Northern Lights by Philip Pullman Essay
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
Analysis of northern lights how the author presents the characters within the novel for example looking at animal symbolism.
Lord Asriels daemon is the Snow leopard. It is elegant as it moves with grace and speed, it seems royal as she slinks with confidence an power in every stride. Lord Ariel is a serious man he was heartless and cruel to his own daughter. on one occasion in the book he grabs her forcefully by the arm. He is an arrogant character, who is feared and respected. “His daemon growled with deep savage rumble that made Lyra suddenly aware of what it would be like to have teeth meeting in her throat.” Having this animal as lord Asriels daemon reinforces the more negative and suspicious feelings towards him. That he is as powerful as he is dangerous.
He is, in many ways just like his daemon; cold hearted, vicious, strong in body and mind. “…all his movements were large and perfectly balanced, like those of a wild animal and when he appeared in a room like this he seemed a wild animal held in a cage to small for it.” He as well as his daemon had elegance, and the author even compared lord Asriel himself to a wild animal. His daemon, was enticing with lush fur so beautiful, yet she is the predator, the hunter, fierce and untamed, like her master, the leopard seems silent but deadly, sweet but if provoked you are left vulnerable to her attack. You need beware when lord Asriel is on the prowl.
Martin Lanselius has a serpent daemon, the characteristic of witch people tend not to trust as they’re sly, sneaky, slimy and deceitful. Martin Lanselius is one of the people on the which’s council so far he seems fair, just an kind. “The little green serpent daemon raised it’s head from the consul’s collar and whispered tongue flickeringly in his ear”.
By using the words whispered tongue flickeringly, It makes you imagine the slimy tongue harsh in your ear, it makes you feel uneasy, by whispered it seems sneaky and suspicious like he has something to hide. Typically a snake or serpent is bad, they trick and deceive.*1 This gives us a very negative opinion of Martin Lanseluis, and without his daemon it wouldn’t be there. We are influenced by the serpent daemon, especially because it contradicts so drastically; the mean lying snake, with the sweet and caring Martin Larnselius.
Ma Costa’s daemon is a pack animal, a wolf like dog. They are playful, full of spirit, loyal and very protective, especially those in their fellow pack. It’s easy to see the cute lovable exterior, but the wolf in them makes him stronger, with force and determination the wolf attacks it’s prey, with razor sharp teeth he cuts through the skin and sinks them deep into the flesh. They can be very dangerous, very vicious. Ma Costa is both loyal and confident sweet and gentle to her family and friends imparticular. But can be bad-tempered. When on one occasion Lyra tried to steal Ma Costa boat, she struck Lyra her across the face but previously she watched over Lyra as a baby. “…a great grey dog bent down gently to lick Pentaliments wild cat-head”.
This shows how kind he is even to strangers he is welcoming. This is one of the few things we hear about the daemon so far. I think the influence by the dog is both positive and negative, positive because you think first of the innocent looking dog which will protect it’s family. But also negative when you think how dangerous a wolf can be. Like the snow leopard the wolf is a hunters. But you don’t get told a lot about the daemon therefore the influence to Ma Costa is minimal.
Farder Coram had Sophonax, his daemon cat. She moved with grace and confidence, her soft fur warm and inviting. Her presence was soothing and mysterious. Farder Coram was quite old, however his mind unchanged by time, still sharp and alert. But his withered old body looks frail and tired. Forder Coram is just like his daemon as he is confident wise, but with an air of mystery like he’s not giving anything away. Even though you don’t know him he seems friendly like he’s known you for years “Sophonax…was golden eyed, and elegant beyond measure, fully twice as large as a real cat, and richly furred.”
This emphasizes the appeal and makes the cat seem heavenly, like it’s magnificent and extraordinary. I think the daemon gives us an even more positive opinion of Farder Coram. “He could not walk without leaning on two sticks and he trembled constantly like an aspen leaf. His mind was sharp and clear he was a powerful man”. This shows how weak he looked, but how strong minded he was. By having this unique cat makes me think that when Farder Coram was younger he was lively an adventure. But still he was every bit as admired, and was adventurous on the inside.