Characters of His Dark Materials


Characters of His Dark Materials

The following is a list of both main and minor characters from Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy.

Main characters

Lyra Belacqua/Silvertongue

Lyra Belacqya (pronounced Lie-ruh), 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 false deity 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 auto guide (truth-measurer), and is known to the witches as Eve, mother of us all, who will eventually be tempted by the serpent. In the end, Lyra is forced to separate from Will Parry (her lover 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.

Will Parry

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 fails to remember his father, a former Royal Marine, who has not been heard of since he vanished on an expedition to the Arctic, and who we later learn has wandered into another world and is unable to find his way back. Will becomes the companion and eventually lover of 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 has to leave Lyra Belcqua and live a full life in his own world where he is taken care of by Mary Malone and his cat daemon (Kirjava). However, he does still see Lyra on Midsummer Day.

Lord Asriel

Lord Asriel is a member of the English aristocracy in a parallel universe dominated by an oppressive version of the Christian Church. 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 The Golden Compass that he is Lyra's father - her mother is Marisa Coulter. His dæmon is a snow leopard called Stelmaria.

Mrs. Coulter

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 "lab rats" for 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 through an involvement with Lyra's father, Lord Asriel. Also, her daemon is a Golden Monkey but the books do not state his name.

She is cruel and merciless at times, stopping at nothing to get what she wants. She is deceptive; and being full of grace and beauty, she 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.

Iorek Byrnison

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Iorek Byrnison


caption =
first = "Northern Lights/The Golden Compass"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Panserbørne
gender = Male
age = Unknown
born =
death =
occupation = King of Svalbard
title = King Iorek Byrnison
family =
spouse =
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

Iorek Byrnison is a "panserbjørn" ("armoured bear" in Danish and Norwegian). Like all Panserbjørne, Iorek follows a very strict code of conduct, and will, in no 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 alcohol, 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 help the group she is travelling with.

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. This situation ended in Iorek killing the bear, which is strictly forbidden and 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 uses his blacksmithing skills to repair the Subtle Knife with the help 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.

Other characters

John Faa

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = John Faa


caption =
first = "Northern Lights/The Golden Compass"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Human (Gyptian)
gender = Male
age =
born =
death =
occupation = Lord of the Western Gyptians
title = Lord Faa
family =
spouse =
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

John Faa, (pronounced 'Fa'), sometimes known as Lord Faa, is the Lord of the western Gyptians. When the Oblation Board starts kidnapping children, he leads 170 of his men to save them from a terrible fate.

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.

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.

His Daemon in a black crow whose gender is female.

In the film he is played by Jim Carter.

Farder Coram

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Farder Coram


caption =
first = "Northern Lights/The Golden Compass"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Human (Gyptian)
gender = Male
age =
born =
death =
occupation =
title =
family =
spouse =
children = One unnamed son (deceased) with Serafina Pekkala
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

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 large, gold, brown cat dæmon. In the film "The Golden Compass", Sophonax, his dæmon is a caracal, a kind of African, lynx-like wildcat.

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. They fell in love and had a son. Their son was killed in his youth by a disease from the east forty years prior to the events of the trilogy. With a broken heart, Serafina Pekkala returned to her people as the clan-queen, and Coram stayed with the Gyptians. Later Coram was shot in the leg with a poison arrow by Skraelings. Although Serafina Pekkala never saw him again, she did send herbs and spells to help him recover. Unfortunately he remained disabled.

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 an almost longing upon his face before they depart further North.

British actor Tom Courtenay portrays him in the film "The Golden Compass".

Costa family

Ma Costa, Tony Costa, Billy Costa and others are members of a Gyptian family that takes Lyra in for a time. We learn that Ma Costa had cared for Lyra in her infancy. Billy Costa was one of the children kidnapped by the Gobblers.

Serafina Pekkala

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Serafina Pekkala


caption =
first = "Northern Lights/The Golden Compass"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Witch
gender = Female
age = Several hundred years (At least 300)
born =
death =
occupation = Witch Queen
title =
family =
spouse =
children = One unnamed son (deceased) with Farder Coram
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

Serafina Pekkala is a witch queen. She rules over certain clans in the Lake Enara district, which supposedly is an alternative name Pullman created for Lake Inari in northern Finland. 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 who is capable of being separated from Pekkala by long distances, as is normal with witches' dæmons. (Although Serafina Pekkala's dæmon is male, the name Kaisa is in fact a Finnish female name). She assists Lyra in her journey to find out about Dust.

She once had a child with the Gyptian Farder Coram who saved her life as she was attacked by a large red bird, possibly 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, if the child is female it is a witch, whereas if male it is human. In the case of the latter, he is likely to be outlived by his mother.

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, so 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 they feel they must act as if they are not, or "die of ." 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; [cite web |url=http://www.readerville.com/webx?14@@.ef6c70e/63 |title=Philip Pullman in Readerville 7.2.2001 |author= |publisher= |accessdate=2007-10-13|language=] 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).

