The Golden Compass Book Summary, by Philip Pullman

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1-Page Summary of The Golden Compass

Overall Summary

11-year-old Lyra is curious about the Retiring Room, so she sneaks in with her dæmon. She sees something shocking: the Master poisons Lord Asriel’s wine. When he arrives, Lyra shows herself and warns him of what she saw. He allows her to stay hidden and watch his presentation about Dust, which he’s studying in the North. The Scholars mention something called “panserbjørne”, a name that means “armored bears” or some other creature like it; they also speak of someone who has no dæmon at all. Later on, the Master tells the Librarian that he was trying to protect Lyra from Lord Asriel and from her destiny as someone who will unwittingly lead another person to their death (or sacrifice).

Lyra is a girl who lives in Jordan College, Oxford. She has a best friend named Roger and they spend most of their time together running around the college grounds. A group called the Gobblers steal children from all over England and ship them to the north by luring them with something beautiful or glamorous, like Mrs. Coulter; however, Lyra does not know this yet because she hasn’t seen it happen first hand. The narrator explains how Mrs. Coulter tricks a boy into going with her and Lyra fears that she’ll trick Roger too because he’s always following her around like a puppy dog. In fact, one day when Roger goes off to play by himself for awhile, Lyra gets so scared that she hides under some bushes until he returns! That night at dinner with the Master (the headmaster of Jordan College), Mrs. Coulter is invited as well and after dinner they go up to his room where he tells Lyra about an instrument called an alethiometer which can tell you anything you want to know just by asking questions about it; however he doesn’t let her keep it even though she begs him repeatedly to give it back to her since there are Gobblers outside waiting for him but instead gives it away to Mrs. Coulter before leaving on business trip.

Lyra is happy until one night, when Mrs. Coulter throws a cocktail party and loses her temper when Lyra insists on wearing a purse containing the alethiometer in the house. Pan realizes that Mrs. Coulter’s dæmon—a golden monkey—is spying on them, so he and Lyra run away from Mrs. Coulter’s home to hide in another part of town where they meet Tony Costa (Billy’s older brother) who takes them back to his family’s boat house because there are police looking for them after their escape from Mrs. Coulter’s home.

At a meeting, John Faa (the gyptian king) tells everyone that Lyra needs to be kept safe. He also announces his plan to rescue the kidnapped children. During a private conversation with John Faa and another man, Lyra reveals everything she knows about the Gobblers, Mrs. Coulter, and Dust. She shows them her alethiometer (a device that tells the truth). The other man says that Lord Asriel is Lyra’s father while Mrs. Coulter is her mother; Ma Costa nursed Lyra as a baby. Three days later, at another meeting between all of the gyptians, they decide not to take Lyra on their expedition because it would put everyone in danger if something happened to her or if she were captured by someone else who wanted her for information about Lord Asriel or Dust. However, after some thinking and talking with an injured spy one day when he returns from spying on Mrs. Coulter’s house like he was instructed to do by John Faa earlier on in the book before this scene took place; she realizes that maybe the alethiometer has been trying to tell her something all along but she just didn’t know how/didn’t have enough knowledge yet because of herself being too young at first then not having enough time until now when there are more things going around for example: The Gobblers kidnapping kids etc… So then finally realizing what it was trying so hard try telling me I started figuring out what exactly it meant!

The Golden Compass Book Summary, by Philip Pullman

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