Study Guide

Iofur Raknison in The Golden Compass

By Philip Pullman

Iofur Raknison

Iofur Raknison is the bad bear king that banished Iorek from Svalbard. Iofur has a weird obsession: he's dying to be a human and have his very own daemon. If he weren't such a jerk, it would be kind of sad that he carries around a stuffed doll and pretends it's his daemon. It's a good thing for our tricky heroine, though. Since Iofur is trying to be a human instead of a bear, he's able to be fooled. Lyra quickly picks up on the bear king's obsession and uses it against him, helping Iorek triumph against his rival.

In the battle between Iofur and Iorek, Iofur represents a certain destiny for the bears, one in which they aspire to be humans. Notice the description of Iofur before the fight:

Iofur so glossy and powerful, immense in his strength and health, splendidly armored, proud and kinglike; and Iorek smaller, though [Lyra] had never thought he would look small, and poorly equipped, his armor rusty and dented. But his armor was his soul. He had made it and it fitted him. They were one. Iofur was not content with his armor. He wanted another soul as well. He was restless while Iorek was still. (20.34)

What are the differences between Iorek and Iofur according to this description? In the end Iorek is defeated and the bears follow Iorek instead. What does this mean for Svalbard?