The Animal Shaped, By The King Of The Gods

3906 WordsNov 10, 201416 Pages
Although the idea of daemons as animal-shaped, external companions found their full appeal in the worlds of His Dark Materials, the concept of daemons itself is far older. The word originates from the Ancient Greek daimon, which meant “god” or “guiding spirit,” aptly describing its role in ancient Greek mythology (Daimon, dictionary.com). Zeus, the king of the gods, assigned daemons as nameless protectors, guiding humans throughout their lives. As such, they served as guardian spirits with the status of lesser deities (Bruner, pages 15 – 16). In particular, one Ancient Greek philosopher, Socrates, mentioned daemons by name when he claimed that an inner voice often warned him against unwise decisions. He called this voice a “daimonion,”…show more content…
The following two books, The Subtle Knife in 1997 and The Amber Spyglass in 2000, add more layers of complexity to both the worlds of the novels and to the idea of daemons itself. Specifically, The Subtle Knife introduces the character of Will Parry and the object which lends its name to the title of the novel, as it could open windows to other universes. The Amber Spyglass, finishing the trilogy, reveals Will and Lyra’s eventual destiny as they transition from innocence and youth to maturity and experience. The story, while enjoyable for its lively characters and intriguing plot, also raises a deeper question: To what extent are daemons effective portrayals of human souls in Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials? Undeniably, daemons form perhaps one of the most appealing aspects of the trilogy. Souls have been a subject of human thought for much of history, as humans seek to better understand themselves and how they connect to the wider universe. Thus, the three novels, through daemons, allow readers to engage in this task and ponder questions of the soul, both within and outside of the books. The most popular form which this takes is the persistent question of wondering which form one’s own daemon would take, thereby discovering truths about one’s own identity. For example, concluding that one’s daemon is a tiger can suggest that the person is courageous and powerful, but also solitary and
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