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Dust is a cosmic computer.
More or less. Dust is a cosmic computer that came about from emergence, and its "programming" determines the physics of any particular universe. It's also "in" "the bulk" (M-Theory).

Dust is God, and the Authority was Lucifer.
Hey. It makes sense, sort of. It was based on the biblical dust that Adam and Eve was formed of; therefore, it can be said to have made us. It's also everywhere, it's conscious, it prefers some people and not others.

The Subtle Knife is based on Death's Scythe.
Specifically, the Death of Discworld's scythe, which is sharp enough to sever the connection between a person and their corpse after death, sharp enough to glow from the thaums being split on its edge, and sharp enough to cut through the 4th wall, slicing into the very words on the pages. Somebody tried sharpening a knife made of special alloys over and over, until it was sharp enough to cut the boundary between worlds.
  • They sharpened it with spider silk. And sunlight.

The Abyss isn't just a void.
Or, if it is, it wasn't always.

One possibility: It's a universe that was entirely consumed by the Specters.

The Abyss is the Abyss from Mage: the Awakening.

The Angels are the humans who invaded the Supernal and became the Exarchs and Oracles; in doing so, they lost their bodies. The rebel Angels are the Oracles; the Authority is run by the Exarchs. Lord Asriel is a member of the Silver Ladder, invading heaven to set up an anthrocentric cosmos.


The people who are left in the wrong universe when the Oracles close all the gates that pass through the Abyss don't all die; just their flesh dies. They Ascend and become the rulers of the reality that they're stuck in.

Narnia and our world (the Earth the "Friends of Narnia" inhabit) are also part of the Multiverse.
Dust is also the key to traveling between worlds in Narnia's multiverse, as discovered by Andrew Ketterly in The Magician's Nephew.
  • Making agent of the Authority? Or Tash? Or both?
  • But in HDM verse it's just as impossible to tell the true reason for existence as in the Real Life - the closest implication is that the Dust is God, or God's remains. Aslan ofcourse could be a limited creator with some delusions of grandeur over his role in the grand scheme of things...
  • Aslan is the Daemon of all of the Dust hive mind entity combined, obviously. Making him not a true creator, but a reflection of Dust as a whole.
  • Isn't it obvious? Aslan is Metatron. Why do you think Narnia's stuck at medieval tech level? In Narnia individual thought and initiative are discouraged in favor of trust in Aslan and doing exactly what he says. While the people opposing Aslan might be morally questionable, they all share one common characteristic: they don't want to live in a world where Aslan makes the rules. And at the end, Aslan leads everyone to a place which those who are on his side believe is Heaven and everyone else thinks is their doom. That is, of course, the world of the dead, where everyone remains until Will and Lyra arrive to lead them out.
    • What if it isn't a bad thing that Narnia, Archenland and Calormen are stuck at medieval level? Would you trust any of them with nukes? Then we'd have Fallout: Narnia...
    • Narnia's first king was a cab driver from the early 19th century and his wife who became queen. Their descendants ruled for about 800-900 years until Jadis took over and put Narnia in a deep freeze. The Pevensies were the next human rulers who were WWII kids and teens who ruled for about 30 or so years until they left. Narnia was then left without a human ruler for hundreds of (possibly around 800-1,000) when the descendants of pirates and Polynesian women came to power. No one from our world knew of "atomcraft" or anything of how to make modern day (to them) technology from scratch. The talking animals didn't care about that kind of technology.
  • The Authority was a liar and poser; Aslan is the true Creator. Which does give him genuine Authority over the universe he created! Tash could be an agent of The Authority, though...
    • Why would creating something give you authority over it? Sentient beings, no matter who they're created by, have every right to self-determination.
    • ...Because when you make something you own it... Unless you sell it or give it away. Which He says He didn't.
    • ... you can't own people.
    • Also, children have self determination. They also have parental authorities.
  • But the afterlife in Narnia is a paradise, and the afterlife in His Dark Materials is a shithole and it was stated that ALL souls from all the worlds go there good or evil.
    • But it's also stated that the devout delude themselves into believing it's paradise anyway. So those dwarves in The Last Battle were the only ones who saw the truth!
      • I doubt it; the Dwarves thought they were trapt in a caban. That's way different from the World of the Dead in His Dark Materials.
      • There's this amazing thing called individual perception. Some morons think they're in Heaven, some morons think they're in a cabin.
      • What if all the depicted afterlives in the multiverse are real, and you only get sent to the HDM afterlife if there isn't one in your world?

