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Lyra Silvertongue,legally known as Lyra Belacqua, is one of the main protagonists of the book trilogy His Dark Materials. She is the human partner of a daemon named Pantalaimon.

In the 2007 film adaptation, she was portrayed by Dakota Blue Richards, who also played Shirley Trewlove in Endeavour.

In the 2019-2022 TV Series His Dark Materials, she was portrayed by Dafne Keen, who also played X-23 in Logan.

Biography

Lyra lives in a multiverse that has many worlds. Her world is one in which everyone has a daemon. A daemon is the soul of a human, who accompanies him in the form of an animal.

Northern Lights / The Golden Compass

She was born as the daughter of Lord Asriel and Marisa Coulter. Both were secretly in love, but Marisa was already married, making Lyra an illegitimate child. To take her to safety, Lord Asriel took her to Jordan College, Oxford as a baby.

She spent her childhood at Jordan College and had some wild adventures with her friend Roger Parslow. At the time of the plot, she is about twelve years old. She believes that her parents were killed in an accident and considers Lord Asriel to be her uncle. When she sees that someone is trying to poison him and kill her, she warns him and smashes the poisoned jug of wine.

A short time later she learns that the gobblers, who are known to kidnap children, have kidnapped a child of the gyptians. The same evening, she realizes that her friend Roger is nowhere to be found and realizes that he has also been kidnapped.

A few days later, Marisa Coulter came to Jordan College. She contacted Lyra and told her about her exciting adventures, but did not tell her that she was her mother. Finally, she offered Lyra to live with her, and Lyra agreed. That same evening, the Master gave her an alethiometer and told her that she should never show it to Mrs. Coulter.

Lyra stayed with Mrs. Coulter for a few weeks. She had promised to take her to the far north where the gobblers who had kidnapped Roger and the other children were. However, when Lyra and Pantalaimon realized that Mrs. Coulter had betrayed them and the trip was not going to take place, they took an opportunity to escape. Previously, they had found out that Mrs. Coulter was the leader of the gobblers.

On their escape, Lyra again met the gyptians who were looking for their missing children. They hid them and traveled north together. She learned the truth about her parents from the gyptians. There she also learned for the first time to read the alethiometer. Something that actually takes years or even decades of study and experience.

As the journey progressed, Farder Coram, the gyptian leader, learned that Lyra was mentioned in a centuries-old witch prophecy and that she had a great task ahead that would affect the whole world. However, he decided not to tell her about it. Shortly afterwards they reached a town where a panserbjorne named Iorek Byrnison was held. Lyra can use the alethiometer to find out where this armor is. She reveals it to Iorek, but makes the promise not to kill anyone in the city beforehand.

Kaisa, the daemon of the witch Serafina Pekkala, told Lyra and the gyptians where to find the kidnapped children. In a station called Bolvangar because it's in the north. However, he only knew rumors of what was actually happening there. When Lyra suddenly sees another city in the Northern Lights, Kaisa tells her that the witches believe that there are millions of other worlds and that Lord Asriel wants to build a bridge there.

On the way, Lyra found a boy who had been separated from his daemon. It's a very gruesome process, and this boy didn't survive long. Then Lyra realizes that this is exactly what is done to the children in Bolvangar.

Over time, she becomes friends with Iorek Byrnison. The latter tells her that he was the king of the panserbjorne until Iofur Raknison betrayed him and tricked him to get the throne. Suddenly, however, the gyptians are attacked by tartars. There are several victims in the battle and Lyra is kidnapped by them.

In Bolvangar, Lyra meets the kidnapped children and her friend Roger. There she also sees other children who are separated from their daemons. Shortly before the same can be done to her, Mrs. Coulter, who is at this station, rescues her. Shortly thereafter, Mrs. Coulter tries to steal the alethiometer from Lyra. Lyra could outsmart her and flee from her again. No sooner had she escaped than she caused chaos so that she and the other children could flee. Outside, they were first stopped by soldiers, but quickly got help from the gyptians, witches, and Iorek Byrnison.

After the children were brought to safety, Lyra met Serafina Pekkala. Together with her, Roger and Iorek Byrnison, she traveled further north to Svalbard. In an attack, Lyra is thrown out of the balloon she was flying with. Other panserbjorne found her and captured her.

After a few hours in the dungeon, Lyra asked to be taken to Iofur Raknison because she had important information for him. Pretending not to be a human but a daemon, she made him fight Iorek Byrnison because then she would become his daemon, as she claimed. Iofur Raknison was defeated and Iorek Byrnison became king of the panserbjorne again.

