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Your ''Golden Compass'' guide

Your ”Golden Compass” guide — Before you see the movie, learn about The Magisterium, Daemon, and Intercision

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Your ”Golden Compass” guide

Dust
Mystery stuff flowing into the world through a hole in the Arctic sky. Is it sin? Dark matter? Angelic consciousness? Discuss.

The Magisterium
A fractured, churchlike body with power over every aspect of life. No Pope, and about as Christian as the Inquisition.

Golden Compass
A.k.a. an ”alethiometer,” this symbol-encrypted device can divine hidden truths.

Daemon
An extension of one’s self that’s both sidekick and conscience. Always an animal, almost always of the opposite sex. Shape-shifts until humans reach adulthood.

Intercision
The Magisterium’s cure for sinfulness. It involves kids, daemons, and a high-tech guillotine.