03 February 2010

Mrs Coulter's dæmon

In Northern Lights, Philip Pullman uncovers a parallel world where each person is born as a pairing of a human and a dæmon. Each will be given a unique name. A dæmon takes the shape of an animal of the opposite gender from that of its companion human. The human is not able to choose the shape of his or her dæmon. In childhood, a dæmon can shapeshift at will or at the companion human’s bidding. Then, in puberty, the dæmon loses the power to shapeshift and settles in the shape that best reflects the personality of the human.
The dæmon and the human are one being. A dæmon fades out when the human dies. The human and the dæmon suffer excruciating pain whenever they are not within each other’s grasp. A dæmon is such an intimate part of the being that any form of touching someone else’s dæmon is an absolute no-no. This law may exceptionally be breached in intimacies between lovers. Friendships and trust between humans are unthinkable without corresponding friendships and trust between their dæmons. Interpreting a human’s reaction cannot be correct without investigating into the simultaneous reaction of the dæmon, and the two will more often than not be divergent.
This then leads us to the mesmerizing character of Mrs Marisa Coulter.
An extraordinarily beautiful woman with fair skin, light eyes and sleek black hair, Marisa Coulter enchants everybody with her disarming personality. She is charismatic, brilliant, charming to no end.
All that being said, the dæmon of Mrs Coulter does not take the shape of a unicorn. Ozymandias - mirroring the charisma and the sharp curious mind of Mrs Coulter – is a monkey with beautiful and shining golden fur. One may flirt with the coy Mrs Coulter. One will, however, avoid Ozymandias’s malevolent black eyes and horny black fingers. When bored, Ozymandias tears wings off live bats to pass the time.
The symbiosis between the two - for they form a single being - is one of black, black magic.

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