Has Philip Pullman ever released or endorsed a complete list of symbols for the alethiometer, along with one or two suggested meanings? I've found this link through Reddit, but I don't know whether it's officially endorsed or simply a fan product.

  • That link goes to an archived page at www.RandomHouse.com, the author's publisher. It really doesn't get any more officially endorsed than that.
    – Valorum
    Jun 15, 2020 at 7:37
  • Then why is the link no longer active on the website, and has to be accessed through the Wayback Machine? I was hoping there'd be an active resource.
    – Lou
    Jun 15, 2020 at 7:43
  • 5
    Publishers and Studios often let links die on older books/films/whatever when they lose interest and don't get m/any views. There's endless fields of official viral movies sites that either lead to a 404 or just head back to the studio's own website.
    – Valorum
    Jun 15, 2020 at 7:45
  • @Valorum Fair enough. I guess I was just looking for some corroboration for that source :)
    – Lou
    Jun 15, 2020 at 7:53

1 Answer 1


That list of symbols was published by RandomHouse, the UK publishers of the His Dark Materials trilogy. It can be considered as official as a Disney owned website would be on the Star Wars canon, or Warner Bros on a fact about Superman.

It isn't a fan-made list. Some of the items do match up with the very few meanings that are in the text, and the list of symbols seems to be derived from the cover art of Northern Lights, or at least it is cognate with that artwork.

In the absence of word-of-god, you can consider this list as official as you are going to get.

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