The Golden Compass. Dir. Chris Weitz. Warner Bros. Pictures. 2007.

The Golden Compass is set in a parallel universe where old fashioned styles (like cars and dresswear) mixes with modern technology, such as electric motors. In this universe everyone has what is called a daemon, who act as guides to their masters. These daemons take form in a specific animal that best represents their master’s personality. This entire world is governed by a church called the Magisterium, and a woman from the church named Mrs. Coulter takes a particular interest in the main character, Lyra Belacqua, inviting her to go with her north. Lyra is a young orphan girl living at Oxford University, and before leaving she is given a golden compass. The compass can only be read by Lyra and has the ability to reveal the truth. Lyra must hide it from the Magisterium (including Mrs. Coulter) and uncover the reason behind the children’s kidnappings and save them before it is too late.

The relationship between a daemon and its person is extremely strong as they are the extension of the self. Not only do they understand each other’s thoughts and emotions, but if one is inflicted with pain the other will feel it as well so much so that in the event of one of their deaths, the other will die as well. So, it is very important to a person to take care of their daemon, preventing them from harm. However, looking at the relationship between Mrs. Coulter and her daemon, the golden monkey, they do not have this kind of a relationship. For starters, most if not all people have names for their daemons, such as Lyra’s daemon being named Pan, but throughout the entire film the monkey’s name is never mentioned once. It also does not speak like the rest of the daemons. For a bond to be formed it usually requires communication between two entities. The fact that the monkey does not speak, nor does it have a name may suggest that he and Mrs. Coulter do not have a strong connection. As mentioned before, if a daemon is hurt then their person will feel that pain as well. In one scene Mrs. Coulter becomes angry and ends up slapping her monkey. Of course, this is an action that nobody would normally do since this would hurt them, but we see that when she hits the monkey she does not respond to the pain. One can assume that since she feels a lack of pain then she may have even less of a connection with her daemon than originally assumed.

The overall lack of a connection between Mrs. Coulter and her golden monkey suggest that has lost her sense of self. If she is fine with harming her own daemon then she must not be completely connected to her own soul. And unfortunately, we may never find out if she finds herself again since the film was left on a cliffhanger, with no second movie in the near future.