The Golden Compass

by Philip Pullman

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Chapters 10-11 Summary

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Lyra quickly finds her sea legs. She learns the names of everyone on the ship and is learning a great deal about life at sea. She also learns about dæmons. Pan can still change from one form to another, but as people get older, their dæmons settle on a permanent shape. Lyra and Pan agree that they prefer things as they are, but one of the sailors says that, in time, she will come to see things differently. Just as Lyra comes to feel that she could spend the rest of her life at sea, the gyptians arrive and land in Norroway.

Farder Coram says that he once saved the life of a witch whose alliance might be useful in their coming battle with the Gobblers. He and Lyra seek out the witches’ counsel, Dr. Martin Lanselius. Dr. Lanselius explains that the Gobblers have passed through his town on their way North but that the townspeople will not readily betray the Gobblers, who bring money into the town. Instead, he suggests that they attempt to gain the cooperation of Iorek Byrnison, an armored bear. Although the armored bears (or panserbjørne) are allied with the Gobblers, Iorek may be of help. However, when they approach the giant bear, he is drinking spirits. He explains that the townspeople stole his armor and now he works metal for them and drinks spirits. Iorek explains that Lyra would understand how he feels without his armor if she were separated from Pan.

Because they are unaware of the location of Iorek’s armor, John Faa and Farder Coram are resigned to finding other allies. Fortunately, they succeed. A grey goose arrives. It is Kaisa, the dæmon of the witch Serafina Pekkala. He explains that Serafina has become the queen of one clan of witches, who differ from humans due to their longevity and their ability to send their dæmons far away. The witches are divided amongst themselves and may not be able to help the gyptians. They also find Lee Scoresby, an “aeronaut” from Texas who once fought beside Iorek. Lee distracts the gyptians and has his dæmon, Hester, secretly tell Lyra and Pan to help Iorek. Lyra finds the location of the armor using the alethiometer; Iorek frees himself and allies himself with Lyra.

The gyptians’ stop in Norroway has been a great help to their cause. Not only do they find allies and supplies, but they also learn a great deal. The children are being held in Bolvanger. The Gobblers there are performing experiments related to “intercision.” They have allied themselves with the panserbjørne, who are keeping Lord Asriel captive so he cannot travel to other worlds. However, the true concern of the Gobblers is not traveling to other worlds; rather, they seek to learn more about Dust, though it remains unclear how the kidnapped children will help.

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Chapters 7-9 Summary


Chapters 12-14 Summary