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Philip Pullman’s “The Golden Compass” Quotes (17 Quotes)


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  • Symbols and emblems were everywhere. Buildings and pictures were designed to be read like books. Everything stood for something else; if you had the right dictionary, you could read Nature itself. It was hardly surprising to find philosophers using the symbolism of their time to interpret knowledge that came from a mysterious source.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • We are all subject to the fates. But we must act as if we are not, or die of despair.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • We are all subject to the fates. But we must all act as if we are not, or die of despair...death will sweep through all the worlds; it will be the triumph of despair, forever. The universes will all become nothing more than interlocking machines, blind and empty of thought, feeling, life...
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • When he'd sworn at her and been sworn at in return, they became great friends.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • When you live for many hundreds of years, you know that every opportunity will come again.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")


  • You cannot change what you are, only what you do.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • You don't read it in the sense of reading a message; it doesn't work like that. What's happening is that the Shadows are responding to the attention you pay them.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • Half a dozen brats turned with expressions of derision, and Lyra threw her cigarette down, recognizing the cue for a fight. Everyone's daemon instantly became warlike: each child was accompanied by fangs, or claws, or bristling fur, and Pantalaimon, contemptuous of the limited imaginations of these gyptian daemons, became a dragon the size of a deer hound.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • You speak of destiny as if it was fixed.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • Human beings can't see anything without wanting to destroy it. That's original sin. And I'm going to destroy it. Death is going to die.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • If a witch needs something, another witch will give it to her. If there is war to be fought, we don't consider cost one of the factors in deciding whether or not it is right to fight. Nor do we have any notion of honor. An insult to a bear is a deadly thing. To us...inconceivable. How could you insult a witch? What would it matter if you did?
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • If there is a war to be fought, we don't consider cost one of the factors in deciding whether or not to fight.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • In fact, these possibility collapses happen at the level of elementary particles, but they happen in just the same way: one moment several things are possible, the next moment only one thing happens, and the rest don't exist. Except that other worlds have sprung into being, on which they did happen.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • Lonely? I don't know. They tell me this is cold. I don't know what cold is, because I don't freeze. So I don't know what lonely means either. Bears are made to be solitary.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")

  • Lyra has never seen such a sight, never heard such a bellow; it was like a mountain laughing.
    (Philip Pullman, "The Golden Compass")


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