- List of His Dark Materials characters
The information about each character on the following list does not identify the literary characters from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and Paradise Lost that these characters symbolize in the allegories hidden in Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. For information on who the characters listed below symbolize, see the "Characters" heading of the main Wikipedia article on His Dark Materials.
Lyra Belacqua who adopts the surname Silvertongue given to her by Iorek Byrnison, is a young girl who inhabits a universe parallel to our own. She is the daughter of Lord Asriel and Marisa Coulter. Brought up in the cloistered world of Jordan College, Oxford, she finds herself embroiled in a cosmic war between angels and a pseudodeity called The Authority when she prevents Lord Asriel's death and allows him to further his studies on Dust. She is able to read the Alethiometer (an instrument of divination), and is known to the witches as "Eve, the mother of all", who will eventually "bring about the end of destiny". In the end, Lyra is forced to separate from Will Parry (her beloved and bearer of the Subtle Knife), returning to her own world in order to, in her father's footsteps, build the 'Republic of Heaven'. In The Amber Spyglass Lyra's dæmon, Pantalaimon, settles as a pine marten. In the unabridged audiobooks, Lyra is voiced by Joanna Wyatt. In the 2008 movie adaption, she is played by Dakota Blue Richards.
Will Parry is son of John Parry, an explorer, and of Elaine Parry, a woman who suffers from apparent mental problems including obsessive-compulsive disorder and paranoid schizophrenia. Will does not remember his father, a former Royal Marine, who has not been heard of since he vanished on an expedition to the Arctic when Will was an infant, and who we later learn has wandered into another world and is unable to find his way back. Will becomes the companion and ultimately falls in love with Lyra Belacqua, and also becomes the bearer of the Subtle Knife by winning a fight in the Torre Degli Angeli, in which he loses two fingers on his left hand. At the end of the third book, he must leave Lyra Belacqua and live entirely in his own world, where he is taken care of by Mary Malone and his cat dæmon, Kirjava. In the unabridged audiobooks, Will was voiced by Steven Webb for The Subtle Knife and by Peter England for The Amber Spyglass.
Lord Asriel is a member of the English aristocracy in a parallel universe dominated by an oppressive organization known as the Magisterium. He is described as being "a tall man with powerful shoulders, a fierce dark face, and eyes that seem to flash and glitter with savage laughter". Possessed of enormous determination and willpower, he is fierce in nature and commands great respect in both the political and academic spheres, being a military leader and a fellow of Jordan College in his world's version of Oxford. Later, it is discovered in Northern Lights that he is Lyra's father, while her mother is Marisa Coulter. His dæmon is a snow leopard called Stelmaria. In the unabridged audiobooks, Lord Asriel is voiced by Sean Barrett, while he is played by Daniel Craig in the film.
Marisa Coulter is the head of a particular faction of the Church known as the General Oblation Board (also known as the "Gobblers" among Gyptians and street urchins). Under Mrs Coulter's guidance, the Oblation Board has been secretly kidnapping children from Lyra's world, and then proceeding to use them as subjects of their experiments at their laboratory in Bolvangar. The Oblation Board thinks that by cutting away the child's dæmon, they can prevent the child from knowing sin. She is also Lyra's mother. Her dæmon is a golden-colored monkey, but the books do not state his name, neither does he ever speak.
She is cruel and merciless at times, stopping at nothing to get what she wants. She is deceptive, full of grace and beauty, and can easily charm anyone to do what she wants. However, she is filled with love for her daughter, Lyra Belacqua, and goes great lengths to keep her safe, after a certain point in the second novel. In the unabridged audiobooks, Mrs Coulter is voiced by Alison Dowling; in the film she is played by Nicole Kidman.
King Iorek Byrnison is a male armored bear (panserbjørne in Norwegian). Like all Panserbjørne, Iorek follows a very strict code of conduct, and will not, in any situation, betray a promise he has made. He possesses incredible strength, and like many of his kind is an expert smith. He is a great friend and comrade to both Lyra Belacqua and Lee Scoresby.
During the first book of the His Dark Materials trilogy, Northern Lights, Iorek Byrnison is found shaping metal for humans in an Arctic port town. These humans had deceived Iorek by giving him spirits, then stole his sky-iron armour while he was intoxicated. This left him no choice but to work for the humans. He tells Lyra Belacqua that if he had his armour, he would kill the humans that stole it, but that without it he would simply be gunned down attempting to get it back. Upon hearing this, Lyra decides to use her alethiometer to find the location of his armour, so that he can break free and join her quest.
Using the Alethiometer, Lyra discovers that the humans have his armour hidden in the cellar of the local priest's house. Almost immediately upon hearing this, Iorek rushes off to find his armour, waiting only to finish his work hours. The humans, suddenly realizing his intent, try to kill him. Iorek is about to crush one of the attackers' heads when Lyra convinces him that it would be better not to hurt the man, as this would lead to more fighting and delay their voyage.
