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ConnieAnnKirk
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Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

The writer Michael Chabon has said that "the goddess of writers were smiling on Philip Pullman on the day he came up with the idea for daemons." How do the daemons add dimension to the story? Whose daemon is your favorite?
~ConnieAnnKirk




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BarbaraN
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

It is a little early to start talking about Daemons but I have been wondering what my Daemon might be. Well, I went to this handy dandy web site that figured it out for me.

http://www.goldencompassmovie.com/

Just select "Meet Your Daemon" in the lower right hand corner or off the menu. You will then be asked some questions that will help match your daemon to you. It might be fun to know everyone's Daemon.

Mine is an Ocelot called Elberon. I like the choice.

Barbara and Elberon.
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Juliet00c
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

My daemon turned out to be a tiger named Leonidas, whose namesake happened to be a king of Sparta. It's funny, but as soon as my daemon was revealed I thought, "How perfect! A tiger is the perfect daemon for me." Interesting....

I love the role the daemons play in the story. It's such an interesting idea, to make the soul into this physical being that talks and feels and thinks, apart from oneself yet utterly inseparable as well. I don't want to get too detailed, so as not to ruin anything for anyone. But I think it would be lovely in a way to be able to have your soul be something you could interact with, even argue with. And there's the element that you are never alone because that part of yourself is always with you. I love that. To be honest, I'm not a religious person, but I think it's a beautiful idea....

My favorite daemon in the story is Pan. He's so playful and wild, but can be a voice of reason and intelligence as well.

Julie/Leonidas
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Shadow_Poet2
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

Personally, I think the idea of daemons is a beautiful way of reminding us to trust ourselves. Not to get into the story too much this early on, but I believe the point made that humans are never happy until they accept the permanent form of their daemond holds so much applicable truth I actually paused when I read it.

Daemons represent our souls. First, our souls/minds/conscious/whatever you want to call it does talk to us. It's that small voice we here when we are trying to make a decision. We tend to argue with ourselves between what our heart wants and our heads think it right. The relationship between human and daemond shows an external conflict that we all feel. Pan is scared when Lyra is scared, etc. I think we should all learn to listen to our inner daemond more often.

Second, recognizing that our souls, or our own consciousness, exists, I believe we can battle the feeling of loneliness and dispair. Granted we never have another external, physical being to converse with, but we are not as desperate for companionship as we may think.

Finally, I think the importance of seeing who someone is by the characteristics of thier daemond is a reminder that we all should "look for the beauty inside." I like that a persons daemond reflects who they really are. Again, when a person is content with the shape of their daemond (or their souls) they are truly happy and truly know who they are. What a wonderful peace that must be! We should all get used to looking for someones daemond before we make up our minds about them!

I haven't tried the link yet, I'll have to find out which daemond I have...what fun!
Renée

""I now view my long road as a search for truth in my own heart, in the world around me, and in the bigger questions of purpose and of existence. How does one define good and evil." --Drizzt Do'Urden
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Shadow_Poet2
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

Good suggestion about the golden compass movie website. Apparently, my daemond is named Archeleron and he is a snow leopard. Very cool.
Renée

""I now view my long road as a search for truth in my own heart, in the world around me, and in the bigger questions of purpose and of existence. How does one define good and evil." --Drizzt Do'Urden
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BarbaraN
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

[ Edited ]

Shadow_Poet2 wrote:
Good suggestion about the golden compass movie website. Apparently, my daemond is named Archeleron and he is a snow leopard. Very cool.




That's a good one Shadow_Poet (& Archeleron). You and Lord Asriel must have something in common since you have the same type of Daemon.

http://www.colemangallery.com/Images/L19F_Snow_Leopard_Cub.jpg


Barbara & Elberon

Message Edited by BarbaraN on 08-31-2007 04:22 PM
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

Shadow_Poet2--Thanks for these clear and helpful comments on daemons. I often have difficulty making decisions big and small, so your ideas about decision-making and the daemons caught my eye. I especially like when you speak about the heart saying one thing and the head another (this struggle seems to happen to me all the time!). In your view, which of those 2 might the daemon represent--the head or the heart? Or is it a bit of both, perhaps? Would a soul have both? What do you think?

