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Locations in His Dark Materials series

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This page contains locations from the His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman.

BolvangarEdit

Bolvangar, meaning the Fields of Evil, is a fictional place where there is an experimental station set up by the General Oblation Board in order to conduct experiments involving intercision, the process of severing a child from his or her Daemon (an external manifestation of the soul in animal form). Large numbers of children have been taken as a result, including children of the Gyptian people and Roger, a friend of Lyra Belacqua and former kitchen-hand from Jordan College, Oxford. Lyra manages to save most of the children who have been kidnapped and return them to the Gyptians, who have come to rescue them. The station at Bolvangar is apparently destroyed in the ensuing battle.)

Bolvangar appears in Northern Lights (The Golden Compass).

SvalbardEdit

Svalbard is the real-life name of an island in the Arctic. In His Dark Materials it is the home of the panserbjørne, large and robust bears that almost always wear their armour consisting of flawless metal. Iofur Raknison, the King of Svalbard and the panserbjørne for a brief time, built a palace of marble and gold on Svalbard that Iorek Byrnison destroyed after killing Iofur Raknison in a fight and becoming king. Svalbard appears only in Northern Lights (The Golden Compass).

CittàgazzeEdit

Cittàgazze (sometimes abbreviated to Ci'gazze out of slang), is a fictional city within an unknown world (and parallel universe). It is occasionally and informally called the 'City of Magpies'.

Cittàgazze is a seaside town, reminiscent of those near the Mediterranean, which seems to have Italian-like roots. Its main features are quaint restaurants and cafés, parasols hung over circular tables beneath trailing plants, wide cobbled roads, and ancient architecture. However, it should not necessarily be considered "old-world". There is mention of electric devices (electric lights and refrigerators) and the world appears to be roughly as technological as our own. Furthermore, the world contains familiar brand names such as Coca Cola, but one must also note the possibility that these objects were stolen from other worlds.

The world of Cittàgazze is plagued by deadly, ghostly beings called Spectres. They are invisible to pre-adolescents, but once individuals are old enough to see them (and are post-pubescent), the spectres take an interest in them, eating away the people's souls (or dæmon in the case those whose soul has taken an external manifestation) leaving them alive but zombie-like. Spectres cluster around children approaching adolescence and consume them the moment they come of age. However, they avoid the Torre degli Angeli because within the tower is the Æsahættr, an item which they avoid.

Spectres have been common in this world for several generations, however their number was greatly multiplied after Lord Asriel created a huge window through his world into that of Cittàgazze. This huge upsurge of the soul-devouring wraiths is why the city is entirely devoid of adults and is populated by small rag-tag gangs of children called spectre-orphans. Later in The Subtle Knife it is learned that the adults are elsewhere in order to escape the spectres. Ironically, the creation of spectres in Cittàgazze is due to the constant use of the Æsahættr in its vicinity. The knife, which can create windows to other worlds, creates a new spectre every time it is used to open such a window. The world of Cittàgazze was once prosperous, however it had come upon hard times three hundred years earlier and so the philosophers of the guild of the Torre degli Angeli would use the Æsahættr to open windows into other worlds and steal things to regain wealth. This was how the city earned the nickname of the 'City of Magpies', referring to the same thieving characteristic that is inherent in the bird.

The first reference to the city appears in the first volume of the trilogy, Northern Lights (The Golden Compass), as 'the city in the sky' (the city visible in the aurora borealis, an occurrence which, according to the novel, thins the barrier between the dimension in which the story takes place and the dimension of Cittàgazze). The most expansive description of the city is given as Lyra and Will venture into it and other surrounding universes in The Subtle Knife. It is also mentioned in the final volume, The Amber Spyglass, but is no more significant than as a point of transit between Lyra and Will's worlds.

Torre degli AngeliEdit

Perhaps the most significant feature of Cittàgazze, the Torre degli Angeli (Tower of Angels) is a great tower of old-style architecture that stands in the middle of the spectre-haunted city. It was once the home of the philosophers that created Æsahættr, the subtle knife, where it still resides. It is in the Torre degli Angeli that Will Parry fights a young man called Tullio and obtains the blade and later where Giacomo Paradisi, the ex-bearer of the knife, teaches Will Parry how to use it. The knife first appears in The Subtle Knife.

The Clouded MountainEdit

The Clouded Mountain (also known as the Chariot) is a giant mountain fortress surrounded by mist and clouds. It is home to The Authority (God), Metatron (the Regent of Heaven), and a citadel to all angels apart from the rebels. It is defended with gun emplacements built into the rock and can apparently move under its own power.

It is described only once in the series, in The Amber Spyglass, when Mrs Coulter arrives there in The Intention Craft, to trick the Regent into following her to his death when she plunges him into the empty abyss created by an interdimensional bomb the Magisterium set off to kill Lyra Belacqua. The Clouded Mountain's fate is not revealed, but it can be presumed it was destroyed or captured after Metatron's death in the abyss.

Jordan College, OxfordEdit

Jordan College is a college of the University of Oxford in Lyra's world, and is considered her home. The Jordan College appears at the beginning of Northern Lights (The Golden Compass) and at the end of The Amber Spyglass, and is the primary setting of Lyra's Oxford.

For detailed information, see the main article.

University of Oxford Botanic Garden Edit

The University of Oxford Botanic Garden, which exists in both Lyra and Will's world, is home to a bench with a special significance to them both. The bench, featured late in The Amber Spyglass, actually exists.


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