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"The woman herself was beautiful - Will saw that with shock - lovely in the moonlight, her brilliant dark eyes wide with enchantment, her slender shape light and graceful; but as she snapped her fingers, the monkey stopped at once and leapt up into her arms, and he saw that the sweet-faced woman and the evil monkey were one being."
William Parry describes Marisa Coulter the first time he sees her[src]

Marisa Coulter née van Zee,[3] was the head of the General Oblation Board and a long-time agent of the Holy Church before defecting. Her dæmon was a golden monkey whose name was never revealed. Her daughter was Lyra Silvertongue.

Biography

Early life

Marisa was born around 1962.[4] At some point her dæmon settled as a golden monkey. She studied at St Sophia's College, Oxford,[5] and wrote an academic work named The Bronze Clocks of Benin.[6]

When she was 18, she travelled to Will's world and sat for a portrait at the artist Skipton's studio. It was there she met the art collector, Grinstead. The two were lovers for less than a month. At this time, Marisa was already involved in politics.[1]

Affair with Lord Asriel

Marisa selected her lovers for their influence and power but she never became fond of a single one. She wasn't able to keep her servants either.[7]

Marisa married politician Edward Coulter, but had an affair with Lord Asriel that resulted in a daughter, Lyra. The baby bore no resemblance to Edward, so Marisa hid the affair and claimed the infant had died. She handed responsibility to Asriel, who placed Lyra into the care of the gyptian boatwife, Ma Costa, and the two intended to live at a cottage on one of Asriel's estates in Oxfordshire.[8]

Edward soon learned of the affair and came to the estate, ransacking the cottage and then duelling Asriel before he could reach the baby. Asriel shot Edward with his own gun and killed him, leaving Marisa a widow.[9] She then wanted nothing more to do with Asriel or her daughter and Lyra was ordered to be raised at the Priory at Godstow.

It was around this time that Marisa began an academic investigation into the phenomenon of Dust, and had some sort of relationship with Gerard Bonneville, after which he developed an obsession with her. Just before the great flood of 1986, Marisa visited Hannah Relf at her home in Jericho and asked about her daughter's whereabouts, in a manner that suggested to Hannah that she had access to an alethiometer. There she also met Malcolm Polstead in passing, who unnerved her by mentioning Bonneville before her departure.

Marisa also set up the League of St Alexander with the Church, an organisation recruiting children to report acts against the Church committed by teachers or parents.[10]

After the Flood, Asriel ensured that Lyra obtained scholastic sanctuary at Jordan College, and Marisa was prevented further access to her.[8]

Career in the Church

Marisa became one of the few female members of the Royal Arctic Institute.[5] She travelled extensively and to Africa at least once, where she acquired spy-flies and learnt of zombis.[11][12]

When marriage did not work out for Marisa, she turned to the Church for power and influence. Because she was not a man, she had to set up her own networks of power rather than taking the route of priesthood. Specialising in Dust, something people feared and knew little about, quickly gave her the Church's financing and resources as few others were willing to investigate it.[12]

By 1995, Marisa had obtained a role within the Consistorial Court of Discipline, and began chairing her own organisation: the General Oblation Board of London, its activities personally conceived.[8] She was now ruthlessly investigating Dust and, with a team of experimental theologians at her disposal, was conducting experiments on abducted children.

Funding allowed her to pursue her personal interests.[13] She used the precedent of cutting in the Church – in the form of castration – to make the idea more palatable. The Church knew that people were unlikely to doubt the integrity of a woman so charming, well-connected and reasonable, and by obscuring the activity in the North they could deny involvement if necessary.

The idea of cutting was conceived by Marisa after extensive travel, where she learnt that severing a dæmon was not necessarily fatal, and the theory that in adolescence Dust began to settle along with the settling of the dæmon. The Church's obsession with original sin meant Marisa could make her research into freeing prepubescent children from it very attractive to them.[12]

She was responsible for the disappearances of children across England, often personally using her beauty and charm to catch them. She targeted vulnerable prepubescent children like Tony Makarios (whose mother was an alcoholic) for use at Bolvangar and used her intoxicating presence to control them. She used chocolatl to entice them in and gave them a false sense of security, telling them they were going on a voyage and would be well looked after whilst travelling North. Marisa also promised messages would be sent to families, although threw these letters away once the children left. When people noticed the disappearances, they would stop in certain areas and move elsewhere, spreading across the country.[14]

