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Lyra’s Parents

Part I - First Impressions Together.

It's tough to say if Marisa and Asriel loved each other. They both had the passion and child right? Well maybe there might be more on them then some thought. It's strange to think that maybe they are in love, because how selfish they both can be sometimes, that's true. John Faa and Farder Coram tell the story of Lyra's parents. Mrs. Coulter and Lord Asriel met at the Royal Arctic Institute, some time ago. They fell in love as soon as they met. Could they both be in love? Or was this one of Marisa's manipulate tricks to play off with someone when her husband wasn't around? Or did something happen to them both; like fall for each other in a romantic way of cheating? But they had a child and it wasn't Marisa's husband's but Asriel's.

We first see Lyra's parents together in the ending of The Golden Compass/Northern Lights. Lord Asriel has killed Lyra's best friend Roger to open up the new lands of different worlds. Lyra sees them together for the first time, she calls it more like cruelty then love. They both embrace so passionately together as their daemons would play in the snow. Does this look like lust? Maybe, and maybe not. But we can't tell yet for sure. They both talk about exploring the other worlds together and all sorts of other things, and they both kiss with much greed and passion. But the thing is Asriel wanted Marisa (We later learned Mrs. Coulter's name) to go with him, and try to build a republic of heaven. She refuses to go with him, and he goes off into the sky. She later cries (and her tears were real.) and leaves the top, Lyra watches her coldly and joins her father.

Part II - But is it Love?

If you think about it for a second, it seems to be love. It's a love that doesn't make sense. It's like putting something together without much dialogue. Well, their souls cannot resist each other, they kiss and they both just seem like its a power ride rather than the companion type of love. It's just the two of them don't realize that they do in fact love one another, but its like they cannot resist due to the fact that they don't see each other; instead, they see power and not the fulfillment of what love is in general. Marisa does learn later on what love is in 'The Amber Spyglass'; itís changed her into more of a human with as much fate as every one. She gets captured by Asriel's forces, in which Marisa just kept Lyra asleep and imprisoned in a cave where the Authority couldn't find the two of them. She cries and yells at the top of her lungs and says that Lyra was safe with her until Asriel had captured her.

Asriel talks mainly about the fact his daughter was a brat with dirty fingernails and he says that he could care nothing of Lyra. He talks how Lyra hasn't had a gift; instead, she was greedy, dishonest, impulsive and also not at all clever. Marisa disagrees telling him that she is clever, brave, generous, and loving. They both kept arguing back and forth on how their their daughter was (although Marisa eventually won). Asriel interrupts her by telling her that she was softened by Lyra, and how Lyra has been drawn by her poison. Marisa later spits in his face, which is very much what Lyra would have done.

We later see them together when Marisa was saved by Asriel. After we see she is sleeping on his bed. Wait! His bed? Did something happen? Or was it just kindness?. He was talking in another room and she moved in the bed. It was the sound of his voice over the particular words coming out. (The Amber Spyglass, pg - 340.) He walks into the room, after the speech was done with the other men. She awakes and gets up, and she asks him what will happen to them all. He is turning a map and not bothering to move a muscle. She asks him if anyone has heard of Lyra. Then she says one of the most shocking thing that she said to him yet. She says they both should have gotten married and raised Lyra as their own. (She loves him, it seems that she kind of has more of the loving feeling toward him then he shows her. She definitely shows her love for him. But as readers we kind of know he loves her too.)

Later is the last time we see them together, the last time we see two complex people together in this story. Marisa goes to Clouded Mountain where there dwells Metatron. Marisa manipulates, and lies to him by telling him that she was going to betray Lyra and Asriel altogether. She later sees Asriel and climbs down the mountain crying. (The thing I loved about this part of the story is how these two characters can show some love by their body language. He hugs and supports her like a gentleman and any kind of person would do to someone they care about. You can definitely see there is love between them there.) He holds her tight to his chest as she sobbed quietly, he asked what she told him. She told him she had lied to him by telling him she was going to betray him and Lyra. She said she loved Lyra, and wondered where that love had came from. He kissed her and she felt as light in his arms as when Lyra was conceived 13 years before. (The Amber Spyglass - Pg 362) He told her to go for him as his 'love'. She did and out of the open they both charged at Metatron with all their might fighting them with everything they had inside of them. They fought until Asriel was going to fall, and Metatron would escape.

He cried out her name as loud as he could she could hear the roar of his daemon beside her, she got up and hurled herself onto the angel, her daemon and her lover, with all bravery. Now I say this all the time, if she didn't love him or cared at all for him then she wouldn't have jumped, for Lyra, or him.

I say they were definitely in love Not at first but maybe.

Comments (17) — Add Yours

Now I’ve only read the first book and I see them in the vise grip of lust, but the passion for power in the early Marissa is much stronger than her romantic feelings for Asriel.  These people are for all basic purposes strangers to each other.  They don’t know each other.  How could they really love each other.  They have to take the time to get to know each other.

Lyra has had a childhood of abandonment, lies, and deciet.  The road ahead could be nothing but difficult.

