The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

golden compassEverybody in this world has a daemon. The daemon is part of their soul, and reflects their personality. When they feel anger and tension at someone else, their daemons will feel it too and fight. When its love, the daemons will nuzzle and pat each other. This is the central idea of The Golden Compass; but I think the concept is not merely just a fiction, or fantasy. It really can relate to us. People has different personalities. Some are solitary like cats, while othres form groups and have a strong sense of belonging, like dogs. Some gets super hardworking like ants, while others are slow like sloths. Some are fierce like sharks, while others are gentle like panda. That’s daemon is all about.

The Golden Compass is the first book out of the trilogy of three. It is a about a young girl named Lyra and her daemon named Pantamalion. Like I said in the beginning, a daemon was a creature that was connected with the human they are bound to. They are not pets, rather like souls connected to each other. A daemon can change form when the human is still young, but as they grow older, they resume a permanent form. Pan, can still change to whatever creature he wants too, which proved to be quite handy in some of her adventures on the roof, to scare off somebody, or to camouflage.

The story starts with her wanting to find out what was happening in the retiring room.  Her current goal was to find out what was inside. Lyra had managed to sneak there unnoticed and to listen what her visiting Uncle, Lord Asriel, would tell the scholars. She did not know about the chain of events that would happen next. She was too exited to find out what was in the retiring room. Lyra was too long in there and when someone came, she had no choice but to dive around a chair. Unfortunately, it was the master of the academy she was in, but fortunately, neither he or his daemon did not notice anything suspicious happening below the armchair. But thank goodness she was there! She spotted the master pour something into the cup, that was supposed to be for her uncle, Lord Asriel.

She managed to change her hiding spot to the cupboard and managed to burst out to tell her uncle when he was alone. He almost twisted her hand in anger of finding her here, but dumped her back into the cupboard to spy again. She then found out about the expedition to go to the north, something in which she eagerly wanted to join.

But of course, Lord Asriel wouldn’t let her. But then, the word of the Gobblers came round. Gobblers were people who steal children and used them for who-knows-what. The gobbles had came down to Oxford. Some children were missing by daybreak, leaving Lyra and her gang, very worried. And then, Roger gets abducted. At the same time, a woman named Ms. Coulter and a golden monkey daemon (I do think the golden monkey symbolizes her beauty here), came over to bring Lyra, sort of like ‘adopt’ her. Lyra was excited when she learnt she was going to the North with Ms. Coulter. The day before she left, her master gave her a present to give to her uncle. It was the althiometer, that could tell the difference between good, and bad, right or wrong. It’s the tool that could predict the future. And there were only six remaining in the whole wide world. Lyra uses it to help her with the journey.

In other words, the althiometer helps man choose the choice between good and evil. Why? Because we almost always make the wrong choices, and regret it later. Is there any situation in which we feel truly happy in our choices? Humans complain too much. Don’t we have a hunch, or a little (angelic) voice trying to tell us what’s right? I believe it is there, but we humans almost always ignored it. To some of us, we’re being ‘superstitious.’

Lyra had a fun time with Ms. Coulter. She had the life of luxury. She went to join dinner parties where Lyra overheard something between Ms. Coulter and somebody else. She realized that Ms. Coulter was one of the Gobblers. Her golden monkey had seen what Lyra’s master had given her. Ms. Coulter wanted it, and so that night, Lyra ran away. Becoming the fugitive, she stumbled across the Gypsies who were willing to go to the North and rescue all the missing children. That was how Lyra’s adventure really begun.

She first boarded up with the Gypsies, who told her what really happened, and who actually was her mother and father. Their information had left Lyra in pure shock, but the gypsies had their life impacted really bad, because alot of their children was stolen by the Gobblers and they wanted some kind of revenge.

Why does the daemons represent the form of animals? That’s a question which pondered me for a while now. I guess the story tells us that we can live side by side with animals. Due to recent human activities, most animal races have been wiped out of existence, and we exhaust our natural resources. But long time ago, far back before we had evolved to be like this, we had managed to coexist. Why can’t we do this now? Because the human population is growing, and getting out of control, leaving no space for other creatures God had created.

Philip Pullman was born in 19 October 1946 is a British writer. He is the author of several best-selling books, most notably the fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials and the fictionalised biography of Jesus, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ. In 2008, The Times named Pullman one of the “50 greatest British writers since 1945”. The first book of his trilogy, The Golden Compass or so called The Northern Lights won the 1995 Carnegie Medal.


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