Later in the story, Pullman reveals that by bloodline, Iorek would have become King of the bears in his homeland, Svalbard, had it not been for his exile. This exile was mainly the fault of Iofur Raknison, Iorek's successor as King, who was suspected, but never explicitly proven to have used drugs on another bear in order to make him act unusually. This befuddled bear went up against Iorek Byrnison in a ritual of dominance to win over a female bear. In his drugged state, however, the bear went against normal procedures and would not back down when any bear would normally have done so. This situation ended in Iorek killing the bear, which condemned him to exile. When he returns to Svalbard, Iorek fights and kills Iofur Raknison, reclaiming his rightful place. This ends his role in the first book.
In the third book (The Amber Spyglass), he is forced to take his bears on a voyage down to the Himalayas because the climate in his home country of Svalbard has become inhospitable due to Lord Asriel's unintentional changing of the climate by opening a rift between two worlds.
He later demonstrates his skill as a smith, repairing the Subtle Knife - including its magical properties - with no specialist equipment and only the aid of Lyra and Will.
He and a regiment of his subjects fight on Lord Asriel's side in the battle on the plains. He takes Lyra and Will to find their lost dæmons. At the end of the Amber Spyglass, it is revealed that he returns to Svalbard and reigns as king of the bears.
In the film he is voiced by Ian McKellen. He has also been portrayed on stage by young actors Sandy Howie and Stuart Leel in the Scottish Premiere of the His Dark Materials stage show by the Scottish Youth Theatre. In the unabridged audiobooks, Iorek is voiced by Sean Barrett.
John Faa, sometimes known as Lord Faa, is the Lord of the western Gyptians who appears first in Northern Lights and last in The Amber Spyglass. Despite his advancing age, he is a brave warrior, respected by all his followers, open to advice, and considerate of all. He is a good friend of the elderly Farder Coram. His dæmon is a black crow. In the film he is played by Jim Carter.
When the Oblation Board starts kidnapping children, he leads 170 of his men to save them. Though initially against the idea, John Faa eventually decides to take Lyra to Bolvangar, to rescue the missing Gyptian children. He is wounded in an ambush, when they were attacked by Samoyeds where many of his Gyptians are killed, despite the action of Iorek Byrnison, his hired panserbjørn or armored polar bear. However, he carries out his mission successfully, retrieving the children Lyra helped rescue, and taking them back to England.
Faa appears briefly at the conclusion of The Amber Spyglass when he and other Gyptians are briefly drawn into the world of the mulefa to meet Lyra and bring her home before the worlds separate once again, the gyptians and the mulefa sharing a meal and trading various objects in memory of their singular meeting before they return to their worlds.
Farder Coram is an important member of the Gyptians. He seems to take the role of second-in-command or adviser for the Gyptian King John Faa. In the book Farder Coram had a large, golden-brown cat dæmon named Sophonax. British actor Tom Courtenay portrays him in the film The Golden Compass. In the film The Golden Compass his dæmon is a caracal, a kind of African, lynx-like wildcat. He appears first in The Golden Compass and last in The Amber Spyglass
He once travelled to the north, where he witnessed a witch, Serafina Pekkala, being attacked by another witch's dæmon. Farder Coram shot the rogue dæmon and rescued Serafina, whereafter they eventually became lovers and had a son, who was killed in his youth by a disease from the east forty years prior to the events of the trilogy. After his death, Serafina Pekkala returned to her people as the clan-queen, and Coram stayed with the Gyptians.
He accompanies Lyra, Lord Faa, Iorek Byrnison, Lee Scoresby and 170 Gyptians to Bolvangar to rescue the captured children there.
Lyra grows to love Coram, as he, more than any other Gyptian, respects her and sees her potential. He guides her in mastering the alethiometer, encouraging her and soon realizing her amazing talent. Lyra accompanies him in Trollesund, a northern town, where he runs such errands as meeting the town's witch consul, so that the Gyptians may ask for Serafina's particular help. We clearly see how much Farder Coram wishes to meet Serafina again, when Lyra is asked, by the Witch Consul, to identify which branch of cloud-pine Serafina once rode. Lyra herself notes how he touches the branch with longing upon his face before they depart further North.
Coram appears briefly at the conclusion of The Amber Spyglass when he and other Gyptians are briefly drawn into the world of the mulefa to meet Lyra and bring her home before the worlds separate once again, the gyptians and the mulefa sharing a meal and trading various objects in memory of their singular meeting before they return to their worlds; Coram even briefly rides on a mulefa when they note his discomfort walking.
