The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

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Lyra Belacqua, the precocious 11 old year girl who is the protagonist of the story, is an orphan, placed under the care of the professors at Jordan College, indulging in the childhood pursuits of playing and avoiding her studies. Like all the children of this world which she inhabits, she has a daemon, called Pantalaimon. The daemons of people who are much older are fixed and hence do not change their shape.Daemons are the physical manifestation of a person’s soul, who take on animal forms once the character of a person has been entirely shaped, but in the case of Lyra, since she is a pre-teen and her character is not yet completely grounded and fixed her daemon has the capacity of constantly changing its shape into myriads of characters.The Golden Compass is a scintillating story of Lyra Belacqua an orphan sent to Jordon College. One day, Lyra overhears a conversation between the Master of Jordon College and a representative of the sinister religious organization called ‘Magisterium.’ They were planning to embark on an expedition to someplace in the far North. The whole plan was fabricated by Lyra’s uncle, Asriel who was actually the child’s real father.One day while hiding in a cupboard, she overhears a conversation about a plot to poison her uncle Lord Asriel, who was later revealed to be her father. When she tells him about the plot to kill him, he ascribes it to his plan to go to the frozen north, which is frowned upon by the professors. Lyras adventurous spirit is awakened and she too wishes to follow him, but before she can do that she is sent to live in London with Mrs Coulter, a high society lady, who buys her beautiful clothes and tells her tales about the North. Mrs Coulter is in fact Lyras own mother, a fact unknown to the young girl.Lord Asriel and Mrs Coulter are two of the strongest characters in this novel, and they are the ones whose influence is most seen on Lyra.