~ConnieK



Shadow_Poet2 wrote:
Personally, I think the idea of daemons is a beautiful way of reminding us to trust ourselves. Not to get into the story too much this early on, but I believe the point made that humans are never happy until they accept the permanent form of their daemond holds so much applicable truth I actually paused when I read it.

Daemons represent our souls. First, our souls/minds/conscious/whatever you want to call it does talk to us. It's that small voice we here when we are trying to make a decision. We tend to argue with ourselves between what our heart wants and our heads think it right. The relationship between human and daemond shows an external conflict that we all feel. Pan is scared when Lyra is scared, etc. I think we should all learn to listen to our inner daemond more often.

Second, recognizing that our souls, or our own consciousness, exists, I believe we can battle the feeling of loneliness and dispair. Granted we never have another external, physical being to converse with, but we are not as desperate for companionship as we may think.

Finally, I think the importance of seeing who someone is by the characteristics of thier daemond is a reminder that we all should "look for the beauty inside." I like that a persons daemond reflects who they really are. Again, when a person is content with the shape of their daemond (or their souls) they are truly happy and truly know who they are. What a wonderful peace that must be! We should all get used to looking for someones daemond before we make up our minds about them!

I haven't tried the link yet, I'll have to find out which daemond I have...what fun!


~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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ConnieAnnKirk
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

I won't say too much here, but having a snow leopard daemon might feel a bit more problematic later on! That's all I'm saying! :smileywink:

~ConnieK



Shadow_Poet2 wrote:
Good suggestion about the golden compass movie website. Apparently, my daemond is named Archeleron and he is a snow leopard. Very cool.


~ConnieAnnKirk




[CAK's books , website.]
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Kreacherteacher
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

I have a beautiful mouse daemon named Calanon.
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moniraq
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

My daemon is a Lion by the name of Aesop and he is quite beautiful!

I loved the way Pullman was able to draw us into this world where an external soul was the norm and those of us with internal daemons were considered horribly mutilated.

When I first began reading this book I have to admit I was a bit put off by the word "daemon". I have always given that word (in whichever spelling it might appear) a negative connotation and it's wonderful that Pullman has enabled me to take a word I've always been associated with evil and to make it something positive and beautiful.

I also love the way he shows us in contrast with our daemons. All of that internal arguing we constantly do with ourselves is out in the open for everyone to see and to understand we all experience conflict within ourselves.


Monica & Aesop
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BarbaraN
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs



moniraq wrote:
My daemon is a Lion by the name of Aesop and he is quite beautiful!

I loved the way Pullman was able to draw us into this world where an external soul was the norm and those of us with internal daemons were considered horribly mutilated.

When I first began reading this book I have to admit I was a bit put off by the word "daemon". I have always given that word (in whichever spelling it might appear) a negative connotation and it's wonderful that Pullman has enabled me to take a word I've always been associated with evil and to make it something positive and beautiful.

I also love the way he shows us in contrast with our daemons. All of that internal arguing we constantly do with ourselves is out in the open for everyone to see and to understand we all experience conflict within ourselves.


Monica & Aesop




Monica & Aesop,

You have summed up my initial reaction to the word daemon. I too associated this negatively (and I might add when I read Harry Potter I had the same reaction to the use of the word "witch" while wizard was perfectly fine). I also have negative feelings toward the word "heretic" whereas the word only refers to people who don't believe the way a group of people do and refers to the "others."

My dictionary defines daemon as a variant of demon. Under demon it gives the primary definition of an "evil being, devil." But further down on the list it defines it as "an attendant spirit." The derivation is from the Latin, "spirit" and the Greek, "divine being." The word certainly had a more positive origin. We have been conditioned to have an emotional reaction to certain words and all someone has to do is push that button word to get the appropriate response.