At Lyra's request, he took her and Roger to Lord Asriel. Lyra thought at first that she should bring him the alethiometer, but Lord Asriel did not want it. Shortly afterwards, Lord Asriel kidnapped Roger and used him for an experiment to open the bridge between the worlds. Roger did not survive the experiment. Lyra was late to save her friend and just saw his body.

Finally she decided to go to another world via this bridge too.

The Subtle Knife

After a few days, Lyra finally reached the world of Cittagazze. There she found a completely deserted city and looked for something to eat. She met a boy of the same age, William Parry. At first they fought, but after they stopped fighting, Will gave her something to eat. She was confused at first because he didn't have a daemon, but quickly found out that he also had to come from another world, and just like she had come into this world. Lyra told him that she was looking for scholars and he offered to show her the window to his world.

At first they didn't understand each other and got into quarrels with each other several times. Eventually, however, they allied. They met other children who told them that the adults had left this city for a long time because there were terrible specters here that attacked the adults, but spared the children. After Will led her through the window into his world, he became angry when he realized that Lyra was not getting around in his world and that he would have to accompany her.

They finally separated at Oxford. Lyra met Lord Boreal but didn't know that he came from her world and that he had bad plans. Shortly thereafter, she also met Mary Malone, a scientist from Will's world. However, the alethiometer told her to go back to Will and help him find his long-lost father. Earlier, Lyra told Mary Malone that she was from a different world so that she could include her in her scientific research.

Lyra met Will again and saved him from two police officers. When they returned to the world of Cittagazze together, they saw several children abuse a cat. They saved the cat and the children realized that the two of them could not get out of their world.

A day later, Lyra returned to the world of Will to speak to Mary Malone again. But she was surprised by two agents who had been waiting for her. She was able to escape, helped by Lord Boreal, who took her to safety. But he stole the alethiometer from her. When Lyra met Will again, they sought out Lord Boreal together. The latter admitted the theft and called for a magic knife from the world of Cittagazze so that he would return the alethiometer to her.

In the world of Cittagazze, they broke into a tower where the magical knife bearer had been tied up and mistreated. A young man named Tullio had stolen the knife from him, but could not use it himself. There was a fight between Tullio, Will and Lyra that Will and Lyra could win. Tullio had to flee, but Will lost two fingers and passed out due to the loss of blood. Tullio didn't get far, the specters caught up with him and killed him. His two younger siblings couldn't help him. However, they swore Will and Lyra that they would kill them out of revenge.

After they released the bound man, he explained to them what the subtle knife was all about. Will had chosen it as its new carrier, and no one but Will would be able to use it. He showed Will how he could use this knife to cut windows into other worlds and then close them again. Will learned quickly, and he and Lyra decided to just steal the alethimoeter after the previous owner warned them not to leave the subtle knife to Lord Boreal.

Using the subtle knife, they broke into Lord Boreal's villa and took Lyra's alethiometer. Lyra saw Mrs. Coulter again, and realized that she and Lord Boreal must be allies.

The next morning they were back in the world of Cittagazze. They were hiding in a house when a group of fifty children suddenly attacked. They wanted to kill Will and Lyra for revenge for Tullio. Lyra and Will couldn't escape because Will was still very weak, so they just hid in a tower. But when the children attacked, Serafina Pekkala and other witches came to their rescue and saved them.

After the witches healed Will's wound, Will and Lyra became more friends, and both talked about what had happened to them. They finally went out in pairs to find Will's father. But in the mountains of Cittagazze, Mrs. Coulter kidnapped Lyra.

The Amber Spyglass

Lyra was held in a hidden cave while Mrs. Coulter drugged her. In this drug sleep, she dreamed of her late friend Roger. Will finally saved her, but the subtle knife broke on the run. Both went to see Iorek Byrnison, who would fix it again.

Lyra told Will that they should both go to the world of the dead because there was an important task for them. There she also met her friend Roger, who, like the other dead, was now a ghost. Lyra and Will negotiated with the harpies to free the spirits. Will used the subtle knife to cut a window into another world so that the spirits could leave the world of the dead and become one with the multiverse after telling the harpies the story of their lives.

After traveling the world in which Lord Asriel and his army fought the Metatron army, they found The Authority, which was trapped in a cage. Will destroyed the cage, thus killing The Authority. Then they traveled to the world of Mulefa, where they met Mary Malone again.

At that point, Will and Lyra had told each other that he was the best friend they ever had. But when Mary Malone told how she was in love for the first time, they realized what feelings they really had for each other. Both confessed their love to each other and kissed.

After spending a few days as lovers, some angels came to them. They told them that both had to return to their home worlds, as cruel as it would be to separate the two lovers. In addition, all windows that lead to the different worlds should now be closed, because only more spectres are created. In addition, the subtle knife should also be destroyed so that such a window could never be created again.