Serafina Pekkala is a witch queen from a tribe in Inari, Finland, who first appears in Northern Lights and last appears in The Amber Spyglass. She rules over certain clans in the Lake Enara district. Serafina appears throughout the fantasy trilogy and is closely associated with Lyra Belacqua's and her companions' journey. Serafina Pekkala's dæmon is Kaisa, a large grey goose. In The Golden Compass, the movie adaptation of the first book in the trilogy, Northern Lights (The Golden Compass was the American title of the book), the role Sefrina Pekkala is played by Eva Green.
She once had a child by the Gyptian Farder Coram, who saved her life when she was attacked by another witch's dæmon. For witches to fall in love with men appears common. There are men within the witch society who serve the witches, or who can be taken for lovers or husbands. Witches are said to be capable of appreciating men for their beauty, intelligence, and bravery; but due to the witches' long life-span, the men appear to grow old and die almost at once. This is said to cause the witches great emotional pain. When witches give birth, their female children inherit magical powers and an extensive life-span, while male children do not and are therefore soon sent to live with their fathers.
According to Serafina, witches live for many hundreds of years. Serafina claims to be three hundred years old or more, and states that her clan's "oldest witch mother" is nearly a thousand. Witches own nothing, and so have no means of barter save mutual aid. They have no notions of honor, and therefore insults mean nothing to them. Temperature extremes appear not to harm witches: although they feel the cold, wrapping up against it would prevent them from experiencing other things that the humans of the text may not feel, such as "the bright tingle of the stars, or the music of the Aurora". Witches fly on branches of Cloud-Pine and equate flying to living; as Serafina states, "A witch would no sooner give up flying than give up breathing. To fly is to be perfectly ourselves". Witches see themselves as subject to fate, yet argue that they, and all people, must act as if they possess free will. They believe that when they die Yambe-Akka, the goddess of the dead, comes to collect them.
Pullman claims Serafina's name came from a Finnish telephone directory; however, in a speech made in Dundee, he claimed that it came from a list of politicians living in Copenhagen. (In any case, it is an actual Finnish family name - see Vilho Pekkala; Miss Finland reference to Marita Pekkala).
Lee Scoresby is a skilled "aeronaut" balloonist from Texas. In regards to Scoresby's name, Phillip Pullman says: "Lee Scoresby comes from two sources. One is the actor Lee Van Cleef, who looks just like the character. And the other is the name of an Arctic explorer, William Scoresby".
In the novella Once Upon a Time in the North, which serves as a prequel to His Dark Materials, Lee is twenty-four years old. He meets Iorek Byrnison when the two of them help a Dutch captain, van Breda, escape with his cargo from the Muscovy harbour town of Novy Odense. From details mentioned in the novella, it can be deduced that Lee is fifty-nine years old at the time of his death.
Lee is an old Arctic hand, and extremely skilled with his balloons. He is sharp with a gun, though generally nonviolent. He is intelligent, and a bit of a mercenary, though he displays consistent ethics. His dream is to sell his balloons and buy a ranch back in Texas. His best friend is the armored bear Iorek Byrnison. They fought together, and he once saved Iorek's life.
Lee and his dæmon, Hester the Arctic hare pledge their support to John Faa and the Gyptians on a mission to destroy Bolvangar and save its captive children. He is delighted to learn that Iorek has been hired too. As the Gyptians finish destroying Bolvangar (which Lyra set on fire) and helping the rescued children into sledges, Mrs. Coulter attacks with some Tartars to capture her daughter, Lyra. Lee rescues Iorek from another part of the battle, and is just in time to save Lyra and Roger Parslow from Mrs Coulter. The four, helped by witches, escape.
On this journey, Lee expresses his concern to Serafina Pekkala, the queen of the witches, about the whole situation. He is worried about the war which he is about to be caught up in, and unsure who he will side with - indeed, of who are the sides. However, he promises loyalty to Lyra. He is disturbed by the witches' idea of destiny.
The party is attacked by cliff-ghasts on the way to Svalbard, whereupon Lyra falls out of the balloon. Iorek and Roger go to rescue her as soon as the balloon can be put down. As Lee floats with the witches, Lord Asriel tears the path into another world open. Buffetted by winds, Lee and the witches are swept far away, but manage to regroup for a witch council. Lee is given the unique privilege of joining it.
Lee informs Serafina and the others that he has heard of an object which can protect the bearer. A mysterious professor called Grumman knows of its whereabouts. Lee intends to seek out Grumman and then take the object (the Subtle Knife) to Lyra. On his mission, he is forced to kill a servant of the Church. He takes his ring, which can command some power and authority. Lee and Hester find Grumman, and learn that he is really John Parry, from our own world. John has become a shaman and can command magic. He claims that he drew Lee with his mother's ring. The pair set off to find the Bearer of the Subtle Knife, Grumman to inform him of his task and Lee to get Lyra under his protection. They use the Church's ring to regain Lee's confiscated balloons.