I have now become desensitized from the negative connotations of these words and this is actually due to people like Rowling and Pulman who have decided to use them as they were originally meant to be used.

It is interesting to note that all the negative feelings about Harry Potter from the American Christian fundamentalist came, not from the content of the books, but from the use of the word "Sorcerer" in the US edition title, and the use of the word "witch."

I think both these books are important in that they desensitize us from the "push button" reactions and make us really think about the words we are using and what we are actually saying. I think, though it is early for me to tell in my reading, that much of the objection to Pulman is because of his terminology and people making assumption about what he is saying without really looking deeper into his points of view.

I also think you have made an excellent point here;

--------------------------
I also love the way he shows us in contrast with our daemons. All of that internal arguing we constantly do with ourselves is out in the open for everyone to see and to understand we all experience conflict within ourselves.
-----------------------------

In this book the characters are literally wearing their "souls" (and I'm not actually sure if that is the correct word for them) on "their sleeves." The final form of their adult daemon reflects their true inner nature, the behavior of their daemon tells a lot about them that would normally be hidden, and their conversations with their daemons (as you pointed out) reflects the conversations we have with our own inner selves.

Barbara & Elberon
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Nadine
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

My daemon is a chimp called Erasmos. I'll have to see if there is an icon. I am fortunate it didn't turn out to be an elephant like my icon. I wonder what people do with a daemon like an elephant. The book did bring up the problem of having a dolphin for a daemon. I think an elephant daemon would be a bit of an inconvenience as well.
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Nadine
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The Down Side of Daemons

I like daemons but I think I do because they strike me as the perfect companion. Here is a creature perfectly in tune with your personality, who shows you great sympathy and understanding, is perfectly honest with you, and is always with you helping you out. the perfect pet.

But there is a downside. Your daemon immediately communicates who you are and furthermore it is difficult to even hid anything. Look at Mrs. Coulter, no matter how nice she seemed, she had a pretty nasty daemon. Maybe an advantage to the outsider (wouldn't it be nice if all politicians had daemons) but certainly not to the owner of the daemon. The other thing that bothered me was that they were set and at a pretty young age. Daemons not only reflected your true self but your station in life. If your daemon was a dog you were locked into the servant class. There is no way to change your situation in life and aspire to something else. In the world of daemons there is no mobility. They even lock you physically into a certain situation like the sailor who had a dolphin for a daemon and could never leave his ship. If you went on a job interview would your perspective employer interview and evaluate you or your daemon? And I guess that is a minor point since they are essentially one and the same.

But maybe the whole idea of daemons is tied up with the larger theme that seems to be emerging from this series. That of destiny. With a daemon your destiny is predetermined and locked in by the time your reach adulthood.
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Re: The Down Side of Daemons

[ Edited ]

Nadine wrote:
... Daemons not only reflected your true self but your station in life. If your daemon was a dog you were locked into the servant class. There is no way to change your situation in life and aspire to something else.





I understand the general point you're making in your post, but on this one thing above I want to disagree. I don't think it's quite that firm. Having a dog daemon wouldn't lock you into the servant class. But, as you've implied, an employee might not hire you unless you had one.

Anyway, dogs sometimes bite, or run off!

Message Edited by DavidC on 09-04-2007 05:42 PM
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Nadine
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The Soul

The Soul

I keep thinking of daemons as the person's soul and then realized I really don't know what a "soul" is, probably because it seems to mean different things to different people. This is nice brief definition from Wikipedia and probably the best working definition:

----------------------
The soul, according to many religious and philosophical traditions, is the self-aware essence unique to a particular living being. In these traditions the soul is thought to incorporate the inner essence of each living being, and to be the true basis for sapience. It is believed in many cultures and religions that the soul is the unification of one's sense of identity. Souls are usually (but not always as explained below) considered to be immortal and to exist before their incarnation in flesh.
-------------------------

The full story, if you really want to know: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul

I actually started wondering about this because the inhabitants of hell in Paradise Lost, of course, are all called demons and the palace they build is called Pandaemonium (in its British spelling) or Pandemonium. (Book 1) It just made me think of Lyra's daemon, Pantalaimon. I was wondering if there is some significance here.
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Nadine
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Re: The Down Side of Daemons


DavidC wrote:

Nadine wrote:
... Daemons not only reflected your true self but your station in life. If your daemon was a dog you were locked into the servant class. There is no way to change your situation in life and aspire to something else.





