RHCB | More Sites
More Sites
Random Buzzers
Random House
homeBooksThe AuthorMaterialsNewsletterPress

The Golden Compass

The Subtle Knife


Read an Excerpt

Reader’s Guide

Teacher’s Guide

Cast of Characters


The Liber Angelorum


The Amber Spyglass

Lyra’s Oxford

The Science of
Philip Pullman’s
His Dark Materials

The Subtle Knife: Glossary

The Authority: The Church's name for God in Lyra's world.

Angels: Also known as Watchers or bene elim are large winged creatures, human-like in form but whose bodies are made of light not flesh. Angels are ancient beings whose true form is composed of intelligence and feeling. They are able to see and pass through the invisible windows between the worlds.

Bloodmoss: Medicinal herb used to control bleeding and heal open wounds.

The Cave: Nickname for the computer at the Dark Matter Research Unit. From Plato, "Shadows on the Walls of the Cave."

Cittągaze: A haunted city in the world where Will and Lyra first meet. Cittągaze means, "city of magpies" named for birds that steal their food, just as the city's occupants have been stealing from other worlds for centuries.

I Ching: An ancient Chinese form of divination that Dr. Mary Malone uses to help her "read" and understand Dust particles.

Shadows: The same mysterious entity as the Dust of Lyra's world. Also known as Dark Matter this material is conscious matter.

Specters: Phantom-like beings that feed on the consciousness of grown-ups leaving them zombie-like and void forever after. Children are unable to see these hideous creatures.

The Subtle Knife: Also known as teleutaia makhaira, the last knife of all, or Ęsahęttr an object of extraordinary and devastating power with the ability to cut invisible "windows" that can be used as gateways between the worlds. There is nothing sharper - or more deadly.

Torre degli Angeli: The "Tower of Angels" in Cittągaze. Houses the Philosophers Guild, the keepers of the Subtle Knife.