• At present, Will and Mrs. Coulter are engaged in a ruthless standoff with the Galevespians, one of whom is being held hostage by the Golden Monkey while the other holds a poison spur to Mrs. Coulter’s neck. Will swipes at the Golden Monkey and knocks him off of his perch, allowing the Lady Salmakia to escape. In the confusion, the Chevalier Tialys orders Will to follow him to safety, checking first to see if he is still in possession of the knife. They dart out of the cave past Mrs. Coulter, who screams and cries for her darling Lyra. Rather than follow Tialys, Will plans instead to make his way to the window he cut behind a bush but Swiss soldiers intercept them and Balthamos must come to Will’s rescue. Unable to fight them off, Will must shoot a man in order to escape. He and Lyra jump through the window and discover that the Galevespians have followed them there. Will discretely asks Lyra to consult the alethiometer about mending the knife, then tells her about Balthamos and his father. Lyra tells Will about her plan to find Roger in the Land of the Dead and Will suggests they use the knife to rescue him. The Galevespians want to take the children back to Lord Asriel but Will refuses and they reach another stalemate. They offer to help Will find Iorek Byrnison if the children promise to go with them later, to which Lyra eagerly agrees, though she has no intention of doing so. Night comes and WIll quickly falls asleep, while Lyra, who dutifully keeps watch over him, only wishes to rest her eyes before falling into a deep sleep herself.

  • In Lyra’s world, Ama and her daemon Kulang play a game among the rock shelves on their way to deliver food to Mrs. Coulter. Rounding the top of a waterfall, Ama is startled to find a bear and a boy peering at her from over the edge. The pair explain that they are looking for a cave with a sleeping girl inside. Surprised by this, Ama reveals that she knows this cave and has special herbs to wake up Lyra. She leads Will to Mrs. Coulter’s cave and they plan for Ama to return with the medicine when she delivers the evening meal. Will watches Mrs. Coulter from afar, but is discovered by the golden monkey. Shortly after, Will meets Mrs. Coulter for the first time. She explains that she keeps Lyra asleep in the cave because she wants to protect Lyra from the forces of the Church. Will knows that Mrs. Coulter is lying; he leaves the cave but remains captivated by her. Meanwhile, aboard the zeppelin of the Consistorial Court, two Gallivespian spies hatch their special dragonflies. Through a device called the lodestone resonator, they receive a message from their chief, who tells them to cooperate with Will. Lord Asriel’s troops and the Consistorial Court are almost at Mrs. Coulter’s doorstep while high above, the Gallivespians take shelter in the trees and keep watch. Will plans to cut a hole from another world to enter the cave and rescue Lyra. When he does, Mrs. Coulter springs awake and grabs at him, struggling for the knife. As they skirmish, Will looks at Mrs. Coulter and thinks of his mother’s face; his heart fills with sorrow and the knife lodges in the air, breaking into pieces. Ama gives Lyra the medicine and she awakens. Will gathers the broken pieces of the subtle knife and stores them in its sheath. Outside the cave, the zeppelins are closing in and Will calls for Balthamos to help him. Before he can answer, Mrs. Coulter yells in pain and drops her weapon. As Will grabs for the pistol, he finds Mrs. Coulter in a strange stalemate, for the Golden Monkey holds the tiny Lady Salmakia hostage while the Chevalier Tialys digs his poison spur into Mrs. Coulter’s neck.

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  • As they head south towards the Himalayas, Will and Iorek discuss the unique properties of the subtle knife. Will explains how he came to possess the knife and shows Iorek the wound he obtained fighting for it. He tells Iorek that he is supposed to take the knife to Lord Asriel but first he must rescue Lyra Silvertongue, to which Iorek pledges the bears’ help. Once they reach the shore, Will shows an awestruck Iorek how the subtle knife opens windows to other worlds. Afterwards, they begin the three day journey to Lyra, unaware that both Lord Asriel and the combined forces of the Magisterium are also on their way. Meanwhile, in the world of Ci’gazze, Father Gomez listens as a little red-haired girl and her brother tell him about a woman who passed through town, unaware and unafraid of the Spectres, on her way south towards the mountains. He thanks the children for their help and sets off through the hot, silent streets towards the south. Further ahead, Mary Malone has learned a great deal about the mulefa she is traveling with. After three days in their company she discovers that these creatures have language, fire, and formed a society. Mary realizes that, while they are not human like she is, the mulefa are indeed a people. She consults the I Ching about what to do next and it replies that she should continue her stay. Mary is taken by the mulefa and works to become a useful part of their intricate and intimate society. One afternoon, while Mary helps to repair the roof of a hut, a flock of giant white birds called Tualapi attack the mulefas’ village, emptying the food supplies and demolishing the wheel store. As a final insult, the Tualapi defecate throughout the decemated village before heading downstream towards the sea. Reeling after the attack, Mary collects the few seedpods that remain to the relief of the anxious mulefa, for despite the great effort, care, and love that they give them, the wheel-pod trees are inexplicably dying.