# Posted by hippygrandmaida on 1:13, 11 January 2008

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They are just too complicated, I guess.

# Posted by Dark Fantasies on 3:10, 19 January 2008

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I think they think that they love eachother, but really are not IN love.

    Just an opinion

# Posted by insidewillperry on 23:49, 11 April 2008

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I see, what your saying. But if someone is in love they do love each other.

That is how I see it.

# Posted by Dark Fantasies on 12:36, 12 April 2008

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I think they are in love. Lust alone would be impossible if we see all they did with eachother through the series. Its also interesting to note how most love relationships in HDM end tragically

# Posted by KenBrasai on 18:07, 15 April 2008

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that was a fantastic essay

thank you

# Posted by stevenspritzer on 9:37, 15 May 2008

I completely agree with you, Hayley Anne. But I’d also like to add something—both Asriel and Coulter are very, very proud. Especially Asriel. Throughout the book, it becomes pretty clear that Asriel can say some rash, blunt things, especially when he was arguing with Mrs. Coulter about Lyra. In my opinion, he said those things because he was hurt that Mrs. Coulter didn’t follow him into the new world. He later then reveals that he lied about wanting to destroy dust (when his actual mission was to “preserve” it—and that he said that lie to persuade Mrs. Coulter to come with him.

And that’s just one example. To me it’s pretty clear that they were in love when they died together.

Actually, I’d take it a step further—they were most likely in love before then. Both are ambitious, powerful, intelligent, and total hot stuff. Those qualities attracted them to each other when they were young. But it was their opposing views on the Church and Authority (coupled with their stubborness) made them temporary “enemeies” after Lyra was born.

# Posted by goldwish on 5:15, 6 July 2008

Haha, yeah. Thank you for your opinion, I agree with you as well. =)

# Posted by Dark Fantasies on 1:07, 8 July 2008

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I think they both loved each other, but were exceptionally bad at showing it.  Lord Asriel strikes me as the kind of person who won’t admit to being wrong even when he knows he is.  This makes his relationships with Lyra and Mrs. Coulter (and everyone else) very strained and difficult.  Somewhere, in the deep bowels of the soul were true feelings hide from pride, Asriel loved her.

Mrs. Coulter is the same way.  She was not in a good relationship with her husband, so she went for Lord Asriel.  When Lyra complicated things, she had to turn on him to save face.

# Posted by Trillian on 4:40, 1 October 2008

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They really did love each other they might have not shown it but when they heard each other names they stared to feel the empty part in there hearts i think thats kinda cute

# Posted by marisa coulter 345 on 21:04, 24 December 2008

I think that they always loved each other, but Marisa was married and she just cared to have power, so she didn’t want to stay with Asriel, and after they had Lyra, she was so embarrassed, they she didn’t care more to Asriel nor to Lyra… but she still loved them, she was just too proud.

# Posted by misslyrabelacqua on 17:17, 7 September 2009

misslyrabelacqua's avatar

This will probably sound stupid but if all Marisa wanted was power, what good was having an afair with Asriel gonna do in the first place?
If she wanted that much power than she should have devoirced her huband and tricked Asriel in to marrying her. Not hard after all, she was gorgeus and every man fell for her.
That way she would have been
Lady Marisa Belacqua.
Thats just my veiws, sorry if they sound stupid

# Posted by Mrs_Heather_Asriel on 12:04, 22 September 2009

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The question is NOT “do they love each other”. The question really is “How does their love story reflect the core theme of the Dark Materials mythology?”

The beautiful arc of how Marisa & Asriel move, change, and grow to understand what loving each other means also parallels John Milton’s “Paradise Lost” and “Paradise Regained”.

Marisa & Asriel start by having an illicit affair based on sex, exposed by the conception and birth of a child that a married woman must hide from her husband and society. Parenthood brings out the best in Asriel; denied parenthood brings out the worst in Marisa. Only when Lyra is in contact with her mother does Marisa start to change; plot and action collide, creating situations and choices that transform and redeem Marisa, until her reunion with Asriel forces her to see precisely what it means to sacrifice Self in order to prove what’s really the most important in life: love. Paradise Regained, indeed. Asriel & Marisa as the first Adam & Eve (or Lilith!) set the stage for the New Eve—Lyra—to usher in a new creation.

# Posted by campylobacter on 19:28, 3 January 2010

I think they did, but they were always to proud to admit it out loud to each other and themselves

# Posted by Sayuri on 20:16, 19 January 2010

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lyra has had a child hood off hate mrs coulter hruts lyra lyra is so cute i want her to be loved not hated i love lyra she is so cute

# Posted by bisto-davey on 11:58, 14 July 2010

Just finished the Amber Spyglass..my opinion is they loved each other simply because they were the only two people who could handel each other. In the end in there final minutes of life they sadly seemed to find a bond that they spent so many years never seeing! So yes there love was not you average love but was still there.

# Posted by DragonRiderz77 on 0:21, 13 December 2010

I have only read the first book but i find it so enchanting and captivating with all the dust behind most of the war and PP is clever behind the love of Marisa and Lord Asriel.

# Posted by milena9milena on 18:55, 29 March 2012


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