Abstract: In Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, everyone had a daemon. I wonder what the various Harry Potter characters would have had as their daemons, if it was part of the story?
Anyone who has read Philip Pullman's trilogy, His Dark Materials, (and I highly reccomend it - ignore the movie The Golden Compass - it doesn't get even close to the first book, Northern Lights) will know that the heroine, Lyra, lives in a world parallel to our own, in which each person has something called a daemon. A daemon is an animal who reflects their personality, is their soul mate (quite literally), is their conscience and their constant companion throughout their life. Unlike ordinary animals, the daemon can talk to the person with whom they are associated, making that bond stronger.
While that human is still a child, the daemon can take the form of any animal at will, and change their form in the twinkling of an eye. Lyra's daemon, Pantalaimon, (and yes they do have names) switched from a moth, to a mouse, to a wild cat and more. It's only when the child reaches puberty, and comes of age, that the daemon takes on a permanent form, and after that never changes.
This final daemon form reflects the personality of the human they're attached to. Pullman gives the example of a servant's daemon often being a dog (used to following their master around), a seaman's a seabird and Mrs Coulter's a devious and cruel monkey (Mrs Coulter is the arch villain of the piece, who could certainly give Dolores Umbridge a run for her money!).
While the movie The Golden Compass was being promoted, the film's website had a feature which allowed you to answer certain questions, and that suggested what your daemon might be (i.e. the post-puberty version). I'm therefore hugely curious to know what sort of daemon might have been associated with any and all of the Harry Potter characters, had this aspect of life been in the books.
And I say animal as the daemon, but it could just as easily be a bird or insect... there are virtually no exclusions. Oh, and the daemon was always the opposite sex to the person with whom he/she was associated with.
To make this comparison work, we'd probably have to assume that the daemons for Harry, Ron and Hermione, and the other principle child characters, had settled into their permanent form - so we're looking at them in the later books. For the adult characters, this isn't a problem.
For Hermione, the choice is easy - it would have to be an owl - wise, cunning and powerful when it needed to be. For Ron, I'm almost thinking a bear, although animals of this size rarely feature as daemons in the Pullman novels. Why a bear? Powerful, loyal, slightly clumsy... or perhaps it's just the image. Harry's daemon is much more difficult. You might think snake because of his Parseltongue abilities - but he's simply not that slithery or devious. I'm thinking there's almost a parallel with Lee Scorseby, who's daemon is a hare, principally because of Scorseby's self-sacrifice at the end of The Subtle Knife (the second book).
For Voldemort, the choice is easy... in splitting his soul into various horcruxes, he effectively creates a daemon for himself in Nagini. He can even converse with the snake, albeit in Parseltongue. For Dumbledore, I'm thinking a lion, inspired by the guiding force that Aslan is in the Narnia novels...
But please... what do you think? Fill in the blanks... try and pair up an animal daemon with all of your favourite - and not so favourite - Harry Potter characters.
April 25, 2008 - Warner Bros. announces Harry Potter: The Exhibition, "a state-of-the-art exhibition highlighting artifacts from the Warner Bros. films based on J.K. Rowling's beloved book series" to open in Spring 2009.