As the pair make their escape, they are pursued. The shaman's magic destroy three of the enemy's four zeppelins, but Lee loses his balloon in the process. The forest in which they hide is set to light and they are forced to come out into the open, away from the trees. Escaping from the last one, they are pursued into a narrow gorge.
Lee holds the pass as Grumman escapes, killing all of the enemies and blowing up the zeppelin. He is killed in the process. His death is described in a very moving way, with him saying goodbye to his weeping dæmon (soul), embracing her tenderly for the last time until she disappears. Moments before dying, he calls for Serafina Pekkala with the flower she gave him, but she arrives far too late to save his life. Instead, she places a protective barrier around his body to protect him from carrion beasts.
Iorek comes across Lee's body several days after his death, perfectly preserved due to the witch's spell. In an act of final respect for his friend and ally, the bear thanks him, then devours his body, giving him strength to pursue and save Lyra, which was Lee's greatest wish.
Lyra and Will Parry find Lee in the world of the dead, and he briefly returns to fight the Spectres before he dissolves, hoping to merge with his mother, his unseen sweethearts, and Hester.
American actor icon Sam Elliott plays Lee Scoresby in the film version.
Colonel John Parry, aka Dr. Stanislaus Grumman, or Jopari, is the father of Will Parry and the husband of Elaine Parry.
John Parry was a famous English explorer and a major in the Royal Marines in Will's world. At one point, he went on an archaeological exploration of Alaska. There, he had high hopes of finding a mythological portal to a different realm. He was unsuccessful at first, but he and his companions eventually found and went through the portal by accident during a blizzard and were brought to the world of Cittàgazze. His two companions were killed by the Spectres shortly after.
John then ventured through Cittàgazze and found a portal to the world that became home to Lyra Belacqua. When he arrived, he met his own dæmon Sayan Kötör the Osprey. He eventually changed his name to Stanislaus Grumman, likely because he needed a name that seemed natural to the world. Some time after, he attended the Berlin Academy. He became both a famous and slightly notorious explorer, infamous for his strange curiosity towards the world and its elements.
He showed specific interest in Dust and its entities. Most of his studies of the strange substance are unknown. At one point, he even joined the Yenisei tribe and underwent trepanation of his skull. He became a leader and shaman of the tribe and took the name Jopari, a slight variant of "John Parry".
Mystery enveloped the life of Grumman after that. Many believed he was dead, although there were many other rumours. The members of Jordan College believed he was dead after Lord Asriel showed them a frozen, severed head and tricked them into believing it was Grumman's. Grumman remained away, in the village of the Yenisei tribe as their well-respected shaman.
In The Subtle Knife, Lee Scoresby is sent to find Grumman. He eventually finds him in the Yenisei tribe (where he discovers that the name "Jopari" is merely the tribemen's poor pronunciation of "John Parry"), although Grumman explains that it was his calling that allowed Lee to find him. Lee takes Grumman to Cittàgazze at his wishing, as he wishes to find the bearer of the Æsahættr.
As they make their way to the bearer, they are chased by soldiers in four zeppelins. Grumman uses his powers to create a storm to destroy one of them. During the night, he destroys the second by making a Spectre attack its pilot. Sayan Kötör commands the birds of the forest to destroy the third. With all his strength sapped, Grumman is unable to destroy the fourth zeppelin. Lee remains behind to fend off the men while Grumman escapes. Grumman promises to protect Lyra for him.
Grumman finds the bearer, Will, on top of a mountain and fights with him after Will attacks him in the pitch darkness. Grumman uses some bloodmoss to heal Will's wound. He tells him of the great destiny that has been bestowed upon him as the bearer of the subtle knife. He tells him that he must defeat the Authority, breaking the oath he made to Lee Scoresby and not even mentioning Lyra. When some light is shaded, he sees Will's face and they both realize who the other is. An arrow shot by Juta Kamainen, a witch he spurned due to his love for Will's mother, pierces Grumman's heart and he dies almost literally the second after he realises Will's true identity.
Finally, in the Amber Spyglass, the third and final book of the trilogy; he and Lee Scoresby were set free by Lyra Belaqua/Silvertongue in the world of the Dead. Instead of following the other deceased people, they remained to fight their final battle with the Authority.
Iofur Raknison is a Panserbjørn - an armor-wearing, intelligent polar bear. He appears prominently in the first book, Northern Lights. In the 2007 film adaptation of The Golden Compass he is voiced by Ian McShane. (In the movie the character is renamed Ragnar Sturlusson, to prevent confusion with Iorek Byrnison.)
Iofur Raknison is the king of all the panserbjørns and ruler of Svalbard, but wishes for more. He wants to be the equal of a human: that is, to have a dæmon and be baptized a Christian. To this end, he has commanded the bears to build a palace of stone, and began to wear gold and silver ornaments, which they had traditionally despised as beneath them.