Keeping Asriel a prisoner was a special charge laid on Iofur Raknison by the Oblation Board. Marisa personally came to Svalbard to meet him and offered him all sorts to keep Asriel out of the way. He became besotted with her and was even going to name his capital after her.[15] She helped to orchestrate Iorek Byrnison’s exile and Iofur's rise to power by giving Iofur a drug that made Hjalmur Hjalmurson, the bear Iorek was exiled for killing, forget himself. Because human law prevented her intentions at Bolvangar, Marisa planned to build a more extreme version on Svalbard where such laws did not apply.

By promising to convince the Magisterium in Geneva to let Iofur be baptised despite his lack of a dæmon, Marisa manipulated him into breaking the custom of the bears that humans could not live on Svalbard. Little by little, she was going to increase her power until the bears did her bidding and were reduced to guarding the horrific new station.[16]

Reunited with Lyra

Clarke Peters and the golden monkey

Dr Carne meets with Marisa Coulter

However, the Church interest in Dust and children meant she became increasingly concerned for Lyra's safety. Seeking to protect her own child, Marisa travelled to Jordan College in order to bring Lyra back to London to live with her.[17]

RAI

Lyra and Marisa enjoying food at the Royal Arctic Insitute

She met her estranged daughter without revealing their relationship, inviting Lyra to become her assistant in her work. Lyra, enthralled by Marisa, told her everything about her life and wholeheartedly joined her, thinking she would be going to the North. During her time in London, Lyra was educated in navigation, geography and mathematics as well as general survival training and adhering to societal norms and expectations of women. Amid her tutorship was the glamorous London life, however Lyra became frustrated and felt trapped. They would frequently go shopping and would explore some important locations in London like the Royal Arctic Institute and the Royal Geological Museum[5]

GM

Marisa's dæmon fights with Pantalaimon

Lyra had spent six weeks in late autumn and early winter living with her in which Pantalaimon began to suspect that Mrs Coulter was never planning to take them to the North, instead making her a pet. Just before a cocktail party, after a disagreement about wearing the shoulder bag she'd been taking everywhere to keep the alethiometer close, the golden monkey pinned down Pantalaimon and Mrs Coulter forced Lyra to obey. She preceeded to scold Lyra after she slammed her bedroom's door. Mrs Coulter threatened that Lyra could not hope to win any confrontation and, after making Lyra kiss her cheek, pretended as if nothing had happened.

Lyra overheard Adèle Starminster and Professor Docker discussing Dust and the General Oblation Board at the party. After seeing Lyra, Adèle took Lyra to the side and questioned her about living with Marisa. Mrs Coulter appeared and threatened Adèle, who was not invited, with the end of her career. The force of Mrs Coulter's response directed at Adèle made her dæmon swoon and Adèle awkwardly and unsteadily left. Lyra noticed that the monkey was not with Mrs Coulter at the time, but he appeared moments later, visibly putting the woman at ease. Pantalaimon told her that the monkey had been spying and had found out about the alethiometer.[18] Lyra later heard about Asriel's imprisonment on Svalbard from Carlo Boreal and realised that Mrs Coulter had deceived her, running away during the party after connecting the Oblation Board and what Lyra had come to know as the urban myth of the 'Gobblers'.[5] Lyra soon escaped from the flat, after taking her alethiometer, and snuck out onto the streets of London with anyone, including Marisa, seeing her.

It was whilst under the care of the gyptians of Eastern Anglia, after Lyra had escaped Marisa's flat, that Lyra learned Marisa's true identity as her mother, and Asriel as her father. John Faa speculated that Marisa must have had something over Dr Carne for him to let her take Lyra. He suggested that Marisa would never have defied Asriel if he were free but that his imprisonment had shifted the balance of power.[8] Marisa relentlessly pursued Lyra - sending spy-flies across England and using her political powers to begin a police search for a young girl of Lyra's description, however the two did not meet again until Lyra reached Mrs Coulter's research station at Bolvangar.

