The Journey of Lyra and Pantalaimon

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman

An Inside Look at Lyra

Lyra Belacqua is an 11 year old girl with a curious mind, an imagination, and a dæmon named Pantalaimon, or Pan for short. Before Lyra found out about Dust, she was reckless and dirty and a free child. "In many ways Lyra was a barbarian" (31). After she learned about Dust, Lyra took it upon herself to be more responsible and find out more. Part of her journey included living with Mrs. Coulter and being her personal assistant. "Lyra went everywhere with Mrs. Coulter, almost as if she were a dæmon herself" (72). However, Lyra and Pan soon realize Mrs. Coulter is not who she says she is, and she is greatly involved with the Dust. She struggles about whether to stay with this wonderful yet deceiving woman, or to run away and hope for the best. Lyra and Pan decide to run away before Mrs. Coulter can harm her. With the help of the armored bear, Iorek Byrnison, and her alethiometer, Lyra and Pan set out to the North to find out the truth about this mysterious Dust.

Literary Elements Advance the Plot

Set in a separate but adjacent world to the human world, the setting in this book plays a big part in the plot. Some concepts in this book, such as dæmons, are quite different from our world as humans. This allows the author to be more imaginative in creating the setting.

Irony is also used to help advance the plot. For example, "Lyra has a part to play in all this, and a major one. The irony is that she must do it all without realizing what she's doing" (28). Throughout the whole story, Lyra has to help bring things back to order, without noticing exactly what she's doing. These are two examples of literary elements that help move the plot along.

Pan or Praise?

I really enjoyed reading The Golden Compass and I would definitely recommend it. Set in a similar yet so different world from ours, this book will leave the reader wanting more. And there is more! See below for the sequels. The plot is captivating and descriptive and completely envelops the reader in this alternate universe.

Continue the Journey...

Author Philip Pullman, pictured at right, leads Lyra and Pantalaimon on even more adventures in the rest of the series:


The Subtle Knife: Set in our world, Lyra and Pan meet Will Parry, a 12 year old boy living in modern-day Oxford, England. They discover that this world is mostly children because the adults have been attacked by soul-eating creatures called Specters. When Will obtains possession of the subtle knife, a special tool that allows him to cut portals between the multiple worlds, a war planned by Lord Asriel may be coming.


The Amber Spyglass: The story begins with Lyra in a drug-induced sleep. Mrs. Coulter claims to have drugged her to unconsciousness to keep her safe from the Church. In the meantime, Will is searching for her. While Will finds and awakens Lyra and travels to the desolate land of the dead, Lord Asriel and his angels try to save Lyra from the Church assassinating her.

Watch the Book Come Alive in the Movie Trailer

The Golden Compass | Trailer HD