  • As Father McPhail warns of the Tempter, Mary Malone bids farewell to the kind, elderly couple that assisted her when she first crossed into the world of Ci’gazze. Unsure where to go next, she consults the I Ching, a Chinese method of fortune telling kindred to the alethiometer. After hiking a mountain path for four hours, Mary discovers a window to another world. Once through, she is astounded by what she finds. Miniscule insects and tiny hummingbirds fly in sharp relief to the wide, red-gold trunks of the new world’s enormous trees. Yet nothing is as strange as the creatures Mary finds in the grove. Called mulefa, the creatures have short trunks like elephants, diamond-shaped bodies, and claws that they hook through wheel-shaped seedpods they ride through the countryside. Mary communicates with the mulefa, who are able to mimic her in broken English. They befriend her, gesturing for Mary to travel with them as they leave the safety of the grove. Meanwhile, in Lyra’s world, Balthamos suddenly senses that Baruch has died. He is overtaken by anguish and guilt, almost unable to go on, but Will is able to convince him to continue for Baruch’s sake. As they travel, Will and Balthamos encounter a priest who warns them of a village in the south that is plagued by armoured bears. The bears are attacking because the villagers refuse to refuel them. Will and Balthamos make their way to the village where Will comes up with a plan to stop the fighting. He says he will challenge one of the bears; if Will wins, the villagers must refuel the bear’s ship so they can be on their way. The bear agrees; but when Will displays the power of the subtle knife, he refuses to fight such a weapon. The villagers keep their word and refuel the bears’ boats. Will tells one of the bears that he is looking for Iorek Byrnison to help him find his friend, Lyra Silvertongue. The bear reveals to Wil that he is, in fact, Iorek Byrnison. Fascinated by Will’s knife, Iorek agrees to help Will find Lyra, allowing him to travel with the bears as they make their way toward the Himalayas.

  • As chapter five opens, four angels pursue Baruch through a lake of molten sulfur on his way to Lord Asriel’s fortress, the Adamant Tower. Baruch keeps low to the ground, which has kept him safe but added time that he doesn’t have to his journey. Fearing his message will arrive too late, Baruch risks taking to the skies. Almost immediately, two of Metatron’s angels attack and the three struggle in midair, rising and falling among the rocks. At the western end of the saw-toothed mountains, a great fortress seems to rise and burst out of the ancient lava flows. Through a small sentry gate, a wounded Baruch is assisted by three hooded figures who take him to Lord Asriel. Gravely injured, Baruch tells Lord Asriel that the Authority has retired deep inside the Clouded Mountain and no longer attends to the daily affairs of the Kingdom. The Authority believes that conscious beings have become perilously independent, and the church, corrupt and weak, so Metatron is going to more directly intervene in human affairs starting by destroying Asriel’s Republic. Baruch continues; he tells Lord Asriel about the subtle knife and reveals that the boy who wields it is none other than the son of Stanislaus Grumman. Moreover, the boy, Will, is friends with Lyra and is looking for her. Asriel asks Baruch if he knows where Lyra is and to show him on a map. Suddenly, a soldier bursts through the door. Already struggling to keep himself together, the draft proves too much and Baruch dissipates into the air, whispering Balthamos’ name with his last breath. Immediately, Lord Asriel summons several of his allies. Meanwhile, Fra Pavel sits in front of the Consistorial Court, one of several warring factions inside the Magisterium, and tells them that Lyra is with Mrs. Coulter somewhere in their Himalayas. Knowing that she is to be the new Eve, and fearful of the implications, the Court sends a lone assassin, Father Gomez, to find and kill her. It is understood that once he leaves the safety of the Court, Father Gomez will be disavowed by all involved. Father McPhail gives him one last piece of advice: Do not look for the girl; rather, look for the Tempter, for in doing so she will lead him straight to Lyra.

