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The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass


by Philip Pullman

The Golden Compass Fate and Free Will Quotes

How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)

Quote #1

"Yes. 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. She can be helped, though, and if my plan with the Tokay had succeeded, she would have been safe for a little longer. I would have liked to spare her a journey to the North. I wish above all things that I were able to explain it to her...." (2.140)

This section sums up Lyra's paradoxical situation quite nicely: she's part of a larger plan, but she can't know that she's part of it. The Master and the Librarian of Jordan College clearly believe in fate, and would like to explain to Lyra what Dust means, but they aren't allowed to.

Quote #2

"No, no, that's the saddest thing: she will be the betrayer, and the experience will be terrible. She mustn't know that, of course, but there's no reason for her not to know about the problem of Dust. And you might be wrong, Charles; she might well take an interest in it, if it were explained in a simple way. And it might help her later on. It would certainly help me to be less anxious about her." (2.147)

As the novel reveals, Lyra will have to betray someone in order to fulfill her destiny. Who, in the end, does she betray? Could the betrayal have been prevented?

Quote #3

"I see the Master as a man having terrible choices to make; whatever he chooses will do harm, but maybe if he does the right thing, a little less harm will come about than if he chooses wrong. God preserve me from having to make that sort of choice." (7.134)

Though the Master understands that Lyra has a destiny, he also must make a series of choices. Does this mean that the world of The Golden Compass is one driven by fate or free will? Is it possible for it to be a combination of the two?

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