Iofur conceals the fact that he has killed his father, but Lyra Belacqua divines this with the use of her alethiometer in order to convince Iofur that she is the dæmon of Iorek Byrnison. Her knowledge convinces Iofur that she is a dæmon, and she convinces him that to challenge Iorek in single combat is the only way of making her his own. Although Iofur begins the fight in fresher condition than Iorek - who, prior to combat, ran a great distance to find Lyra and recover her from Iofur's fortress - Iorek manages to defeat him. He does this by exploiting Iofur's desire to be human, rendering him able to be tricked, feigning injury to lure him in for a powerful attack. After Iofur's defeat, Iorek is proclaimed the king, and his first command is that the bears discard their pseudo-human trinkets and tear down Iofur's palace.
The Authority was the first angel to come into existence; as did the subsequent angels, he formed and condensed from the substance known as Dust. He led other angels and, later, humanity to believe that he was in fact God the creator of the multiverse. This false claim legitimized his taking political power in the Kingdom of Heaven. The angel Xaphania later found out the truth about him, whereupon he banished her from the Kingdom (a reference to the legend of Lucifer). Xaphania and some other angels later started a rebellion against him. In Will's World, The Authority would assume several names, including "Yahweh", the "Lord", "El", "Adonai", and "the Almighty". He is the god of the Christian, Islamic, and Jewish religions and his word and messages to humanity are recorded in the Bible and the Tanakh.
He ruled his various churches, organizations, and universes from the Clouded Mountain, a mobile city believed by many in that universe to be Heaven. As the Authority grew older and weaker, the Mountain became more and more obscured by cloud.
In his old age, the Authority appointed the tyrannical archangel Metatron, who was once the biblical character Enoch, to act as regent of the Kingdom of Heaven. Eventually Metatron grew more powerful than his master. The two were opposed by Lord Asriel, who allied with "fallen" angels such as Xaphania in an attempt to overthrow the divine monarchy and replace it with a Republic of Heaven. During the final battle, the Authority is carried away from the Clouded Mountain on the orders of Metatron. He is imprisoned in a crystal box, which keeps him alive but trapped. Lyra Belacqua and Will Parry free him with the subtle knife, not knowing he is too weak to survive outside his box. He drifts apart and dies in a moment of happiness and peace, presumably to follow other characters' precedent by merging with the cosmos.
The Authority appears only in The Amber Spyglass.
Balthamos and his lover, Baruch, are both angels in rebellion from the Kingdom of Heaven. They seek to become part of Lord Asriel's army of angels and overthrow Metatron, the acting Regent of The Authority.
Both angels find Will Parry at the end of The Subtle Knife; because Will is the bearer of the subtle knife, they hope to bring him to Lord Asriel. However, Will's companion Lyra Belacqua has been kidnapped and Will refuses to go to Asriel until Lyra is found. The angels agree to accompany Will without question until she is found.
This decision proves to be dangerous; both Baruch and Balthamos are aware the Regent is after them, especially now that they are being accompanied by Will. An unfortunate encounter leads to Baruch being fatally wounded. Balthamos and Will are separated from Baruch, who has gone to Lord Asriel in his wounded state. Before dying, Baruch provides Asriel with all the information he and Balthamos have discovered about Will, Lyra, and the Regent.
Baruch's death is immediately felt by Balthamos as a result of the strong bond of love they shared. Stricken with grief, Balthamos promises to aid Will in every way possible to honour Baruch's sacrifice. When Balthamos is unable to do so, he runs away, grieving over Baruch's death and feeling guilty about abandoning Will. The angel does not appear again until the end of the book, when Balthamos confronts Father Gomez, an assassin hoping to kill Lyra by tracking Dr Mary Malone. However, by the end of his confrontation with Father Gomez, Balthamos neither has the strength or the will to continue existing, and the particles that make up his being separate.
Of the two angels, Balthamos is the more passive of the pair. He admits that Baruch is the courageous one and whenever Balthamos fails at something important, Baruch is the one to help him fix things. Balthamos has a sarcastic personality, and his relations with Will are conducted with an air of ironic contempt.
As angels of low rank, Balthamos and Baruch's abilities are limited. They appear as luminous humanlike forms, which are barely visible to human eyes even at night. The angels also possess the power to transform, which Balthamos uses to masquerade as Will's dæmon when traveling in Lyra's world. They are capable of flight though their wings do not have a corporeal form.
Baruch and his lover, Balthamos, are both angels in rebellion from the Kingdom of Heaven. They seek to become part of Lord Asriel's army of angels and overthrow Metatron, the acting Regent of The Authority.
