Book Events & Blog Events, Discussions

Discussion: Chapters 10-17 of The Golden Compass #HDMreadalong

The His Dark Materials Readalong is hosted by Andrea at The Overstuffed Bookcase and Jessie at The Daily Bookmark. We’ll have discussion questions, reviews, and a giveaway! Go here for more information, or here for the list of all the HDM Readalong posts.

Hi everyone!  Yesterday, Jessie from The Daily Bookmark posted her questions for chapters 10-17 of The Golden Compass, and I’ve decided to go ahead and give my answers.

Just a few notes before I get to my answers:

  • These are questions regarding only up to the end of part 2 of The Golden Compass.  If you’ve read further, please don’t leave spoilers, as many of our participants haven’t yet read the whole series.
  • You can answer these questions on your own blog and it will count as an entry to our giveaway.  Go here for all the giveaway info.  Or you can feel free to leave answers in the comments on Jessie’s original discussion post, or in the comments below my answers.

So let’s get to it!  I’ve put Jessie’s questions in bold, and my answers below each question.

1. We have met a large cast of characters now, many with names I find difficult to pronounce! There are people that have come into Lyra’s life for good, some for bad, some with motives yet to be determined. Of all the characters, who’s your favorite and why?

Wow, great question!  I like a lot of the characters, although some characters seem to be a bit different than you’d expect, like some might be really good even though they seem stand-offish, or some may be really bad even though they seem good.  I think, though, my favorite character so far would probably be Iorek Byrnison.  He’s not the nicest guy, but you can just tell he loves Lyra, and that he wants to protect her.  I think maybe it’s because Polar Bears just look so cuddly, but of course we know that they’re not.  So I feel like maybe Iorek is the opposite.  He’s this big scary-looking bear but really he’s just a (ahem) teddy bear underneath.

2. One of the bigger topics for debate revolve around Lyra and her likeability. Do you like her? What are your opinions of her, her character and her actions? (Bonus: Based on this opinion, what do you think Pantalaimon will settle as?)

I like Lyra.  I don’t LOVE her as a character but I think she is a pretty typical 11-year-old (or 12?) girl, and I think she cares for her friends very much and she is pretty brave.  I mean, she kind of forgot about Roger when Mrs. Coulter came around but I think most kids, when presented with such a lavish lifestyle when they were used to living not so lavishly, by someone who is so charming and sophisticated, would probably jump at the chance as well, and a change like that could very well make you forget your friends back where you used to live.  I think she’s pretty smart as well.  But I do think she has some flaws, and I like that about her.  She makes mistakes (like switching the coins in the crypt, or forgetting about Roger, etc.), but real people make mistakes like this all the time.  I think she’s realistic.

And I have a feeling that Pantalaimon is going to settle as an ermine, because it has been mentioned several times that that’s his favorite form to take.  But I’d like him to settle as something much cooler, like a leopard or some kind of big bird that could carry Lyra.  I don’t really know what kind of animal he’ll settle as based on her personality.  What’s a curious animal?  “Curiosity killed the cat,” right, so maybe he will settle as a cat, because she is pretty curious.

3. Having read two thirds of the book now, what has been your favorite scene and why? Keep in mind that Part II ends with the children escaping The Station in Bolvangar and the battle that ensues between the Gyptians and the Tartars/Gobblers.

I think my favorite AND least favorite scene in the book so far is at the end of Chapter 16, when Lyra was caught spying on the adults in Bolvangar and they took her to the machine that was going to cut her and Pantalaimon apart.  That scene was so scary and intense, and I really felt for Lyra and Pantalaimon.  And when one of the men grabbed Pantalaimon, I was like, “Oh no he didn’t!”  I think it was a really horrible event but a beautifully written scene that made me anxious as I was reading it.  And then at the end, it’s like a relief that Mrs. Coulter saves her but you also know that she’s not safe from Mrs. Coulter.

4. (Optional) In Part II, Lyra befriends Jerry, a seaman who explains that one’s daemon settles into a shape/form once the human’s personality is determined and settles – a loyal and trustworthy person, for example with a labrador retriever daemon. Take a look at yourself, your personality and describe what you might think your daemon’s final form would be. Is this the same/similar or different from what you chose in Part I?

I think it’s hilarious that in my answers for my questions for Part I of The Golden Compass, I wondered what would happen to someone whose dæmon settled as an aquatic animal, like a dolphin, and then seriously a few pages into Part 2 Jerry tells Lyra about another seaman whose dæmon did settle as a dolphin, and he couldn’t ever go on land.  And I also think it’s funny that we also find out at that time that your dæmon settles into a form that is indicative of your personality, which is something I wondered about as well.  So now that we know a dæmon’s final form is based on their human counterpart’s personality, I’d say my dæmon would definitely be a little wuss of a dog.  A people-pleaser for sure.  ;)

So, what were your answers to Jessie’s awesome questions?  Leave your answers in the comments here, or on Jessie’s post, or leave a link to your answers if you wrote your own post and I’ll add the link to our master list


  1. LHughes

    September 16, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    Hello! Long time, no see! I'm on a blogging hiatus, but I'm going to try to comment on Sunday mornings. And I've been reading your blog from my iPhone and wanting to respond :)

    My favorite character from The Golden Compass is, by far, Iorek Byrnison. I loved him. He pretty much made the book for me. My other favorite parts of the book was the compass and the idea of daemons. And I like the setting of the North with all the ice and ships and aurora borealis.

    I read Golden Compass until my copy of the book was falling apart, but the other two in the series just didn't do it for me. I don't love them the same way. Granted I read them a long time ago, and maybe I'd see them differently now as an adult, but there was something about the first book that was magical to me.

    I'll be watching your posts on the other two books to see how you feel about them and whether it would be worth my time to go back to them as an adult reader. :)

  2. Camilla P

    September 17, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    I agree with your 3rd answer – I've read "The Golden Compass" a lot of time ago and I still shiver when I remember that scene. Brr!

  3. Adriana

    September 19, 2012 at 4:04 am

    Another one for Iorik.
    I didn't think about her forgetting about Roger. That was pretty messed up and I would hopefully think I wouldn't do that. But I do like her as well. She's pretty great.
    My favorite part too.
    I noticed about the aquatic animal too! I was going to comment that on my discussion post but forgot to.
    A dog is still better than a hedgehog…
    What is a ermine?
    I did my discussion answers a while back:

  4. Martin R. Meyers

    September 20, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Hey There! I’m a fellow blogger/writer looking to meet new people and discover great blogs, and I gladly added myself to your followers and can’t wait to read more!! I’d also love to invite you to check out a great giveaway I’m having, that I think would be right up your alley!

    Hope to see you there, and thanks so much!

  5. Bittner

    October 11, 2012 at 5:07 pm

    What I found really interesting about he man who daemon settles as a dolphin and he is therefore forced to stay at sea, is that you kind of also get the impression that the man felt at home on the sea. I'm pretty sure that the book mentioned that he wasn't going to be happy until he was buried at sea. To me that said, that yeah it sucked that he couldn't go on land from time to time, unless it was just on a dock or something, but that at his core that was what the man needed. So it really did fit him.

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