Related Characters: Lyra, Iorek Byrnison, Pan, Tony Makarios, Ratter
Page Number: 214
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 Quotes

But his armor was his soul. He had made it and it fitted him. They were one. Iofur was not content with his armor; he wanted another soul as well. He was restless while Iorek was still.

Related Characters: Lyra, Iorek Byrnison, Iofur Raknison
Page Number: 349
Explanation and Analysis:

Because Iorek was moving backward only to find clean dry footing and a firm rock to leap up from, and the useless left arm was really fresh and strong. You could not trick a bear, but, as Lyra had shown him, Iofur did not want to be a bear. He wanted to be a man; and Iorek was tricking him.

Related Characters: Lyra, Iorek Byrnison, Iofur Raknison
Page Number: 353
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter Twenty-One Quotes

"She guessed that the two things that happen in adolescence might be connected: the change in one's dæmon and the fact that Dust began to settle. Perhaps if the dæmon were separated from the body, we might never be subject to Dust—to original sin."

Related Characters: Lord Asriel (speaker), Lyra, Mrs. Coulter
Related Symbols: Dust
Page Number: 375
Explanation and Analysis:
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Dæmon Term Timeline in The Golden Compass

The timeline below shows where the term Dæmon appears in The Golden Compass. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter One
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Lyra and her dæmon, Pan, sneak through the dark dining hall. Lyra flicks a glass and Pan reprimands her... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...the decanted wine, and then pours white powder from the paper into it. His raven dæmon squawks and then she and the Master leave. Alone in the room again, Pan hisses... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
...the Butler stuffs the leaves into his pocket. Lord Asriel enters with his snow leopard dæmon, Stelmaria, and the two men greet each other stiffly. The Butler runs to fetch coffee.... (full context)
Chapter Two
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Lyra watches the Master and his dæmon anxiously glance to where the Tokay was. Lord Asriel greets the Master and the other... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...attention to the figure next to the illuminated man. He says it's not the man's dæmon: it's a child. One Scholar asks if it's a "severed child," but Lord Asriel says... (full context)
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...to flattery and could behave differently. He says that more than anything, Iofur wants a dæmon. The scholars laugh again. Lyra has no idea what they're talking about and, bored, she... (full context)
Chapter Three
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...There's a woman behind him (Mrs. Coulter), but Tony isn't aware of this until his dæmon, Ratter, senses the woman's golden monkey dæmon. Ratter, entranced, hops onto the monkey's hand. The... (full context)
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...Each coffin also has an image of an animal, which Lyra reasons is the Master's dæmon. In the next room, they find shelves with skulls on them. Pan and Roger's dæmon... (full context)
Chapter Five
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...learned this. Later, Pan tells Lyra that when Lyra mentioned Dust, Mrs. Coulter grabbed her dæmon, who seemed ready to jump at Lyra. (full context)
Chapter Six
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...guides Lyra through the dark alleys, but the nets fall over her and a fox dæmon attacks Pan. Lyra cries in pain but then sees that one of her captors is... (full context)
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...starts to lead Lyra away, but Lyra and Pan turn to watch the dead men's dæmons fade and drift away. They slip onto the narrowboat and into the cabin, and Ma... (full context)
Chapter Nine
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...listens to her talk. Lyra is especially taken with Sophonax, Farder Coram's large, tawny cat dæmon. Her fur looks luxurious, but because touching another person's dæmon is taboo, Lyra only dreams... (full context)
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...that Benjamin is dead. He explains that they broke into the Ministry of Theology. His dæmon takes up the tale and says that they captured three Gobblers, who suggested they find... (full context)
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
The dæmon says that their opponents seemed to know everything they were going to do. They all... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...something small and black attacks Pan. A second attacker joins the first. The tillerman's cormorant dæmon rescues Pan, who falls into Lyra's arms, turns into a wildcat, and leaps on the... (full context)
Chapter Ten
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...the woman in his boat, he was shocked to see that she didn't have a dæmon. He explains that witches can separate themselves further from their dæmons than other people. Farder... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...her. Jerry sees Lyra's expression and says that when he first went to sea, his dæmon loved being a dolphin too. There was a man on that ship whose dæmon was... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...Pan settles, Lyra will also know who she is. He says that his own seagull dæmon, who's tough, means that he's also tough. Lyra asks what happens when dæmons settle in... (full context)
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...the ship to visit the witch consul. The consul, Dr. Lanselius, has a bright serpent dæmon. He notes the name of Farder Coram's witch friend, Serafina Pekkala, and listens to Farder... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...Farder Coram interrupts and says that Lyra can't read it. Lyra notices that Dr. Lanselius's dæmon is agitated, and she chooses to tell the truth. Dr. Lanselius tells her about the... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...in their direction, Lyra feels uncomfortable. The bear isn't human, as he doesn't have a dæmon, and she both pities and admires him. Iorek stands up to his full height and... (full context)
Chapter Eleven
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
The goose is clearly a dæmon. He asks for Farder Coram and Lyra stumbles over herself to comply. She's fascinated and... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...a cafe and tells him all about Iorek. A tall lean man with a hare dæmon sits down, introduces himself as Lee Scoresby, the balloonist, and says that he knows Iorek.... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...bird over the chain link fence, but Lyra doesn't follow. He turns into a badger. Dæmons can't get more than a few yards from their person, so Lyra knows he's going... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...armor is made of “sky iron,” and says this it's his soul, just like a dæmon is a human's soul. Making new armor out of normal metal would be like replacing... (full context)
Chapter Twelve
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...the ghost and asks more questions about the Tartars guarding Bolvanger. They all have wolf dæmons. This disturbs him. Lyra impatiently says that the ghost might be from one of the... (full context)