He is the brother of Enoch, who has become the Regent, an angel known as Metatron. They seek to bring the bearer of the Subtle Knife, Will Parry, to Asriel and accompany Will without question when Will agrees to go to Asriel only after finding Lyra Belacqua. Baruch's courageous and dedicated nature leads to a fight with the Regent. Fatally wounded and separated from Balthamos and Will, Baruch brings himself to Lord Asriel. After providing Asriel with critically important information, he dies. The last word he utters is "Balthamos!", the name of his angelic lover.
Baruch appears in The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
Dr. Mary Malone
Dr. Mary Malone is a physicist from Will's world (which is supposed to be the world in which the reader and author live), who is investigating dark matter, known also as Dust, and is told she must play the part of the Serpent for the second Adam and Eve. She is a former nun, having become an atheist after an encounter with a man from Italy and the taste of marzipan reminded her of her first romantic encounter.
Lyra Belacqua, upon arriving in Will's world, meets Mary when she tries to find an "experimental theologian" (physicist) in hopes of discovering more about Dust. Mary is amazed by Lyra's knowledge of dark matter, especially after Lyra demonstrates her ability to speak of the unknown by use of the alethiometer.
Mary, inspired by Lyra's abilities, utilizes the supercomputer she and her colleague, Dr. Oliver Payne, designed to communicate with Dust by using software that was programmed based on the I Ching (much like Terence McKenna's Timewave Zero software). The Dust consequently tells Mary to travel from her own world, through the window that Will found at the beginning of The Subtle Knife. The Dust tells her through words on the computer screen that she is supposed to "play the Serpent". The Dust also tells her about the journey she is about to embark on and warns her to destroy the computer before she leaves. Mary travels through Cittàgazze to yet another world, where she will eventually become the Serpent. She spends most of The Amber Spyglass with creatures known as the Mulefa, trying to see the Dust, which the Mulefa can do naturally. This leads to the creation of her "Amber Spyglass", which is used to achieve this purpose.
At the end of the third novel, the witch Serafina Pekkala reveals to Mary both how to see her dæmon and also its form - that of an Alpine chough. She offers to help Will upon their return to their own world.
Mary Malone does not appear in Nicholas Wright's stage adaptation of the novels, due to her importance in the mulefa subplot and the mulefa being too difficult to portray onstage. The role of the tempter was given to Serafina Pekkala, who was also the bearer of the spyglass, which had been created by Jopari as a device to view Dust.
The Chevalier Tialys is a protagonist in The Amber Spyglass. He is a Gallivespian, a race of spies described as being as tall as the length of a human hand. He serves as a spy to Lord Asriel and, along with his partner the Lady Salmakia, a loyal, if originally reluctant aid to Will Parry and Lyra Belacqua. He has dark hair, and is described as looking 'strong, capable, ruthless and proud'. He wears capri-length silver trousers and no shoes on his spurred feet.
Tialys first encounters the children when, along with Lord Asriel's forces, he arrives with Lady Salmakia to Mrs Coulter's cave, under orders to take the children to Lord Asriel. Lyra first realises that the Gallivespians are a force to be reckoned with when Lady Salmakia attacks Pantalaimon and holds her spur to his leg, in retaliation of Lyra's disrespect towards her. Unfortunately the spies are forced to back down when Will grabs hold of Tialys, and threatens to dash his head against a rock. It is not a good start, and the two parties heavily resent the other one. Tialys, however continues to flare up at being told what to do, but he has very little choice but to obey the children throughout. Tialys is an expert with a lodestone resonator, and uses it to secretly communicate to his superiors, despite being forbidden to do so by Will. Will is furious at the Chevalier's actions, and Tialys is forced to apologise, knowing he is in the wrong.
Later on in the novel, Tialys and Salmakia accompany the children to the world of the dead. Tialys and Lyra have a heated confrontation in the suburbs. Tialys tries to make Lyra do as he tells her to do as he says but Lyra launches into a tirade about how Tialys knows nothing about her and how she feels. After this is over Tialys is, once again, forced to back down. Tialys never grows to really like the girl, but begins to admire her courage, and she his. While entering the world of the dead, Tialys tries to kill No-Name the harpy, to defend Lyra. Later, he bargains with the harpies, and Lyra marvels at his nerve; the harpies could kill him with one slash of their claws and yet Tialys remains proud and fearless.
Tialys dies when attacking a cliff-ghast, having dug his spurs deep into her neck. Will in particular is stricken with grief, and openly cries heavily. Tialys was buried in a small grave alongside the Lady Salmakia.
The Lady Salmakia is a protagonist and Gallivespian spy in The Amber Spyglass. She, like her partner the Chevalier Tialys, is sent to guide Will Parry and Lyra Belacqua, but she is determined instead to obey them. She is described as 'strong, capable, ruthless, and proud'. She is also a much more calm and diplomatic individual than her partner, the Chevalier Tialys. When Lyra looks at her properly for the first time, quite a while after meeting her, she strikes Lyra as possessing a distinct maternal quality. The Lady Salmakia is not beautiful, but her face is exactly one that a suffering person would be happy to see, and her voice has a current of laughter that is also ideal, Lyra thinks, for reading to a child. Salmakia wears a similar costume to Tialys, spurred feet and a green blouse but with a silver skirt.