Lyra and Will were unhappy with this situation, but promised each other that they would meet again one day in the world of the dead and would never have to separate again. Both promised to sit on a park bench in the Oxford Botanic Garden, which existed in both worlds, one day a year, thinking of each other in order to feel close to each other again. After a last kiss, they parted and Will closed the window between their worlds.

Lyra had returned to Jordan College a few days later. There she told the Master that The Authority had been killed and that she wanted to build the Republic of Heaven.

Personality

Lyra is rebellious and unruly. She is independent and has lived a wild life as a child. Although she received little formal training, she is curious, smart, and quick-witted.

At the beginning of her adventures, Lyra is rather childish, restless, carefree and mischievous. However, as her character develops, she becomes a little more mature, serious and conventionally heroic.

Powers and Abilities

Lyra could read the alethiometer without formal training. This is unusual because someone actually have to spend many years or even decades studying the alethiometer. At the end of her adventure, she can no longer read the alethiometer. It is implied that the angels granted her this gift and later withdrew it after she had fulfilled her mission.

Lyra is a masterful liar. She can spontaneously invent complex and plausible lies. In the beginning, she only did it to avoid punishment or to entertain and deceive other children. But later she does it to save her life and that of others. She could even outsmart Iofur Raknison. Iorek Byrnison said that no one human had ever fooled a panserbjorne before.

Relationships

Will Parry

When Lyra meets Will for the first time, she immediately attacks him. They don't like each other, and they just negotiate that he shows her a window into his world. In the beginning they often have disputes. Eventually Will decides that Lyra should only use the alethiometer if he agrees. Lyra actually wants to go separate ways at this point, but the alethiometer tells her to help him so that the two of them have to stay together.

After the battles against Tullio, Lord Boreal and the children of Cittagazze, they gain sympathy for one another. Because they had to rely on each other and stand up for each other, it welds them closer together. They tell each other about their life and their deeds.

Later, Lyra sincerely takes care of Will. And when Lyra is kidnapped, it is more important for Will to save and free her than to bring the subtle knife to Lord Asriel. When they meet Iorek Byrnison again, Lyra explains that Will is the best friend she has ever had, and he looks at her the same way.

During their adventures that lead them into the world of the dead, the two touch on different occasions in a way that requires a great deal of familiarity. But only when they meet Mary Malone again in the world of Mulefa do they realize that they love each other. They touch each other's daemon, a deeply intimate touch, and the daemons then take on their final shapes.

When the angels tell them that they have to separate, it is a terrible moment for both of them, because they have found true love in one another and do not want to separate from each other at first. The only consolation they swear is to see each other again in the world of the dead one day, and until then to sit on a park bench in the Oxford Botanic Garden each year on a specific day, which exists in both worlds so that they can feel close to each other.

Love is the only thing that the subtle knife cannot cut through. The first time it broke because Will thought of his mother. When he tries to break it again, the thought of his mother is no longer enough. Only the thought of Lyra makes it break, which proves that Will's love for Lyra is much greater than that for his mother.

Later, many years later, Lyra says that Will is still the center of her life and that she thinks of him every day.

Trivia

  • Lyra got her name Silvertongue from Iorek Byrnison because she was the first human to outsmart a panserbjorne. In a dispute with her father Lord Asriel, she tells him that he should no longer call her Lyra Belacqua, but Lyra Silvertongue, because this name is from a person who really loves her. In fact, she always introduces herself as Lyra Silvertongue. Her legal name is probably still Lyra Belacqua.
  • A common theory among readers is that Will and Lyra had sexual intercourse with each other after discovering their love for one another. What they do exactly when they are together is vaguely described, and several hints and phrases make no other sense in this context. While many fans thought it was good, it was heavily criticized by other readers. But the author Pullman claimed in later interviews that he only described how the two kiss. Everything else is left to the imagination of the reader.
  • Her first name comes from a hymn book collection called Lyra Davidica, which the author Pullman liked. Only later did he realize that Lyra is not the real name of a person. But because Lyra Silvertongue has become so popular as a book heroine, Lyra has now become a real first name given to real girls.
  • She is described as blonde in the books several times, but the actress she plays in the series is dark-haired.
  • While Lyra is the main heroine of the first volume of the trilogy, she shares the role of the main hero in the second and third volumes with Will Parry. Feminist readers criticized this because they felt that Lyra was giving Will the dominant role.
  • The tragic romance of Will and Lyra was so popular among fans of the book series that some of them drove to the real Oxford Botanic Garden, where they painted Lyra x Will with graffiti on the benches.
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