Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Lyra Belacqua is a fictional character created by Philip Pullman and the heroine of the His Dark Materials trilogy. Lyra is a young girl who inhabits a parallel universe to our own. Brought up in the cloistered world of Jordan College, Oxford, she finds herself embroiled in a cosmic war between angels and a false deity called The Authority.
Lyra is the result of an illegitimate union between Lord Asriel and Marisa Coulter. She was brought up at Jordan College, with the Scholars, the Professors, and the Servants all acting as a sort of collective family. Lyra is an unruly child and often exasperates those who try to care for her, such as the Jordan housekeeper and her tutors. Though she receives little formal education she is quick-witted and canny, becoming a natural leader to the college children and the "townies" of Oxford in their intermittent conflicts with the gyptians and the children of the nearby claybeds. One of her closest friends is the kitchen boy Roger, and it is her bond with him that motivates most of the action in Northern Lights.
Lyra earns the name "Lyra Silvertongue" when she fools Iofur Raknison , the King of the Bears, by telling him that she is the daemon of Iorek Byrnison and that she is willing to change sides for the "strongest bear". Iofur, who is obessed with the idea of being human, especially owning his own daemon, follows Lyra's orders. Lyra meets up with Iorek and confesses to what she has done, thinking Iorek would reprimand her or punish her. To her surprise, Iorek readily forgives her and calls her "Lyra Silvertongue".
It transpires that Lyra's destiny is to be literally the second Eve, and fall into the temptation of the serpent, or Mary Malone. When Lyra does this, by falling in love with the other main protagonist of the series, Will Parry, the catastrophic destruction of Dust in the abyss is corrected and the universes start to work in harmony again. She is also destined to "bring an end to death", and she does this by leading the ghosts out of the world of the dead. However, to carry out this destiny, she must make a great betrayal. If Lyra were to know of this betrayal before she had to make it, then she would never act upon her destiny. Thus it is essential that she remain ignorant as she performs her quest.
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