Bolvangar

The children at Bolvangar knew Mrs Coulter's name and most of them were personally caught by her. They thought she enjoyed watching what happened at Bolvangar and some even speculated that she enjoyed watching the children's deaths. Most thought it boring at Bolvangar except when Marisa arrived, as this is when children disappeared.[19] She evoked a hysterical fear, silencing the canteen when she entered it and leading the children to suspect that the staff were also afraid of her.[20]

Lyra learned the true horror of Mrs Coulter's work at Bolvangar, where she found severed dæmons and was nearly a victim of the intercision process under the Silver Guillotine.[20] Mrs Coulter saved her life and the two discussed Dust before Lyra, repulsed by what her mother had been doing, released a trapped spy-fly, one which Marisa had set on her, and ran away once more. Marisa followed her onto the wastes around Bolvangar, whence Lyra escaped in the balloon of Lee Scoresby and travelled to Svalbard, where Asriel was exiled.[21]

Svalbard

Once Marisa learnt that Lyra had flown to Svalbard, she followed in a transport zeppelin, intending to have Asriel killed on arrival and regain control of the bears. She wanted to reach the city in the sky before him to thwart his intentions. Both she and Asriel wanted a child for the experiment, aware of the energy intercision produced. Lyra assumed that they were both after the alethiometer, when she read it, although found it strange that the instrument did not reference itself.[16]

Marisa appeared just after Asriel had successfully used a child, Roger Parslow, for intercision so as to open the sky. The two embraced passionately but then argued about the power of the Church and the consequences to moving into the new world. When Asriel asked her to join him, she argued that she dared not and did not think they could work together. She was not persuaded when he lied about intending to destroy Dust nor when he told her he would lose interest in her if she did not join him, ultimately rejecting him. However, she was moved to tears as Asriel left her to walk into the new world.[22]

Marisa then travelled to a ship near to Svalbard where a witch formerly allied to Bolvangar was being held captive. The only woman present among men of the Church and the alethiometrist Fra Pavel, she criticised the discipline on board for starting the torture when she ordered them to wait. When Cardinal Sturrock implied that Marisa might have been keeping information from them about Lyra, she furiously demanded that the men tell her about the prophecy, admitting that her daughter was born in shame but that this did not lessen her right to know.

Only the Cardinal among the men was unaffected by her power; when he tried to question her about something the witch revealed, she angrily suggested that they could torture her, although that would be fruitless as she was hiding nothing. She mocked that the men were unable to get any more information from the witch and were instead waiting for an answer from the alethiometer, wondering how they dared to keep information from her and assume she was keeping it from them.

When she rose to visit the captured witch, all the men save Sturrock jostled to follow her in awe. Marisa promised the witch great suffering if answers were not provided, delighting in telling her about the experience the Church had in prolonging her misery. She broke a first finger to illustrate her point and threatened more if she got no answers. Despite the agonised pleas of the witch, Marisa did not let up, violently slapping her when her impatience grew. Before the witch could reveal the name that was key to Lyra's destiny, Serafina Pekkala gently killed her to end her suffering, having arrived and watched the torture unseen.

The men were stunned by the appearance of another witch but Marisa recovered almost immediately. Marisa urged them to seize and shoot at Serafina but the witch queen escaped with a great loathing for the woman she had been watching.[23]

Will's world

Marisa was later Lord Boreal’s guest at Limefield House in Will’s world. They drank Tokay and Marisa asked how Boreal acquired the alethiometer, wanting to use it to get to Lyra. When Boreal called Lyra a ‘brat’, she reminded him that Lyra was her daughter. He flattered her in response that Lyra was all the more repellent for resisting Marisa's charm and good influence.

Marisa manipulated him into bragging about his knowledge of the other worlds, revealing that there were a dozen or so openings to other worlds that he was aware of. As a consequence of Asriel's activity, he told her it was now possible to travel directly between William Parry and Lyra's worlds. He was delighted that he could bring her directly without having to risk Cittàgazze.

Carried away and impatient, she revealed that she had got close to finding out Lyra's other name from the witch near Svalbard. Boreal told her that the alethiometer would bring Lyra to them and speculated that the intercision of her bodyguards might have made such men free to travel in Cittàgazze.

