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maryann johanson | #BlackLivesMatter

‘The Golden Compass’: meet your daemon

The Golden Compass is atheistic! A tool of Satan! The downfall of humanity! And you can tell because none of the characters have a soul!

Er, um, actually, the characters do have souls. They just keep them outside their actual bodies, in the forms of animal familiars that accompany them everywhere they go, comfort them when they’re sad, do little chores for them, and so on. Yeah, I guess that’s pretty materialistic and god-killing, ain’t it? A useful soul? Instead of one whose sole — soul? — purpose seems to be getting itself besmirched every time you think a lustful thought? I like the animal-familiar kind more.
At the official site for The Golden Compass, you can discover what your daemon would be if you lived in Lyra Belacqua’s world. (She’s Philip Pullman’s Frodo Baggins, for the uninitiated.) Children’s daemons — as the familiars are known — are fluid, changing shape constantly as a child’s personality develops, but once they become adults, their daemons solidify into one animal form. Here’s mine:

It’s one of those standard personality quizzes — 20 questions about how shy you are, stuff like that — that determines your daemon, but mine seems pretty spot on, at least from the perspective inside my own head.

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