The lady first meets the children at the same time as the Chevalier, and seemingly takes a dislike to them (as with the Chevalier, Lyra in particular). She attacks Pantalaimon after Lyra laughs at her tiny size, and holds her spur against his leg. Lyra sees this as a violation. The Lady later goes on to defuse the situation between Tialys and Iorek Byrnison, when it revealed that the spies have been double-crossing the children.
Later on, when on the boat crossing into the world of the dead, Salmakia wonders if Gallivespians have dæmons too, since the journey causes her and her partner terrible pains in their hearts. When entering the world of the dead, she also sneaks up on No-Name the harpy, spurring her in the foot, but this has no real effect. She bargains with No-Name later, agreeing that the ghosts should tell No-Name and her sisters true stories about the real world. Even later the situation becomes even more reversed when No-Name saves Lyra's life; Salmakia begins to thank No-Name again and again. Salmakia, true to her kindly face and almost motherly demeanour, is the voice of encouragement to cross the Abyss.
Lady Salmakia dies very shortly after Tialys, when the last of her energy has run out. She, like the Chevalier, has made a lasting impression on the children. She was buried in a grave next to Tialys.
Lord Carlo Boreal, or Sir Charles Latrom, CBE as he is known as in Will Parry's world, serves as a minor character in Northern Lights, but is a main antagonist in The Subtle Knife. He is an old Englishman, appearing to be in his sixties. He normally wears pale suits and is described as smelling sweetly.
Lord Boreal is first seen in Lyra Belacqua's world at the cocktail party of Mrs. Coulter. He interacts shortly with Lyra. He is also mentioned just before Lord Asriel crosses the bridge to Cittàgazze in Northern Lights as being a lover of Mrs. Coulter's.
Nothing is heard of Lord Boreal until The Subtle Knife. While Lyra is exploring a museum in Will's world and looking at trepanned skulls, he watches her quietly. He then approaches her and appears to be a kindly old man who converses with her about the skulls. Lyra recognizes him, but is unsure of his identity.
Later, when Lyra is being chased by the men who are after John Parry's notes, Latrom is in a limousine with a personal driver and offers her a lift, taking her to Summertown. He hands her back her rucksack, from which, Lyra later discovers, the alethiometer is missing, stolen by Boreal. They go to his home, where Will accidentally reveals Lyra's real name, notices a serpent on Boreal's body, and guesses correctly that it is his dæmon. Lord Boreal tells them that they must get the Subtle Knife for him from Cittàgazze and he will return to them the Alethiometer.
After retrieving the knife Lyra and Will attempt to steal the Alethiometer back. Will, using the subtle knife, breaks into Boreal's house, while Lyra remains outside where she sees Mrs. Coulter arriving at the house. Will listens to a conversation between Coulter and Boreal, and then steals the Alethiometer. Lyra and Will escape as Boreal tries to shoot the intruders, unaware of who they really are.
Boreal next appears in the office of Mary Malone. He tells her, and her colleague Dr. Oliver Payne, that he will fund their studies further and prevent their shutting down if they specifically continue experimenting under his approval. Malone, however, sees the deceit in his promises.
Later, Boreal is in a tent in the mountains of Cittàgazze and is talking to Mrs. Coulter, who drugs his drink and makes him tell her of the subtle knife. He dies shortly after from the poisoned drink. This is all seen by a witch, Lena Feldt, who then is discovered by Mrs. Coulter and tortured into telling her Lyra's true name: Eve, mother of all.
Boreal's body is later discovered in the tent by Will in The Amber Spyglass. His pseudonym, Latrom, is "mortal" spelled backwards. Whether or not if this has a significance to the story is unknown.
Ruta Skadi is the Latvian witch queen, and a lover of Lord Asriel. Her dæmon is a bluethroat named Sergi. She is 416 years old (The Subtle Knife), and makes appearances in The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass.
She accompanies Serafina Pekkala and her companions on part of their journey. She leaves, first to see the angels up above her, and she wants to help them because Lord Asriel is with them. She brings news of a mysterious weapon which turns out to be the Subtle Knife after overhearing tell of it from cliff ghasts. She is described as being very passionate, powerful, pitiless and beautiful, and has black hair and large black eyes. She wears a crown made of the teeth of tigers she killed when a tribe that worshiped them offended her. She has been a lover of Lord Asriel; when it is revealed to the witches that Lyra, Lord Asriel and Marisa Coulter's daughter, is to become the second Eve, Ruta laments that as Asriel's lover, she did not become Lyra's mother, reflecting on what Lyra would have been like as a witch. In the play adaptation, however, she commits suicide after killing John Parry, her lover, in place of a more minor character (Juta Kamainen) who does not appear in the adaptation.