"Baby" Dæmons are formed through Hot Skitty-on-Wailord Action.
The fact that Dæmons are incarnate spirits rather than normal animals makes this theory a little easier to take. In Lyra's world, as two humans have sex and concieve a child, so their Dæmon counterparts concieve that child's Dæmon. Said Dæmon may even be born from a Whale Egg or something as the child is born. There is a scene late in the first novel and a small scene in the second novel that comes ascloseasthis to stating this outright. (Personally, I am hoping this will be Jossed in The Book Of Dust.)
  • Then do we really want to know what's up with that one servant guy in the first book who's Dæmon is male?
    • He's obviously gay. Or at least, transexual.
      • Word of God, IIRC, is that having a same-gendered Dæmon says something about one's sexuality, but he's not sure what. My speculation is that it might be a sexual orientation that we Dæmonless people don't have: maybe a man with a male Dæmon is only attracted to women with female Dæmons. Or to either gender, as long as they have a same-gender Dæmon. Or something.
      • Eh, my theory is that they are attracted to their sex, thus making a childless (personless?) Daemon. Or that's what I immediatly thought when I saw this WMG
      • It would make the most sense for same-gendered Dæmons to be a sign of being transgender, because Dæmons are the animus or anima of a person, the opposite gender of a person's mental gender: Dæmons of the same gender of a person's body are a clear sign that their physical gender does not match their mental gender.

  • What about rape? Does the rapist's dæmon also rape that of the victim? If not, is it therefore impossible to conceive a child through rape in Lyra's world?
  • If this were the case it would absolutely require a father to be present at birth. Think about it, Asriel's snow leopard couldn't give birth to Pan in the arctic while Coulter is giving birth to Lyra in England. In fact to take it even further to a logical conclusion it would probably mean the two parents can't go far from each other at all during pregnancy in fear of killing the gestating daemon and baby by separating them.

There is a Scientific Explanation for Dæmons.
We know that they have some relationship to Dust. We know that Dust is especially attracted to humans and their activities. Dust in turn has some form of sentience and awareness. So Dæmons are colonies of Dust that have, over the eons, formed a symbiotic relationship with humans. One so strong that, while a Dæmon is not literally his counterpart's soul, he might as well be. The colonies of Dust also gained human-like intelligence thanks to this relationship. This helps explain the Shapeshifter Baggage issue, the eating issue, the Not-Quite-Furry-Confusion-But-Similar Dæmons vs. domestic animals and pets issue, and (perhaps most importantly, for our sanity) the baby Dæmon issue: the latter simply form out of the Dust attracted by the newborn human.
  • Isn't this Jossed by what we see of Mary and Will's Daemon's? Will's is literally ripped out of his body and Mary can see hers despite never going to Lyra's world - although Daemon's bodies could reasonably be made of Dust - that's what they turn into when their human dies.
    • Not sure how it's Jossed. The book never says that Dust isn't present in our World, and the colonies of Dust just never coalesced into physical forms in our World. Doesn't Lyra say something after meeting Will that he must have a Dæmon that she can't see?
    • Actually, Dust is clearly present in our world. Lyra finds it on trepanned skulls in a museaum, and Mary's team detected it on carved wood.

