‘Golden Compass’ points to big screen

COURTESY New Line Cinema

Credit: Jason Hall


Daemons, dust, witches, aeronauts, armored bears and parallel worlds. This is the world that Philip Pullman created in The Golden Compass, the first of a trilogy.

While found in the young adult section, the content is filled with adult references. Between the lines, there exists a battle between the corruption of The Church and those fighting it.

On one side is the Gobblers, The General Oblation Board – a group of adults working with The Church who perform cruel experiments on children. The wicked Marisa Coulter is a Gobbler and lures poor orphans and street-dwelling children with hot chocolate and sweets. The children are swept away and never heard from again.

On the other side of The Church, a girl named Lyra Belacqua reads from a golden Alethiometer, a truth-telling compass, to save her friend Roger from the Gobblers.

Here, a person’s soul lives on the outside of their body, in the form of a daemon. A daemon (pronounced demon) is an animal spirit that accompanies them through life. A child’s daemon can change shape, but as a person ages, his or her daemon gradually settles into one form. For instance, Marisa’s daemon is a little golden monkey with horned black fingers. He is devilish and cruel, which reveals Marisa’s true nature, as she remains sweet and charming on the outside.

The adventures shared with Lyra and her daemon, Pantalaimon, are all memorable, and it truly is hard to put this book down.

And now it’s being turned into a movie.


Who doesn’t love seeing his or her favorite book acted out? Even though the books remain better than the reproduction, as the plotline in movies has to be cut to fit a two-hour time slot, I can’t help but ponder over who will play the heroine or villain.

Director Chris Weitz’s cast stands out, with both known and unknown names like Nicole Kidman, who plays Marisa Coulter, and Daniel Craig who plays Lord Asriel. Newcomer Dakota Blue Richards is Lyra, and her appearance closely fits what I imagined. Kidman, on the other hand, has bleach-blonde hair, and Marisa is supposed to have jet-black locks.

But, overlooking tiny details, the movie looks extremely good – the graphics may even surmount those from the Harry Potter series, and that’s a high praise, coming from an avid HP fan.

Contact all correspondent Jenna Gerlng at [email protected].