  • In Lyra’s world, the climate is changing because of the rip in the sky that Lord Asriel made. Serafina Pekkala flies to the north to find Iorek Byrnison, who is struggling to hunt down a walrus on the melting ice. With great guilt and remorse, she tells Iorek that his friend, Lee Scoresby, is dead, and that she preserved his body with a spell so that Iorek could pay his last respects. Iorek tells her that he will go to Lee’s body, but then continue south to relocate his kingdom. Serafina reveals that she is going in search of the Gyptians to enlist their help. All the while, scavenging foxes, possessing a crude grasp of language, listen in on Serafina and Iorek’s conversation. Iorek swims the long journey south, passing from his world to the next. He comes upon the place where Lee Scoresby died, finding him perfectly preserved due to Serafina’s spell. After paying his respects, Iorek removes the enchanted flower that maintained the spell and proceeds to eat the remains of his friend before continuing his journey south. Back north, a group of Cliff-ghasts capture and devour a fox who is babbling about a “balloon man” and “king bear.” Back in the Himalayas, the young servant girl, Ama, perseverates on Mrs. Coulter and on Lyra’s condition. Wanting to help the beautiful holy woman, Ama sneaks away to procure a remedy for Lyra’s sleeping sickness. After acquiring the special powder, Ama makes her way to the cave to find Lyra, restless and unattended. Suddenly, Mrs. Coulter and her monkey daemon arrive back at the cave, forcing Ama into hiding. From her narrow hiding place, Ama sees Mrs. Coulter concoct a sleeping draught and force the now conscious and frantic Lyra to drink from it. As Lyra falls back into a deep sleep, Mrs. Coulter sings her a lullaby, snipping a lock of Lyra’s hair and placing it in a locket. Meanwhile, the golden monkey heartlessly tortures and kills a bat provided by Mrs. Coulter. Once Mrs. Coulter falls asleep, Ama sneaks away, making her way back down to her village. Horrified by what she has seen, Ama resolves to use the powder to revive and rescue Lyra.

  • At the opening of The Amber Spyglass, we find that Mrs. Coulter is keeping Lyra in a cave in the Himalayas of Lyra’s own world. Pretending to be a holy woman, Mrs. Coulter relies on the help of a little servant girl named Ama to bring her food and other necessities. Ama tells Mrs. Coulter that, while they are happy to have a holy woman in their care, the villagers are frightened of her rumored companion, who they fear is dangerous and powerful. Mrs. Coulter shows Ama that her sleeping companion is simply her young daughter, Lyra. After Ama leaves, Mrs. Coulter feeds Lyra a sleeping potion to keep her unconscious during which Lyra dreams she is speaking to Roger. Back in the world of Ci’gazze, Will and two angels, Balthamos and Baruch, argue over what to do. They insist that Will come with them to Lord Asriel, but Will says he has to first find Lyra. Baruch agrees to fly ahead to look for her, and Will and Balthamos make their way down the mountain. While practicing with the subtle knife, Will learns that each world has a different “feel” to it, and he is able to accurately open portals to his world, Lyra’s Oxford, and the world of Ci’gazze. Baruch returns, having discovered where Mrs. Coulter is hiding. As they make their way towards Lyra, Metatron, the Lord Regent of God’s angels, attacks Will, Baruch, and Balthamos. There is a brief struggle but they are able to escape. Afterwards, Balthamos tells Will that angels are made out of Dust. He also tells Will that God was not the creator of the universe, but was rather one of the first angels. When he gained power, he started telling the other angels that he had created everything. Another angel eventually found out the truth, so God banished her and all the angels that followed her. God is old now and Metatron rules in his place. The trio agree to part ways; Baruch decides to go to Lord Asriel alone and talk to him, while Balthamos agrees to pretend to be Will’s daemon and to help Will find Lyra.

  • In the world of Ci’gazze, Lyra, Will, and the witches travel north toward the rift in the sky. Serafina notices that the spell she used to heal the wound on Will’s hand is not working. As they stop to rest and eat, some witches report that they saw a balloon with two men in it flying over the sea. Shortly after, Ruta Skadi returns and gives an effusive report; she says that Lord Asriel has built a magnificent fortress in another world and that creatures from every world have joined him in his war against God. She also overheard cliff ghasts say that there is only one thing that could destroy God: something called

    Æsahættr. The children fall asleep, and while Ruta and Serafina are upstream discussing their plans, a strange light radiates from their camp. They return to discover that angels have come on a pilgrimage to see Lyra.

    Meanwhile, Lee Scoresby and John Parry are sailing above the sea in Ci’gazze, with forces from the Church in hot pursuit. Although Parry uses magic to conjure a storm that brings down one of the zeppelins, Lee has to make a crash landing and abandon the balloon. That night, in the dreamscape, John Parry brings down two more of the zeppelins that are pursuing them. The last group sets fire to the forest and Lee agrees to keep the soldiers in the fourth zeppelin at bay while Parry escapes to find the knife bearer. Lee holds the soldiers off with the help of his daemon, Hester, and Parry escapes, but Lee and Hester are killed. Before they die, they call out to Serafina Pekkala for help. Serafina leaves Will and Lyra in the care of her witches and goes to find Lee.