None of the divination tricks really work.
Every possible outcome of every chance event exists in some Universe. When Mary Malone casts the I Ching, most versions of her get useless results, but the story only follows the version who gets an answer that makes sense. Ditto for the Navajo ring which supposedly brings Lee Scoresby to Will's father and the alethiometers themselves. When the story reaches a satisfactory conclusion, this doesn't matter anymore, so we start following a version of Lyra who doesn't get answers from her alethiometer. Naturally, she believes that it's the alethiometer which has stopped working, when in fact the needle was always just spinning at random.
  • That doesn't really work, considering that we never actually see any alternate universe counterparts for anyone. In the entire multiverse, there is only one Lyra Belacqua and one Mary Malone. The reason they were able to work was because the Dust was specifically guiding them to act out their roles, and such divinatory methods were the only way to communicate to them. That ring worked differently, because John Parry cast some sort of spell to bring Lee Scoresby to himself.
    • There is at least one reference to a person in Lyra's universe that also existed in ours: John Calvin, who in Lyra's world became Pope.

If what the books say about the multiverse and imagination is taken into account, then EVERY SINGLE fictional universe actually exists!
Think about it, the whole "imagination and dreaming is a way to make contact with alternate realities" can only mean that.
  • The idea is both awsome and sucky at the same time. Awsome, all our wildest imaginations exist in some form or another as real universes. Sucks, we'll never be able to have contact with them. This theory is looked at with more consequence in the Inkheart trilogy.
    • There's nothing "sucky" about that. That's what we have imaginaaaaaaaaaaation for!
    • If it contains every single fictional universe, HDM's multiverse contains South Park. Therefore, it contains Imaginationland. Since Imaginationland is all fictional universes put together, it contains HDM's multiverse. Therefore, we have a recursive multiverse.
    • It also means that there is a universe in which the heros fail, and The Kingdom of Heaven defeats Asrial.

Lord Asriel is Jesus.
No, really!From his perspective, the whole plot of the first book is, "Suffer the little children to come unto Me." Right? And then, in the third book, we find out that Metatron is the ascended version of Enoch, whose desire for the solidity of human flesh is driving him psycho (and makes him easy prey for Mrs. Coulter). Given his sleazy libido, Metatron is basically Sin with wings, and Lord Asriel dies in defeating him. Get that? Lord Asriel dies to save the world from Sin! Stretching this really far, you could say that the reason the Church in the trilogy isn't a warm and fuzzy organization is because the books describe a timeline in which Christianity never diverged from the Old Testament fire-and-brimstone business, and it had to take a Heroic Sacrifice to set things right. . . .
  • You. Are. A. Genius.
    • Seconded.
  • You know what that means? Marisa Coulter is Mary Magdalene!
  • Woah. Whoah. WOAH. Call Pullman immediately, he must comment! Once again, genius emerges from WMG.
  • Metatron runs the Church which condemns lust so his "sin" isn't lust but hypocrisy and self-denial.
  • Intriguing, but isn't "Asriel" supposed to be the reference of a fallen angel/the angel of death/Satan himself? HDM is pretty much A Child's Guide to Gnosticism 101 already, so the Authority is supposed to be an malevolent version of the Old Testament God, but to make Asriel be Jesus AND a fallen angel seems a bit much.
    • Hmm...Azriel is the Angel of Death, no? The one who killed the Egyptian firstborn and so on. There may be dozens of versions of the same figure, though.
    • In any case, it does make quite a bit of sense in the Gnostic context where the Old Testament God was seen as evil, but Jesus seen as the good Bringer of Light (remember the Latin word for that?).
    • Pullman has promised to deal with the Jesus-issue in his future book set in Lyra's world. Maybe it'll illuminate the matters a bit.
    • Also, the book ain't a child's guide to anything. (Just had to be said.)
  • Pullman seems to believe that Jesus Was Way Cool (see The Good Man Jesus, the Scoundrel Christ) so this is possible.