While they talked, her dæmon prowled restlessly around the room. Marisa told Boreal that the Master was foolish for giving Lyra the alethiometer and he told her how he acquired it from her. Before he could bring up the subtle knife, they were interrupted by a stone thrown by Lyra. She and Will were aiming to steal the alethiometer back from Boreal. Despite the distraction, Will was unable to completely close the window he used before the monkey reached him. It was only a slash of the knife that allowed him to close it fully. The monkey quickly followed Marisa and Boreal to the front of the house to search for Lyra. The golden monkey was prevented from reaching Lyra by the tabby cat, who fought violently to give Lyra sufficient time to escape.[24]

Cittàgazze

Marisa travelled with Boreal into Cittàgazze. The witch Lena Feldt was sent back to spy on their group, which was pursuing Will, Lyra and the witches escorting them. She discovered Marisa's troops, made up of zombi-like soldiers without dæmons, camped out by a lake. Invisible, Feldt watched from outside a tent where Marisa manipulated Boreal using her charm and sexuality. Since arriving in Cittàgazze, Marisa had discovered that she was able to control the spectres and she explained to Boreal that this was because they knew that she could lead them to more victims.

She insisted on 'pleasing' Boreal and her dæmon ran his black hands along the body of the serpent dæmon as Boreal sighed in pleasure. Eventually, Marisa was able to persuade him to reveal the existence of a knife that could cut anything, the reason for his pursuit of Will. Feldt watched as Marisa poisoned Boreal's wine, the man too distracted with pleasure and too intoxicated to resist or suspect her. The witch could have killed her at any point whilst watching but was transfixed with curiosity. She did not notice the spectres gathering around her.

Without warning, Marisa stood, turned and looked Feldt full in the face. She asked arrogantly whether Feldt had doubted her, noting that she was well aware of the power witches had of invisibility. Boreal struggled to breath behind Marisa and the monkey shook off the snake in contempt. When Feldt tried to swing her bow, she found herself paralysed and Marisa triumphantly declared that it was too late. The witch turned to find her dæmon enveloped by a spectre; Marisa's malevolence directed fully at her made Feldt understand why she could control the spectres.

Suffering extreme anguish and nausea, Feldt pleaded with Marisa and revealed everything about Will and Lyra's whereabouts. Finally, once Marisa knew enough about the witches guarding the children, she obtained the name she had been pursuing so relentlessly: Eve. Marisa sighed as if purpose and clarity had finally been given. When Feldt asked her intentions, Marisa claimed to want to prevent another Fall and joyfully began to piece together a better understanding of Asriel’s plans and the impending war. She then had the spectres complete their attack on Feldt. She left both the witch, dead in life and indifferent, and Boreal's unconscious body to call her soldiers to begin a march on the mountains. Marisa taught the spectres to fly and began her assault on the witches guarding Will and Lyra.

When Will returned from the meeting with and death of his father, he found that the witches were ravaged by spectres, far more dangerous when capable of flight, and that Lyra was gone. Marisa had taken her daughter but not the alethiometer, also choosing not to wait for Will despite the power of the knife.[25]

The Valley of the Rainbows

Marisa took Lyra to a remote cave in the Himalaya, along with various equipment taken from the camp by the lake where she killed Boreal. She made sure to give the local villagers the impression that she was a holy woman under a vow not to speak to men and only accepted visits from a local girl, Ama, who brought food daily.

When Ama came with her village's concerns that there were rumours of a powerful and dangerous companion in the cave, Marisa was amused by the novel chance to tell at least part of the truth. She told Ama that it was just her daughter, under a sleeping spell put on her by an enchanter. Marisa claimed that they were in the cave to hide from the enchanter while she tried to cure Lyra and keep her from harm. Despite her wariness, Ama was soothed by Marisa's voice and the monkey gently holding her daemon, so gave into her curiosity when Marisa offered to show her the sleeping girl. She asked Ama to keep it a secret between just her and her father, claiming that, if anyone else knew, the enchanter might find out and seek to destroy her, her daughter and everything else nearby. Ama was moved to tears by the show of compassion put on by Marisa and her dæmon.