    One of the witches, Lena Feldt, sees people in the distance and goes to investigate. She arrives at a camp to find Mrs. Coulter and Lord Boreal. Mrs. Coulter has learned how to control the specters and uses one to capture the witch’s daemon and torture Lena. Mrs. Coulter forces her to tell her what she knows about Lyra, then kills Lena and Lord Boreal, and summons the specters. Up the mountain, Will can’t sleep, so he goes for a walk. In the darkness, he runs into a man (who is actually John Parry) and they fight. The man realizes that Will is the knife bearer and he cures Will’s wound. He says that Will has to bring the knife to Lord Asriel so he can use it in his fight against God. Will tries to give the knife to Parry, but he refuses it. John Parry lights a lamp so he can see Will, and just as Will realizes that he is looking at his father, a witch who had been in love with Parry kills him and then herself. Devastated, Will takes his father’s cloak and leaves to find Lyra. Along the way, he meets two angels who urge him to go with them to Lord Asriel. When he returns to the camp, Will sees that the witches have been attacked by specters and Lyra is gone. The angels try to get Will to come with them but Will simply stares at Lyra’s knapsack, which contains the alethiometer, unable to decide what to do.

  • In Lyra’s world, Lee Scoresby continues to search for Stanislaus Grumman. He packs up his ballon and makes his way by boat down the Yenisei River. After docking in a village, he enlists the help of an old Siberian Tartar, who tells Lee that they have been expecting him. Lee follows the old man to a wood-framed, skin-covered hut where Grumman, who is now a shaman, lives. A bright, yellow-eyed daemon watches Lee from behind splays of dried flowers and pine. The old man calls for Grumman in his native tongue using a different name: Jopari. Lee tells Grumman about Lyra and Lord Asriel, and asks for his help. Grumman reveals that his real name is John Parry and that he brought Lee here using a Navajo ring that belonged to Lee’s mother. Parry says that Lord Asriel’s task is the greatest undertaking in human history and that he needs something he doesn’t have to succeed: the subtle knife. He wants Lee to take him to find the instrument and the knife bearer who wields it. Lee agrees to take John Parry to the other world to look for the knife if he agrees to place Lyra under its protection once he has it. In Ci’gazze, Will and Lyra are attacked and almost killed by a group of angry children, but Serafina Pekkala and her clan rescue them and take them away from the city. Serafina notices that Specters seem to be afraid of Will’s knife. When they are settled, Serafina looks at Will’s wound and prepares a spell to help heal his hand. As
    Will sleeps, Serafina asks Lyra to tell her about the boy. Back in Will’s world, Mary Malone tries to convince her colleague, Dr. Oliver Payne, to continue their work with The Shadows. Dr. Payne is ready to quit when Sir Charles Latrom walks through the door and offers them funding to continue their research. His only condition is that they allow him to determine the course of their studies. Mary refuses, angering Sir Charles. Later that evening, Mary returns to the lab and is able to talk to the Shadows through the use of her computer. The Shadows tell Mary that her fate is somehow connected with that of Will and Lyra. They tell her to leave her world and enter another, where she will be protected from the Specters. After destroying the computer and the remains of her work, Mary deceives the watchman guarding the window and enters the warm, sunny world of Ci’gazze.

  • In the world of Cittagazze, Lyra awakens before Will and plans to visit Mary Malone without him. As she makes her way to the window, she encounters three younger children playing in the water. They talk to her about cats, Specters, the Guild, and a place called the Tower of Angels or Torre degli Angeli. She leaves the children and crosses over into Will’s Oxford, making her way to the physics building to see Mary. Dr. Malone tells Lyra that some officials from Will’s world are already there and asking about her. They begin questioning Lyra and she accidentally reveals that she knows Will. Realizing her mistake, Lyra flees from the building and is picked up later by the man she met in the museum the day before, Sir Charles Latrom. He takes Lyra to the window that leads to Ci’gazze but before he drops her off, Sir Charles steals the alethiometer. Lyra returns to Ci’gazze and tells Will what happened. Together Lyra and Will go to Sir Charles’s house to confront him. He tells them that he will give back the alethiometer if they get him a knife that is being held by a man in Ci’gazze, in the Tower of Angels. Will is shocked when he sees the head of a serpent peeking out the sleeve of Sir Charles’ linen coat but Lyra does not see it. She and Will agree to retrieve the knife. They go to the Torre and see a man, Angelica’s older brother Tullio, trying to use the knife. Tullio has ambushed and beaten an old man named Giacomo Paradisi and stolen the knife from him. Will and Tullio fight for the knife and Tullio cuts off two of Will’s fingers. Will wins the fight and keeps the knife but Tulio escapes. The old man explains that a knife bearer is known by his absence of two fingers. Giacomo teaches Will both how to cut through to other worlds and how to close up the holes again. Later that night, Lyra and Will return to Will’s world, planning to use the knife to steal the alethiometer. While they are at Sir Charles house, Mrs. Coulter arrives and Lyra realizes that Sir Charles Latrom is actually Lord Boreal, who wants the knife so he can travel between worlds without fearing the Specters. Lyra causes a diversion so Will can take the alethiometer. Mrs. Coulter’s monkey daemon chases them, almost catching them, but Will and Lyra escape through a window to the world of Ci’gazze and close it up again.