I understand the general point you're making in your post, but on this one thing above I want to disagree. I don't think it's quite that firm. Having a dog daemon wouldn't lock you into the servant class. But, as you've implied, an employee might not hire you unless you had one.

Anyway, dogs sometimes bite, or run off!

Message Edited by DavidC on 09-04-2007 05:42 PM




I see your point, David. I was taking a very simplistic approach to daemons as if they marked your station in life almost like a caste system. The idea of them being a soul might be too obvious and simple approach as well.

Though I had started reading your excellent book, I had not gotten too far into it yet. So I skipped ahead to your essay on Daemons. You do bring up ideas that had not occurred to me and added an interesting dimension to the idea of daemons. I like particularly the idea that the daemon help you grow toward wisdom and only "settles" in after you have passed the stage of innocence (which seems to be emerging as "ignorance" or maybe "ignorant bliss") and reach the maturity of wisdom or knowledge. And this seems to be emerging as the central theme of HDM--the "fall" from ignorance to wisdom.
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs

ConnieK,

I believe the daemon represents the other side of us...or what we need to be complete. By that definition, it would change from head to heart depending on where we need balance. When our hearts are driving us forward, it is that voice that reminds us to be logical and think our decisions through. When our head is forcing us to shy away from taking a chance, it is our heart reminding us that we can't live in our heads alone.

So, I guess to answer your question, I believe souls are both...mind, will, and emotions. As our guiding force, it would need all of the above to complete us...otherwise we would always be one extreme or the other. I believe the secret of life is balance...you can't work too much, but you can't play too much either...everything in moderation...everything in balance. If our souls are meant to help us achieve this balance, they would need to have all the necessary ingredients.



Shadow_Poet2--Thanks for these clear and helpful comments on daemons. I often have difficulty making decisions big and small, so your ideas about decision-making and the daemons caught my eye. I especially like when you speak about the heart saying one thing and the head another (this struggle seems to happen to me all the time!). In your view, which of those 2 might the daemon represent--the head or the heart? Or is it a bit of both, perhaps? Would a soul have both? What do you think?

~ConnieK
Renée

""I now view my long road as a search for truth in my own heart, in the world around me, and in the bigger questions of purpose and of existence. How does one define good and evil." --Drizzt Do'Urden
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Re: The Down Side of Daemons


Nadine wrote:...So I skipped ahead to your essay on Daemons. You do bring up ideas that had not occurred to me and added an interesting dimension to the idea of daemons. I like particularly the idea that the daemon help you grow toward wisdom and only "settles" in after you have passed the stage of innocence (which seems to be emerging as "ignorance" or maybe "ignorant bliss") and reach the maturity of wisdom or knowledge. And this seems to be emerging as the central theme of HDM--the "fall" from ignorance to wisdom.




Thanks - - I just want to say for people who don't have the full quotation that the idea about growing towards wisdom is Pullman's. (As are all the ideas in my book, really.)

You're right on target about the central theme.
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DavidC
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Re: Discussion Topic: Daemonic Designs



Shadow_Poet2 wrote:
I believe the daemon represents the other side of us...or what we need to be complete. By that definition, it would change from head to heart depending on where we need balance. When our hearts are driving us forward, it is that voice that reminds us to be logical and think our decisions through. When our head is forcing us to shy away from taking a chance, it is our heart reminding us that we can't live in our heads alone....



Your whole post is a great explanation in plain language of some of the ideas of William Blake that influenced Pullman!
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