The Little Cut in The Golden Compass: A Response for a Movie

The Golden Compass Movie

This movie response was written in 2008. It is republished for the purpose of sharing only. The grammar ans sentences are not revised. If you want to revise it, you may please give your response in the comment box below this article. However, please do not plagiarize. Thank you.


The ‘Little Cut’ in The Golden Compass

The Golden Compass, one of Phillip Pullman‘s works, is actually an interesting story for the readers. Basically, the story is full of imaginative characterization, and, it is the reason that makes the story worthwhile. As its reader, I find that the movie has helped me so much in viewing the live character of those in the novel. After watching the movie, however, an interesting thing that makes me to wonder is the ‘little cut’. ‘Cut’ here means what the Gobblers do to the children, who always love their own demon. Then, why does Mr. Coulter helps Lyra to get out from the ‘little cut’?

In the beginning of the story, the audience is introduced to Lyra Belacqua, the main character of the movie. Based on the story, every man has demon as the soul-companion, which is also called as the spirit of the man. Lyra’s demon is Pantalamaion. They seem having a best relationship. Then, in the middle of the story, the audience is shown to Ms. Coulter. She is the most influential woman in Magisterium, a place in which people can find the answers of each question they have in their mind. Lyra realizes that Ms. Coulter has a work-relationship with the Gobblers. She tries to run away. Luckily, the Gyptian helps her from being captured by Ms. Coulter’s man. Lyra meets the Lord Faa and then she also meets a witch, whose name is Serafina Pekalla. At this point, all other characters in the ship, that are the Gyptians and the witch, are happy to meet Lyra.

One thing that creates a good image in the story is not only the existence of the demon but also the Iorek Byrnison, that is an ice-bear with an army-dress. Because Lyra had been given an ‘alethiometer’, or the golden compass, she can tell where the bear’s army-dress had been kept in times. After knowing that Iorek Byrnison feels that he has been saved for his life, he indirectly states to Lyra that he wants to do anything for Lyra because she has saved his soul. After a while, they, that are Lyra, Iorek Byrnison, the Byption and the Lee Scoresby, along with other witches that are flying in the sky, go to the North, that they call as Bolvangar, a ver deadly place for all living things. The place of Bolvangar is near Trollesund. Unfortunately, after Lyra reached the place, she is kidnapped by the Samoyed people. Iorek Byrnison did not realise that Lyra had been kidnapped. Consequently, they have to find Lyra at the other days. Lyra is then carried into Svalbard, the place of the murderer-bear, Ragnar. Because Lyra knows that Ragnar wants to have demon as other human has; therefore, she plays her trick by influencing Ragnar to have a sable battle with Iorek Byrnison. At last, Ragnar is lost and Iorek Byrnison can come back to his place os he used to be, that is as a king of all army-dress ice-bears.

When Lyra is in the Bolvangar, the place where all children are kept in tight, she again tricks the guard of the building. She said, “I am Lizzie Brooks”. After she gets into the building, she meets Roger, Billy’s friend. The ‘alethiometer’, which has been already used by Lyra, is not seen by her when Ms. Coulter along with her man come inside the room in which Lyra wants to see her ‘alethiometer’. Unfortunately, her trick to hide is noticed by the man, except Ms. Coulter. Lyra is then brought into a room along with her demon and they are going to be separated with the prepared tool. When Lyra screamed for help in an unfortunate way, Ms. Coulter suddenly came and rescued her from the ‘cut’. A little while later, Lyra is in the same room with Ms. Coulter. The question is, “Why does Ms. Coulter save Lyra from being cut while she never did that to other kids?”

That question is controversial because there are two interpretations for that. Firstly, due to her status as the mother of Lyra, she has no dare to let her daughter, as she stated to Lyra, suffer from the ‘cut’. Secondly, Ms Coulter wants to have the same thing as what Lyra has, that is the ‘alethiometer’, or the golden compass; therefore, she wants to have Lyra to be alive to have the forecast real. After seeing that little scene from the movie, it becomes clear that it is the ‘alethiometer’ that has influenced Ms. Coulter to emotionally influenced Lyra. Because Lyra is a kind of smart girl, she can run away again from Ms. Coulter’s will.

In line with above, if it is seen from the first interpretation, why does Ms. Coulter and Lord Asriel pretend to be Lyra’s uncle and as someone outsider from Jordan school? What Ms. Coulter did to Lyra is a proof for the audience to judge her as Lyra’s mother. However, the intention that she shows to Lyra is bias, whether she wants to have the golden compass or wishes to have a secret thing that the audience cannot imagine what it is. Besides, the ‘little cut’, if it is seen through the theme of what Ms. Coulter has said, is intended to make the children can be fully grown up as an adult. Why should be an adult?

According to the existence of the demon, it can be interpreted as the anima that means the animal which always accompanies the human in the story. There are dogs, cats, birds, and others, even small insects, like butterfly. This thing is indirectly related to what Carl Jung has stated about the psychology of literature. It is the persona, shadow and anima. Persona and anima are clear in the story, while the shadow is still undiscovered. However, the shadow can be noticed when the change of the demon happens. Children’s’ demon can change into different forms because children do not have a static shadow. This is what we see when Lyra saw her golden compass is being kept by Ms. Coulter’s demon, a gold leather monkey. Pan is suddenly turned into a bird, which take the compass from the monkey’s hand in a fast movement. That is why the demon of adult people has not transformed and turned into the other forms.

By looking at this relation, it seems obvious to say that the ‘little cut’ means the process of separating human from their shadow and anima. As we can see, what happen to Billy is so tragic because he is one of the ‘cut’ children and as a result, he almost lost all his spirit when Lyra found him in a ghostly room in Bolvangar. The same thing goes to the adult people in the story. The different thing is that the demon is not physically changed, while the children’s’ are changed. At last, it can be said that there is a changing of anima between children and adult as implicitly illustrated in the story.

Finally, The Golden Compass movie, which is produced and created to the Phillip Pullman’s novel, has a controversial influencing action. The child’s disappearance in the Jordan school has already been answered by the ‘little cut’ action done by the Gobblers in the Bolvangar. Based on Jung’s idea, the ‘little cut’ is the symbol of separating human’s psychological elements, that are persona and anima, while the shadow, still lies in the children, and slowly disappear in the mature stage of life of the children.

Author: Syayid

Syayid Sandi Sukandi is a person who is just like you. He loves to meet new people. He likes to learn new things and opens his horizon to understand how this world works. He is happy to help you when he can. His personal blog is Sparkling Silent Silhouette ( He can be contacted at e-mails: or He has a YouTube channel @Mr.Syayid's Corner. He is active on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. You may follow and subscribe to his creativity and works there. Enjoy different perspective and insightful ideas!

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