The Golden Compass

by Philip Pullman

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Chapters 15-17 Summary

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Lyra soon finds Roger, who is careful not to give away her true identity. Before long, Lyra has learned about hiding places and is planning to escape and to disrupt the Experimental Station. When a fire drill begins, Lyra and Pan discover Kaisa, who helps them to break into a locked room. Inside, they find cages filled with the severed dæmons of children like Tony. They set the dæmons free. It seems that not even Mrs. Coulter’s arrival can disrupt Lyra’s plans. That night, Lyra sneaks into the roof to spy on the adults. They are discussing the dæmon escape and Mrs. Coulter is adamant that security be tightened. She is also eager to supervise more intercision procedures. When she leaves the other two Gobblers, Lyra makes a noise that gives away her presence.

The adults capture Lyra. To silence her, they decide to sever her from Pan. The adults nearly succeed but Mrs. Coulter arrives. Although she seems fascinated by watching other children severed from their dæmons, she refuses to allow this to happen to Lyra. She takes Lyra away to her own room, where she soon begins asking Lyra about the alethiometer. When Mrs. Coulter attempts to take the alethiometer, she instead grabs the tin containing the clockwork spy fly. It flies straight into Mrs. Coulter’s face, which allows Lyra and Pan to escape. They enact their plan by pulling the fire alarm and then causing an explosion in the kitchen. Lyra and Pan then collect the alethiometer and furs from the dormitory and lead the children into the winter.

To truly escape, they will have to get past the Gobblers’ Tartar guards. The Tartars have wolf dæmons and rifles, and they wear helmets so thick that their eyes are hidden. Lyra throws snow into the eyes of the guards and soon the other children and their dæmons follow her lead. Just in time, Iorek Byrnison, Lee Scoresby, the witches, and the gyptians attack the station. Their destruction of Bolvanger and its Experimental Station is total.

Lyra, Roger, and Iorek leave the battle in Lee Scoresby’s ship. As they float into the sky, Lyra meets Serafina Pekkala, the queen of the witches. Lyra realizes that Farder Coram is in love with the witch; she considers how sad it must be for him to grow so old while Serafina remains young. The witch asks Lyra about her plans, and Lyra declares that she will free her father. Serafina offers to provide Lyra with important information, but not until after she rests.

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