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The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass

by Philip Pullman

Sacrifice Quotes

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #4

She lifted the lantern high and took a step into the shed, and then she saw what it was that the Oblation Board was doing, and what was the nature of the sacrifice the children were having to make. (12.104)

What does Lyra find in the shed, and why is it so horrible?

Quote #5

The little boy was huddled against the wood drying rack where hung row upon row of gutted fish, all as stiff as boards. He was clutching a piece of fish to him as Lyra was clutching Pantalaimon, with her left hand, hard, against her heart; but that was all he had, a piece of dried fish; because he had no daemon at all. The Gobblers had cut it away. That was intercision, and this was a severed child. […]

Her first impulse was to turn and run, or to be sick. A human being with no daemon was like someone without a face, or with their ribs laid open and their heart torn out: something unnatural and uncanny that belonged to the world of night-ghasts, not the waking world of sense. (12.105-13.1)

Lyra finds little Tony in a village in the North. Note the way Pullman tries to get through to his human readers by comparing a daemonless child to a person without a face. Pretty horrifying stuff. On a separate note, can Tony's separation from his daemon be considered a sacrifice if the procedure was done against his will?

Quote #6

Above the panting of the men, above her own sobs, above the high wild howl of her daemon, Lyra heard a humming sound, and saw one man (bleeding from the nose) operate a bank of switches. The other two looked up, and her eyes followed theirs. The great pale silver blade was rising slowly, catching the brilliant light. The last moment in her complete life was going to be the worst by far. (16.132)

What does the imagery – the silver guillotine – suggest about the sacrifice being forced upon Lyra? Is "cutting" the same thing as an execution?

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