Lord Asriel Has the Power to Summon Things, But Only Once
In book two, Ruta Skadi speaks admiringly of Lord Asriel and all he's accompliced. She thinks that he bends time to his will, and says that he's able to bring, or summon what he needs from all over the world. As a matter of fact, most of Book One is the effect of him "summoning" Lyra to bring Roger to him - a child whom he needs to split open the sky. Lyra can't explain exactly what she's supposed to do or give to her father, she just knows she has to see him and help him. After Book One, she appears to be more or less indifferent to him, even though in Book Three he's expounding all his resources to retrieve her. Why doesn't he summon her again? Because the summoning only works once. After that one time, he has to work on keeping what he has summoned by him. He unwittingly spent the one chance to call her to him (and got Distracted by the Coulter, and now has to try and make everyone else bring her to him.
  • That would explain why he was so horrified when he saw Lyra arrive in the North: he thought that she was the child he needed to split open the sky, and was unwilling to sacrifice his own daughter.

Daemons are a metaphor for the inner self
Think about it: Children have not yet settled on their future personalities so their daemons can change form, people touching someone else's daemon is a taboo, since it implies that their minds are being tampered with and daemons fight and play with each other due to conversations causing people to get to know another person's inner self. Children separated from their daemon also lose their personalities, and die quickly (lack of activity in the brain). It is implied that the people of Will's world still have daemons, and possibly that every conscious being has one, again relating to the idea that they represent someone's true personality.
  • ... Wasn't it obvious?
    • That was a joke. I hope...

Daemons don't die when their human does.
They go to the world of Alera where they attune their selves to nature or new people, transforming into elemental Furies.
  • ORLY

Xaphania is still loyal to Authority and Metatron
Upset at her side's loss she arrived to the children in order to try and force a happy end into a bittersweet one, mostly by shutting down completely viable ideas.
  • This actually seems viable. She's given very little character development, but we're supposed to trust her as dearly as we'd trust anyone. Hmm....
  • So, given that she was in Asriel's side, this would make her The Mole? Sounds interesting...
  • So she might have been lying? "We calculated the loss of Dust through the hole into the Abyss, and it's exactly enough to let us keep that one one escape hatch you carved and nothing else. And you can't survive near as long as Parry in a world that isn't your own, just to remind you that it's all unnatural, going to be lethal if you try, *boogaboo*. So go home, right now, we'll, uh, have angels seal up all the other portals for you so you don't have an excuse to hang around Ci'gazze. Unless you want to make these people eternally damned. No? Thought so. ([aside]Heh, a guilt trip always works.[/aside])"
    • She was somewhat maverick in her intentions. She really was in favor of Dust being preserved, and therefore fewer windows, but her remaining loyalty to the Authority and Metatron gave her an urge to avenge them on Lyra and Will.
    • Yes. This would explain why she goes through a long speech about how Dust isn't a fixed quantity, but rather, dependent on good works and happiness. Then, she states that despite there being many leaky openings and the world not grinding to a halt, Lyra and Will can leave only one door open, no ifs, ands, or buts. They can't leave TWO doors open and be extra nice.

Intercision will be perfected accidentally via an overdose of electricity and become known as Delightfulization.
...Successfully depriving a person of their individuality without killing them but turning them into a soulless zombie obedient to all authority... designed chiefly for use on kids.

There is a reasonably practical alternative to the Subtle Knife that takes slightly less than "a lifetime" to get the hang of.
Sentimental reasons aside, the way this possibility was Jossed and the resulting Downer Ending added nothing to the book except either a very Broken Aesop... or a Sequel Hook.
  • Please explain

Balthamos and Baruch were the only pairing to have a happy ending
Think about it. Angels are made of Dust, right? And Dust tends to condensate, otherwwise there would be no angels, right? Also, the third book implies that, after human souls leave the shithole that The Nothing After Death is their ghosts, as they disperse as atoms across the universes, reunite with their daemons and loved ones, so it isn't too far fetched that Balthamos and Baruch reuniated after dying and having their Dust particles spread everywhere. The same will probably happen to Mrs Coulter and Lord Asriel though, if they actually die
  • That does seem likely, though then pretty much everyone who died had a happy ending and not just those two angels. Unless those attacked by specters lost the ability to "scatter" after death. The other exceptions possibly being Mrs Coulter, Lord Asriel, and Metatron. The way the abyss seems to work is that since they fell into it they actually sacrificed themselves in a meaningful manner, because their particles and dust are trapped or erased in the abyss and unable to return to the material universes in order to scatter peacefully. Making that a face worse than death. Unless by going into the abyss together they get a similar result of reuniting just between the two of them.
And the Metron.