Once the girl had left, Marisa began the process of preparing the concoction she used to keep Lyra asleep, washing her daughter's warm body and combing her hair once she was deeply drugged again. Her dæmon expressed his discontent about her activities in the cave and, despite brushing him off, the skepticism affected her as she wondered what kind of danger she was putting herself in from the Church and whether she was mad to risk it.[26]

The traces Marisa left at the camp allowed Baruch to easily track her to the cave in the Valley of the Rainbows. Will was able to make use of the considerable amount of equipment she left behind.[27] Using Baruch's information, Asriel had Teukros Basilides pinpoint the cave with the alethiometer and prepared his forces to recover Lyra.[28] Meanwhile at the Consistorial Court, Fra Pavel spoke about the torture he watched Marisa perform and informed the Court that Lyra was in Marisa's hands in the Himalaya. The President, Hugh MacPhail, had been learning about Oblation Board activities and felt that Marisa and her organisation were threats the CCD needed to deal with.[29] A faster alethiometrist than Fra Pavel, from the Society of the Work of the Holy Spirit, then confirmed the exact location and the Swiss Guard were sent to race Asriel to the scene.[30]

Impressed by Marisa and her daughter, Ama visited the great healer Pagdzin tulku to obtain medicine to wake the sleeping girl. When she arrived at the cave with the powder, Marisa was not there. Ama considered waking Lyra before her mother returned but was prevented by the appearance of the monkey. She hid at the side of the cave and unintentionally ended up spying, stuck inside the cave and left wishing she had stayed on the path.

Ama watched as Marisa prepared and drugged her daughter, shocked by the violence the woman and her dæmon used to restrain and overpower the waking girl. Ama was confused by the tender and clumsy affection Marisa showed to Lyra once she was successfully forced into deep sleep, particularly when she saw the woman place a lock of her daughter’s hair into a gold locket. Marisa then lay moodily and slowly ate a bar of chocolatl whilst her dæmon vented his frustration by torturing the cave’s bats. Ama was forced to watch until the woman was finally asleep and she could make her escape. She was left full of fear but with the sense that she was obliged to help Lyra.[31]

When Will, joined on the way by Iorek, reached the cave, he learnt from Ama that Marisa had drugged Lyra and that Ama had herbs to wake her. He was overwhelmed when he caught sight of her, remembering the monkey from Boreal’s house and taken by her beauty and charm despite the circumstances. Marisa was waiting for him when he reached the cave entrance, the monkey having spotted him coming. He was unnerved by her apparent sweetness and set his hand of the knife in response to the monkey’s antagonism. Once Marisa had shown him Lyra, she insisted that they talk. She argued that Lyra was quite safe with her but her ostensible kindness and wisdom deepened his mistrust as he began to suspect that everything she said was a lie, every action a concealed threat and every face a mask of deceit.

She described her new-found concern for Lyra’s well-being, noting that she had saved her three times, and the danger it placed them in from the Church. Marisa argued that she needed allies and was therefore forced to trust him. When asked why she kept Lyra drugged, she reasoned that her daughter would never listen for long enough to let her explain the new situation. When she pointed out that she had given up everything for Lyra, Will was horrified by her suggestion that his mother would probably do the same. Disturbed by his reaction to Marisa’s beauty and charm, and angered by her bringing up his mother, Will came to the conclusion that she was either monstrously clever or lucky. She watched mildly as he reddened and shifted uncomfortably, briefly looking uncannily like Lyra to him.

Marisa was surprised when Will announced that he would set out to find Asriel having had confirmation that Lyra was safe. She mastered herself and calmly responded that she thought he would help them, although she deliberately did not plead with him. When they shook hands upon his departure, Will found himself liking her despite himself: because she was brave but also because she was like a more complex, richer and deeper Lyra. When Will later spoke to Iorek, he reasoned that she must have been lying and that she’d lie to make her life harder because she liked to lie so much. He was frustrated when both Iorek and Balthamos agreed that he was foolish to go to Marisa because it meant all he wanted was to see her again. He was angry that she had captivated him and dominated his every thought, even those about Lyra, his father and his mother.[32]

Marisa had lain awake for a long period before finally falling asleep at the cave entrance, waiting for the two forces to converge on her, her dæmon restless around her. She had moved Lyra to right beside her, which made Will’s rescue mission with the knife much more challenging. She awoke suddenly before he and Ama could reach Lyra and got up, fully-dressed, to watch at the cave mouth as the zeppelins began to arrive. Before Will could cut through to safety with Lyra, Marisa looked him full in the face. For a moment, he saw his mother’s face in its place, reproaching him. Overwhelmed with sorrow, the knife shattered as he tried to cut because his mind had left its point, leaving him unable to escape.

