The Golden Compass
by Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass Power Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"The Master was given a charge by Lord Asriel to look after you and keep you safe from your mother. And that was what he did, for ten years or more. Then Mrs. Coulter's friends in the Church helped her set up this Oblation Board, for what purpose we don't know, and there she was, as powerful in her way as Lord Asriel was in his. Your parents, both strong in the world, both ambitious, and the Master of Jordan holding you in the balance between them. (7.132)
This passage pits Lyra's mother and father against each other, with the Master of Jordan College in the middle. The triad suggests a power struggle between Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter. But over what? We also see, more clearly than ever, that both of Lyra's parents are very powerful. Did Lyra inherit any of their power?
Lyra wandered away on her own, and went to the reedy bank to sit and throw mud in the water. She knew one thing: she was not pleased or proud to be able to read the alethiometer – she was afraid. Whatever power was making that needle swing and stop, it knew things like an intelligent being. (9.62)
Lyra's power is being able to read the alethiometer. Notice her reaction to her power: she frightened of it. This shows she's quite different than her power-hungry parents. Phew!
With every second that went past, with every sentence she spoke, she felt a little strength flowing back. And now that she was doing something difficult and familiar and never quite predictable, namely lying, she felt a sort of mastery again, the same sense of complexity and control that the alethiometer gave her. She had to be careful not to say anything obviously impossible; she had to be vague in some places and invent plausible details in others; she had to be an artist, in short. (17.16)
Lyra finds power in telling stories. When she realizes she can influence people with her inventions she uses this skill to her advantage.