Baruch is named after Baruch Spinoza
The guy who regularly critizised the Church and had a concept of God similar to Pullman's Dust? Sounds like someone Pullman would give a Shout-Out to.

Willing intercision subjects are less severely harmed by the severing than unwilling ones.
Willing subjects who have been severed from their daemons are able to live fairly normal lives, be it without any imagination or ability to question the world around them, while those who have been forced through the process tend to be virtually demolished by the procedure.
  • That would seem to explain why adults in the service of The Church are so high-functioning after intercision. The nurses at Bolvangar and Mrs. Colter's soldiers can do their jobs, where as Tony Costa was in a state of psychosis.
    • There was the possibility that the nurses were the result of the Intercision being made in adults, when their inner self has aready fixated so they know what mindset to stick to and no go just souless.

The Intention Craft is based on Psychoframe/Psycommu technology Asriel picked up from the universe of Mobile Suit Gundam
Asriel had many highly skilled engineers from many worlds at his disposal didn't he? Who's to say some former Mobile Suit and Mobile Armor technicians from the Universal Century universe didn't rework newtype mobile weapon technology to take advantage of the physical daemons present in Asriel's homeworld.
  • Rule of Cool: the Intention Craft was created by Char Aznable, who had memorized all the necessary data and ended there with Amuro at the end of Chars Counterattack. Then Char and Amuro, being the freaking Red Comet and the one who defeated him, made their daemons physical to start using the Intention Crafts, and devastated the Kingdom's army in the battle.
  • Does this also mean that Lyra is a Newtype?

Will and Lyra will meet again
This troper always thought that the reasons for separating the protagonists were a little contrived. However, if you look closely there is a way they can be together. The angel tells them there is a way of traveling between universes but it could take "a lifetime" to learn. However, she mentions earlier (not to Will and Lyra) that they have become like witches. The time they spent in the underworld away from their Daemons "stretched" their connections. It's conceivable that this granted them other witch-traits including longevity. While it will take a human lifetime to learn how to travel to each other's worlds, once they do they may have several more lifetimes to spend together.
  • Guys can't become witches in this world, otherwise the males of Witch-Human relations would go through the same training as witches. It could (But I highly doubt it) mean that Lyra gets this power, but less likely Will...will. She'll live long after he dies and she will know it.
    • Other worlds than Lyra's have male witches, and Serafina says that Will is categorically a witch in the same way as Lyra. Serafina herself says she doesn't know exactly how it'll work, but she's willing to roll with it.
  • I agree. There may be other ways to travel between worlds, especially if we imagine that every fictional work has their own universe (or multiverse) — and there are definitely plenty of fictional works that contain travel between worlds. Even the Narnia series could be compatible with His Dark Materials. I would be interested in reading crossover fanfic between the two series.
    • Like Planeswalking? An MTG/HDM crossover fic would be awesome beyond belief.
    • I think Philip Pullman might die if this happened, but seconded.
      • Die nothing, he'd explode in a matter/antimatter reaction. Also, given Aslan's genuine messianic and divine reality-warping traits- traits far beyond what we see from The Authority- the question would be raised as to why The True Creator behind Aslan never did anything about those angelic imitators wandering the multiverse.
  • Alternate Theory: The angels can travel through worlds, and Will and Lyra have met several angels by now. Surely one of them might be willing to ferry them to each other's worlds on occasion? I mean, these two basically saved the world.

