Download paper

The Mysterious Marisa Coulter

Phillip Pullman’s “His Dark Materials” introduces a new twist on the old villainess character to the world of fiction. Mrs. Marisa Coulter is an almost purely evil character. Despite her charming and persuasive demeanor, Mrs. Coulter is the greediest, most power-hungry character in the trilogy. In Pullman’s world, every human has a daemon—a visible version of the soul that takes on an animal form. Mrs. Coulter’s daemon, a vicious little golden monkey, reflects its owner’s personality.

Only a few seconds, and the monkey had overmastered him: with one fierce black paw around his throat and his black paws gripping the polecat’s lower limbs, he took one of Pantalaimon’s ears in his other paw and pulled as if he intended to tear it off. Not angrily, either, but with a cold curious force that was horrifying to see and even worse to feel. ” Just as the monkey, in book three, enjoys torturing and killing bats in the cave in which Mrs.

Coulter keeps Lyra, Mrs. Coulter enjoys toying with people before she kills them.She shows no remorse after tearing people to pieces or torturing them to death. Mrs. Coulter, according to Lord Asriel, wanted to be involved in the religious hierarchy. However, being female, this was denied her. Mrs. Coulter is very intelligent and clever, but usually works for her own ends. She is manipulative and a very convincing liar. Every act of kindness or consideration is for her benefit only. Mrs. Coulter’s daemon attacks Lyra’s daemon in an attempt to subdue Lyra into doing her bidding.

Top Experts
Doctor Jennifer
Verified expert
5 (893)
Verified expert
5 (339)
Allan Brooks
Verified expert
5 (893)
hire verified expert

Immediately following this act Pullman writes, “‘What do you think of the flowers, dear? ’ said Mrs. Coulter as sweetly as if nothing had happened”. She has no sense of compassion and will do almost anything to reach her goals. She is not sympathetic or sentimental, and does not particularly care how her actions affect other people. She has tortured, killed, and torn children in half all for the sake of raising herself higher. From a young age she craved power, first attempting to obtain it through marrying a wealthy politician, Edward Coulter.

When her husband was killed by her lover Lord Asriel she was left with almost nothing and decided to try to get power through the Church. She decided to experiment with Dust, a new kind of elementary particle that the Church knew about, but would not experiment with because it was a feared subject. Mrs. Coulter realized that daring to do what others will not, is an extremely useful tool for gaining power. After conducting several successful experiments in the North that severed children from their daemons, and stopped Dust from gathering around them, she became one of the Church’s most powerful agents.

Of all the characters in Golden Compass, Mrs. Marisa Coulter is the most morally ambiguous. Marisa Coulter has one daughter. Lyra, the protagonist of the trilogy is the product of an affair between Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel while Mrs. Coulter was still married to Edward Coulter. When Mr. Coulter found out his wife was having an affair he chased the baby Lyra and her nurse into a cottage where Lord Asriel came in and killed him. “There is no Mr. Coulter, by the way: she is a widow.

Her husband died very sadly in an accident some years ago; so you might bear that in mind before you ask. ” In the months that followed, when Lyra’s future life was being worked out Mrs. Coulter turned her back. She wanted to distance herself as far away from her daughter and the affair as she could because it would disgrace her and ruin her chances at becoming high in society. It is assumed that she has had many lovers since then, including Lord Boreal. Mrs. Coulter’s relationship with Lord Asriel, Lyra’s father, adds another dimension to her character.

The struggle between Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel drives much of the trilogy’s narrative. Though Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel battle for control of their daughter, Lyra’s existence suggests that a powerful attraction once existed, and possibly still exists, between them. It becomes apparent that Mrs. Coulter is in cahoots with the General Oblation Board, who as ‘the Gobblers’ has been kidnapping children to be sent off to Bolvangar. “’Really? Is she involved with the Oblation Board? ’ ‘My dear, she is the Oblation Board. It’s entirely her own project ‘

There, the kidnapped children are separated by a process called Intercision from their daemons, something like being subjected to the Dementor’s kiss. Mrs. Coulter captures the children by manipulating them. She gives them food, tells them her exciting stories of adventures, and generally gives warm hospitality. The children feel comfortable with her, and so they are shipped to Bolvangar before they realize what has happened. The children describe her as ‘angelic. ‘ But, despite her cruelty, Mrs. Coulter has a soft spot for Lyra.

She rescues Lyra from intercision at Bolvanger, she looks after Lyra in the cave in the Himalayas, and she fights desperately with Father MacPhail to make sure that his bomb doesn’t kill Lyra. In the end, she gives her own life to drag Metatron into the abyss so that Lyra can accomplish her goal. Mrs. Coulter’s transformation is inspired by Lyra, who evokes extraordinary love from most people she encounters. So it could be stated that Lyra melted Mrs. Coulter’s cold icy heart, not only teaching her compassion, but maybe a smidge of humility as well.

Cite this page

The Mysterious Marisa Coulter. (2017, Mar 06). Retrieved from

Are You on a Short Deadline? Let a Professional Expert Help You
Let’s chat?  We're online 24/7