Neither Marisa nor her dæmon attacked but she moved to emphasise the pistol in her hand. She did not prevent Ama from using the powder to wake Lyra. There was no chance for Will to snatch the pistol from Marisa. As the battle between the Church and Asriel’s forces began outside, Marisa told Will that she would hold him and Lyra captive. She reasoned that they both had to hope that Asriel’s troops, led by King Ogunwe, won because the Church would not care about hostages and wanted them all dead.

Noting her energy and liveliness despite the danger they were in, Will accused Marisa of deliberately breaking the knife; she denied the accusation and blamed him. She claimed to have wanted the knife whole to escape with. As Lyra obtained full consciousness, her mother fired carefully from the cave mouth, intently following the progress of the battle. Whilst Will contemplated rushing her mid-shot, Marisa suddenly cried out and clutched at her ankle. The Gallivespian Chevalier Tialys had stung her but the situation had quickly become a stalemate when her dæmon snatched his partner, Lady Salmakia, from the air. Will was able to catch the gun because both woman and monkey were rendered motionless. Marisa’s face was distorted with pain and fury but she dared not move as Tialys had his poisoned spur at her neck. Breathing deeply and swallowing to master her pain, she turned to Will to ask him what should be done.[33]

Will used the heavy gun to knock the golden monkey off-balance and Marisa groaned as her dæmon was stunned by the impact. The relaxing of his paw freed Salmakia, who was immediately joined by Tialys. Free from the threat of the sting in her jugular, Marisa reached out and cried for her daughter, drowsy and stunned with pain. She lay at the cave mouth, too weakened to stand or impede the children. As an anguished Lyra stepped over her mother to leave the cave, loosening the feeble grip on her ankle, Marisa sobbed unreservedly. Lyra cried furiously, feeling conflicted about Marisa, who pleaded with tragic passion that she was tearing her heart by leaving. Will pulled Lyra away and later explained how Marisa had made him think of his mother and how this had broken the knife.[34]

The Church's forces retreated and Marisa fell into the hands of Ogunwe’s forces. She was subsequently taken to Lord Asriel.[35] Tialys’ sting was not enough to kill her but left her weak, drowsy and in pain for several days.[34]

Physical appearance

Marisa Coulter was described as very beautiful and alluring, with long blonde hair and dark eyes. She wore expensive, fashionable clothes and spoke with a soft, musical voice.

Personality

Marisa Coulter was a very beautiful, superficially charming woman. She was also very well-educated, especially for a woman in her world, and loved to associate with various people of status and influence. Yet behind the pretty mask hid a woman of iron, who allowed nothing to go against her or get in her way. Her anger is described more than once as having a metallic scent to it. She was notably manipulative, managing to use various church organisations and powerful individuals in her quest for power. Her ambition was a very important part of her; the main motivation for her marriage to Edward Coulter and her creation of the General Oblation Board was accumulation of political power.

Despite keeping composed and cool in most situations, her composure crumbled when she saw her own daughter in danger. She was also daring, ruthlessly pursuing her goals with no regard to morality, but she seemed somewhat wary to go against what she saw as the dominant power (the Church), and to give up her connections.

However, she did prove to have great love for her daughter in the end, saving her on several occasions, despite frequently receiving nothing but loathing in return. This kernel of goodness gradually began to overwhelm the sum of her negative traits as the war with the Authority grew closer.

Dæmon

Monkey
LBS Ch14

Marisa Coulter's dæmon had the form of a male golden monkey. With both his golden fur and Marisa's looks, the pair were able to flatter, entice and threaten adults and children alike which made them great when working for the General Oblation Board or convincing people to do as they asked.