Mrs. Coulter is Ann Coulter.
  • She's called Marisa by once-lovers Dinesh D'Souza and Andrew Stein Lord Boreal and Lord Asriel several times throughout the series, and towards the end is painted far more sympathetically than Ann Coulter could ever hope to be.
  • This would explain why—after seeing Nicole Kidman play Mrs. Coulter—Philip Pullman said, "You sometimes are wrong about your characters. She's blonde. She has to be."
    • This troper's personal WMG: Philip Pullman made that up, Mrs. Coulter is in fact always intended to be dark-haired, but the simple fact is that when you get Nicole Kidman in your movie you don't complain.

Angels are actually Time Lords
Their 'imagination' way of traveling that seems insufficient to Lyra and Will actually works better for the angels. Because they're Time Lords.

Witches are renegade Time Lords
That's why they live so long; they can regenerate. You can 'become' a witch by loosening the link between yourself and your daemon, i.e. becoming a free spirit. The real reason that Lyra and Will aren't full witches is because they weren't Time Lords in the first place. Witches' cloudpine branches are their TARDISes.

His Dark Materials takes place in Magic: The Gathering's Multiverse.
The events of His Dark Materials take place during the Time Spiral block, where vast imbalances of power due to the many near-godlike Planeswalkers caused rifts in the Multiverse that threatened to destabilize all of reality. The consequences for the realms affected were varied: in the case of the collection of universes where His Dark Materials took place, they suffered from the slow drain of Mana (or "Dust"), resulting in the withering of life and sentience. Contributing to this problem was the Subtle Knife, a device that allows non-Planeswalkers to travel between worlds via creating rifts. The Guild of Cittagaze used this to build up their wealth and power, but the Specters it released were their downfall. (These Specters may or may not be related to the Specters of other universes, such as Hypnotic Specter and others.)

The Authority was a very powerful Planeswalker, possibly a protege of Serra's, who went insane and attempted to become like Serra, building a facsimile of Serra's Realm (The Clouded Mountain), creating his own army of angels-slash-Elementals, and attempting to subjugate worlds to his "benevolent" rule. At some point, he went insane and was overthrown by his own creation, Metatron— who was probably a very powerful mage given the privilege of becoming one of the Authority's angels. The Authority's defeat and subsequent sealing turned him into a raving vegetable, allowing Metatron to go about consolidating the Kingdom of Heaven's power by inspiring Corrupt Churches everywhere to work in subtle ways towards his goal of subjugating The Multiverse to his will while exploiting the rifts to gather a multiversal army. Asriel, seeing evidence of a conspiracy on his world, immediately planned to create La Résistance, and hit upon using the energy of a human being's soul to create a rift where the fabric of reality was weakest: the Aurora Borealis. Once that was done, he began gathering forces from every corner of the Multiverse (explaining the variety of creatures and machines in his army).

Lyra and Will were caught in the middle of this great multiversal war, although they did not realize what exactly was at stake until the very end, where the concept of the rifts was explained to them. As the Planeswalkers gave up their sparks in the Mending, Will and Lyra gave up the ability to be together and travel the worlds in exchange for removing the capability to create new rifts (and thus, making the Multiverse safe again) by destroying the Subtle Knife. However, there is a silver lining in all of this: the time they spent in the world of the dead may have brought them on the edge of awakening as Planeswalkers (substituting the single, traumatic moment that causes the Spark to ignite with a slow, painful process— tearing away their daemons and spending time without a piece of their soul— that drastically increases the chances of their Sparks igniting) meaning eventually, they will be together. All they have to do is find that moment of truth... and then, find each other.

But when you're a Planeswalker, the last part is almost trivial.

Oh, and the Amber Spyglass? It's an improvised Prismatic Lens.

  • Thus the great question is...are the evil angels in the series pure White, or are they like Ravnica's Orzhov?
    • Probably Monowhite, although W/B is not out of the question— especially with Metatron. The Rebel Angels are possibly W/R.

