The Golden Compass Page by Page
Chapter 8 - Frustration
I spent all day shoveling snow, I’m tired and lonely and
don’t feel like re-reading Chapter 8 right now, but since I have
nothing better to do I might as well go ahead and do it.
Since I’m listening to the audio book version, I can say that
Joanna Wyatt does a knockout performance as Lyra telling the story
about Lord Asriel and the Turkish ambassador to the gyptian kids, you
can really feel how thrilled Lyra is to be telling this lie and having
the gyptian kids eat it up.
I find it kind of creepy that immediately after blowing Edward
Coulter’s brains out Ma Costa describes Lord Asriel as being in
good humor and walking up an down the hall bouncing Lyra on his
shoulder while Ma Costa deals with Mr. Coulter’s body.
The reason I found this disturbing upon re-reading is because in the
same moment we are introduced to Lord Asriel’s nonchalant
attitude towards killing and also see the only thing resembling a
happy, loving moment between Lyra and Lord Asriel in the entire trilogy.
At the second roping, John Faa reminds Raymond van Gerrit that Lord
Asriel, among other things, assisted the gyptians during the floods of
’53. The floods of 1953 were an actual disaster
more than 300 people died. It is generally presumed that The Golden
Compass takes place around the year AD 1995, which is supported by the
description of Will’s world in The Subtle Knife, which we are
told is the same world that we, the readers are living in.
If The Golden Compass does take place in 1995, that would make Lord
Asriel something around 60 years old if he was able to help the
gyptians during the floods of 1953, which simply doesn't comply the
description of Lord Asriel in the narration or what is said of him by
other characters, not to mention that it would have made him 48 by the
time Lyra was born, which would mean either Mrs. Coulter is either
older than the narration suggests, or digs much older men.
Perhaps time moves slower in Lyra’s universe, so their present
might be in the mid 20th century while our present with it’s
faster time-flow might be in 1995 with 1953 having passed decades ago.
To make a reasonable guess based on the few clues available, lets say
that Lord Asriel was 30 when Lyra was born. The youngest age I could
imagine Lord Asriel being to have the status and resources to provide
assistance the gyptians during the flood would be perhaps 25. So, If
Lord Asriel was 25 in 1953, that would place Lyra’s birth in the
year 1958, which means if she’s twelve during The Golden Compass
then the present year in Lyra’s world is 1970, which proves
absolutely nothing other than the fact that I just wasted a good
fifteen minutes figuring out something that has minimal importance to
the story and is regardless almost definitely incorrect.
What if my time flow difference idea is total nonsense and the calendar
used in Lyra’s world has simply no relation to the AD calendar of
our world and the “flood of 53” similarity is just a
coincidence, though I couldn’t imagine Pullman referencing a
concrete real life event if he didn’t intend for it to have some
context in his universe.
Whatever, I’m done with this, I wasted enough time, this is
starting to look like one of those crazy Zelda timeline theories
More relevant, regarding John Faa’s speech about Lord Asriel, is
the fact that the reader is being smothered with propaganda glorifying
Lord Asriel as a great, brave hero. Some of these stories may be
justified, as with Lord Faa’s speech, but much of it made up by
Lyra herself, which despite the reader knowing is false, leave a
lingering positive impression. Other bits of this sort of propaganda
are even slipped in the narration itself in spots you’d barely
Well, thats all I have to say about Chapter 8, and I’m glad
I’ve said it, because it distracted me from how tired I was for
well over an hour.
To submit feedback, please use the site guestbook
or email the author at,
This work is the intellectual property of Super Train Station H and is protected under US Copyright.
Works discussed by other authors are the property of their respective copyright holders.
Back to STSH - The Golden Compass Page by Page