Personality

Like his human, Marisa Coulter's dæmon was often cruel. He reflected Coulter's personality as beautiful but on the surface but malevolent of intention. He rarely spoke and had a particular affinity for destruction, seen when he tore the wings off cave bats out of sheer boredom.[36]

Behind the scenes

  • In the film The Golden Compass, Marisa Coulter is played by Nicole Kidman, who was initially reluctant to play a villain.
  • Although Northern Lights originally described Mrs Coulter as having "sleek black hair", after Nicole Kidman's performance, Philip Pullman has said in an interview that he "was clearly wrong"[37] about her hair colour. All works published after The Golden Compass have described her as blonde and more recent editions of Northern Lights have been amended to describe her as having "sleek fair hair".
  • Ruth Wilson will portray a dark-haired Mrs Coulter in the TV show.
  • In the BBC radio adaptation, she was portrayed by Emma Fielding.
  • In the audiobook read by Philip Pullman, the role of Marisa Coulter was taken by Alison Dowling.
  • Mrs Coulter was named the third biggest villain in the Big Bad Read poll after Lord Voldemort and Sauron.[38]
  • Mrs Coulter's dæmon was never named in the books, but took the name Ozymandias in the radio dramatisation. This change was not authorised by Pullman, who questioned why the scriptwriter made the choice.[39] Malcolm Polstead notes that 'if that monkey had a name, it might be "Malice"'.[40] Ozymandias is also the name the monkey was given in Northern Lights - The Graphic Novel.
  • Her dæmon was always referred to as a golden monkey in the books, but the DVD boxset describes him as a golden lion tamarin.[41] Philip Pullman's chapter illustration for Northern Lights Chapter 5, 'The Cocktail Party' shows the golden monkey as closely resembling a Green Monkey (Chlorocebus sabaeus). The chapter illustration for La Belle Sauvage Chapter 14, 'Lady with Monkey' shows the golden monkey as resembling something like a large golden lion tamarin. Real-world golden monkeys include the Golden Monkey (Cercopithecus kandti) and the Golden snub-nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus roxellana).
  • As Marisa's dæmon has no speaking role in the films, it is difficult to gauge its personality (as opposed to Pantalaimon who is very vocal). However, it does without a doubt act as a personification of Marisa Coulter's two-faced cruelty and decisiveness. When she and Lyra are talking at her home, Marisa retains a confident and energetic demeanour while her dæmon attacks Pantalaimon, putting him in a choke hold. As Pantalaimon is Lyra's dæmon, a manifestation of her soul, this causes Lyra to experience identical injuries. During the two's final talk in the north, Marisa is talking to Lyra about the experiments she is running (severing dæmon souls from children). Marisa appears very sweet and understanding of Lyra, but the instant she is told where the alethiometer is (it's actually a decoy) the monkey immediately grabs the tin it was supposedly sealed in and starts aggressively attacking the seal.

Appearances

Nl 02
HDM Wiki has 14 images of Marisa Coulter.
Nl 02
HDM Wiki has 8 images of Marisa Coulter's dæmon.

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 The Collectors
  2. La Belle Sauvage
  3. https://twitter.com/PhilipPullman/status/923595910692659201
  4. In The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 28, we find out that Marisa is 35 years old. The events of The Amber Spyglass take place in 1997 meaning Marisa was born around 1962
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Northern Lights, Chapter 4
  6. Lyra's Oxford
  7. Northern Lights, Lantern Slide 5
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Northern Lights, Chapter 7
  9. Northern Lights, Chapter 8
  10. La Belle Sauvage, Chapter 9
  11. Northern Lights, Chapter 9
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Northern Lights, Chapter 21
  13. Northern Lights, Chapter 18
  14. Northern Lights, Chapter 3
  15. Northern Lights, Chapter 19
  16. 16.0 16.1 Northern Lights, Chapter 20
  17. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 16
  18. Northern Lights, Chapter 5
  19. Northern Lights, Chapter 14
  20. 20.0 20.1 Northern Lights, Chapter 16
  21. Northern Lights, Chapter 17
  22. Northern Lights, Chapter 23
  23. The Subtle Knife, Chapter 2
  24. The Subtle Knife, Chapter 9
  25. The Subtle Knife, Chapter 15
  26. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 1
  27. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 2
  28. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 5
  29. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 6
  30. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 9
  31. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 4
  32. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 11
  33. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 12
  34. 34.0 34.1 The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 13
  35. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 14
  36. The Amber Spyglass, Chapter 4
  37. Web Archive
  38. The Big Bad Read
  39. Philip Pullman webchat
  40. La Belle Sauvage Chapter 14, 'Lady with Monkey'
  41. Stated in the booklet provided in The Golden Compass film box.
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