The Subtle Knife will return
I'm not exactly sure which law of physics this is, but I remember that "matter cannot be created or destroyed, only changed". MEANING that, somewhere and sometime in the multiverse, the Subtle Knife, which is pretty much made of Dust, which is TECHNICALLY matter, will once again be created. And someone will use it, and we will have the setting for the greatest crossover fanfic of all time.
  • It was repaired once, and Will does save all the pieces at the end of the books...

Mrs. Coulter is either a witch or has witch blood in her family line
That is, she's not a witch herself, but her father might be witch born or something similar. She is mentioned several times during the first book to have a sort of 'presence' which seems to manifest itself as 'an anbaric force like heated metal' that ends up causing a reporter (Adele Starminster) to almost faint. She's also cold, cruel and hates Lord Asriel because he doesn't return her love, just like witches act towards people they love. This could also explain why Lyra is so special or influential herself, as Ma Costa tells her 'You've got witch oil in your soul. Deceptive is what you are.', hinting at something else she sees within Lyra.

The world of the Dead...
...Isn't where the souls of all the dead from all the universes go. It's a theoretical world where "what if all the souls of the dead reunited in one place," because the number of worlds is infinite so such a place must exist. But if somebody from some random universe dies, he or she will not actually end up there. Unless he or she pictures exactly that world at the time of their death and believes that's what will happen.

Daemon's Gender
A daemon's gender doesn't actually settle until it settles in form. It wouldn't make sense for an adolescent's daemon to be able to change into any creature it wants, but only males or only females of any species. Until a daemon settles, people just refer to it as the opposite gender of the human since that's how it commonly turns out. Going along with the theory of same-sex daemons belonging to LGBT individuals, this would also make more sense since you don't know your sexuality before hitting puberty just as you don't know what kind of person you are.
  • I'm just wondering about asexuals, they probably have same-gender daemons to...

The history of Lyra's World
  • There never was a Russian Empire. This is why the text refers to Muscovy in some places and Russia in Once Upon a Time in the North- clearly the area is undergoing a bit of Balkanize Me.
  • The ancient Viking colonies in the Americas became viable and survived into the present day, explaining why there is a New Denmark and New Danes.

Lyra and Will's story was only ever a B-Story, and the real plot of the rejuvenation of Dust would have happened with or without them.
The Meddling Kids Are Useless.

...well, okay, they ended the imprisonment in the World of the Dead. There's no way to argue that wasn't thanks to them. They definitely were the heroes of that story.

But I don't think they were responsible for the final restoration of Dust.

Dust is produced by everyone's conscious thought and emotion; it is a sort of cosmic conglomeration of the average conscious thought throughout the multiverse. It is based on the average of the big picture. I just don't believe that the Power of Love between two children was powerful enough to fix everything everywhere, nor that it was the most true and pure love anywhere.

It is made clear through implications throughout the story, which get spelled out near the end, that the leaving of Dust is for two reasons - the instability of the multiverse and the gaps between the worlds drawing it out of the worlds, and the repression of conscious thought and emotion through all the worlds weakening it.

It is a large-scale thing, and so there is no way two meddling kids could overturn the effect of entire worlds on it.

What really happened - and it's clearly visible in subtext - is that even as Lyra and Will's story is drawing to its climax, and they are reclaiming their Daemons, the Republic of Heaven is kicking the shit out of the Kingdom in a multiversal battle. Yes, Lyra and Will then kill the Authority - who had no effect on the battle, and was going to die sooner or later anyway. Asriel and Coulter assassinate Metatron, effectively assassinating the leaders of both sides - but it is logical to conclude that Republic would likely recover easier from the loss due to its more split command tree. The Republic's forces then defeat the Kingdom's, which I believe would suffer realistic effects from being a Decapitated Army, based on the tone of the book so far - they wouldn't immediately give up or break, but the lack of leadership would take its toll in confusion, especially for troops trained not to think for themselves, as the Authority's would be.