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 is played by Eva Green.

Lee Scoresby

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Lee Scoresby


caption =
first = "Northern Lights/The Golden Compass"
last = "Once Upon a Time in the North"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Human
gender = Male
age = 59
born =
death = Unknown
occupation = Aeronaut
title =
family = Mother (mentioned)
spouse =
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

Lee Scoresby is a skilled "aeronaut" balloonist from the state of Texas (called a country in this trilogy). 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. [http://books.scholastic.com/teachers/authorsandbooks/authorstudies/authorhome.jsp?authorID=78&displayName=Interview%20Transcript]

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 nonviolent. He is intelligent, and a bit of a mercenary, though with consistent ethics. His dream is to sell his balloons and buy a ranch back in Texas.

Lee's best friend is the armored bear Iorek Byrnison. They fought together, and he once saved Iorek's life.

Lee (and his dæmon, Hester the 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, 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, 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. Lyra falls out of the balloon, and 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 four zeppelins, but Lee loses his balloon in the process. 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 witches 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 him in the world of the dead, and he briefly returns to fight the Spectres before his particles scatter and set off to find Hester's. He also mentions searching for his mother's particles, and those of "his sweethearts".

American actor icon Sam Elliott plays Lee Scoresby in the film version.

Stanislaus Grumman

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Stanislaus Grumman


caption =
first = "The Subtle Knife"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname = Stan Grumman
alias = John Parry;Jopari
species = Human
gender = Male
age =
born =
death = killed by Ruta Skadi in stage version
occupation = Royal Marine explorer
title = Colonel John ParryDr. Stanislaus Grumman
family =
spouse = Elaine Parry
children = Will Parry
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

Dr. Stanislaus "Stan" Grumman, aka Colonel John Parry, 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.

He ventured through Cittàgazze and found a portal to the world of Lyra Belacqua. When he arrived, he met his very 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 infamous 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 had trepanation done to his skull. He became a leader and shaman of the tribe and took the name Jopari, a slight differentia 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. But Grumman remained away, in the village of the Yenisei tribe.

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, in a dark cave 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. But then an arrow shot by Juta Kamainen, a witch he spurned, pierces Grumman's heart and he dies.

He may be named after Bruce Parry, a real life Royal Marine turned explorer and presenter of the BBC documentary Tribe.

Iofur Raknison

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Iofur Raknison


caption =
first = "The Golden Compass"
last = The Golden Compass
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Panserbjørn
gender = Male
age =
born =
death = Killed in fight with Iorek Byrnison (armoured bear)
occupation = King of Svalbard
title = King Iofur Raknison
family = Father (deceased)
spouse =
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

Iofur Raknison is a "Panserbjørn" - an armor-wearing, intelligent polar bear. He appears prominently in the first book, "Northern Lights".

Iofur Raknison is the king of all the "panserbjørn" and ruler of Svalbard, but wishes for more. He wants to be the equal of a human---to have a dæmon and be baptized a Christian. To this end, he has commanded the bears to build a palace of stone, and forced them to wear gold and silver ornaments---ornaments that they had traditionally despised as beneath them.

Iofur has a secret: the fact that he killed his own father---a fact that the other bears do not know. Lyra Belacqua divines this with the use of her alethiometer, while convincing Iofur that she is the dæmon of Iorek Byrnison, an armored bear driven into exile for killing another bear. He did this in a battle over a she-bear. The other bear would not give the usual signs of surrender so Iorek became angry and killed him. Her knowledge convinces Iofur that she is telling the truth about being a daemon, and his will to believe that he, too, can have a daemon allows Lyra to manipulate him into a duel with Iorek. After Iofur's defeat in the duel, the loss of his lower jaw and his life, Iorek is proclaimed the king, and his first command is that the bears discard their pseudo-human trinkets and tear down Iofur's palace.

In the 2007 film adaptation of "The Golden Compass" he is voiced by Ian McShane. It should be noted that the character Iofur Raknison's name was changed to Ragnar Sturlusson to prevent name confusion between him and Iorek Byrnison.

The Authority

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = The Authority


caption =
first = "The Amber Spyglass"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias = God, Jehovah, Yahweh, Allah, the Lord, the Creator, the Almighty, El, Adonai
species = Angel
gender = Male
born =
death =
occupation = False God
title = The Authority
religion =
family =
spouse =
children =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

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, so he banished her. Xaphania and some other angels later started the first war and rebellion against him. The angel Balthamos told about this to Will Parry. Several names are ascribed to him, including "Jehovah", "Yahweh", the "Lord", "El", "Adonai", and "the Almighty". He is the god of the Christian, Muslim, 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" rebel 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. In Pullman's multiverse, 'death' signifies becoming part of everything (as did dæmons, ghosts, and armoured bears in The Amber Spyglass).

However, Pullman makes it clear that as to whether or not there is a Creator is a possibility, as seen when King Ogunwe comments on the subject: "There may have been a creator, or there may not; we don't know." If there was one, it might perhaps be a deistic one.

