Years ago, Ma Costa nursed Lyra Silvertongue as an infant on the estates of Lord Asriel in Oxfordshire. When Edward Coulter came to do harm to Lyra, Ma fled to the main house and hid in a closet with the baby. Asriel returned home and killed Edward Coulter, but was taken to court soon after. Because of his actions, Lord Asriel lost all his wealth and standing in the community. Ma asked the courts if she could take Lyra and raise her as her own, but was denied the opportunity. Over the years, Ma Costa and the other gyptians kept an eye and ear out for news of Lyra and how she was doing.
- "She could snap your backbone like a twig. In fact, Ma Costa looked more anxious than angry."
- —Description of Ma Costa[src]
Her son's kidnappingEdit
During the Horse Fair many years later, her son Billy Costa was kidnapped by the Gobblers, last seen holding the horse of Johnny Fiorelli. She remained strong-willed and never gave up looking for him.
Behind the scenesEdit
- In Northern Lights, there was a mistake where Ma Costa's dæmon was introduced as a hawk but was later seen as a grey wolf-like dog. This was corrected in later editions. Some editions of The Golden Compass described the hawk dæmon licking Pantalaimon as though it were a dog.
- In The Golden Compass, early scripts and storyboards included the death of Ma Costa.
- Her dæmon has the same form as her son Tony's. This may have contributed to the confusion or suggest a certain heredity to forms.
- In the upcoming TV series, Ma Costa will be played by Anne-Marie Duff.