Bottom line: The Republic defeats the Kingdom on three fronts - the Kingdom has its military defeated, has its true leadership assassinated (at the cost of only part of the Republic's leadership), and has its figurehead leader "assassinated". Lyra and Will only help with the least important one.

As such - and there is a line at the end of the book which clearly implies that, saying the Church is losing power in every world - the Authority and the Kingdom's influence on free thought wane, restoring Dust across every world. It is then implied that Xaphania and her Angels, and perhaps some of the other remnants of the Republic, would start repairing the multiversal instability.

As such, both of the large-scale issues causing the loss of dust are being resolved - and neither by Lyra and Will.

So what happened when Lyra and Will started making out?

I believe they created a small-scale burst of energy which only affected Dust in that area, thus illustrating and mirroring the process which was happening all through the worlds, not causing it. The reader is led to believe that Dust is no longer draining away throughout the multiverse, but all they actually see - through Mary's eyes - is that it's no longer draining away in that area in that world. It's quite plausible that the burst of energy from their love only affected the Dust within line-of-sight.

So am I trying to create a Downer Ending here? Saying that Dust was not in fact restored?

Not at all. Dust really was restored, just not by Lyra and Will. It was restored by the combined efforts of the Republic of Heaven, and then by everyone who would help to repair the fabric of the multiverse. And Lyra and Will really did save every ghost in the Land of the Dead. That was the true climax of their B-Story, their true work of heroism. They just didn't single-handedly restore Dust through the Power of Love. I believe they only mirrored a process which was gradually happening throughout the rest of the multiverse anyway.

For example, if Father Gomez succeeded in assassinating Lyra (which the Church seemed to believe would be an Instant-Win Condition), all I believe would have happened is that the Dust drift over the Mulefa lands would not have immediately stopped. It simply would have gradually slowed down over the next few - months, years, who knows - but it would still have gradually slowed down as the restoration of Dust continued throughout the multiverse. The Mulefa would still have been saved, as would Dust throughout the rest of the worlds.

Also, I'm not trying to shoot down Lyra and Will's Power of Love with this WMG. What I'm actually trying to do is defend the Power of Love of every other love in existence in the book's multiverse.

Pullman inadvertently suggests that Lyra and Will's love is the only love that matters, as it is the only one which finally restores Dust.

What about the random couple in the random world which is by coincidence passionately kissing with just as much love as Lyra and Will? Aren't they creating just as much Dust?

Under Pullman's text, no, just because Lyra and Will are The Chosen Ones. Under my theory, yes.

  • It's been several months since I last read the books, so maybe I'm forgetting some detail that would be an issue for this theory; but one way of looking at it is that opening up the world of the dead was basically the single greatest consciousness/Dust affirming act ever (or at least in the top three :) ). The reason the outflow of Dust didn't stop as soon as Lyra and Will did it is because they had not "officially" come of age yet. Once they did, in that moment, they became receptive to Dust in the way that adults are, and because of their actions, they suddenly became the strongest attractors/creators of Dust in the multiverse. In short, Will and Lyra's love was not inherently special; it was just the unlocking of the floodgates that were holding back the creation/attraction of all that Dust due to their freeing of the world of the dead.

After Coulter and Asriel plummet through the Abyss for some time...
They get pulled into the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the Tesseract, like Loki did. And the Adventure Continues.

The world seen below Lyra's world in the intro...
  • the world where Asriel builds his fortress. It does look like it invokes the Tower of Babel.
    • As with the world seen in the last chapter in Northern Lights,the most probable possibiity is that the world they see is actually Citagazze.
The Star Wars universe is part of the Multiverse.
The Dust is the Force, and midichlorians interact with it in a way that allow force users to harness the dust to influence their world.

The human characters are just pawns in the angels' larger struggle.
They only seem important because we're reading it from their point of view.note 

Dr. Malone's CAVE computer is a quantum computer.
At least, it visually resembles the quantum computers which this troper has often seen in videos and photographs, and it could be argued that quantum computers only work at all thanks to the influence of Dust.

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