Study Guide

The Golden Compass Chapter 8

By Philip Pullman

Chapter 8


  • Lyra starts to get used to her new identity as the daughter of Asriel and Mrs. Coulter.
  • She also spends lots of time telling the gyptian kids embellished versions of stories from Oxford – like the yarn she tells about Lord Asriel poisoning a Turkish Ambassador.
  • Lyra also whiles away the hours by playing with the alethiometer, which gives her a calming sensation. Sometimes she'll also get a flash of meaning, like a thrilling "shaft of sunlight" (8.17).
  • Meanwhile, in the wider world, the search for Lyra continues.
  • Three days pass and finally it's time for the second roping. John Faa calls the six big gyptian families together and they all donate their money and men.
  • When the count is over, they've rounded up 170 men for the journey north. The plan is to charter a ship and sail to rescue the kids.
  • A Q&A session follows, where the gyptians asks why the kids were captured ("a theological matter" 8.27), whether they should give Lyra up (no, because Lord Asriel always helped the gyptians, 8.32), if they are taking women (no, 8.40), if they are going to rescue Lord Asriel too (they'll help, but it's not their main goal, 8.45), and if John Faa will be sure to come down hard on the Gobblers (yes, 8.50).
  • John Faa, Fader Coram and the other elders retire to the parley room to plan, and Lyra is disappointed not to be actively involved in the expedition. She wants to help.
  • Tony Costa – who is going on the trip – tells her that she already has helped and promises to bring her back a "walrus tooth" (8.57). A small concession.
  • Not satisfied with all that, Lyra marches to the door of the parley room, knocks, and demands to go with the men. They tell her no, that she must stay with Ma Costa, but Lyra is determined, saying to Pan "We will go" (8.70).