  • After hitting a dead-end, Will and Lyra separate to pursue their own interests while in Oxford. Will finds that much of what he needs to know about his father is a matter of public record. He writes a short postcard to his mother, then heads to the library to do some research. Meanwhile, Lyra looks for a quiet place to consult the alethiometer. She ends up in a museum where she discovers an exhibit containing the exact furs and sledge from her kidnapping in the North, along with a photo of the same Samoyed hunters who took her to Bolvangar! Close by is another exhibit showcasing a number of human skulls, all of which have holes bored into them. The alethiometer reveals a strange truth about the skulls that Lyra doesn’t fully understand. Shortly after, she is approached by an older, grey-haired man in a linen suit, who was quietly watching her from the upper level of the museum. He tries to get Lyra to come with him but she declines. After consulting the alethiometer again, Lyra finds a physicist named Dr. Mary Malone, a former nun who researches dark matter and something she calls Shadows. Dr. Malone explains to Lyra that Shadows are conscious and they cluster around humans. Lyra realizes they are the same thing as Dust, and convinces Mary that she can talk to Shadows. Will learns more about the Arctic expedition his father was on just before he vanished. Back in Cittagazze, he reads his father’s letters and finds out that just before he disappeared, his father was looking for the same kind of hole into another universe that Will fell through. In Lyra’s world, Lee Scoresby searches for Stanislau Grumman and accidentally kills an agent of the Church. Serafina and her witches enter the world of Ci’gazze and learn about the Specters and the bene elim, angels who are able to pass between worlds. Ruta Skadi leaves the witches to follow a flight of angels as they make their way North. As they approach a large mountain range, Ruta hears the clanging and pounding of the “fortress Lord Asriel was building at the end of the world”.

  • The Subtle Knife opens in our world, where a young boy named Will Parry is bringing his ill mother to an elderly neighbor, Mrs. Cooper, who reluctantly agrees to take care of Mrs. Parry. After leaving his mother, Will returns to his house and frantically searches for a green leather writing case filled with letters from the adventure-seeking father he’s never met. Strange men have been coming to the house asking questions and looking for the case, and Will wants to find it before they do. Just as Will finds the letters, the men break into the house and one of them makes his way upstairs. Will rushes through the doorway, accidentally pushing the man down the stairs and killing him. On the run, Will makes his way to Oxford where he hopes to have his questions about his father answered. Late in the evening as Will walks along a tree-lined street, he notices a cat acting strangely. Upon investigating more closely, he is surprised to see a barely-visible opening in the air leading into another world. Will decides to cross through the opening from one world to another. He finds himself on a strange, deserted street and seeks refuge in a small house, where he encounters a feral-looking Lyra Silvertongue. Elsewhere, Serafina Pekkala witnesses Mrs. Coulter torturing a witch for information about Lyra and kills her to prevent her from telling Mrs. Coulter what she knows. Serafina goes to Svalbard to speak with Lord Asriel’s servant Thorold, who tells her that Lord Asriel means to start a war with God. She flies back to her clan, where Lee Scoresby and Ruta Skadi, the queen of the Latvian witches, has joined them. Lee Scoresby says that he is going to look for the scientist and explorer named Stanislaus Grumman. Serafina and her witches decide that they need to summon other witch clans to fight on Lord Asriel’s side and protect Lyra. Ruta Skadi will go to Lord Asriel to see what he is really doing. Back in the new world, Lyra and Will meet two children who tell them that the city they are in is called Cittàgazze. They say that it is filled with specters, which are wraiths that feed on adults but do not harm children. After speaking with them, Lyra and Will agree to go back to Will’s world so Lyra can find a physicist who can tell her about Dust. Once there, it is clear to Lyra that this is not her Oxford and her mission might take longer than expected.