Study Guide

The Golden Compass Chapter 11

By Philip Pullman

Chapter 11


  • Lyra consults the alethiometer to find out where the bear's armor is hidden. She doesn't mention this to the gyptians; she figures they'll ask if they need to know.
  • Lyra goes to sleep that night and has a dream about her father that wakes her up. She puts on her furs and goes up to the deck, where her breath is taken away by the Northern Lights.
  • The beautiful swaths of light bring tears to her eyes, and she goes into a kind of trance. She thinks maybe whatever moves the alethiometer makes the Aurora glow. (Pay attention! This is important.) Maybe it's Dust?
  • Lyra starts to see a city in the colors – with parks, and temples, and spires. Then she can see something else moving in the Aurora. Something flying.
  • What could it be? Whyit's the daemon of the witch Serafina Pekkala. It's kind of weird, though, to see the goose daemon without its person. Lyra feels like she's seeing a "ghost" (11.21).
  • The goose asks for Fader Coram, and soon Lyra, Fader Coram and John Faa are all talking with the goose on deck.
  • Here's what we learn: The witches know about Lyra. The witches call the Oblation Board "Dust hunters" (11.33). Some witch clans are against it and some for. It's hard to choose a side, though, because witches' daemons are different than humans' (they can be separated without causing any kind of pain), so they aren't super concerned with this stuff.
  • We also learn that the Dust hunters are at Bolvangar, a place in the northeast.
  • The goose says there is "an air of hatred and fear" around the place (11.40), which is defended by Tartar soldiers. Scary!
  • Lyra wants to know why the witches are interested in her. The goose says it's because of her father and what he knows about other worlds.
  • Everyone is a little surprised, and the goose tells us more about the whole multiple worlds thing. Apparently there are tons of different worlds right here alongside our own, but we can't see them. Witches have always known this.
  • The goose reveals that Lord Asriel was trying make a bridge to the other worlds, which is why he was imprisoned.
  • Are the witches for or against this bridge? It's a complicated question. Lots of politics involved, apparently.
  • The conversation turns to the bears, who are on the side of the Dust hunters. Lyra says not all bears are like that, meaning Iorek.
  • Then the conversation turns to Iorek – are they going to rescue him or not? Farder Coram and John Faa aren't so sure it's a good idea, but Lyra is. She has asked the alethiometer and believes the bear's story.
  • The goose tells us that the witches are also interested in Lyra because of the alethiometer. Then he tells them how to get to Bolvangar.
  • Lyra goes to sleep. When she wakes up, she joins some of the gyptians at a café on shore. Apparently John Faa and Farder Coram are speaking to the governor trying to get Iorek's armor back.
  • She meets the aeronaut Lee Scoresby, who apparently knows Iorek from when they fought together in "the Tungusk campaign" (11.105).
  • Lee distracts the other gyptians with his card playing. He has his daemon whisper in Pan's ear that Lyra needs to let Iorek know about the armor – otherwise the town people will move it.
  • Lyra goes to do that, but when she gets to the gate outside the bear's shed, she is too terrified to go inside. Pan is determined, though, and starts walking toward it, dragging her.
  • The pain of being apart from her daemon is almost unbearable. Eventually, she runs to Pan and they are reunited.
  • Lyra finally gets to Iorek and tells him where the armor is: the priest's house. The bear says he owes a debt to Lyra.
  • Iorek goes on a rampage to the priest's house and Lyra follows.
  • The scene is chaos. Iorek emerges from the house with the armor on and immediately puts his mouth around a sentry's head.
  • Trouble! Lyra knows that if Iorek fights, they'll be in for a bloody battle. She goes up to the bear and reminds him of his debt to her. She asks him not to fight, and he doesn't.
  • They walk back to the docks, where Iorek takes his armor off and jumps into the water.
  • In the meantime Lee Scoresby guards Iorek's armor. When the bear gets out, he uses a dead seal to grease up the armor – good as new!
  • Time to set off on the sledge (a big sled, like those drawn by sled dogs) for the journey to the North.
  • Lyra is cozy on Farder Coram's sledge, while Pan sleeps in her hood. On the way he thinks he sees something following them. Something like a monkey.