The Golden Compass
How we cite our quotes:
"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)
The Master and the Librarian of Jordan College are reluctant to burden Lyra, a child, with the knowledge of Dust. Why do they see Dust as a problem?
Little Tony Makarios wasn't the only child to be caught by the lady with the golden monkey. He found a dozen others in the cellar of the warehouse, boys and girls, none older than twelve or so; though since all of them had histories like his, none could be sure of their age. What Tony didn't notice, of course, was the factor that they all had in common. None of the children in that warm and steamy cellar had reached the age of puberty. (3.80)
The General Oblation Board targets prepubescent children for their experiments, kids who haven't yet started to change into adults. How does the age of the victims shape our opinion of the Gobblers and Mrs. Coulter?
On each coffin, Lyra was interested to see, a brass plaque bore a picture of a different being: this one a basilisk, this a serpent, this a monkey. She realized that they were images of the dead men's daemons. As people became adult, their daemons lost the power to change and assumed one shape, keeping it permanently. (3.120)
We learn here that daemons settle into one shape when a child becomes an adult, suggesting that the daemons are markers of the transition from innocence to maturity.