The Golden Compass
How we cite our quotes:
Then we thought about the Tartars, maybe there's some secret deal they're making up Siberia way; because the Tartars want to move north just as much as the rest, for the coal spirit and the fire mines, and there's been rumors of war for even longer than the Gobblers been going. (6.95)
Notice that the Tartars are always a distant and shadowy threat.
"And the Church in recent times, Lyra, it's been a getting more commanding. There's councils for this and councils for that; there's talk of reviving the Office of Inquisition, God forbid. And the Master has to tread warily between all these powers. He has to keep Jordan College on the right side of the Church, or it won't survive." (7.133)
Politics are an issue even within the Church as different councils compete for power. The Master at Oxford has to negotiate the interests of these various groups.
"I heard there's a move in Parliament this very day to rescind our ancient privileges on account of this child. Yes, friends," he said, over the babble of shocked whispers, "they're a going to pass a law doing away with our right to free movement in and out of the fens." (8.28)
The gyptians are a nomadic group of people whose rights are threatened by the growing power of Parliament and the Magisterium.