The Golden Compass
Fate and Free Will Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
"Seems to me a man should have a choice whether to take up arms or not."
"We have no more choice in that than in whether or not to be born."
"Oh, I like choice, though," he said. "I like choosing the jobs I take and the places I go and the food I eat and the companions I sit and yarn with. Don't you wish for a choice once in a while?" (18.10-12)
Lee Scoresby, the Texan aeronaut, is the biggest advocate for free will in the novel. As he tells Serafina Pekkala here, choice is the most important thing to him. Does Lee Scoresby have a choice to go to war?
"Perhaps we don't mean the same thing by choice, Mr. Scoresby. Witches own nothing, so we're not interested in preserving value or making profits, and as for the choice between one thing and another, when you live for many hundreds of years, you know that every opportunity will come again." (18.13)
Serafina Pekkala takes an opposite position to Scoresby on the question of free will. Witches have a very different perspective on things than humans. Do you agree with her or with Lee?
"Well, I dunno. There's things I'd rather not know. Seems to me everything I heard of since the Gobblers come to Oxford, everything's been bad. There en't been nothing good more than about five minutes ahead. Like I can see now, this bath's nice, and there's a nice warm towel there, about five minutes away. And once I'm dry, maybe I'll think of summing nice to eat, but no further ahead than that. And when I've eaten, maybe I'll look forward to a kip in a comfortable bed. But after that, I dunno, Lyra. There's been terrible things we seen, en't there? And more a coming, more'n likely. So I think I'd rather not know what's in the future. I'll stick to the present. (21.55)
Lyra offers to read the alethiometer, but Roger declines – he'd rather not know what the future holds. Is his future tragic, or is it just his destiny? Could his death have been avoided?