In The Amber Spyglass, Will and Lyra (& Chevalier Tialys and Lady Salmakia) must leave their Daemons behind when they cross the river into the world of the dead. If Humans in His Dark Materials are made of three parts (body/soul/daemon), why don't Lyra and Will experience large personality changes while they are separated from their Daemons? In particular, there is a scene where a flicker of Romantic understanding passes between Lyra and Will. Why should this be possible in the absence of their Daemons? People might answer that in fact there are changes that I didn't notice, or give an (in universe[s!]) explanation for why they would seem the same.

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    Only guessing, but I suppose that they might have kept some sort of remote connection to their deamons, sort of like that of the witches. I agree that they couldn't have kept their normal personality when separated from their daemons.
    – Fiksdal
    Jun 21, 2016 at 10:20
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    I agree they keep at least some connection, otherwise they'd be as bad as Mrs Coulter's daemon-less bodyguard or a spectre victim (another question - difference between being attacked by a spectre and interscission?). But I still think that would lead to local big personality change because that part of them is somewhere else Jun 21, 2016 at 10:54
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    That separate question is interesting. You should post it as a new question. (If you don't, I will.) But, why assume that distance would lead to a personality change? The witches are far away from their deamons, and they are perfectly normal people (at least for the HDM universe, lol! [which isn't saying a lot, really, haha.]) But you get my point. The case of the witches illustrates that it's possible to be far away from your daemon and still remain normal. But W&L aren't used to this, is that why you think there should be a big change? And remember, they were pretty freaked out down there.
    – Fiksdal
    Jun 21, 2016 at 10:59
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    @Fiksdal I interpreted the feeling that Will and Lyra had as being those of loss, and having a part of themselves missing rather than feeling a wound which could heal with time. I feel that their being reunited with their Daemons the first time was a step where something changed - the distance-flexible witch-daemon bond comes from the separation-reunion pair not just the separation. I don't believe that the feelings W&L had were something they got used to - rather, something that went away when the found their daemons again. But you may well be correct Jun 21, 2016 at 11:14
  • You know, I was only guessing. I'm also curious what the answer to this question will be.
    – Fiksdal
    Jun 21, 2016 at 11:16

1 Answer 1


Yes, normally it is not possible to separate body from daemon, but these were not normal circumstances. They were in the Land Of The Dead, which seems to be all the difference. Please notice that it was neither easy nor without side effects.

There are instances where separation (long-term or long-distance) from daemon is possible: witches and shamans, among others. IIRC both involve very specific place and ritual to succeed.

The bodyguards you mention were intercised, which is severing connection to the daemon, not separating from them for any given period/distance and even then it wasn't 100% successful. Some do not survive this process anyway.

As for the second question - they were separated from their daemons, but not permanently. The connection is still there. Nothing really prevents them from acting normally. Absence is not inexistence.

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