The Golden Compass
How we cite our quotes:
"Yes, here, man. And I shall need a screen and a projecting lantern, also here, also now."
The Butler could hardly prevent himself from opening his mouth in surprise, but managed to suppress the question, or the protest.
"Wren, you're forgetting your place," said Lord Asriel. "Don't question me; just do as I tell you." (1.94-96)
As we can tell from his treatment of the butler (and his snow leopard daemon), Lord Asriel is an authoritative man that people listen to. What is it about Lord Asriel that makes him so powerful?
Ever since Pope John Calvin had moved the seat of the Papacy to Geneva and set up the Consistorial Court of Discipline, the Church's power over every aspect of life had been absolute. The Papacy itself had been abolished after Calvin's death, and a tangle of courts, colleges, and councils, collectively known as the Magisterium, had grown up in its place. These agencies were not always united; sometimes a bitter rivalry grew up between them. For a large part of the previous century, the most powerful had been the College of Bishops, but in recent years the Consistorial Court of Discipline had taken its place as the most active and the most feared of all the Church's bodies. (2.132)
The Church, too, has great power over the lives of the book's inhabitants. We get the picture from this passage that the Church maintains power by using force and fear. Is it possible to gain and maintain power in a more positive way?
On Lyra's other side Mrs. Coulter sat working through some papers, but she soon put them away and talked. Such brilliant talk! Lyra was intoxicated; not about the North this time, but about London, and the restaurants and the ballrooms, the soirées at embassies or ministries, the intrigues between White Hall and Westminster. Lyra was almost more fascinated by this than by the changing landscape below the airship. What Mrs. Coulter was saying seemed to be accompanied by a scent of grownupness, something disturbing but enticing at the same time: it was the smell of glamour. (4.90)
Mrs. Coulter's power is in her feminine charms, but that pretty face is simply a façade for a cruel nature.