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...that the boy inside is clutching a fish to his heart like he'd clutch a dæmon. He has no dæmon; “intercision” means cutting a child's dæmon away. (full context)
Chapter Thirteen
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter Fourteen
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...shape. She gapes in surprise, and Pan turns into a falcon and pesters the man's dæmon. Satisfied, the man pays Lyra's captors and leads her inside. (full context)
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...Clara leads Lyra down a hallway, and she seems blank and sensible. Her white terrier dæmon, however, chills Lyra for some reason. They enter a small room where Lyra nervously undresses... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...with food. When she's done eating, the man asks Lyra where she came from. His dæmon isn't as incurious as Sister Clara's, so Lyra avoids her gaze. Lyra tells him that... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...watching what happens when the adults take kids away. One girl says that they measure dæmons and Dust. No Dust is good, but everyone gets Dust at some point. The girls... (full context)
Chapter Fifteen
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...Iorek will save her. At breakfast, she finds Roger. Pan provokes a scuffle with Roger's dæmon so they can speak and Roger turns white as a sheet. Lyra pretends to be... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Lyra asks why the adults are so interested in dæmons. One boy says that they kill kids' dæmons and see if the kids die, but... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...not dusty. During one test, Lyra tests her luck and asks why they cut people's dæmons away. The doctor is agitated, but Lyra says that the kids gossip and believe that... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...and Roger to keep watch and then tells Kaisa that the adults are cutting  children's dæmons away from them. She thinks there's something in the building. Kaisa unlocks the door. Inside,... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...He instructs Lyra to blow snow on each cage and magically unlocks them. The freed dæmons are scared, and pull pitifully at Lyra's pants. Kaisa instructs Lyra to run back to... (full context)
Chapter Sixteen
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
...adults are acting like there's an emergency, and she figures that they discovered the escaped dæmons. In the dormitory before bed, Lyra tells her roommates that she's going into the ceiling... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Lyra listens to Mrs. Coulter interrogate three men about the dæmons' escape. A man explains that the alarm on the exterior building was linked to the... (full context)
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...doctor says that it's a guillotine of sorts, and they place a child and their dæmon in two compartments and sever the connection with the guillotine. Mrs. Coulter, pleased, excuses herself.... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...lit room. Lyra screams and Pan escapes. He changes rapidly, fights the men and their dæmons, and leaps toward Lyra. The three men grab them and toss Lyra in one mesh... (full context)
Chapter Seventeen
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...at the bar in Trollesund, and hysterically asks why the doctors cut children from their dæmons. (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...says the procedure isn't bad, and points out that the adults here have had their dæmons cut away. Lyra then understands the blankness of the nurses' dæmons. Mrs. Coulter goes on... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
...Roger. She tells him to tell the other children that the adults will cut their dæmons away—hoping to scare them into following her. They follow, but soon come face to face... (full context)
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...to be saved but disturbed when Lyra tells them about Tony Makarios and the ghostly dæmons. One child points back toward Bolvanger and Lyra sees Lee Scoresby's balloon, which he's inflating... (full context)
Chapter Eighteen
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
Lyra asks why humans have dæmons, but Serafina Pekkala says that nobody knows. Dæmons make them different from animals, and Lyra... (full context)
Chapter Nineteen
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...sleep. She remembers that the Palmerian Professor said that more than anything, Iofur wants a dæmon and to be human. Lyra begins to plot. She's nearly asleep when a bear opens... (full context)
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...until she sees that Iofur has a stuffed doll on his knee, where a human's dæmon might sit. It's dressed like Mrs. Coulter. Lyra steps close and gives him greetings from... (full context)
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
...Iorek is on his way to steal her back, but she wants to be Iofur's dæmon instead. She says that Bolvanger was horrified when they saw how powerful Iorek was with... (full context)
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...thinks that Mrs. Coulter lied; the Church won't agree to that unless Iofur has a dæmon, so he has to fight to win her. Iofur agrees, allows to let Lyra pretend... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-One
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...how Rusakov discovered a new elementary particle that's attracted to adults, but not children—until their dæmons settle. Because this discovery would have an impact on the church, he announced it in... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Religion, Politics, and Control Theme Icon
...reads the passage of Genesis in which the serpent tempts Eve by saying that her dæmon will assume its "true form." When she and Adam eat the fruit, their dæmons settle,... (full context)
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Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
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Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Lord Asriel says that intercision was Mrs. Coulter's idea; she suspected that a dæmon settling and Dust gathering were connected. In her travels, she's seen other cultures successfully separate... (full context)
Chapter Twenty-Three
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
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...form rapidly in distress. When Lyra reaches the ridge, she sees that Stelmaria has Roger's dæmon in her mouth while Lord Asriel fiddles with wires and batteries and brushes Roger aside. (full context)
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
Destiny vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...Roger and Lyra shouts for Roger to run. Pan attacks Stelmaria and the two young dæmons fight her. Lyra fights the thick Dust and sees palm trees and boulevards in the... (full context)
Childhood, Innocence, and Maturation Theme Icon
Humanity, Identity, and the Soul Theme Icon
Truth, Lies, and Morality Theme Icon
...Lyra and Lord Asriel kisses Mrs. Coulter, but Lyra thinks the kiss looks cruel. Their dæmons behave strangely; Stelmaria presses her claws into the monkey as the monkey relaxes. Lord Asriel... (full context)