Xaphania is the leader of the rebel angels allied with Lord Asriel in the war against The Authority.
Xaphania first appears in the third book of the trilogy, The Amber Spyglass, at a council of Asriel's commanders. Like all Pullman's angels, she appears naked, winged, and luminous; due to her high rank and great age, she is clearly visible to corporeal beings. As is the norm with members of the angelic orders in the novels, there is a certain ambiguity surrounding Xaphania's exact appearance. She appears both ancient and young, compassionate and austere. Her simultaneous age and youth are remarked on by the witch Serafina Pekkala, who herself appears that way to shorter-lived people.
The angel Balthamos is the first character to refer explicitly to Xaphania. As he explains to Will Parry, she discovered that the Authority had lied to the other angels regarding his status as God the original Creator and so was banished from the Clouded Mountain. This was the start of the first struggle against the Kingdom, Xaphania being the leader of the rebel angels who intervened in human evolution to give mankind its present consciousness some thirty thousand years ago.
Towards the end of trilogy, and after the defeat of the Authority's forces, it is Xaphania who explains to Will and Lyra Belacqua that all the windows between the worlds must be sealed to prevent Dust from leaking away into the abyss, and that the Æsahættr (the Subtle Knife) must be destroyed.
Fra Pavel Rašek is a representative and alethiometrist of the Consistorial Court of Discipline. He is said to be a thorough but sluggish reader of the truth measure, requiring weeks or months to take an accurate reading. He was, however, successful in obtaining information useful to the Consistorial Court in a relatively short period of time, according to Marisa Coulter. He appears to be uncomfortable when voicing potentially heretical discoveries. His dæmon takes the form of a frog.
Roger Parslow, a young kitchen boy and youngest of the Parslow family that had long been employed as masons for Jordan College, was the best friend of Lyra Belacqua during her early life in Jordan College. Like Lyra, Roger possessed a strong sense of adventure, though he was often the cautioning voice when Lyra got too ambitious, and he and Lyra had explored all over Jordan, from the roofs, over the grounds, to the cellars and crypts. Roger's dæmon, named Salcilia, often appears as a terrier.
Roger was kidnapped by the General Oblation Board ("the Gobblers") and taken to their experimental center in Bolvangar. When Lyra arrived there he assisted her in helping the children escape, once more proving his loyalty, and going on with her to see Lord Asriel in Svalbard. However this is his downfall, for which Lyra later blamed herself, because Asriel uses Roger to create a hole between worlds by separating him from Salcillia, killing him in the process of channeling the energy from that separation to create the hole.
Roger's character was totally absent in The Subtle Knife, but in The Amber Spyglass, he makes a surprising reappearance when Lyra encounters him lost and scared, trapped in the Land of the Dead, but eventually she manages to set him free to merge with the Dust in the living worlds. She arranged for this to be a release for all the dead willing to obey the necessary guidelines; but Roger was the first to leave the World of the Dead.
The Housemaid Mrs. Lonsdale is related to him. There is a boy named “Simon Parslow”, but it is not known whether Simon is related to Roger.
Metatron is the Regent of Heaven and the true antagonist of His Dark Materials, and seeks to supplant the Authority, destroy Lord Asriel and his army, and kill the heroine Lyra Belacqua. His personal power is immense, and he is shown as descending from the sky at one point to demolish an unknown amount of land (before Lyra and Will escape through a portal.) He is betrayed and killed by Mrs. Coulter, who unknowingly imitates Lyra by promising him herself as a prize for his victory over Lord Asriel, but conspires with Asriel to destroy him, the two sacrificing their existences to drag Metatron into an abyss between the universes to ensure that he can never threaten Lyra again. He is stated to have been the Biblical character Enoch, who is in the line between Adam and Noah. He appears only in The Amber Spyglass.
- ^ "Philip Pullman in Readerville 7.2.2001". http://www.readerville.com/webx?14@@.ef6c70e/63. Retrieved 2007-10-13. [dead link]
- ^ http://books.scholastic.com/teachers/authorsandbooks/authorstudies/authorhome.jsp?authorID=78&displayName=Interview%20Transcript
- ^ Brian Jacks (2007-11-14). "'Golden Compass' Director Chris Weitz Answers Your Questions: Part I". MTV. http://moviesblog.mtv.com/2007/11/14/golden-compass-director-chris-weitz-answers-your-questions-part-i/. Retrieved 2010-04-29. Chris Weitz says " The only differnce is that he is called Ragnar Sturlusson and not Iofur Raknison. Why? I didn't want anyone to confuse his name with Iorek's."
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