Balthamos

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Balthamos


caption =
first = "The Subtle Knife"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Angel
gender = Male
age =
born =
death =
occupation = Rebel
title =
family =
spouse = Baruch (lover)
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

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 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 mascarade 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

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Baruch


caption =
first = "The Subtle Knife"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Angel
gender = Male
age =
born =
death = Unknown
occupation =
title =
family =
spouse = Balthamos (lover)
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

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. With Balthamos, Baruch escapes from the Regent of The Authority in hopes of joining Lord Asriel's army of angels. 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.

Dr. Mary Malone

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Mary Malone


caption =
first = "The Subtle Knife"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Human
gender = Female
age =
born =
death =
occupation = Physicist
title = Dr. Mary Malone
family = Father (deceased)
spouse =
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

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".

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.

Chevalier Tialys

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = The Chevalier Tialys


caption =
first = "The Amber Spyglass"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Gallivespian
gender = Male
age = Eight
born =
death =
occupation = Spy
title = The Chevalier Tialys
family =
children = None
creator = Philip Pullman

The Chevalier Tialys is a protagonist in The Amber Spyglass. 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 full, 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. Whilst entering the world of the dead, Tialyl 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.

Lady Salmakia

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = The Lady Salmakia


caption =
first = "The Amber Spyglass"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Gallivespian
gender = Female
age = Eight
born =
death =
occupation = Spy
title = The Lady Salmakia
family =
spouse =
children =
creator = Philip Pullman

The Lady Salmakia is a protagonist and Gallivespian spy in "The Amber Spyglass". She is also sent to instruct Will Parry and Lyra Belacqua, but she is made 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 a maternal chord within Lyra. 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 daemons 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 Boreal

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Carlo Boreal


caption =
first = "Northern Lights/The Golden Compass"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias = Sir Charles Latrom
species = Human
gender = Male
age =
born =
death = Unknown
occupation = Lord
title = Lord Carlo Boreal
family =
spouse =
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

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.

Nothing is heard of Lord Boreal until "The Subtle Knife". While Lyra is exploring a museum in Will's world and looking at the 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 (as she met him at the cocktail party) but can't place who he is. He asks her her name and she answers "Lizzie". He hands her his card and tells her if she wishes to learn more about the skulls just contact him.

Later, when Lyra is being chased by the men who are after John Parry's notes, he is in a limo 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. She and Will find out the name he uses in Will's world is Sir Charles Latrom. They go to his home, where Will accidentally reveals Lyra's real name, and 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 Dr. 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". It should also be noted that his pseudonym, Latrom, is "mortal" spelled backwards. Though whether or not if this has a significance to the story is unknown.

Ruta Skadi

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Ruta Skadi


caption =
first = "The Subtle Knife"
last = "The Amber Spyglass" (mentioned)
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Witch
gender = Female
age = 416 ("mentioned in "The Subtle Knife")
born =
death =
occupation = Witch Queen of Latvia
title =
family =
spouse = Lord Asriel (lover) Jopari (estranged lover)
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

Ruta Skadi is the Latvian witch queen, and a lover of Lord Asriel. She accompanies Serafina Pekkala and her companions on part of their journey. She leaves, first to see Asriel's empire he is building, then to rally witches to help him. 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 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 and how Lyra would have been a witch. In the play adaptation, however, she commits suicide after killing John Parry, her estranged lover, in place of a more minor character who does not appear in the adaptation. Her daemon is a bluethroat named Sergi.

Despite being from Latvia, Ruta's name is Lithuanian for "yew."

Xaphania

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Xaphania


caption =
first = "The Amber Spyglass"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Angel
gender = Female
age =
born =
death =
occupation = Rebel leader
title =
family =
spouse =
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

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 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

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.

Roger Parslow

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Roger Parslow


caption =
first = "Northern Lights/The Golden Compass"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias =
species = Human
gender = Male
age =
born =
death = Unknown
reason of death = Daemon cut away
occupation = Kitchen boy
title =
family =
spouse =
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

Roger Parslow, a young kitchen boy and youngest of the Parslow family that had long been employed as masons for Jordan College, was a close 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 and killing him in the process.

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's not known if Simon is related to Roger.

Metatron

Infobox character
colour = #DEDEE2
name = Metatron


caption =
first = "The Amber Spyglass"
last = "The Amber Spyglass"
cause =
nickname =
alias = Enoch
species = Angel
gender = Male
age =
born =
death = Unknown
occupation = Regent of Heaven
title = Regent
family =
spouse =
children =
relatives =
episode =
portrayer =
creator = Philip Pullman

Metatron is the Regent of Heaven, and seeks to supplant God, destroy Lord Asriel and his army, and try to kill the heroine Lyra Belacqua. He is betrayed by Mrs. Coulter, as she and Asriel pull him into the abyss. He used to be the biblical character Enoch, who is in the line between Adam and Noah.

References


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